In this blog post, I will introduce you to Rocketbook : a smart re-usable paper notebook, and its accompanying scanning App for smartphone.
I get to know Rocketbook during the OneNote Learn Conference 2018, thanks to Frank Kendralla, and use it constantly since then. You too can start testing it right now, for free, downloading templates on GetRocketBook web site and installing the app on your smartphone.
Getting started : Setting you favorite destinations
Rocketbook sheet exhibit a thick black border all around the page, and a footer with 7 customizable destinations. Below is an example of setting :
You set the destination towards your favorite destinations directly within the app :
Take notes, scan, store !
Once you are set, you may start writing your notes on a free printed template, check-off one (or several) destination(s) symbol(s) on the lower edge of the template, and scan the note with the app.
Rocketbook might recognize the title of your note, provided you wrap it between ## (such as ##my title##). The hash must be written in italic.
Searching for notes
Pages scanned with the Rocketbook app are searchable in OneNote (as with OfficeLens) provided you use the JPG format (don’t work if you use PDF format).
Don’t set the resulting image to the background, otherwise you won’t be able to search anymore.
Erase the page, take new notes
There’s a little wonder with Rocketbook notebooks : pages can be cleared with water (the Everlast version), or microwave (the Wave version) once you have scanned your notes.
Mine is an “Everlast” (pages are washed with water), contains 32 pages (16 sheets), and came with a cloth and a Pilot® Frixion ball clicker thin black pen. There is also a simple, not re-usable (thus cheaper) notebook, called One.
Washing is easy and leave no stain.
What are the benefit of using Rocketbook ?
- Quick scan : scanning a single page requires 3 selections in Rocketbook, whatever the number of pages (①launch app, ②press scan, flip page, subsequent scans are triggered automatically… ③press send, once done with all the pages), but much more in Office Lens (6 for two pages, 8 for 3 pages, 10 for 4 pages). To get the benefit of this quick scan, you must select “AutoSend” (which implies PDF format).
- Border recognition : with their thick black border all around the page, Rocketbook manage to capture the whole page flawlessly, even when lighting is weak or the background table is off-white, providing low contrast.
- Title recognition : When working as espected, title recognition is a boon.
- Scanning quality : page background is plain white, even in poor lighting conditions whereas the same page scanned with OfficeLens exhibits a yellowish background with “document” setting (it’s slightly better with “whiteboard” setting, but not as good as with Rocketbook).
I’m also experiencing this off-white background with #OfficeLens whereas @getRocketbook ‘capture is clearer. Wondering if any different setting could improve that…@frankkendralla @OneNoteC pic.twitter.com/Q0FM5U1WhQ
— Albin LABELLE (@Noteadviser) November 19, 2018
There are plenty of advanced settings (image format and resolution, smart title…), and additional features such as e-mail transcription (add a transcript of your page when you send by mail).
What else to say ?
Free trial (with free template), easy set up, reliable, premium packaging and accessories (embroided cloth), replacement Frixion pen available in any store, with several colors, and a nice and well illustrated web site.
This perfectly close the loop with my blog post “Going digital…and staying productive !”
Update 29/11/2019 : I had a hard time making sense of inconsistent search behaviour. Note that OCR works if you choose JPG only. Thus, if you check “Bundle Scans” as well (which shaves off time if you scan multiple pages document), but implies PDF format, you’ll get :
- single page scans, in JPG, where OCR works,
- multiple pages scans, in PDF, where OCR don’t work.
It’s a trade off between advanced feature (OCR, for future search), or instant agility (“Bundle Scans” to save capture time) !