There are hundreds and thousands of writers in the Envato community. In this short series of articles we’re exploring some excellent resources to help our writers be more productive.
Most of us do the lion’s share of our writing on a full-featured computer – either a laptop or a desktop. Last week we started the series by looking at some great desktop apps for authors.
But mobile devices play a growing role in our workflow. I use my iPad and even iPhone to capture ideas for articles, brainstorm content in an outline or mindmap, clip reference material from the Web, and even occasionally write complete articles.
So in this article we’ll roundup some great mobile software for writers from AppStorm. Which apps are you most productive with?
How to Turn Your iPad Into the Ultimate Writing Tool
Many consider the iPad to be a content-consumption device, with little to no possibility of creating something with the large screen and limited hardware capabilities. I’d like to say that, with all fairness, those people are out of their minds! The iPad makes it easy to do many things, and can replace laptops for a fair number of people.
Aside from the computer-illiterate, the iPad may be best for writers. How can you turn your iPad into the ultimate writing machine? Read on to find out.
Drafts for iPad: Write Anything
When it comes to note taking and writing apps, it seems like there are a million different options to choose from, all of them with their own little perks and quirks. One popular option for the iPhone was Drafts, a “simple,” yet very usable app that made it quick and easy to do whatever you wanted with your text. Unfortunately, it wasn’t available for the iPad. Not until now.
Today, Drafts for the iPad is brand new and it’s got a ton of new features. How good is it? Well I’m using it to write this very review right now, so let’s find out together after the jump.
Writing Movies on the iPad With Final Draft Writer
I’ve been writing screenplays for a couple of years now, and the biggest disappointment I had with my iPad was the fact that I could never find a great way to write screenplays with it. And it’s not that I’m too picky, it’s more like Hollywood is very particular about the script formats they will accept. I’ve tried just about every solution under the sun — there are at least seven different apps on my iPad that I attempted to write screenplays with — but until recently, there was no solution that simply worked the way it should have.
Go Live With Poster
I read a statistic once that said that WordPress powers over 22% of all new websites, worldwide. Wow. That’s a staggering amount of data, and yet the platform that many bloggers know and love is still going strong after years in the business. I’ve been using it on my personal site for years, and we use it here at AppStorm, too. It’s about as solid as you can get.
Problem is, the WordPress app for the iPad has historically not been very good, turning off quite a few users. But now, we have Poster, an app that promises to make the process of writing and publishing blog posts to your WordPress site much easier. Does it hold up, or is it just another flash in the pan? Let’s discover together.
9 Awesome Text Editing Apps
Writing on your iPad might not be the most productive solution for your ten-page essay, but you may come to a point where, through choice or necessity, you want to get some serious writing done.
Most might just opt for using Apple’s $10 Pages app as it seems like the perfect companion to an iPad but, whilst that’s a great solution, there are some awesome alternatives you might want to consider before diving into a purchase.
WriteRoom: Getting iPad Writing Right
The iPad is a great platform for consuming various kinds of media, from books and films, to news and games. But working on the iPad, and for me that mostly means writing, has been something less than a stellar experience.
Part of the reason is that I find the electronic keyboard is a clumsy input device for any serious writer used to a full-sized keyboard; with its readily available punctuation and cursor-movement keys. It can also be a multistep process to get work into and out of the iPad. Uploading and downloading files with iTunes File Sharing works fine, but it’s hardly seamless, and the various ways different apps implement alternative syncing protocols can present its own headaches. Any writing app for the iPad is either saddled with these platform-based limitations, or must find ways to work around them.
iA Writer & Byword: iPad Writing for Minimalists
Since the release of the first iPad in 2010, writers of all sorts – bloggers, journalists and journal-keepers alike – have been using Apple’s tablet to take their writing even further.
To that end, developers have been looking to create apps with the post-PC era writer specifically in mind; apps that put the emphasis on simplicity, productivity, and focus rather than seeing who has the longest feature list. Byword and iA Writer are among the best of these apps for the 21st-century writer; jump past the break to see how these two apps compare to one another!
Posts for iPad: Redefining Blogging on the Go
When I first purchased my new iPad, I hoped that it would finally drop the bane of having to carry my laptop around with me on long trips just so I could do a bit of writing, and although there is a great choice of writing apps available for the iPad, I found it difficult to find one that would allow me to post directly to my blog. Then Posts came along, and how I blogged on my iPad was changed forever.
Two Vital Reference Apps for Writers
The more I use it as a serious writing tool, the more impressed and more enamoured I am with my iPad. I’ve mostly used a few of the distraction-free writing apps that are around – iA Writer, Plaintext, Elements, and (my current favourite) Notesy. The truth is, though, that I am actually quite dedicated to writing by hand: there are not many things I prefer to sitting down with a notebook and a Palomino Blackwing pencil, and simply moving my hand from left to right across the page.
So this is not an article about writing on an iPad. It’s actually about writing with an iPad: about the iPad as a writer’s companion, and two apps I’ve found to be essential reference tools whilst writing.
How To Improve Your Typing Skills with TapTyping
When Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad in early 2010, many people thought it impossible that you’d be able to type accurately at any reasonable rate on a glass touch screen. After all, pundits still regularly mention the iPhone’s lack of buttons as a limitation, and that’s just a phone!
Surely no one would want a netbook-sized device without a physical keyboard! While you could always get a bluetooth keyboard or the keyboard dock, the hinderance to portability is a consequential downside.
So, is it actually possible to type fast and accurately on the iPad without an external keyboard? It turns out, you can definitely type fast and accurately on the iPad virtual keyboard. Keep reading to discover some tips to improve your typing, and find out more about TapTyping, an app that can help speed up your iPad typing.
Is an External Keyboard Really Worth It?
When Steve Jobs launched the iPhone in 2007, pundits thought he’d lost his mind launching a phone with just a touchscreen. Surely no one wanted to tap on glass all day! Then, the iPhone proved the pundits wrong, and even Blackberry launched a phone with an on-screen touch keyboard.
Last year, the iPad faced the same dilemma. People had come to accept typing on a touchscreen phone, but for a laptop-sized device, surely that wouldn’t cut it.
Then we got the iPad, and discovered that you could actually type quite fast on a full-sized touch screen. So much so, in fact, that many declared the iPad the perfect writing device!
So, is there still any need to get an external keyboard for your iPad? I’ve recently picked up an Apple Bluetooth Keyboard for mine, so keep reading to see what advantages a “real” keyboard brings to the iPad and whether it’s worth getting … or not.
Blogsy: Stylish, Social Blogging
Venting your frustration or publicising your praise on the internet has become a popular pastime for many people around the world. According to Nielsen’s BlogPulse, at the time of this writing, there are over 161 million public blogs on the internet – with over 62,000 created in just the past twenty-four hours.
That’s a huge number and I would guess that the quantity of iPad owners who are included in those figures are not a minority.
Since its original launch last year, the iPad, through its wide catalogue of applications, has moved from being seen as a purely consumption-based device to one that can be used to create original content. However, the lack of great blogging applications disappointed me, especially since the iPad is the primary tablet and is used as a mobile workstation by many.
The official WordPress application is okay, but it’s not amazing. And the alternatives aren’t that great either, even if they do come with a price tag. I don’t think it’s the iPad’s fault, I rather like the touch keyboard and have become used to it in my year of use. It’s just difficult to understand why I can’t create real, rich blog posts from my tablet…
Simplenote: Notes Made Easy
Ever since I can remember, the internet has given us the promise of a unified system where the documents, photos, and files we use on our home computer can be easily accessible from anywhere. I create a file on my home computer, and it magically appears on my home computer, my laptop, my iPad or any other device you can think of.
Dropbox and apps of its kin have delivered to a reasonable extent, but for me, as a budding todo list organiser, as a blogger, and as someone who enjoys writing, the process wasn’t nearly as smooth as I’d have liked it to be when it comes to writing.
Although there are a range of writing applications that can sync over Dropbox, I found them all lacking for one reason or another – the syncing sometimes wouldn’t work, the interfaces were cluttered or just poorly designed, and the whole experience was frankly quite frustrating.
After a long (Google) quest, I discovered a tool that looked to satisfy all of my needs quite wonderfully, and was beautiful and minimalistic to boot. Simplenote.
Writing Kit: Markdown Writing, Even Simpler
The iPad has inspired a whole generation of focused writing apps. The included Notes app is a nice way to jot down quick notes, while Pages gives you most of the features of Word or Pages on a Mac, right on your iPad. Then, apps like iA Writer: An Astonishingly Simple Way to Write | iPad.AppStorm and Simplenote give you a focused, distraction free environment to write in plain text.
There’s still two things that aren’t very convenient in most writing apps: researching info and writing formatted text or HTML. Writing Kit is a new app that excels at both of these. With an included browser and research pane, you can lookup the definition of a word or copy text from a website without having to switch back to a browser. You can also quickly write Markdown formatted text, then save it in a variety of formats or export as HTML. Let’s take a closer look at what it has to offer.
Proof Keeps Critiques Simple and Pretty
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but sometimes it takes nearly that many to critique a piece of artwork. In business, that usually means back-and-forth emails full of convoluted and misunderstood directives, which frustrate both the artist and the approver.
Proof not only demonstrates that “criticism can be pretty,” it proves that it can be simple. Its tap-and-type approach vividly displays feedback directly on the artwork. Afterward, insight can be condensed into a PDF and shared via e-mail.
Can Proof become the darling of designers, photographers, directors, developers and editors by saving time and streamlining comments? Let’s jump into it and find out.
100 Apps for Taking Notes on Your iPhone
Note-taking applications are some of the hottest items on the App Store. More and more these utilities make it easy to record data in a fast and convenient way and the fact that this information lives on our phones means that we can access it anytime we need it.
The 100 apps below will help you accomplish all your iPhone note-taking endeavors. Whether you want to collect random bits of information, remember something about a specific place or even record some thoughts about your favorite wine, we’ve got you covered. There’s even a section containing our favorite apps so you can get a good idea of where to start!
Distraction-Free Writing with WriteRoom
When you first get an iPhone, typing on a touchscreen feels very novel and new, but after a dozen or so text messages, the novelty wears off. Typing on the iphone can quickly become a frustrating experience, and until (if ever) the iPhone integrates an alternative typing system (like Swype for Android), we’re stuck trying to make the best of a bad situation.
The default writing environments, such as Notes or Mail, don’t make matters easier with their cluttered interfaces and small writing spaces. WriteRoom by Hog Bay Software is an attempt to make writing on your iphone into a less painful experience, adding features such as full screen writing and cloud sync. Read on to find out if WriteRoom can make writing on your iphone less of a chore!
50 Awesome Text Editors
Let’s face it, there are times when you need to access your files or get some writing done but you’re away from the computer and all you have is your iPhone. Fortunately, the number of text editing apps out there is growing at a rapid rate.
These can allow you to create, edit, save, sync and send your information, all on the fly. And the best part is, with so many different options out there, the odds are good you’ll be able to zero in on one that meets your needs. Click “more” to get started.
Simplenote: Beyond the Basics
I remember having a discussion with a fellow writer here at AppStorm about how we write and what tools we use. He kept talking about how great Simplenote was, and how amazing it was to have all of your documents on every device you use. I remember thinking, “Why would I ever want that?” Then I downloaded the app and found out.
Simplenote is, at its core, a note taking app. But don’t let that stop you from using it the way I do: as a full fledged text editor. Find out the deets after the jump.
TextExpander Touch: Your Mobile Writing Assistant
If you do a lot of typing on your iPhone, this review is for you. When creating content on your iPhone—whether it’s emails, blog posts, outlines, or something else—you want to get that creative idea out with the least amount of friction. TextExpander Touch is out to fill that niche exactly.
Read on to see why you should be using TextExpander Touch to speed up your iPhone writing sessions!
Wordy: The Logophile’s Primer Reference Dictionary
In the app store there are plenty of dictionaries to choose from. Some of these apps may cost a pretty penny, others are offered for free. But rarely do you find an app that has the functionality of a dictionary which backs up from multiple data sources.
Wordy is branded as “The Logophile’s Primer” for good reason. The app lets you browse through a large collection of dictionary definitions, synonyms and antonyms, and behaves as a powerful reference tool. And the best part is that it’s entirely free to download for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad users.
Get the Write Stuff with Help! For Writers
Got writer’s block? Want more power in your prose? Looking to spice up anemic assignments? The Poynter Institute’s Help! For Writers app summons your inner Shakespeare, thanks to the advice crafted by the school’s leading experts on writing.
Whether you write for your profession, for pleasure or both, coming to screeching halt when penning that next masterpiece can be crippling. Will this app help move things along and make you a better wordsmith in the process? Find out after the break.
Drafts: a Great Way to Capture and Share Ideas
Drafts from Agile Tortoise is one of the apps that, on first viewing, seems a little basic. There is no disguising the fact that it is a text editor, and not a particularly fully featured one either. Yet there is something about the app – I use it every day, several times a day.
So for all its basic feature list, Drafts occupies a space that is very useful to have occupied, even though it may not seem that way at first. The whole idea behind the app is that when you need to jot something down quickly, there really is “an app for that.” Drafts certainly isn’t the only app that allows you to do that of course, but it is one of the only ones that goes out its way to make that capture process as simple as possible. There are also some other surprising useful features lurking just below the surface.
10 Useful Apps for Blogging on the Go
Even blogging, an intensive activity originally done in the comfort of a workstation, has gone mobile. With the rise of smart phones and tablets, it’s easy to take our digital life with us wherever we go.
In this article, you’ll learn about some useful apps to maintain your blog using a mobile device (either phone or tablet). Why do I recommend them? Well, because this article was written using only my phone – with the help of these apps.
Classic Notes: Taking All-in-One to a New Level
Classic Notes, like its sister app Extensive Notes, is an app to do pretty much everything. The developer’s description of the app is much longer than would fit in the description — and, wow, there are so many features included in less than half a megabyte! There is so much to cover, so let’s get started…
AK Notepad: Simple Note-Taking on the Go
I find I often need to write something down quickly: a business idea, a quick to-do list, or something personal to remember later. Since I always have my smartphone with me, it makes sense to use that to keep notes, but unfortunately I find most note-taking apps frustrating to use compared to desktop or web apps.
AK Notepad is a good all-round app that suits my needs. It’s not exactly feature-rich, but it is versatile and simple to use. Here’s why I like it.
Easily Cite References for Your Essay With Cite This
In my years in college, the times I spent in the library were probably the most boring. The second most boring and frustrating times were spent writing research papers. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy writing, but research papers? Not usually. That’s why when I come across tools that make both my time in the library and my time doing research papers easier, I get excited.
Enter Cite This for Android. This handy little app makes formatting the citations for the books for researching very simple. Seriously, all you’ve got to do is create a project, add a reference, and scan a bar code. You can even choose which popular format you’ll need it exported into.
With collecting and citing references done this easily, see if you can imagine how else you can shorten your stint in the library. Maybe you can collect the citation information, find the pages in the book you want to reference, and grab pics of them with your phone for reading later in the dorm or at home. Either way, Cite This can make those citations easy (and slightly more fun).
15 Awesome Keyboards for Android
Android has thousands of brilliant apps for all sorts of different uses, from apps to find where you parked your car, to apps for your personal trainers. One set of apps that many people over look though, is possibly the most used application on their phone: their keyboard.
While many of the different keyboards are similar, an app used as much as this needs to be suited as much as possible to your typing style. Finding the best keyboard could save you a lot of time, as well as embarrassing errors in your text!