Qreate - The Qrayon Blog


Remote Board Beta 6 with Web View

Based on your feedback, you can now view boards on the web in real time.

The invite link goes directly to the web view. This means that you can invite participants who don't have an iOS device. They can follow along using their Android devices, Mac, or PC - pretty much anything with a web browser (maybe even a smart fridge?).

The web viewer is read-only, but iOS users will see a link to download the app to collaborate. We see many uses of Remote Board for presenting one-to-many, and other uses for one-to-one or small group collaboration.

But of course, the Beta is because we want to hear what you think! Do you find one mode more useful than the other?

Right now, we are evaluating if the Web View should be a standard feature, or if it will be more useful as a separate app. So, please do let us know your thoughts via the in-app or Testflight feedback form.

Thanks for participating in the Beta program!

If you have colleagues who would like to try out Remote Board, be sure to send them to the Beta signup form.

Related: Remote Board, Beta.

We have a brand new App for you to try out…


Announcing Remote Board Beta!

The whiteboard is one of our most powerful tools.

Nothing beats two or three people hashing out something in person with a marker in hand. The combination of talking out loud while sketching simple shapes enables a rapid and direct level of communication that's hard to beat.

But whiteboards have one big downside: they are fixed in one place. It's great when you are huddled in a small office, but what about when you are working from home, or with people hundreds of miles away?

Why, glad you asked...


Remote Board turns your iPad or iPhone into, well, a remote digital whiteboard: invite multiple people to join, and everyone can write and draw at the same time, just like in person (but with more elbow room).

Remote Board can do a whole lot more though: drop in photos or import PDF slide decks, and annotate them in real time. Get feedback on presentations, or deliver them live to remote participants across the world.

Each board can have multiple pages, so you'll never run out of space to write. Share boards as PDF files after you're done.

Who will find Remote Board most useful?

Remote Board will be invaluable for anyone who collaborates remotely:
  • For reviewing presentations and documents,
  • Remote tutoring and instruction,
  • Storytelling,
  • Visual design,
  • or simply when working from home.
Sounds like you? We want you to try it out.

Go here to download the beta today.

We look forward to hearing what you think!

Related: Remote Board, Beta.

AirSketch Pro v2

Hot on the heels of Inkflow 5, we’ve just released AirSketch Pro 2.0 with several new oft-requested features:

Pencil-Only Drawing Mode

This feature has been well-received on Cardflow and Inkflow. We're now rolling it out to AirSketch Pro.

When an Apple Pencil is connected, there will be a new stylus button at the lower left of the screen. Tap it to enable drawing only with the Pencil, allowing you to rest your hand on the screen without creating stray marks.


Tap the new freeze-frame (lock) button to freeze the projected view.

This is great for giving your audience extra time to catch up while you prepare the next slide, or switch to a different presentation.

Line Tool

There's a new Line tool in the palette. Select it to draw straight lines and basic shapes such as rectangles and ovals.

Jump to Page

There is a new button in the page picker to jump to a specific page. This is useful for navigating large presentations.

There's also a new option in the App Settings to remember the last opened page (rather than open presentations to the first page).

Updated for iOS10

AirSketch Pro v2 also includes several minor performance improvements and internal updates for the latest version of iOS.

Your Feedback Matters

Each of these new features was requested by at least one person. While we probably won't be able to implement everything folks ask for, your input helps us prioritize the product roadmap.

At this stage, we are not planning to radically change functionality, but are rather looking at ways to make small refinements to better fit individual workflows whenever possible.

Feel free to drop us a line via our feedback from. Even if it's just some comments on how you are using AirSketch Pro in your daily work, having a better picture of this helps us plan for the future. We may not be able to respond to every request, but rest assured we do read and consider them all.

Also, if you like these updates, please take a moment to leave a rating in the App Store. Each version is rated separately. Your rating helps keep AirSketch Pro visible in the App Store and supports future updates.


Download AirSketch Pro 2.0 here if your app hasn't already updated automatically.

Related: AirSketch.

Vittle 3.6 with Video Speed Boost and Color Separation

Vittle 3.6 comes with a couple of useful new features:

Video Speed Boost

There's a new video speed setting in the scene editor. Tap it to boost the video speed by 25%, 35%, 50%, or 100%.

Add a slight speed boost to give an extra little pep to longer presentations or lectures.

This setting is sticky, but doesn't change the source video, so you can change it as often as you like.

Color Separation (iPad only)

Ever get into a situation where you wish you could just select the foreground lines and move them away from overlapping a background drawing?

Now, right after you lasso select ink, the Color Separation panel will appear in the lower left. Tap on individual color(s) to include in the selection. Now, further operations such as moving or resizing will only affect the selected colors.

This is pretty handy when you're using different colors to denote multiple layers of a diagram.

Tip: Tap on the canvas and tap “Select All” followed by Color Separation to quickly select all ink of a particular color.

Pencil-Only Drawing Mode

We know, palm-rejection or wrist protection has been an ongoing issue. There hasn't been a 100% perfect way to rest your hand on the screen, until now.

If you have an iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil, you can now toggle on the Pencil-Only Drawing Mode using the Pencil button at the lower left.

When activated, only the Apple Pencil can be used to draw, so no more stray marks. You can continue to use your fingers to zoom, pan, or select.

Please Rate the Update!

We know that Vittle is becoming an integral part of your professional workflow. You guys are creating some very impressive presentations and publishing them to YouTube and elsewhere. The iPad Pro and Apple Pencil really are a best-in class platform for whiteboard video production. There simply isn't a better device available that we know of, at any price.

We hope you like these continued improvements. If you do, please consider taking a moment to leave a rating in the App Store. Each app version is rated separately, and updates without enough ratings suffer in their discoverability, which unfortunately disadvantages lower-volume productivity apps.

If your app hasn't auto-updated already, you can download the free update from the App Store.

Related: Vittle.

Inkflow 5 Beta

We're making a few major changes to the Inkflow interface, and we need your input before we release it! Get the beta here.

iPad Split-Screen Multitasking

Inkflow 5 now supports split-screen multitasking on the iPad. This means you can use Inkflow while browsing the web, or watching videos, and copy-and-paste pictures from other apps on the same screen.

All functions should be usable at each of the 7 different possible split-view sizes, but with certain buttons being hidden or collapsed on narrower widths.

This is made possible with a new adaptive-toolbar design which automatically shows as many buttons as possible on different screen widths.

The New Adaptive Toolbar

The adaptive toolbar also replaces the sliding toolbar on the iPhone. More buttons will be shown on larger phones.

This eliminates the need to switch toolbars to access common functions, and all buttons are accessible in landscape.

The only real compromise we had to make was on the narrowest phones (iPhone 4S and iPhone SE) in portrait:

portrait .size50px

We had to remove 2 buttons, and the previous page and redo buttons were chosen because of their relatively infrequent use.

The options in the Add menu are collapsed into the Action menu when the Add button isn't visible.

To go back a page, tap on the page number and pick the previous page.

To redo, rotate the phone to landscape to access the full toolbar:


One more change is that the “left-handed toolbar" option has now been removed. In practice it didn't make a big difference, and is less relevant now with the new toolbar.

Get The Beta Today!

Overall, we believe the adaptive toolbar is a much better design than the previous sliding toolbar. However, the whole point of doing a beta is to see if you agree.

Please download the beta, try it out for a few days and let us know what you think. The Beta will install side-by-side with your copy of Inkflow, and won't disrupt your current work.

Update: Thanks to everyone who participated in the Beta program. Inkflow 5 is now live in the App Store! Download it here.

Tip: Use iTunes File Sharing to transfer files across different editions of Inkflow.

Thanks so much!

Related: Inkflow, Beta.

SyncNotes Beta 2

Thanks to everyone who downloaded SyncNotes Beta, and especially those of you who sent your feedback. It's been super helpful.

We're releasing a new beta today, with a few refinements based on your input:

A Choice of Fonts

Prefer a classic serif or modern sans-serif font instead of a fixed-width one? You can now set this in the new App Settings screen from the gear icon in the lower left.

You can also adjust the font size to suit your preference and eyesight.

Auto Scroll-to-End on Edit

The first thing you do when you edit a long document is scroll to the end to pick up where you left off. SyncNotes now automatically does that for you when you edit a long file that’s scrolled to the top.

If you want to edit a document from the middle instead, simply scroll down first, before tapping on the text to start editing.

This is one of those features that caused us to say “why doesn't every editor do this?” the first time we tried it. We're pretty sure it's going to become the norm.

Onwards and Upwards

Beta 2 also includes a whole raft of bug fixes and other small improvements.

We're still looking for new Beta testers! If you're looking for a better text editor for your iPhone or iPad, get the Beta here today.

Update: Thanks to everyone who participated in the Beta program. SyncNotes is now live in the App Store! Download it here.

Thanks so much!

Related: Beta.

Announcing SyncNotes

Text Editors are one of the most basic apps, so why did we build a new one?

All we wanted was an app that:
  • Edits plain text files stored in Dropbox,
  • Supports basic text formatting,
  • Is an iPhone and iPad universal app,
  • Has easy-to-read fonts, and
  • Full-screen editing.
Bonus points for:
  • iPad Pro native resolution support,
  • Hardware keyboard shortcuts,
  • Split-view multitasking, and
  • Exporting to PDF.

We looked at many best-selling apps. Some came close, but surprisingly none checked all the boxes.

So we built our own.


What's special about SyncNotes?


Your files aren't locked-up

SyncNotes stores your notes as plain text files. That's the best guarantee that they will be readable 20 years from now.

Most of the synching apps out there are tied to a proprietary service that makes it hard to get your files out. Worse, their business models rely on charging you expensive monthly fees to access your data after a certain point.

For us, Dropbox has emerged as the clear best choice for file synching. It's platform-independent, transparent, full-featured, and has a very generous free plan (text files use a really tiny amount of storage). We've been running our own business on Dropbox for many years, and have never had a problem.

SyncNotes will auto-sync your files with Dropbox across all your devices. They will show up as a set of .txt files that you can edit in any standard text editor.


Plain-text formatting

Plain text files are great, but being able to add headings, bold and italics is super useful, even for basic notes.

Due to the the nature of touch screens, the traditional select-then-format system on desktop apps doesn’t work well. Luckily, systems such as Markdown have emerged as a handy way to format plain text. SyncNotes supports three simple formats:

Put a hash (#) character at the beginning of a line, followed by a space to make it a title. Use two hashes (##) to make a sub-title.

Surround words with a single asterisk, *like this* to make it italic.

Surround words with a two asterisks, **like this** to make it bold.

Even if you later edit the file in an editor that doesn't recognize these special characters, the file is still completely readable.


Full-screen editing with readable fonts

Screen real-estate is especially a problem on iPhones, but also on iPads in landscape. When the on-screen keyboard is visible (and with full-screen mode on the iPad), SyncNotes removes every bit of wasted vertical space to give you the maximum view of your work.

We spent a lot of time finding the perfect font. We finally settled on Source Code Pro by Adobe. It's a beautiful fixed-width font that was originally designed for people who work with text all day.

While fonts are clearly a personal choice, a fixed-width font makes sense for plain text editing because it allows you to easily line up words, and Source Code Pro is just about the most readable fixed-width font we've found.


First-class hardware keyboard support

Most existing text editor apps weren't built with bluetooth and hardware keyboards in mind. This becomes particularly obvious when you try using them on an iPad Pro with an attached keyboard, which is the most natural way to use a text editor.

SyncNotes is designed to be usable with just the keyboard, so you rarely have to move your fingers off the keys. You can select notes with the arrow keys, and press Cmd+Enter to start editing.

Press the Cmd key to see a full list of the shortcuts.


Many export formats

It's useful to first draft a memo in SyncNotes, then send it as a formatted email. This will preserve the headings and text formatting.

You can also export documents as plain text, rich-text (RTF), PDF, and even HTML, to share or open in other apps.

Exported PDFs in particular are an easy way to generate simple, clean, yet professional-looking documents.


iPad Pro and Split-View support

We were surprised to find that many best-selling apps haven't been updated to support the 12.9” iPad Pro's native on-screen keyboard (you can tell because the keyboard is the comically-large zoomed version that is also missing the number keys). With SyncNotes, you get the full keyboard with number and tab keys.

SyncNotes also fully supports Split-View multitasking, so you can take notes while watching a video, viewing a webpage, or reading a book.


Ready to try out SyncNotes?

SyncNotes is currently in Beta. We need your help to get it to production because Dropbox now requires a minimum number of users before we can release broadly. Get the Beta here today!

Update: Thanks to everyone who participated in the Beta program. SyncNotes is now live in the App Store! Download it here.

Thanks so much!

Cardflow 2.0


Cardflow has been in the App Store for a little over 6 months, and your feedback has been tremendous! It's clear that lots of you guys really like the idea of using your iPads to replace paper- or even desktop-based workflows.

Cardflow was launched before the first iPad Pro was even announced, but it's an obviously perfect fit for it. We recently released updates that support the larger screen and Pencil, as well as iOS9 features like multitasking.

Of course, you guys want more, and you've let us know. :)

Well, we've been hard at work on a major 2.0 release that takes Cardflow to a whole new level.


Familiar Tools, New Powers

What makes a great tool is how closely it maps to the way we think, and how well it fits with the ways we already work. We deliberately designed the interface of Cardflow based on index cards because a lot of people already know how to use them. It fits an old and comfortable way of thinking that lets you be productive right away.

But of course, a digital “index card” can do a lot more. It's not really constrained by size, or what you can put on it. It's like a blank digital canvas, limited only by how we choose to think about it.

So, what else would you like to put on a “card”? We could have gone down the list of popular file formats, but these days, the ultimate piece of content is a web page.


Your Personal Web

In Cardflow 2.0 you can now insert a web page on a card. This will place a thumbnail screenshot of it as the card picture, and add a dynamic link in the upper right corner. Tap the link in Selection mode to open the page.

This is ideal for linking to online references, but you can also use it to link to your own private documents stored in the cloud. Services such as Dropbox allow you to copy links directly to your files. Simply paste this link into Cardflow's web browser to create a card for that file.

You can now use a board as a virtual desktop to store links to files for a particular project or client.


Mapping the Mind

Index cards are great because they let us store a single thought or concept on them, and easily organize these into bigger ideas.

In the real world, we arrange index cards spatially into clusters or stacks, and even the first version of Cardflow made this easier with Magic Arrange.

With Cardflow 2.0, you can also link cards to each other. Tap and hold on a card, then drag to another card to add a link. Each link is represented by a hotspot on the source card. Tapping on the hotspot takes you to the linked card, and the hotspots can be resized and positioned.

At its most basic level, this lets you create networks of ideas, just like you can with more specialized mind-mapping tools. Oh, and you can export the text from linked cards in the OPML format which can be imported into most outliner and mind mapping Apps.

But you can do so much more with links...


Prototyping Interactions

Position the link hotspots on your cards to create sharable interactive “tap-through" experiences. Both card and web links continue to work in exported PDF files. You can even publish these PDFs online. Here's a simple example.

Use Cardflow to prototype interactive user-experience designs, share branching presentations and narratives, or even create self-contained wiki-style references.

Here's a fun idea to try: Put a picture of each of the main rooms of your house on a separate card, and add links to connect them spatially. You can even add hotspots to “zoom" in and out of detailed areas like your desk. Share the PDF with your friends and family as a simple “walkabout tour”.

I'm sure you can see how links add a whole new dimension to Cardflow. It's now easy to capture intricate networks of ideas, and rapidly prototype more complex interactions.


First-Class Keyboard

The iPad Pro promises to be a laptop-replacement. A major characteristic is primarily using an attached keyboard vs. the screen.

Cardflow 2.0 fully embraces working with text from just the keyboard. Use the arrow keys to select cards, then press Enter to open them. Cmd+T toggles text mode, allowing you to rapidly type on new cards without having to touch the screen.

Tip: Press and hold the Cmd key to see a list of keyboard shortcuts for each screen.


Pencil-Only Drawing Mode

While the palm-rejection features have improved dramatically in the latest versions of iOS, some folks need it to be perfect. When an Apple Pencil is connected, a new button will appear in the lower left of the Card Editor that lets you toggle Pencil-Only drawing mode. When it's on, only the Pencil will be used for drawing, completely eliminating any stray marks caused by resting your palm or fingers on the screen.


Larger Boards

The original board size in Cardflow was carefully chosen to be big enough for most projects, while subtly imposing a limit on the number of cards per board. The thing is, older iPads have fairly limited RAM by today's standards (1GB in the iPad Air 1 vs. 4GB in the 12" iPad Pro), and performance starts to suffer with more than about 120 cards on a board. That's far more than most folks need, but of course, some need more.

In Cardflow 2.0, new boards are 4x larger on newer iPads, and you can enlarge exiting boards from the Board Editor's setting menu.

Please be aware that if you have an older iPad, a warning will appear if you create too many cards on a board.

Incidentally, having 4GB vs. 1GB of RAM is actually a lot more than a 4X improvement. Because iOS requires quite a bit of RAM itself, the running App is limited to only 100-200MB of active RAM on older iPads. Using a 4GB iPad Pro is actually closer to a 10X improvement in practice.


Pro Thinking Tools

Cardflow's design goal is to expand on what professional-grade creative and “thinking" tools really mean on the iPad. Like pen and paper, the iPad excels at capturing handwritten and hand drawn information. But the difference is that you can easily layer on additional structure and relationships, and readily incorporate them into the rest of your digital workflow.

We think this ability is what differentiates the iPad in the future of computing, and I hope you'll agree that the new updates in Cardflow 2.0 are a meaningful step in that direction.

Apply the update in the App Store, or download the Free Edition here.

Related: Cardflow.

iPad Pro and the Apple Pencil

Ok, this is a bit overdue, but we've just begun rolling out support for the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil for our Apps. New versions of Inkflow, Cardflow, and Vittle were released this past week.

Excuses, Excuses...

Part of the delay was logistical (we were only able to get our first test device a few weeks ago), but upgrading older codebases turned out to be harder than expected.

Inkflow, for example, was originally designed for iOS 5(!). We've kept support for iOS 7 for as long as we could, but had to require iOS 8 for the latest release. This upgrade meant that a lot of the underlying code had to be rewritten, just to maintain the same functionality.


An Explosion of Screens

A huge convenience designing for the iPad was that you only had to contend with a single screen resolution in two orientations. All this changed with iOS 9 and the iPad Pro. With multitasking enabled, there are a total of 14 possible “screen” sizes across the iPad Pro and iPad Air.

With Cardflow, we anticipated this in the original design, and were able to fully support multitasking without too much trouble. However, this turned out to be much tricker for the older Apps. Additionally, certain core OS functions, such as camera access and screen recording is only available to the foreground App. So multitasking is of very limited use to an App like Vittle.

Lesson learnt: Just as with any new feature, multitasking needs to be better understood in context. It's very useful in certain situations (e.g. copying and pasting images from Safari to Cardflow side-by-side), but not universally. Luckily, the Slide-over feature works pretty well for a majority of those side cases.


iPad Pro: Productivity Machine

From the very beginning, we truly believed that the iPad would be a new class of productivity device, and the iPad Pro is a huge step forward. All our Apps just work better and more naturally with the larger screen and Pencil as a stylus. Apple really nailed it with the hardware.

The iPad Air 2 was already a huge leap forward in terms of performance, and the iPad Air takes that to the next level. Because our Apps were optimized and hand-tuned for the last generation of hardware, we haven't really encountered any bottlenecks with the CPU or GPU. This means that everything pretty much runs at a buttery smooth 60 frames-per-second, which is what folks have come to expect.

The screen is, well, bigger, but otherwise every bit as amazing as previous generations. It feels essentially like an iPad Air blown up in size and weight. While it's not as easy to hold one handed for extended periods of time, the bigger screen is very welcome when using it on a couch or desk.


The Apple Pencil

The Apple Pencil has dramatically changed the landscape of the Bluetooth stylus market. Not only does it have clearly superior precision and performance to anything else out there, but integration is built right into iOS.

I truly feel bad for all the innovative stylus makers out there, but (pardon the painful pun) the writing's on the wall here. If Apple extends Pencil support to other iPad models in the future, the Pencil is going to be the main stylus to get.

If anything, the full capabilities of the Pencil probably far overshoot what most of us would use it for.

In our testing, performance has been absolutely flawless. It works as advertised. Tracking is 2x faster (at 240 times a second) with the Pencil compared to a finger. It's actually 4x faster vs. finger tracking on older iPads. This means writing with the Pencil looks like your actual writing (for better or worse). More subtly, the Pencil allows for much improved palm rejection, and of course, more precise drawing.

Using the Pencil is the closest you can get to writing with an actual pen, albeit on a glass screen. Pro Tip: Add a foam pencil grip from a dollar store to make long-term writing more comfortable:

Pencil Grip

If you already use your iPad daily for work, seriously consider the iPad Pro as a next upgrade. Definitely get the Pencil too if you do any kind of writing or drawing. It's hard to go back once you’ve tried it.

New Possibilities

With the iPad Pro, it's a good time for us to go back to the drawing board and rethink a lot of old assumptions. At the surface level, iPads used to be great in semi-mobile or “on-the-couch” environments. The iPad Pro + Pencil works best at a desk for focused work.

The latest processors provide a lot of performance headroom. Traditionally, power consumption was the major bottle neck, but given the iPad Pro's larger battery and less mobile nature, it might be worth pushing the envelope further in terms of background processing or predictive capabilities.

It's going to take a while for folks to adjust how they fit their iPads into their workflow. Graphic artists have long been used to working with attached graphic tablets to their desktop computers. The iPad Pro will open up this workflow to a lot more people.

Insider Note: The reason we named Air Sketch that way was we had expected more people at the time would use it as a simple graphics tablet. You can draw to your browser, then copy-and-paste that image into a drawing App you're working on. It just turned out it was more popular as a presentation tool. Maybe things might swing back around with the iPad Pro.

Related: iPad, Cardflow, Inkflow, Vittle.

Cardflow has been Released!


Cardflow is now live in the App Store! Like Inkflow, it comes in 2 editions: Cardflow and Cardflow+.

Cardflow (Standard Edition) is a completely free download. It has a smaller, core set of features, but is otherwise sufficient for light use.

If you need more, and would like to support our work, you can purchase Cardflow+. Additional features include:
  • The ability to draw directly on the board
  • Full text search
  • Draw behind mode
  • Shape recognizer
  • Fully customizable color palette
  • The ability to insert photos on cards
  • Export to high-resolution PDF
  • Color-select and recolor ink

A lot of folks have told us they like being able to try an App before buying. The Free and Plus editions are a great way to do that.

If you are a Beta user, purchasing Cardflow+ will replace the Beta edition, allowing you to continue working without interruption.

Tip: While not necessary, we recommend using iTunes File Sharing to back up your files.


Educator's Volume Discount

If you are a teacher, don't forget to take advantage of Apple's Volume Purchase Program if you can. This lets you buy Apps in 20 units or more at a 50% discount. A really great deal!

Thank you Beta Testers!

Thanks for the ton of great feedback! It all went towards improving Cardflow and many requests made it into the final product. We tried really hard to write a personal response to every email, but I know we probably missed a few. Rest assured, all your input was super helpful, and has made a difference.


Help us Spread the Word

If you are ready to purchase, get Cardflow+ here, or check out the free Standard Edition here. If you have a minute, please leave us a rating in the App Store. It really helps new Apps get off the ground! Also, please tell your friends about us.

Thanks so much!

Related: Cardflow.

More Posts