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Are you tired of carrying around a bulky paper planner? Do you want to streamline your planning process and have all your notes in one place? Look no further than digital planning. A digital planner is an electronic version of a traditional paper planner that you can customize to fit your needs. With the right tools and a little know-how, you can create a digital planner that is both functional and visually appealing.
When it comes to how to make a digital planner, you will need a few key tools. First, you will need a digital design program, such as Google Slides, PowerPoint, Canva, Affinity Publisher, or Adobe InDesign. Next, you will need a tablet, smartphone, or personal computer to host your digital planner file (if using for personal use). Finally, you will need some creativity and a vision for what you want your planner to look like. Whether you want a simple layout or a more complex design, the possibilities are endless with digital planning.
Our goal is to give you a high-level walkthrough of the process of making a digital planner step by step. From choosing a design program to customizing your planner pages, we will cover everything you need to know to create a digital planner that works for you or your audience. Whether you are a student, a professional, or someone who just wants to stay organized, digital planning is a great option to consider. So, let's get started and create your perfect digital planner today!
Understanding Digital Planners
Digital planners are electronic versions of traditional paper planners that you can access on your computer, tablet, or smartphone. They come in different types, such as daily, weekly, and undated planners. Digital planners are becoming increasingly popular due to their convenience, portability, and customization options.
One of the advantages of digital planners is that they can be easily customized to meet your specific needs or to cater to your audience. You can add or remove sections, change the layout, and personalize the design. Some digital planners have pre-designed templates that you can use, while others allow you to create your own from scratch.
Another benefit of digital planners is that they can sync with your calendar and other apps, making it easier to manage your schedule and stay on top of your tasks. You can also access your digital planner from anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection. Talk about convenience!
Choosing the Right Tools
When it comes to making a digital planner, choosing the right tools can make all the difference. When deciding on the platform to use, consider your budget, the number of pages you want to include, and if your current resources will work. Here are some of the best design programs and note-taking and annotation apps to consider:
Best Design Programs
- Adobe InDesign – This professional-grade design software is a top choice for creating digital planners. It offers a wide range of design tools and features, allowing you to create custom layouts, add images, and more.
- Affinity Publisher – This alternative to Adobe InDesign is a more affordable option that still offers advanced design features. It's a great choice for those who want to create a professional-looking digital planner without breaking the bank.
- Canva Pro – This web-based design tool is perfect for those who want to create a digital planner quickly and easily. It offers a wide range of templates and design elements, making it easy to create a custom planner that looks great.
- Google Slides and Microsoft PowerPoint – While not specifically designed for digital planning, these presentation software options offer a lot of flexibility when it comes to creating custom layouts and adding images.
Note-Taking and Annotation Apps
- GoodNotes App – This app is a popular choice for digital planners, offering a wide range of features for note-taking, annotation, and organization. It allows you to write and draw directly on your planner pages, making it easy to keep everything organized.
- PDF Annotation App – There are a number of apps available for annotating PDFs, which can be a great option for those who want to use a pre-made digital planner. Some popular options include Notability, Adobe Acrobat, and PDF Expert.
When choosing your tools, consider your budget, your design needs, and the features you require for note-taking and organization. With the right tools in hand, you'll be well on your way to creating a beautiful and functional digital planner.
Designing Your Digital Planner
When designing your digital planner, there are several key elements to consider. In this section, we'll cover the most important design elements and provide tips and tricks to help you create a beautiful and functional planner.
Cover and Layout Design
Your cover page sets the tone for your entire planner, so it's important to create a design that is both visually appealing and reflective of the planner's purpose. Consider using a color scheme or theme that matches the planner's focus, and use a bold font to make the title stand out.
When it comes to page layout, simplicity is key. A cluttered page can be overwhelming and difficult to use, so consider using a grid-based layout with clearly defined sections. Use headings and subheadings to break up the content and make it easy to navigate.
Creating Interactive Elements
One of the biggest advantages of a digital planner is the ability to create interactive elements. Interactive PDFs allow you to add clickable links, checkboxes, and other features that make your planner more functional and user-friendly.
Interactive elements could be tabs for ease of navigation, icons to jump to frequently used pages, and hyperlinked text on index pages to jump to certain pages. Adding these elements helps you navigate the planner.
Need a cheat sheet to get started with your digital planning? You can grab this free one!
Parent Pages (Adobe InDesign)
Parent pages are a powerful tool that can save you time and ensure consistency throughout your planner. Parent pages allow you to create a template that can be applied to multiple pages, and if you need to update a link on one of your tabs for instance, you can update the parent page to update all of the pages that were created from that parent page. That is a time-saver!
To create a parent page, simply design the layout you want to use and then select “New Parent Page” from the menu. You can then apply the parent to any page in your planner. I created a cheat sheet for this process as well, and you can snag it here!
Incorporating Digital Stickers
Digital stickers are a great way to add some personality and style to your digital planner. They can also help you stay organized and make your planner more functional. Here are some tips on how to incorporate digital stickers into your digital planner:
Create Your Stickers
Once you have your software, it's time to create your stickers. You can use pre-made templates or create your own designs. Be sure to choose colors and graphics that match your planner's theme. If you want to check out some sticker options, you can always browse what Creative Fabrica has to offer (and they come with full commercial rights).
Add Your Stickers to Your Planner
To add your stickers to your digital planner, you'll need to import them into your planner software. Most digital planners allow you to add images, so you can simply upload your stickers as images and place them wherever you like. Check out the information provided from the note annotation app of your choice.
If you are selling stickers to others for them to use in their digital planners, make sure to provide clear instructions for your end user on how to use and upload your digital stickers. It will save you a lot of customer service down the road. I talk about creating a deliverable in our Beginner's Guide to Digital Planners if you have any questions.
Use Stickers to Stay Organized
Digital stickers can be a great way to stay organized in your digital planner. You can use them to mark important dates, create to-do lists, or highlight important information. Be sure to use stickers sparingly, though, so your planner doesn't become too cluttered.
Creating Different Sections
It's always best to plan your planner. Consider what other planners have that you would like to include in your personal digital planner, or consider your target audience if you are creating digital planners to sell.
One thing to keep in mind when creating your planner pages is to create enough pages so that the digital planner can be used properly. Meaning, if you are creating a daily workout planner – you want to include 365 pages of the daily log. Here are a few sections you may want to include in your digital planner:
One of the most important sections in your digital planner is the calendar pages. You can create a monthly calendar, weekly calendar, or both, depending on your needs. You can also add important dates, events, and appointments to your calendar pages.
To-do lists are another essential section in your digital planner. You can create different to-do lists for work, personal tasks, or anything else you need to get done. You can also prioritize your tasks and mark them as complete once you've finished them. Hello checkboxes!
Blank pages are great for taking notes, brainstorming, or jotting down ideas. You can create as many blank pages as you need and use them for anything you want. You can also add headings or subheadings to make it easier to find what you're looking for.
Remember, all of the pages you create are simply shapes and elements. Don't overthink it!
Customizing Your Digital Planner
One of the best things about creating a digital planner is the ability to customize it to your liking. You can choose from different colors, fonts, and layout options to make your planner unique and tailored to your needs.
Color is one of the most important aspects of any planner. You can choose from a wide range of colors to create a color scheme that you love. You can use bold colors to make important sections stand out or use pastel colors for a more subtle look. The choice is yours.
When it comes to customization options, the possibilities are endless. You can add different sections to your planner, such as a habit tracker, meal planner, or budget tracker. You can also choose from different page layouts, such as a daily, weekly, or monthly layout.
If you're not sure where to start, there are many digital planner templates available online that you can use as a starting point. These templates come in a variety of styles and layouts, so you're sure to find one that suits your needs. In our membership, The MDP Advantage, we offer fully hyperlinked digital planners, and we take requests from our members to create new templates based on what they need.
Marketing Your Digital Planner
Now that you've created your digital planner, it's time to market it to your target audience. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
Know Your Target Audience
Before you start marketing your digital planner, you need to know who your target audience is. Who are you creating this planner for? What are their pain points, and how can your planner help solve them? Once you have a clear understanding of your target audience, you can tailor your marketing efforts to reach them more effectively.
Utilize Social Media
Social media is a powerful tool for marketing your digital planner. You can use platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to reach a wider audience and promote your planner. Make sure to create eye-catching mockups and use relevant hashtags to increase visibility. You can also collaborate with influencers in your niche to reach a larger audience.
Another way to collaborate is to join a mastermind of like minded digital product creators, and network with them to help grow your audience. Once I joined the VIP Mastermind, it all just started to work.
Offer Freebies and Discounts
Offering freebies and discounts is a great way to entice potential customers to try out your digital planner. You can offer a free sample page or a discount code for first-time buyers. This will not only help you attract new customers but also encourage them to leave positive reviews and recommend your planner to others.
Leverage Email Marketing
Email marketing is another effective way to market your digital planner. You can create a newsletter or a series of emails that provide valuable content and promote your planner. Make sure to include a clear call-to-action and a link to your website where customers can purchase your planner. If you need help getting started in your email marketing journey, check out the Email Marketing Made Easy membership.
Need a Step-by-Step Guide?
If you're new to creating digital planners, you may need some guidance to get started. Make sure to grab the cheat sheets that we offered, and join our Facebook group if you need more assistance. We have lots of resources available to cover multiple platforms.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the best programs to create a digital planner?
There are many programs available to create digital planners. If you are a beginner I would recommend starting with Canva. It's an easy to use platform and can be a good resource when starting out. If you plan to create big planners to sell online, you should go ahead and invest in Adobe InDesign. It's the Cadillac of platforms for digital product creators.
How can I make a digital planner with tabs?
Tabs are easy to create, they are simply squares with text on them that is hyperlinked. These can go horizontal, vertical, or both on every page of your digital planner. The tabs are usually hyperlinked to an index page or to the calendar pages that you will use the most. It's very important to remember that every page needs to have tabs. Otherwise, you can end up on a page without tabs, and not be able to get back to where you want to go.
How can I make a digital planner with hyperlinks?
Typically, you will be using hyperlinks to link to pages within your planner. Depending on the platform you choose to use, the process can differ, but the base idea remains the same. You will need to select the element you want to hyperlink, and then select the page that you want to hyperlink to.
What formats do digital planners need to be in?
Digital planners can be in a variety of formats, including PDF, JPEG, PNG, and SVG. PDF is the most common format for digital planners because it is widely supported and can be easily viewed on most devices. Make sure that when you export the planner that you do not flatten the document. If you flatten it all of your links will not work.