Introducing Paper and Paste – tools for creating visual learning materials

In this week’s post we are going to look at two tools by FiftyThree; Paper an annotation and sketch tool and Paste a collaborative presentation tool. Both Paper and Paste can be useful in teaching and learning and for your own digital productivity.

Paper is a sketching app which allows you to take handwritten notes, create diagrams, graphs and storyboards, add annotations and, of course, sketch. You can organise your creations into various different notebooks for different themes or uses. These can then be kept within the app or exported as images or PDF documents. Paper comes with a large range of different pen tools as well as the option to cut, drag and drop, zoom, import layouts, graphs and images. Although these apps work independently from each other, anything you create in Paper can quickly be imported into one of your slide decks in Paste.

Paste is a collaborative presentation tool that allows you to quickly create sleek, uncluttered slides. Colleagues can work collaboratively to build a deck of slides, leaving comments and reactions on individual slides and even assigning various slides to individual team members. Paste integrates with lots of different external services, including YouTube, Google Apps, Instagram, Unsplash and Twitter, to allow you to import various types of media to enhance your presentation. When you first create your deck you are provided with a colour scheme to keep your slides uniform and as you add content the layout on your slide automatically adapts to include the new material. Your slides can then be presented from the web, shared with participants using a link or exported as a PDF.

Is it free?

Yes both Paper and Paste are free to use and give you the opportunity to upgrade your account to ‘Pro’ should you want to use the additional features this provides. Paper also has an additional Pencil stylus that you may choose to invest in should you find the app useful.

Will it work on my device?

Apps for Paper and Paste are currently available on both iPads and iPhones. Unfortunately they do not currently have apps for Android devices however Paste can be accessed via a web browser so can be used on any device with an internet connection.

Where can I get the app?

You can download the Paper and Paste mobile apps from the Apple App Store or access Paste via your web browser at

Ideas for using Paper in learning and teaching

  • Create a screencast of a model equation or model answer for students to watch before class or to aid revision
  • Suggest as a tool to students and staff to allow them to take digital, handwritten notes
  • Annotate an image or passage of text during teaching

Ideas for using Paste in learning and teaching

  • Create lecture and seminar presentations and enable link sharing to allow students to follow along on their own devices
  • Suggest as a tool for students to use when creating collaborative or individual presentations for formative or summative assessments
  • Create an in-class or pre-class activity in which students each update one slide of a collaborative deck, for example summarising the reading they have chosen

What are the alternatives?

Alternatives to Paper:

Alternatives to Paste:

  • Google Slides (free on Android, iOS & web)
  • Sway (free on iOS, web & Windows)
  • Prezi (free on Android, iOS & web)
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Posted in App review, Mobile learning

About our blog

We are the Educational Enhancement team at the University of Sussex. We publish posts each week on using technology to support teaching and learning. Read more about us.

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