Friday, April 26

Word Processing Apps For Writing On The Go

Word Processing Apps For Writing On The Go

Christopher Shultz, in his engagingly written and informative article, First Drafts in a Mobile Landscape: Five Word Processors for Tablets & Smartphones, walks us through the jungle of word processing apps.

What follows is Christopher's discussion of iA Writer, but he also discusses the merits and demerits of Notes, Texilus, Doc2 HD and Pages.


iA Writer

If you're intrigued by the no-frills, bare-bones writing experience Notes and similar apps offer, but require something with a little more finesse, check out iA Writer. When using an external Bluetooth keyboard, the interface becomes nothing more than a blank screen—naked, waiting for the scintillating touch of your words. It's pretty sexy. If you have to use the onscreen keyboard, iA Writer provides additional arrow and quotation mark keys along the top row for reduced flipping (normally, you have to hit that "?123" button in the corner to access those keys).

There's Dropbox integration, as well as the ability to link your iCloud account, thereby providing automatic syncing between devices. iA Writer is also universal, meaning you pay $0.99 once, and then you’re able to download it to any device you see fit. So if you're in a position where you can't work on your iPad—on the train, on the bus, or at a really boring work meeting, say—you can still chip away at your daily word count by using your iPhone or iPod Touch, and resume work on your iPad later.

Furthermore, Apple's handheld devices are also Bluetooth capable, so even if you don't own an iPad yet, or if your iPad is in the shop, you can still type like a champ. There's no iA Writer for Mac/PC at the moment, but saving your documents to Dropbox makes for pretty easy access, and since all files are saved in .txt format, you can pretty much open them in any text editor or word processor.

I’m totally in love with this app, particularly the iPhone version, as it gives me a clean, easy-on-the-eyes way of hammering out drafts while I'm out and about. One downside is the complete lack of font choice—you use the font they provide. It's a clean, Courier-like typeface, so it doesn't bother me, but those of you more attuned to Times New Roman or Baskerville may want to look elsewhere. That being said, for $0.99 you get a pretty powerful, intuitive, and convenient app. Can't really argue with that.

There appear to be several simple text editors for Android devices. Amoeba has the best user ratings on Amazon. It doesn't quite stack up to iA Writer in terms of features, but then again it's also free and offers more than one default font. There's also xWriter, a $2.99 app with pretty much the same features as Amoeba, and roughly the same positive ratings. Since I haven't tested either one, I couldn't make a recommendation either way. Try the free one, and if it doesn't work, take a chance with the three dollar app.

As far as Windows goes, I couldn't find a single text editor in their app store; Office seems to be the only option, at least for now.
To read more of Christopher's article, click here: First Drafts in a Mobile Landscape: Five Word Processors for Tablets & Smartphones.

What is your favorite word processing app for your mobile devises?

Other articles you might like:

- Dean Wesley Smith, Harlan Ellison, The Internet, and Writing A Book In 10 Days
- How To Create A Press Kit
- Walter Benjamin's Advice To Writers

Photo credit: "fairy tale" by paul bica by Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

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