Skip to content

App Spotlight – Craft

The beautiful UI, formatting, Markdown support, and ability to import and export make Craft an excellent note-taking and document creation app.

Eric Gregorich
Eric Gregorich
6 min read
App Spotlight – Craft

Table of Contents

What is Craft?

Craft helps you build dynamic and beautiful documents from your notes, ideas, and the content you gather.

While you can easily create a new document for every note, Craft encourages the crafting of documents where you pull related information together into one place.

Who is Craft for?

Craft is a native Mac and iOS app. However, it's now available through the web (in beta), making it available on any device. It is best on iPad, Mac, and iPhones.

If a clean and beautiful UI is essential to you, Craft has that nailed. Yet, Craft has some compelling features for power users. Craft uses Markdown to handle the formatting of your content. You can import and export content in multiple formats, and it has offline support and excellent performance.

If you are a heavy writer, researcher, or enjoy making small, interconnected notes, then Craft may not be your best option. Craft can be great for casual note-taking, creating content, and exporting to other tools to prepare for publishing.

While you can easily connect notes using backlinks, you don’t get a graph overview as you do in Obsidian.

Experience

Craft is slightly different from what you expect from a notes application. Similar to Notion, everything you create is a block. These blocks can easily be selected and manipulated by changing the style, making it a page, or even a stylized card. On the other hand, unlike Notion, Craft doesn't feel like a database. You can't create database tables and queries.

You can write using Markdown syntax or use the Rich Text editing capabilities. If you're familiar with Markdown editors, the block editor may take some time to get used to. If you're looking for primarily a writing experience, you may be better served using a markdown editor like Bear, Ulysses, or Obsidian.

I'm not saying that the writing experience in Craft is terrible. Instead, it has been quite pleasant. It is compelling to start writing and then break down that content into child pages that you can “zoom” into. It enables you to build a complex document but quickly jump in and focus on particular pieces. The other benefit is that your main document shows in your All Documents view, not every child page, keeping things cleaner. You can still easily find any sub-page using search or Cmd-O.

The Craft iPad app takes full advantage of iOS tablet capabilities. You can have multiple tabs, multiple windows, and draft and drop into and out of Craft. Your note also comes up in Spotlight search.

Craft does not mention "Notes" in its interface. Instead, you create "Documents." After using Craft for a while, I see why this is the case. Over time, you are crafting beautiful documents and not just simple notes. Sure, you can create a document with only a few sentences in it, but that feels like it's going against the intentions of how Craft should be used.

Import

A common way to import content into Craft is using the Share Sheet. By default, you select an existing document to import the content into. Again, this builds on the fact that Craft is best for making documents rather than single-purpose notes. It does an impressive job at allowing you to select an existing document (or create a new one) and append or prepend the content. You can even add your text during the import.

Image.png
Image.png

Craft also has many available Shortcuts to include Craft in your daily workflow.

Image.png
Image.png

Export

Craft shines with its export options. There are built-in sharing options for Things 3, Ulysses, Drafts, Omnifocus, iA Writer, Bear, DevonThink, Day One, and Noteplan.

But, you can also export one or all documents to Email, PDF, Markdown, Image, TextBundle, or Microsoft Word.

You can build your documents in Craft and then export them to your favorite writing tool, where you can clean them up for publishing.

Portability

Craft is available on macOS and iOS. You can also access your notes using the Craft Web App (currently in private beta). The web app is one of the primary reasons I started to use Craft myself. I can access my notes from anywhere, including my Windows work laptop.

I don’t see an Apple Watch app.

Sync

Craft's build-in sync is reliable and fast. You can see the words appear on the other device as you type. I haven’t been using Craft very long, but I’ve yet to have an issue syncing my notes.

Security

By default, your Craft space is synced using their speedy sync service. However, you can still create your space locally on your device, in iCloud, or other third-party services.

Storing the data only on your device is the most secure option, but you’ll lose some apparent benefits. It’s excellent that Craft gives us a choice.

Image.png
Image.png

Organizing Content

Craft does not yet support tags! It will likely be introduced in a future update. Folders are the primary method for organizing content in Craft. You can create a folder hierarchy; each folder can have its icon and color.

Again, Craft is built around the idea of creating documents, not notes. Rather than making many small notes and trying to organize them using links and tags, Craft encourages the creation of documents and building out those documents to contain everything for a topic. In the end, you have fewer files with more content within those files.

Image.png
Image.png

I'm using the PARA system to organize. I have a folder for Projects, Areas, Resources, and Archive. Within each, I have a single document per topic. When I capture something new, if I already have a document for it, Craft allows me to append it directly to the end of an existing document.

Craft has a couple of options for finding content. Cmd-O brings up a quick navigation modal, which allows you to quickly find anything based on the title or header.

You can also use a traditional search to find anything, including cards and pages created within your documents.

Daily Notes

Craft also has a dedicated section for Daily Notes. You can connect your iOS calendar to see events and click on them to create meeting notes. You have access to the same features, including links, backlinks, cards, etc.

This is an excellent option for capturing notes that do not belong in a specific document throughout the day. You can also keep meeting notes here and link them to project documents, which is quite handy.

Image.png
Image.png

Pricing

Craft is free for 1000 blocks, which is plenty to try. If you decide to use Craft long-term, it is currently $44.99 per year.

If you are not paying for a product, you are the product.

Conclusion

I have not been using Craft very long. I wanted to try it out and share my thoughts with you. I’ve come to enjoy curating documents for the various areas of my life and projects. The beautiful UI, formatting options, Markdown support, the ability to easily import and export, and the web app have convinced me to stick with Craft.

Resources

Craft | A fresh take on documents

Craft – Pricing

Craft Developer Platform

What's new

Craft.do (@craftdocsapp)

AppsPKM

Eric Gregorich Twitter

I design and build software solutions that help companies and people be more productive.


Related Posts

Tot Pocket

Tot Pocket is a simple app that allows you to write text on one of seven pages. It syncs seemlessly across devices.

One of the screens in Tot Pocket.

Use Apple Shortcuts to send notes on YouTube videos to Readwise

An Apple Shortcut that takes a YouTube URL retrieves the Title, prompts for the Author, and Notes, then adds it as a new highlight in Readwise.

An overview of the Apple Shortcut

New to Mac? Here are some tips to help be productive

I recently switched my setup to a Mac. As a long-time Windows user, this is quite a jarring transition. There were some things I immediately missed from Windows and some things that I had to spend some time figuring out because they make no sense on a Mac. * Poor window

New to Mac? Here are some tips to help be productive