gDoc Binder review

For all its strengths, many people find Microsoft’s OneNote over-complicated: it’s taxonomy of Notebooks, Sections and Pages can leave newcomers bewildered. There’s no danger of that with gDoc Binder, which brings an almost Apple-like level of skeuomorphic design to note-taking applications.

The software is presented as a virtual ring binder, in which it’s stupidly easy to collate the various documents from a project, such as a contract pitch or a house move. Word documents, spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, PDFs and images can be dragged and dropped into the folder, and then flicked through like sheets of paper.

Items can be filed under different tabs, and reordered at will, with the software automatically creating a detailed table of contents that’s automatically updated when documents or tabs are shuffled around.

Copies of web pages can also be saved into binders, simply by entering the URL, from which an offline copy of the page is stored. Irritatingly, emails can’t be dragged and dropped into gDoc Binder, although it does include a basic text editor – which looks like a re-skinned version of Windows’ WordPad – into which the text of emails can be pasted. Alternatively, you can drag an email to the desktop first, and then drag it into gDoc Binder.

gDoc Binder

For all its simplicity, gDoc Binder is held back by a few fundamental flaws. Performance is laboured: the animated flicking from one page to the next was juddery on our test 1.7GHz Core i5 laptop with 4GB of RAM; importing a ten-slide presentation dragged the PC to its knees and took more than two minutes.

The orientation of binders is also fixed, meaning landscape images or presentations filed inside a portrait binder are rotated by 90 degrees (although they are returned to the correct orientation when you click into View Mode to zoom in on that individual document). The lack of autosave is also disappointing.

While the initial price of $10 (around £6.50) seems like a bona fide bargain, that only buys you ten virtual binders: each additional set of ten costs another $10, which grates slightly given there’s no incremental cost to the company. What’s more, deleting unwanted folders doesn’t return a binder to your allocation – each new binder created cuts your quota by one. You can manually delete the contents of unused binders and start from scratch, but that’s a faff.

As a simple, low-maintenance means of organising notes and documents, gDoc Binder has plenty going for it – but there are too many kinks to iron out before it can earn our full recommendation.


Software subcategoryUtilities

Operating system support

Operating system Windows Vista supported?no
Operating system Windows XP supported?no
Operating system Linux supported?no
Operating system Mac OS X supported?no
Other operating system supportWindows 7, Windows 8

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