Linking Scrivener Mac to Scrivener for iPad

scrivener for iPadI used to think that there would not be a Scrivener for iPad, but I think that with some of the changes in OSX Lion, the developer of Scrivener for Mac might put some extra effort into doing a version of Scrivener for the iPad. The only trouble is with iOS applications when compared to their brother application on the Mac, is that usually one or two features have to be left out. As we have seen with the different versions between the iWork for iOS and the iWork applications for the Mac, the iPad version is somewhat slimmed down in terms of functionality.

Is a Scrivener for iPad absolutely necessary?

The big part of the job that we do as writers, is to get those words out of our head and onto the page. Some writers and authors prefer to use pen and paper, perhaps having a favourite notepad like one of those moleskine fancy pads to write in. While on the other hand there will be writers that will insist on carrying a small notebook computer around with them wherever they go. A MacBook Air would be perfect for this. When you think about it, the first instance of the job of writing is only ever going to be a draft. There is a huge journey in between writing those first scribbled ideas into whichever is your first stop for the words, until you get to the finished manuscript. There are some writers that are not happy with the manuscript of a book unless it has been rewritten maybe four or five times since it was first envisioned. So taking into account this notion of how we do the work, then all we really need from the iPad, which is more the notepad for first ideas than is a device for sharpening up the text into a full manuscript, are applications that allow us to write raw text. There are a huge number of text applications for writers using the iPad and it is also really easy to move that text from these note taking apps into Scrivener. So you have to wonder why there are people clamouring for a Scrivener iPad application.

Using Scrivener with the iPad

Linking your writing on the iPad to Scrivener on the Mac

There are three main ways to link your work in Scrivener to your iPad apps. The developer has put in place these ways that are easy to set up then there is another way that could be done if those three don’t suit you. That fourth way would be to do your writing on the iPad in whichever application suits you best and then export it out by whatever means available. Most applications will allow you to send text out as an e-mail, so you could e-mail the text to yourself. Or it could be an application that allows you to export the text out to a Dropbox or GoodReader document. I have also seen a number of applications that will let you create a connection over Wi-Fi, all you have to do is to go to your Mac Finder application and connect to that ad hoc Wi-Fi connection and you have your text moved. Whichever way you use will probably come down to the way of least resistance, like water, you will use whichever is the easiest path.

The three main ways that are set up for us by the developer are:-

  1. Index cards – Each scene would be written on an index card. This is based upon an old tried and tested way of working. It is done this way so that scenes can be physically moved around easily and be reorganised. You have this corkboard metaphor within Scrivener and there is an application for the iPad called Index Card, which will work in a similar way. Scrivener has a method in place which you can learn about in the Scrivener manual if you want to set this up.
  2. SimpleNote – A very handy text editor for the iPad which also has a service which will synchronise your text files from your iPad to the cloud. You can also synchronise from the cloud to Scrivener. This synchronisation is a two-way sort of affair, so wherever you are working on your text you can have all your words that you are working on where ever you are. Not only is there information in the Scrivener manual on how to set this up, but there are also videos available on YouTube to show you how to do this.
  3. Folder synchronisation – you may set Scrivener on your Mac so that your work is synchronised to a folder. When you are working in Scrivener you don’t work in one big lump of text, you break it up into chapters and into scenes. This organisation of your work can be automatically broken up in the same way into text documents into a folder. If you use a folder that is in Dropbox, you can access these text documents from whichever iPad app, your iPad Scrivener app. I personally like to use Nebulous Notes but you could use other ones such as Notarize, Notes, PlainText, ThinkBook or any one of a plethora of other text apps for the iPad.

Evernote for iPad with Scrivener for iPad

Evernote is a service that you can use to synchronise text, although you can also use it to synchronise other types of information. What you could do, is to create a notebook within Evernote that was specifically for your writing project and use that for sending text to and from Scrivener. Even if you are not planning to use Evernote for Scrivener iPad synchronisation, then I’m sure you will find Evernote to be a very useful tool on the iPad anyway.

Here is the Good and Geeky Writers Workflow Book for free download.


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