Photo Credit Richard Fisher

Photo Credit – Richard Fisher

If you have done a diligent search for a quality journal app for your smartphone and tablet you may have been attacked by a flurry of features.




…and so on.

As great as these sound and as wonderful as it is to capture your life in such a variety of ways, I argue against using most multimedia features that digital journals offer these days. The exception?


If it isn’t clear already, I teach that you shouldn’t use these sort of bells and whistles because in the end you can’t print them (alright, maybe emoticons, but… whatever ūüôā )

Until the day where printed paper is as interactive and dynamic as screens are today, it is wise to limit your journal entries to text and pictures because in the end that is the only thing that your printer can handle. The Harry Potter type newspapers will hopefully prove me wrong in a decade or two, but until then we should prepare for someday printing our journals.

So all of that begs the question- why would you want to print your digital journal?

Haven’t you seen any zombie/Apocalypse¬†movies? The power isn’t ON¬†at the end of the world! Your PDF files will be of no use!

Photo Credit- Norio Nakayama

Photo Credit- Norio Nakayama


All joking aside, having a printed version of your already electronic journal is just an added measure of protection. Even though you should have a few redundant copies of the PDF (or .txt) versions of your journals, there is nothing to say that those files will be transferred correctly and in due time to your posterity upon your passing. There is also no¬†guarantee¬†that the file formats won’t change in the next few decades.

And not only is having a printed version another level of backup for your journals, there is a certain level of¬†nostalgia in having and holding a physical copy of your words. I’ve done this on a couple of occasions and¬†¬†it is wonderful. It would be very easy to pass down a printed copy (or multiple if you want to press the print button a couple of times) to your children or grandchildren when the time comes.

Again, this is just me (and remember that I am more on the capturing life side of journaling) but I think everyone should seriously consider eventually printing their journals out. Knowing that this will be part of your eventual exit strategy will change the way you approach your daily journaling because you will focus more on words and pictures and less on audio/visual and proprietary file formats.

Look for more information on the specifics of printing in future blog posts and podcast episodes, but until then you can always take your electronic files and get the printed out at places like, and

Have you ever considered printing out your journal?