The problem to be solved is the quick and efficient taking notes involving repetitive tasks. It’s writing Jim, but not as we know it! While I do have many different text editor applications choosing which one took some effort and testing.
It seems I have a thing about text applications.
Over the years, I have collected quite a few text editing applications. I like to have applications good for working with my words. I write a lot of words and it is important to be able to get those words out of my head and onto the digital page as efficiently as possible. The main application which is the small end of the word editing digital funnel is Scrivener. So anything I do will be destined to end up in Scrivener to be cajoled and moulded into something I can publish. The best way to collect the words to put into Scrivener is to use plain text editors. Not only do I have a preference for text. I also like to write using markdown. Markdown is a syntax which is readable and easily converted into HTML content. The other good thing about markdown is it is just plain text. You’re not tempted to fiddle about with settings of how the document looks. There is no need to mess with fonts and layouts, all you have to do is to concentrate and write the words.
Favourite text applications to use on the Mac
Byword is a favourite because it synchronises with my iOS devices without me having to think about it. My Good and geeky Writers Workflow starts off with me organising what I’m going to write in a mind map. My MindMap preference is for iThoughts X. This is also a good choice for me because of the synchronisation with my mind mapping on the iPad. I can use the sister application – iThoughts. Once I get started with the larger blocks of text then I’m going to be using DragonDictate. This makes sense because it’s a fact I can write my words so much faster by dictating. It is possible for me to dictate directly into Scrivener or Byword. I usually find it works better to dictate into the DragonDictate application itself. It is just a quick and easy copy and paste to get the words into whichever application is best for the next stage of the process. The next stage will be direct to Scrivener if it is for a book and into Byword and onto MarsEdit if I am making a blog post.
Favourite text applications for iOS
Once again Byword is going to be the choice for longer pieces of text. For words that need capturing rapidly and we are talking about short notes, the first choice application is going to be Drafts Text Editor. Drafts is brilliant because I have it set to always open up on a new ready to use document. I can put those words into the document and forget about them if I wish. If I don’t know what exactly I plan to do with those words when I’m capturing them Drafts gives me plenty of choices with automations. It allows me to send to Twitter and to Facebook and a variety of other places. I can start off with the short version and add more to it as I move through the various destinations for my words.
Taking notes on the iPad and iPhone
I do have a variety of other notetaking applications as I seem to have been collecting them over time. They are all quite varied in terms of the look of them and what they can do. Some of these applications are geared towards writers and others better suited for free-form note taking. So I have applications like Evernote, OneNote, Penultimate and MagicalPad. Great for collecting information and making notes to go alongside whatever I’ve collected. With some of these it is also possible to make little drawings either separate from or as annotations on the data collected.
Tagging helps you find and helps you learn
If you are a student or perhaps collecting note for a business project then it is good to have some sort of indexing system. If you are taking huge reams of notes then it is going to be helpful to be able to find nuggets of information when you need them later. With applications like Evernote and Simplenote, you can add tags to help you find your stuff at a later stage. It is a good thing also to have other services within the application such as the ability to underline or to highlight. For a student, this will help you retain information and get better results from your studying. There are also some applications which will give you various ways of looking at your work with outlining and also mind mapping. One such application would be MarginNote Pro. I’ve not had the need to dive into this application much, but I do have to say it looks incredibly impressive.
A new iOS text editor favourite – Editorial
This morning I was delving into various writing and note taking applications on my iOS devices to see which one would best suit a specific task. The task is to collect data while I’m working, about what I’m doing. The reason for this is so I can aid my terrible memory by having notes about tasks I need to complete and also those that I have completed. What I needed was something to give me checklist functionality first of all. Also important is the functionality to work quickly by expanding text into the document. I do have TextExpander for iOS and so my first thought was to look for applications with this built-in. There are plenty of apps of this sort to choose from. Create forms with a short text code, make a couple of choices within a form, which is then converted into text and pasted into a document. I did some experimenting with this and it worked okay.
Editorial provides the solution
I wasn’t able to find just what I was looking for in my usual app choices, so I opened up Editorial. Editorial will work with TextExpander, but in tests it wasn’t smooth enough in operation. When you have a complicated TextExpander snippet you bounce out of the application you are working in. There is a sheet for TextExpander, you do what you have to do and then it throws it back into the document. I went for Editorial because I decided I would prefer something a little bit more elegant in its workings. The application is well known for being good for geeks and if you know what you can do with it, you can add Python-based automation. I would not be that far advanced with my programming skills. Today however, what was most interesting was the template giving me access to a TaskPaper template. I can also make use of the built-in text expanding facilities – Snippets. Expanding snippets in Editorial worked seamlessly. TaskPaper is a syntax allowing you to quickly create lists with check boxes. All you have to do is to start the line of text with a dash followed by a space and it is automatically converted into a checkbox. I can put a check mark/tick in the box and the text gets a tag at the end of the line to say it has been done and is slightly greyed out. This turned out to be perfect for the task I had in mind. The app is available on my iPhone and so will always be available to me to use.
Editorial ticks all the boxes
After my experimentation with the application Editorial for editing text, I decided I had the solution to the problem. It was something I could have working on my iPhone with a short text code for throwing in the basics which included the tick boxes. The important thing is to have good notes and records, so when asked questions about the work later I’ll be able to give exact and detailed answers. I love it when technology provides a Good and Geeky solution.