The Advantages of Using an Electronic Diary

By Keith Evans

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Users of electronic diary applications, a form of personal information management system that allows users to record notes and ideas in a digital format, enjoy a number of advantages over older, written diary formats. These changes, which can range from keeping data very secure to making it highly public, can expand help electronic diaries more tightly integrate into the user’s life.


Electronic diaries provide users a new level of security not available in physical diaries written on paper, according to a report from the University of Surrey. While individuals who keep notes in a physical, written format must hide or lock away the diary if they wish to maintain security, electronic diary users can employ a number of electronic security systems. Very basic users with a low need for security can use a simple password system to prevent unauthorized persons from viewing the diary, but diaries that contain highly sensitive information may employ advanced encryption techniques to protect private data. Some users may couple these electronic security measures with traditional physical security by storing the electronic diary files on removable media, like a flash drive, and securing that media using physical measures.


While some users value the numerous security options available in electronic diaries, others prefer to share their diary entries with coworkers, family, friends or even the public. According to the same report from the University of Surrey, users with a need to socialize their diary content can do so using a number of communication channels. Depending on the specific diary application, users may link their diary entries with other users of the same software; some applications interface with social networking sites, a feature that allows users to quickly and easily share their diary data with their online friends. In addition, some users may, according to the University of Surrey report, adapt online web logs, known as blogs, for use as a diary; the public nature of blogs allows users to instantly publish entries to very large audiences.

Reminders and Scheduling

Users who employ their electronic diaries to keep track of events, a feature common in Personal Information Management (PIM) applications, can use the application’s reminder feature to remember upcoming items. According to documentation from PIM software vendor Acute Software, some electronic diary software makes adding reminders as easy as clicking a “Remind Me” button when making a diary entry. As the associated event approaches, the electronic diary can sound an audible alarm, pop up a visual reminder, notify the user by email and even send a text message to the user’s mobile phone.

Edits and Tracking

According to both the University of Surrey and Acute Software, one primary benefit of electronic diaries allows users to go back and change information, update entries or make additional notes at a later time. While users of physical diaries must rely on notes in the margin, erasers or correction fluid to make changes, electronic diaries allow users to quickly and easily apply changes with just a few key clicks. If the user prefers, the electronic diary can also apply a digital time stamp to indicate both when the original entry appeared and when the user made any subsequent changes.