Sometimes you just want to write something down. Some people would call this process “journaling,” or even “keeping a diary.” In reality, the whole concept of keeping a journal or diary is about recording memories and thoughts. It’s therapeutic. It’s comforting.
Day One by Bloom Built is a beautiful and simple app for journaling on the Mac, iPad, and iPhone. The app balances features with simplicity to bring you an excellent environment for writing on a daily basis.
The best part of Day One is that it doesn’t restrict you to a certain way of writing. If you want to use Day One as a daily journal, then by all means do so. If you want to use it as a place to write down certain memories and events as they happen, then that works, too.
On the Mac
Day One on the Mac is a writer’s dream. The app is minimal and full-featured at the same time. You have five windows: New, Days, Calendar, Starred, and Reminders.
You’re supposed to write in Day One, so the New window is displayed front and center when you open the app. Little prompts and thought-provoking sentiments are displayed above where you write that say things like, “Write the way you think,” and “Your journal is a vital record.” You’ll occasionally get a prompt to write in a certain way or about a certain emotion, and you can choose to use that prompt as your guide if you so desire. A little thought to spark inspiration is always helpful.
The Days window gives you a glimpse at what you’ve written in the past. You can scroll through your entries and reminisce. The Calendar window gives you more of a general overview of your activity in Day One. Hover your mouse over a certain day to see a quick summary of your entry. Starring an entry will place it in the Starred window for quick reference.
The Reminders window introduces another cool thing about Day One: the menu bar app. Day One can also run in your Mac’s menu bar to let you quickly add an entry. Setting a reminder will make the menu bar window automatically open at the top of your screen at a defined time during the day. That way you never forget to write. You can customize the frequency of Day One’s reminders to your liking, or just turn the feature off altogether.
A keyboard shortcut can be set in the app’s preferences to access the menu bar’s quick entry field. You can also enable password protection to ensure that prying eyes don’t get a peek at your secret thoughts. Entries can be exported as text files, and you can even write in Markdown. Search and tagging make finding old entires a breeze. The app takes advantage of Lion’s full-screen mode to let your write without distractions.
Day One works with Dropbox to seamlessly sync your data between devices. That brings us to Day One’s iPad app.
On the iPad
Day One on the iPad is a wonderful way to journal. The app takes many cues from its Mac counterpart, but the overall experience is simplified for iOS.
Typists that favor the iOS virtual keyboard may take to Day One on the iPad faster than the Mac version. The app is lightweight, but it still offers all of the features that you expect on the desktop.
Entries are indexed properly and you can quickly view starred posts. You can also email entires from within the app, which is a nice touch.
The app’s preferences mainly include syncing with Dropbox, passcode lock enable/disable, and reminders. Day One will remind you on your iOS device about when you need to write, just like the Mac version.
Your font size can be customized and Markdown support can be toggled in the app’s preferences. It’s all really slick.
On the iPhone
Quick entires on Day One for iPhone are the name of the game, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t read the longer stuff that you already have saved. The iPhone app has a really cool feature that gives you daily usage reports on your Day One activity.
Creating new entries is a snappy experience — the app couldn’t really be designed any better. I was continuously impressed with how well everything worked as I explored different parts of the app.
The app’s preferences on the iPhone are exactly the same as the iPad version, passcode lock and all. There’s even support for TextExpander snippets (another one of my favorite apps). When you combine Markdown with TextExpander support, you’ve got one powerful writing app.
Perhaps the best part about Day One is that your journal is constantly synced and updated as you write on your different devices. The developers are working on iCloud support at the moment, so expect that feature to go live soon. More features that are currently being worked on for iOS include: search, photo support, tags, and an export option.
Archiving your thoughts and memories can be quite an enriching experience. Start writing with Day One and see for yourself.