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When writing notes for my PhD research I make a lot of sketches. Sadly, for workflows involving the PC this results in major overhead. Basically, in order to make it useful, I'd want an app that allows a workflow where

  1. I draw the image on the tablet.
  2. I press Ctrl+V on my PC to insert the (cropped?) image.

The delay between stopping to draw and inserting the image should be low, ideally on the scale of seconds, since anything longer interrupts the workflow and discourages quick sketches. It also shouldn't require any manual transfer steps but happen automatically.

Cropping is relevant as the additional delay for manually cropping the image disrupts the work flow, though it is a part which I can implement myself with ImageMagick if need be.

Ideally the app would itself connect to PC and push the image to its clipboard. This would be ideal for writing environments like MS Office, LyX, or ZIM Desktop Wiki, that directly support pasting images, while it would allow easy automation in LaTeX editors using ImageMagick and AutoHotKey.

Since I often experience issues with our wifi at the university, that leave my mobile devices without internet connection, or may not have access to wifi on more than one device at conferences, this would ideally happen over Bluetooth or cable connection, though a Wifi only solution is acceptable.

The reality of sketching solutions I have found looks more bland, and certainly too distracting to fit into my worflow.

Paper way

  1. Sketch on paper.
  2. Scan the paper (ideally the scanner will push the result straight to pc, but still causes significant delay).
  3. Edit the result file manually or ideally with a script to obtain a cropped image.
  4. Paste into the document.

Typical sketching apps

  1. Sketch in the app, usually taking significantly longer than on paper due to lowered input precision (even for active digitizer).
  2. Upload the drawn page to cloud storage or send by email, usually involving several intermediate steps, resulting in further delay.
  3. Edit result file ... (as above)
  4. Paste into the document.

Digital Inking Tablet

  1. Sketch in some simple desktop program, maybe mspaint.
  2. Select the useful part of the image.
  3. Copy/Paste
  4. Curse at how long it took to get the hand-drawn shapes right with this setup and wish for a tablet solution.

Since I have an iPad I'd prefer iOS solutions, but Android solutions are welcome too (and might very well make the difference when I next buy a tablet).

Is there some app that would allow such a reduction of the workflow?

  • Not software, but a Boogie Board Sync seems to be especially dedicated to this purpose – Tymric Aug 5 '15 at 17:38
  • I'm not familiar with drawing apps, but on Android I could think of a combination: pick any drawing app and a shared clipboard might do the job: Paint on the tab, copy to clipboard, paste on PC. Not tried (hence not an answer), but should be possible. – Izzy Aug 5 '15 at 20:46
  • @Izzy: It seems that all the shared clipboards are limited to text data. None of them seem to provide support for image data. – kdb Aug 7 '15 at 8:06
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    @Timmy: The Boogie Board Sync 9.7 looks interesting. While I couldn't find out if the device can push notes straight to the clipboard, some of the functions should allow providing files for processing by a script easy enough. The price (100€) is also in a range, where software + reasonable pen hardware already comes close. I'll be taking a look at it. – kdb Aug 7 '15 at 8:06
  • Sorry to hear that, @kdb – as I wrote, I've never tried it so I didn't know what exactly they are capable of. – Izzy Aug 7 '15 at 10:01

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