How to use S memo

Samsung has put a bunch of proprietary software on the Galaxy S III (S3) and some apps, like S Memo are particularly useful.

There are lots of note-taking apps for Android.  Some of them sync with cloud servers like Google Drive and others sync with desktop note-organizing apps like Evernote.

Samsung has attempted to create a proprietary note-taking app that syncs with all these services, uploads to Dropbox and allows you to post your notes to your various social media networks. In short, S Memo tries to be all things to all users, and, surprisingly, it does a pretty good job. 

Getting started with S Memo

S Memo is installed, by default, as one of the four quick start icons on the lock screen. You can always adjust that – we teach you how to do that here.

You can start S Memo from the lock screen by swiping up on the icon.  You can also simply find the icon in your App drawer or on your Home screen and tap the icon to start the app.

S memo app on lock screen  S memo home screen

When you start the app, you will see a series of pre-made memos already on the phone. You can edit, delete, rename and use the preset memos in any way you want.  Most users will want to delete these and start with their own memos.

Deleting the pre-installed memos 

To delete the pre-installed memos, just:

  1. Touch and hold any of the memos you wish to delete
  2. Choose Delete from the menu
  3. Confirm the deletion 

Creating a new memo

To create a new memo using S memo you will tap one of the two buttons at the top right of the screen; either choose the Drawing icon to draw a memo or touch the “T” icon to start a text memo.

learn about panning and zooming  tutorial screen

Whichever you choose, you will be greeted initially with a pop-up tutorial window explaining either panning and zooming options or text input options. You can always click the “don’t show this again” window to not be bothered with the annoying pop-ups.

Create a drawing memo

Touch the Drawing icon to start a drawing memo. Along the top of the memo you will see the tool bar with icons for:

  • Choosing pen and color
  • Switch to typing mode
  • Erase
  • Undo the last action
  • Redo the last undo
  • Record a voice memo

blank drawing memo  choose pen color

To change the color of the pen, just touch and hold the Pen icon and choose a new color. You can then draw and write and create your memo. If you choose to write your memos with the drawing tool, consider looking into a good stylus, we have a bunch of them reviewed here.

Create a text memo

Touch the Text icon to start a text memo. Use the keyboard to type in whatever you want. When you are ready to save the memo, touch the Menu soft key on the Galaxy S3 and choose Save as.  Give the memo a title and save it. 

start a text memo  type a title for the memo

Adding voice memos

One of the nice features of S Memo is that you can easily add voice recordings to your memo. From the Edit memo screen, just touch the Microphone icon to record a Voice memo to embed into the memo. If you choose to email your memo or post it to a social media site later on, the voice recording will be part of the memo for people to listen to.

record voice memo  voice memo embedded

Handwriting to text

One of the very cool features of the S Memo app is the Handwriting to text function.  Essentially, you use the drawing note function and the Galaxy S3 will try to covert your handwriting to text.

I tried it in the example below; I made a grocery list in my usual poor handwriting. To use the Handwriting to text feature:

  1. While in edit mode, touch the Menu soft key on the Galaxy S3
  2. Choose Handwriting to text from the menu
  3. The screen will divide with the “first guess” of your memo at the top
  4. When I tried this, I had limited success – most likely due to my poor handwriting. The handwriting to text can be adjusted and retried, however so that you can get it just right.
  5. Drag the blue box in the bottom window over a particular section of text
  6. Touch the Handwriting-to-text icon
  7. Choose the input language
  8. The Galaxy S3 will try to re-convert the handwriting to text 

choose handwriting to text  adjust the handwriting to text box

I still had limited success with this feature and wound up feeling as though it were more of a novelty than a truly useful feature. After all, I can just select the Text memo icon and type out my memo in the first place.

Options from within a memo

From the Edit note screen, there are many options available to the user. To see all the options, just tap the Menu key.  Options include:

  • Rename
  • Share via Bluetooth, WiFi, Messaging, Flipboard, Google+,Dropbox, Twitter or any other service installed
  • Handwriting to text
  • Export as image or PDF
  • Sync to Google Docs, Evernote or with your Samsung account
  • Save as
  • Add picture
  • Add tag
  • Add as favorite
  • Change background to one of eight backgrounds
  • Link to Calendar
  • Lock
  • Set as contact icon or wallpaper
  • Print to a Samsung printer

menu options  menu options from main screen

From the main S Memo screen, you can also look at and adjust the app Settings.

  1. Tap the Menu key from the main S Memo screen
  2. Choose Settings

From the Settings you can:

  • Auto sync notes to  your Samsung account
  • Change your PIN
  • Adjust the Screen timeout in the Memo app
  • Auto hide the toolbar

settings menu

Deleting memos

After a while, you may find that you accumulate quite a few memos. Deleting memos can be handled in one of three ways:

Method 1

From the main screen of the S Memo app, tap the Menu key

  1. Select Delete
  2. Put a check mark in any memo you wish to delete or choose Select all
  3. Choose Done and the memo(s) will be deleted

select and delete

Method 2

  1. Touch and long press (touch and hold) any memo
  2. From the menu, choose Delete
  3. Confirm the delete on the next screen

hold and choose delete

Method 3

Make sure you are in Edit mode in any memo

  1. Touch the Trashcan icon
  2. Confirm the delete

delete from trashcan icon

All in all, S memo is a very versatile Memo app for your Galaxy S3. The fact that it can sync with Evernote or Google docs/Google drive makes it even more versatile as you can pick up your notes wherever you are from any device.

Toss in the ability to add images, tags and voice memos and for most users this will prove to be a very versatile way to keep track of your memos and cut down on those pesky post-it notes all over the desk.


Reader comments

How to use S Memo on the Galaxy S3


This is a very nice tutorial, thank you!

I got my GS III a few days ago and am still trying to figure out what those pre-installed software can do.

I am looking forward to a next tutorial, especially on the "Hub" software (Kies Air, Media Hub, Music Hub, etc.).

I still miss my HTC Notes and Task List widgets that enables you to add/edit/delete straight from the Home screen. There is not many in the market that allow the same.

I've been loving this app on my Galaxy Note.

The apps "Memo" and "Papyrus Beta" (both available in the Play Store) are also very good memo apps for those who don't have an SGS3 or SG Note.

Nice to see my New G-Note and the S3 are basically the same phone.. especially now that all our G-Note Rom's have face unlock, S-Voice, Flip to Mute..etc. Good to see the S3 has some of its brothers apps as well!

I use Note Everything and it works flawlessly on my GS2 Epic 4G Touch... Check it out if you haven't already seen it. Worth a look

Thank you for this nice tutorial, it helps me a lot.
Is there a way to move one memo to a folder ?
Thank you by advance
Best regards

Does anyone know of a way to import notes into S Memo? I can't believe it is impossible :(

I have sync'd to Google Drive, but it only syncs the one way, I can't get what I've UL'd to the drive onto the phone

This is fairly pathetic

Does anyone know how to recover lost notes in S Memo. They were all there last night this morning all were gone. Any ideas?

did you ever find a fix for this. I've been pretty successful using this app until recently and "mysteriously" I've deleted several messages.

Mine too! I've been googling all afternoon to find out what happened and where all my beloved memos went...I'm quite upset about it actually!

So, if I sync my notes to google docs, will those same notes sync back any edits I make to them in Google docs?

I have a Galaxy SIII that came with S Memo, and I wrote over one of the pre-made memos and wanted to get the pristine pre-made memo back. I actually liked it a lot. There doesn't seem to be a way - or is there?

Also, I found S Memo with the same icon available in the Google Store, but when I go to install it, it says I don't have a compatible device! Why wouldn't my GSIII be compatible?