Drawing Tools

Table of Contents

Diagram Tool

With the diagram tool, you can use a continuous line to draw clean smart shapes and lines.


What is a Smart Shape?

When drawing with the diagraming tool, Paper can recognize certain shapes like triangles, squares and circles. Once recognized, you can pick them up, quickly fill them up with color, and even merge them together.

Here are the shapes that are recognized. If there is a shape drawn outside of the recognized shapes below, it will not become a “smart shape”.


Lines and Arrows

By drawing a connecting line from the edge of one shape to another, the diagram tool will allow you to add arrowheads to the ends of the line. A line drawn with the diagram tool can become an arrow by holding down the line for one second. Once the arrowheads appear, tap on one or both to add them to your line.

Fill Tool

The fill tool allows you to fill existing shapes with color, or to draw new shapes with color fills.

There are two modes:

  • Manual fill - draw a freeform fill shape. (For example, a venn diagram)
  • Smart fill - tap a shape to fill it


Cut Tool

The cut tool allows you to move parts of your drawing around the screen. As the photo is on a separate layer, the cut tool can’t be used to edit your photo.


Duplicate a Smart Shape

On a retina iOS devices, you can duplicate a smart shape by holding the idea with one finger and tapping elsewhere on the screen.


Draw Tool

The fountain pen draws from thick to thin based upon your movement.


Sketch Tool

The soft lead pencil blends from light to dark for sketching scenes, objects, and ideas in rough form.


Outline Tool

The marker behaves most like a highlighter. While it will highlight on the ink layer, it’s opaque on the photo layer.


Write Tool

The ink pen can be used to write messages and add captions on your ideas.


Color Tool

With the watercolor brush you can lay down a light wash or rich color.



There are a number of ways to undo your work in the ink layer of Paper.

1. You can undo or rewind a drawing by tapping on the back and forth buttons top-left of the tool tray. You can move back and forth through the stages of undo and decide where you want to resume working.

2. A double-tap with two fingers will produce a quick single rewind.

3. If you’ve used a previous version of Paper you can replicate the old rewind experience by tapping once with two fingers and then rewinding anywhere on the screen. You’ll find that the new rewind interface is more responsive than the old one.



To use zoom in Paper, make sure you are in the full-screen drawing view; then, place two fingers on the screen and spread them in a reverse-pinching gesture. You can pan around your idea by placing two fingers on the screen drag them across the surface. Pinch to exit zoom.

Zoom isn’t just about getting closer, it’s about having the tools to do detailed work. When you zoom in, your tools do too. Draw, Color, Erase, and Blend adjust their size to give you finer control over tiny areas without ever touching a slider.

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