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10 ways you should be using your smart stylus

From coloring to taking notes, here's what a smart stylus can do.

Credit: Getty / Alife

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Looking to ditch the pen and paper and go digital for your next meeting or class? You may want to consider buying a smart stylus for your tablet, so you never have to worry about your pen running out of ink while you’re at work or school. However, that’s not all your smart stylus can do.

First, you should know that a smart stylus is pretty similar to the pen or pencil you use to write on paper—except it's designed to be used on a compatible touchscreen device like your mobile phone or tablet. Maybe you’ve considered buying one, but you aren’t sure what you’d do with it. So, what exactly does a smart stylus do? Here are 10 uses for your smart stylus.

1. Show off your creative side by using your stylus as a crayon

Coloring
Credit: Getty / Imgorthand

Skip the crayons and color on your tablet using a smart stylus.

Your smart stylus does more than just function as a writing utensil—it can be used to color pictures, just like you might in a regular coloring book. A study from researchers at the University of the West of England found that coloring can help minimize stress and boost creativity in adults, so why not give it a shot? There are many different coloring apps to choose from, like Pigment. The app has a 4.6-star rating out of more than 64,500 reviews in Apple’s App Store, and is also available for download in the Google Play Store.

2. Take notes during a meeting or class

Take notes
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A smart stylus can be used as a digital pen.

Gone are the days when you had to rely on a notebook and pen to help you jot down notes during a class lecture or an afternoon meeting with a client. While there’s nothing wrong with pen and paper, a smart stylus is a quick and easy way to take notes on your tablet. Android and iOS users can utilize apps like Google Keep or Evernote as a way to write. Your notes will show up in your handwriting, just as if you were using a pen and paper.

3. Turn your messy, handwritten notes into easy-to-read digital text

Handwriting to text
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Certain apps let you convert your digital notes into text.

Taking notes but can’t decipher your penmanship? If you have sloppy handwriting, then you’ll appreciate apps like Pen to Print, available for iOS and Android devices, which translate your chicken-scratch notes into legible text. While the app can be used to scan and translate handwritten paper notes into text, it can also be used to help convert writings that were taken on your smartphone or tablet using a stylus by uploading a digital document to the app.

4. Learn how to sketch like an artist

Sketching
Credit: Getty / Kritchanut

You can sketch out designs and draw pictures using a smart stylus.

Whether you're a seasoned—or starving—artist, a smart stylus can help you bring new designs to life. There are plenty of drawing and sketching apps available to choose from, and many of them are available for download on iOS and Android devices. Create drawings using the Adobe Photoshop Sketch app, which has 4.8 stars out of 27,000 ratings in the App Store. Adobe Photoshop Sketch offers different kinds of drawing tools like markers, watercolor brushes, graphite pens to create your hand-drawn masterpiece.

5. Add events to your calendar

Smartphone with calendar
Credit: Getty / baloon111

Manage your calendar with your smart stylus.

If you’re used to writing down events in your tangible planner but enjoy the convenience of keeping a digital calendar, try using your smart stylus to keep track of upcoming plans. With apps like Palu - Handwriting Calendar, available for iOS and Android devices, you can write yourself reminders on specific days.

6. Mark up documents, images, and PDFs

Mark up documents
Credit: Getty / Free Mixer

Make edits, circle changes, and more directly on a document or photo using a smart stylus.

Need to make edits to a PDF for work or add feedback to a digital photo? Smart styluses like the Apple Pencil can be used with compatible apps like Messages and Photos for iOS users to mark up documents and images. Have an Android? Download Xodo PDF Reader & Editor, which has a nearly 5-star rating from 207,710 reviews. While in the app, you can use your smart stylus to highlight and underline text, fill out forms, and more.

7. Sign a document

Signature
Credit: Getty / ilkercelik

These days, many forms can be signed on your tablet using a smart stylus instead of a pen and paper.

Adding your signature to a PDF is another use for your smart stylus. Sure, you could use your finger, but a smart stylus will help your John Hancock look more like it does when you sign with a pen. With the Adobe Fill & Sign app, it's easy to create your signature using a smart stylus. Then, you’ll be able to add your signature to the document as needed. The app works with both Android and iOS devices. Another cool feature of this app? If you have a paper form and aren’t near a scanner, take a photo of the form on your phone or tablet. The document will be uploaded to your phone, where you’ll be able to add your signature using the stylus.

8. Change slides during a presentation

Present during a meeting
Credit: Getty / Simonkr

Work meeting? Some smart styluses can be used to change slides during a presentation.

Styluses like the Surface Pen 4 or the Wacom Bamboo Ink can start a slideshow presentation. The smartpen, which connects via Bluetooth, can also be used to advance to the next slide or to go jump back. Make sure to check the compatibility requirements before you get started.

9. Learn how to write in cursive

Cursive
Credit: Getty / Dragon Images

You can use a smart stylus to help you learn or practice cursive handwriting.

Cursive may be a thing of the past in some school curriculums, but if you'd still like your child to learn how to write in the flowy penmanship style, try teaching them with a tablet and smart stylus. The Cursive Writing Wizard Starter app for iOS users, and the Cursive Writing Wizard - Handwriting app for Android users includes cursive templates that little ones can trace, including the alphabet and numbers. The app shows users how to trace letters and words, as well as shapes for young kids.

10. Navigate around on your tablet or phone

Navigate
Credit: Getty / Bongkarn Thanyakij

A smart stylus can help you maneuver around your tablet.

A smart stylus can also engage with your phone or tablet in the same way your finger does. You can perform all of the same functions you’d normally do using your hands by tapping on the screen with the tip of the pencil. This includes basic functions like opening a new browser window, playing a game, selecting letters on the keypad when drafting a text or email, and more.

These are just some of the ways that your smart stylus can be used with your compatible tablet or mobile phone. Whether you use the stylus for business or pleasure, it has multiple functions and uses to keep you entertained when you’re bored or when you have work to do at the office.