Inkflow 3.6 with iOS7 Support

by qrayon 27. March 2014 16:41

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We’ve just released Inkflow 3.6 to the App Store, re-mastered with a native iOS7 UI and 64-bit support.

Yes, *finally*! :)

Inkflow Re-Mastered

I know a lot of folks have been patiently waiting for this. Why did it take so long? We wanted to be extra-extra careful. Unlike previous iOS updates, iOS 7 was more than just an interface change. It wasn’t a simple matter of just changing a few flags and re-compiling. A number of things had to be re-written just to work the same way.

It’s a non-trivial amount of work, and we had initially considered rolling this out as a paid upgrade. However, in the end we decided to make it a free update for everyone, for a couple of reasons:

1. Some folks really hate paying for updates, and

2. Our loyal customers don’t like big changes, especially loss of functionality.

Both of these are understandable. You guys depend on Inkflow to get your work done, and we want to make sure there are no disruptions.

So, with v3.6 you can expect two things: It’s a free update, and everything should work the same as before.

Of course, “work the same” doesn’t mean it can’t be a bit better:

Interface Improvements

You’ll notice a more streamlined UI with more emphasis on your content. No more plasticky bevels! :) Replaced with understated gray with thin & light icons.


Even the palette is thinner, leaving more room for your canvas.

If you look closely, you’ll notice a few new animations here and there, but we’ve been careful not to go overboard with them (it’s tempting, believe me).

Note that Apple has discontinued support the original iPad 1 for iOS7. However, if you have one, you can still download the previous version with iOS 6 support. Inkflow still runs great, even on the original iPad.

Ok, Go Get It!

If you have auto-updates enabled in the App Store, you might already have the update installed by now. If not, just download it here.

I hope you like this update. Each version is rated separately. If you have a moment, please consider leaving us a rating in the App Store. It really means a lot to us!


Inkflow 3.3: Making Life A Little More Colorful

by qrayon 16. September 2013 12:47

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Somewhat coincidentally with the iPhone 5C launch, we’re releasing Inkflow v3.3 today, which adds a couple colorful features for iPad Inkflow Plus users:


Multiple Color Palettes, Just a Swipe Away

Inkflow palette colors

For many users, 8 color pots is plenty, but some folks just can’t have enough color choices. You can now swipe the color palette left and right to access up to 4x more colors. That’s 32 color pots total. We picked additional palette colors to start you out:

Swipe to the right of the standard palette to reveal a new vibrant set, based on the bold iOS7 colors. Right of that is a retro-inspired palette, and finally a monochrome set, which is great for sketching or brushwork.

Of course, we don’t expect you to stick to our choices for long. As always, you can tap on the selected color to change it to whatever you want. You can now create multiple custom palettes and quickly switch between them.


New Eyedropper Tool

We know what it’s like to go hunting for just that perfect shade of green to match an existing drawing. Too bad you didn’t remember that #RGB code. Now you won’t need to. From the color customizer, tap on the new eyedropper tool. You can then tap on any existing ink on the page to copy its color exactly.

Eyedropper tool


Tip: If 32 color pots aren’t enough, or if you want to share your custom palettes, you can simply save an Inkflow file with swatches of the colors. Using the Eyedropper Tool, you can reload these back into your palette.

Here’s a file with the standard colors. You can open it directly on your iPad and select to “Open in…” Inkflow. You can also use it to restore the standard palette colors.


One More Thing: Paste from Vittle

Inkflow Plus v3.3 now supports copy and paste from Vittle to Inkflow. This is handy to export your Vittle projects to PDF or JPEG from Inkflow. You can also copy ink and photos (though not text boxes) from Inkflow to Vittle, and turn your sketches into movies. It’s a powerful way to share your visual ideas with others, no matter where they are.


Enjoy More Colors!

Both these features are available on the iPad only, and are a free upgrade for all existing and new Inkflow Plus users. Remember, you can update in-app from the Free Edition, or download the standalone Inkflow Plus App. They are both exactly the same.

Educators: Don’t forget that you can get an additional 50% off Inkflow Plus when ordering 20 units or more via Apple’s Volume Purchase Program. This is a great way to equip your classrooms for 1:1 programs. Check with your school’s Apple representative for details. There’s a similar program for businesses as well.

If you like these new features, please don’t forget to rate this version in the App Store. We really appreciate it. Thanks.



Backing Up Inkflow and Vittle Files

by qrayon 16. August 2013 14:19

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Inkflow user Phil recently asked a question about backing up his over 200 (!) Inkflow books. We thought other users might want to know more about this too.

There are three ways to keep your files safely backed up:

1. If you activated your iCloud account and turned on iCloud backups, your device automatically gets backed up when you charge it. This includes the device settings and all App data (unless you individually turn them off). You can completely restore your device (or a new device) from the iCloud backup in case of a catastrophic failure. This is a good failsafe, but the problem is that it's an all or nothing proposition (i.e. you can't choose to just restore one or two Apps at a time).

2. iTunes backup works in the same was as iCloud backup, but it's to your computer. There's a WiFi backup option, so you don't need to physically connect your phone. This is a good idea, just to have a second backup available.

3. There's a new feature available in Inkflow 3 that activates iTunes File Sharing. This lets you copy individual Inkflow (*.inkflow) files to your computer. To use it, connect your iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch to your computer, and then:
    a. Select your device in the iTunes sidebar (View menu \ Show Sidebar).
    b. Navigate to the Apps tab, and select Inkflow.
    c. Copy the Inkflow files (all of them if you like) to your computer.

You can then copy these files to an external backup disk or cloud backup solution of your choice. To restore them, simply copy them back to the same Apps tab, or to a new device.

This is also a good way to “archive” older books that you don’t need to carry around on your device all the time. First backup the files, then delete them from the device.

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Vittle also supports iTunes file sharing. You can similarly copy project files (*.vittle) and their associated video clips to your computer, and back them up in the same way.

Bonus Trick: Backing up to Dropbox Directly

There’s one more way to backup individual files in Inkflow directly on your iPad or iPhone. In Inkflow 3, we added the ability to export the native .inkflow file. Tap the “Action” toolbar button, select “Export…”, then select the Inkflow format. If you have the Dropbox App installed, you can open .inkflow files with it. When you do, it will prompt you for a folder and then upload the file immediately.

This is a great way to save an important backup of a file when away from your computer.

Open Inkflow from DropboxYou can also open Inkflow files from the Dropbox App into Inkflow. First view it in the Dropbox App. It will say “Unable to view file”, but don’t worry. Tap the download button (top right on the iPad) and selecting Inkflow from the list. Just be aware that this will create a duplicate copy in Inkflow if a book already exists with the same name.


Create a Backup Plan that Works for You

When it comes to backing up data, having multiple levels of redundancy is a good idea. Pick the combination of options (or all three) that best suits you.

Introducing Inkflow 3: With Inkport

by qrayon 22. July 2013 18:49


We built Inkflow to make visual thinking easier, to bring the ease of pen and paper into the iPad age. The thing is, even we still find ourselves using pen and paper a lot. It’s hard to give up our Moleskine notebooks and G2 pens. How can we use both paper and iPad better together?

Inkport: Copy and Paste from the Real World

Inkflow Plus v3 includes a powerful new feature called Inkport. Inkport uses the iPad’s camera to scan high-resolution images of your written notes and instantly converts them into Inkflow’s native vector ink. Once on your iPad, you can edit, rotate, resize and rearrange things as if you had drawn them in Inkflow.

Inkport lets you go from paper to iPad without missing a beat.

Inkport paperInkport iPadInkport edited

Check out this video of Inkport in action:


Think across boundaries. See a shape or pattern in a book you like? Use Inkport to pull it into Inkflow and incorporate it into your designs. Easily combine notes and drawings from different notebooks.

Inkport works well across a variety of handwritten and printed media, and is optimized for dark inks on light colored paper. Like to think in color? No problem, Inkport works with colored inks too.

We’re pretty sure Inkport is going to change the way you use pen and paper in your workflow. What used to require scanning in your notes, then spending minutes tweaking filters in Photoshop can now be done instantly, right on your iPad. Spend more time on your ideas, not on your tools.

More Creature Comforts

Inkflow 3 also includes a slew of interface and feature enhancements that make it even easier to use. You can now directly access your .inkflow files via iTunes. iPad users also get an adjustable wrist guard, and the ability to set text style defaults.

For those of you who have upgraded to Inkflow Plus, thank you so much! In addition to Inkport, we’re adding the ability to rotate photos in Inkflow 3, with a cool new rotation snap feature. Also, by popular request, is a new menu option to flip ink.

Let’s look at these additional features in a little more detail:

iTunes File Sharing

For those of you with a lot of Inkflow books, iTunes File Sharing is a powerful way to manage your files directly. To access your books, open iTunes, select your device, then click on Inkflow in the Apps tab. Each book is stored in it’s own .inkflow file. You can copy these books to your Mac for backing up, or to another iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch with Inkflow installed.


Tip: You can even access your files wirelessly using WiFi syncing in iTunes.

Wrist Guard (iPad)

A number of you guys have asked for a dedicated wrist guard for the iPad. In Inkflow 3, you’ve now got one. Our design challenge was to add an easy-to-use wrist guard without cluttering up the interface or being too distracting. Here’s what we came up with:

You’ll notice a new faint gray tab at the lower right of your screen. Pull it up to show the wrist guard. Drag it up and down to adjust the wrist guard height. You can also tap on the tab to quickly toggle the wrist guard display.


For folks who don’t want to use the wrist guard, and would prefer a little less on-screen clutter, you can disable it in the settings menu from the Gallery.

Text Defaults (iPad)

Tired of changing from left-aligned 48pt Helvetica Regular? The text editor toolbar has a new option to set the default font style. Set up any combination of font, font-weight, alignment, size, and color you want, then tap on the new Favorite Style button (with the star icon), and select “Set As Default Style”. All newly added text will have this style.

You can also change the currently edited text’s style to match the current default with the second option: “Reset to Default Style”. This is also a handy way to quickly copy the style from one text box to another.


Photo Rotation with Rotation Snap (Inkflow Plus)

We have been planning on adding the ability to rotate photos for a while, but wanted to get the interaction design just right. There are some interesting subtleties about rotating images: You generally want to rotate images at regular, compass-point, increments… Except when you don’t. You also want to be able to straighten images that are slightly off center. We could have added an extra menu option to do this, but thought long and hard about how to combine the two operations. The outcome is, what we think, a unique rotation snap tool:

Rotating images is easy enough, just select one or more images, including ink if you like, and drag the round rotation grip as before. What’s new is that you’ll notice 8 or more round snap guides appear around the circumference of rotation. Dragging near to these guides to snap to the 8 compass points. You can also drag your finger farther away to rotate to an arbitrary angle. Ink and photos now rotate together, so you can easily keep your annotations pinned to your photos when rotating.

If you select an image that has been rotated to an arbitrary angle, you will see an additional snap point that will snap that image back to it’s original, upright rotation. This lets you easily straighten images without an extra piece of UI.


Flip Ink (Inkflow Plus)

Inkflow’s signature selection tool has always allowed you to easily scale and stretch ink. One limitation until now has been you couldn’t create a mirror image of the selected ink. We have actually been thinking long and hard about this. We originally tested the ability to skew ink in reverse, i.e. to stretch it into a mirror image. That is a pretty cool interaction, but the problem is that it takes too much space to snap the image into an exact mirror image.

We finally settled on adding a context menu option to quickly flip ink horizontally in place. To use it, just select some ink, tap on the selection, then select “Flip Ink”:


How about flipping ink vertically? No problem, just flip it horizontally, then use the rotation snap feature to turn it 180 degrees. These two new features work really well together. You can now easily create repeating patterns and tessellation effects of your work.

Making Thinking Just a Little Easier

Inkflow’s goal continues to be the best tool for visual thinking. Even as features like Inkport blur the lines between analog and digital, we have worked hard to capture the freeform essence of writing on paper, but updated for the digital world. What makes writing on paper a wonderful experience is how unrestricted and unencumbered it is. While we continue to add features and adjustments to Inkflow, way beyond what pen and paper can do, we are being very careful not to detract from this kind of experience.

Inkflow Plus v3: Free for All Existing Plus Users

At some point in the future, we will probably have to release a paid upgrade to a new codebase, but for now, we really like providing these major updates for free. It’s a way to thank you guys who have already upgraded.

There’s a raging debate about how independent developers should charge for major updates. The truth is, we go back and forth on this issue a lot. On one hand, the single paid upgrade is simple and clean. No need to worry about buying additional features one-by-one or being “nickel and dimed”. The problem is that it’s hard to keep the lights on if all you do is issue free updates. :) That is, unless your user base keeps growing.

The magic economics of free upgrades work when you genuinely love our Apps and tell other people about them. We really, really appreciate all the tweets and blogs you guys have written. It means a great deal to hear about someone enjoying our Apps, and it really helps us in a real and tangible way. It’s win-win all the way.

So if you enjoy these new upgrades, please consider taking a minute to rate us in the App Store (each version gets a separate rating). Also, please do tell your friends and colleagues about us.

Thanks, and stay creative!

Using Icons in Your Visual Vocabulary

by qrayon 3. May 2013 17:32

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One of the benefits of freeform digital note-taking tools such as Inkflow is that they allow you to easily mix left-brain thinking (words) with right-brain thinking (pictures). Pictures have actually been a part of written language for a long time. Billions of people write using languages derived from pictographs (e.g. Chinese or Korean); what we would call icons today.

The benefit of icons is that they allow you to compress a lot of meaning and even emotion into a simple picture. You don’t need any artistic skill to use icons effectively.

Building your own Icon Alphabet

By developing a set of icons to use in your own notes, you can more quickly capture and combine key ideas. The trick is to come up with icons for concepts that you use frequently. Here’s how to get started and build your icon vocabulary over time:


1. Look at your general shorthand

Guess what, you already use icons everyday: Think of all the shorthand you use, such as checkmarks, stars, and arrows. The cool thing is that these icons are re-usable. E.g. a star can represent a favorite item, or an important point, or well, a star.

You can easily customize these icons with your own special meaning. For example, you might draw a circle around a checkmark, and use that icon to represent important new ideas that you learned.

Common glyphs


2. Think about common concepts

The next set of icons that you might look at developing are for common, everyday concepts. Things like “Home”, “The World”, times of day, or places such as “cities” or “schools”:

Common concepts

You’ll find that using these simple icons in place of words much more evocative. They are especially useful as titles or to headline groups of ideas.


3. Create domain-specific icons

Finally, think about the major concepts that you frequently use in your field of work, especially the more complex ones. For example, you could represent “The Environment” with a tree. You can also reuse your icons. E.g. Use the city icon to also represent a business or corporation:

Domain specific concepts

When you iconize concepts this way, you’ll find that it’s easier to think of them as distinct entities or actors. This makes mapping out the relations between entities easier and more engaging. For example, you could use a set of icons to map out the interplay between governments, businesses, and the environment. This is useful both when brainstorming, and for communicating complex concepts to others.


Whole Brain Thinking

Icons not only help you capture ideas faster, but think better too, because you are working with a richer set of meaning, and engaging both sides of your brain at the same time. You will notice a difference in how your brain processes concepts represented by icons vs. just words. The thing is, you don’t need to pick one over the other. You can combine both to think more effectively.

What other ways have you found to leverage icons effectively? Love to hear your comments. Feel free to leave them below or send feedback.

Introducing Inkflow 2.0: Text, Photos, and a Whole Lot More!

by qrayon 20. February 2013 15:54

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Inkflow 2.0 is now live in the App Store! This is a major upgrade, and brings several popularly requested features:

- Text entry via the keyboard

- Insert and layout photos on your pages

- Paper stationery


QuickStart Guide Plus


Text, Photos, and Ink, Working Seamlessly Together

While Inkflow’s primary goal remains to allow expressive writing and drawing with our proprietary ink engine, there are times when its easier to type in text with the keyboard. Likewise, you can now use photos to better capture the essence of an idea, or to more powerfully convey a story.

You can select photos, text, and ink together, and resize them as a group.

Paper StationeryStationery

The default template now gets a subtle paper texture, and you can easily switch the background of your books from the actions menu.

The Plus Edition also includes a tool to create custom backgrounds from your photos. This is great for creating beautiful custom photo stationery. Also, if the built-in stationery choices don’t quite fit your needs, you can make your own: Just create an image using your favorite art program (you can even draw your own stationery with Inkflow), and save it to your iPad’s camera roll.

New Ways to Be Creative

These new features dramatically expands the scope of what you can do and create with Inkflow, without sacrificing any fluidity or ease of use.

Brainstorm in new dimensions, take long notes in class, create beautiful photo journals, even layout and publish PDF booklets.

Day at the ZooClass Notes

New Living RoomGallery


A Shout Out to Teachers

We draw inspiration from the creative work of our users, but are especially thrilled that our Apps have found good use in classrooms all over the world. Remember: Qualified schools, colleges, and other educational institutions can get Inkflow Plus via Apple’s Volume Purchase Program. Contact your school’s Apple representative for more details.


Thanks for Your Support!

We hope you enjoy these new features. As always, do consider taking a moment to rate the new version in the App Store. Also, do drop a line to let us know how you are using Inkflow in your work, and what else you might like to do next. We appreciate all your feedback.

Get Inkflow 2.0 from the App Store.

Default Inkflow color palette

by qrayon 9. January 2013 11:50

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We’ve received a number of queries about how to restore the color palette to its original settings. To edit a color, first pin the palette open, select a color, then tap on it again. Now tap on the #RRGGBB value indicator to edit it directly.

RGB editor

Here are the RGB values of the default palette:

Color RGB Value
Black 000000
Blue 558ED5
Red D99694
Green C3D69B
Purple B3A2C7
Light Blue 93CDDD
Orange FAC090
Taupe C4BD97

Now you can customize your palette to your heart’s content without worrying about how to get back if you want.

If you’re looking for a great tool to make your own coordinated color palettes, check out




Inkflow v1.6 Released: iPad Retina Ink

by qrayon 9. January 2013 11:33

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We’re pleased to announce that v1.6 of Inkflow and Inkflow Plus are now available in the App Store as a free upgrade for existing users.

This update takes advantage of the iPhone 5’s larger screen and brings retina ink support to the iPad with iOS6. This results in dramatically clearer lines on devices that support it.

Inkflow retina vs regular


Adding retina support to the iPad wasn’t a matter of just flipping a few bits. Supporting the ginormous resolution means dealing with 4x the pixels and memory as before, with the same hardware. We had to engineer a number of performance improvements to maintain the same silky smooth drawing experience you expect. It took a little longer than expected, but we think you will be pleased with the results.

Even if you are using a device without a retina screen, you should notice a few performance improvements as well.

Please Rate

As always, each App version gets a separate rating. if you like the update, please consider taking a moment to rate this version in the App Store. We really appreciate it!

We also love to hear from folks who use our Apps. Please feel free to drop us a line to let us know how you are using Inkflow, or if there’s a particular feature you would like to see in the future.


Download the update from iTunes.

Inkflow v1.4 Released: Export and print books

by qrayon 3. August 2012 09:47

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Following on the heels of v1.3, which brought the Plus features to the iPhone and iPod Touch, is v.4. This update cleans up the Actions menu a little and adds the ability to export PDF books and JPG pages to other apps and to print.

Preview and Exporting

Tap on “Export” from the Actions menu, then choose the format you want. This will open a preview. From there, tap on the send-to button to send the document to another App or to the printer. This allows you to send your work directly to other Apps for post processing or storage. For example, you can send PDFs to the Dropbox App to upload to your online storage. You can even send them to Air Sketch or Air Projector to project wirelessly to a laptop over WiFi.

Export from Inkflow

We hope you like this new feature. Please remember to rate this new version in the App Store! Each version is rated independently, and we really appreciate your five star ratings!

Get the free update in the App Store today.



Inkflow 1.3 brings Plus to the iPhone and iPod Touch (and more)

by qrayon 13. July 2012 09:28

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Thanks for all the great feedback and reviews in the App Store! Even though we are unable to respond to every email, we read all of them and take your feedback into consideration for future updates. v1.3 is a major update that adds several highly requested features for all existing users:

Inkflow Plus for iPhone and iPod Touch

By far the #1 request has been to bring the Plus Edition to the iPhone. We spent a lot of time redesigning the palette and controls to work well on the smaller screen. Instead of a pop-over, when you tap on the pen button, the palette zooms in on top of the canvas, giving you one-touch access to all the controls, including custom colors, opacity, and different instruments.

Power User Tip: Tap on the #RGB code to enter a hex color directly.

All the other Plus features are also available, including page management (tap on the page number to access this), copy & paste, and unlimited pages for books.

PalettePage Management

All for the Price of One: If you’ve already purchased the Plus Edition for your iPad, you can upgrade again for free on your other devices. Just open the upgrade dialog and tap “Restore”.

Reorganized Toolbar

Probably the first thing you will notice when you upgrade is that we flipped the default layout of the toolbar. The pen and selection buttons are now on the left. Why did we do this? We got some great feedback that the old location of the buttons made two-handed use difficult (for right handed people). After a lot of additional user testing, we agreed that putting the edit controls on the left made more sense. This way, you can keep your left thumb over them to easily switch between the pen and selection tool, or call up the palette, while drawing with your right hand.

This new layout will probably take a day or two to get used to, particularly if you’ve used Inkflow for a while now. We think you will find that it makes using Inkflow more efficient. Don’t fret if you don’t agree (or are left-handed): You can easily change the layout back from the settings dialog (tap the gear icon from the Gallery, and enable left-handed toolbar).

New toolbar:

basic toolbar

Previous toolbar (and new left-handed mode)

Basic Toolbar lefthanded

Plus Edition: Rotate Ink

In addition to resizing ink, you can now also rotate it in the Plus Edition by dragging the round rotation handle at the top of the selected ink:

rotate selection

This opens up a whole lot of new possibilities to get creative!


Email Books as PDF

We’ve made sharing your work even easier. Send the whole book as a PDF file from the actions menu. You can still send it as the source Inkflow file to let your friends edit and add to your books.


Email and Save Higher-Resolution Images

In addition, we’ve increased the resolution of page images that are emailed and saved to the camera roll. This makes incorporating high-quality graphics from Inkflow into your workflow much easier.


Tweet on!

Keep tweeting your masterpieces with #myinkflow. We keep an eye on that stream and retweet the stuff we find interesting. It’s great to see the amount of creativity out there. Keep it coming!


Please Rate this New Update

We hope that you are continuing to enjoy Inkflow. If you like the new features in this free update, please take a moment to rate it in the App Store. Each version of an App is rated separately, and your five star ratings help keep the free updates coming. Also, don’t forget to tell your friends about Inkflow. Thanks for helping spread the word!


Download or update Inkflow from the App Store now!



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