Using Scrivener On The Mac And iPad Writing Apps

There probably will not be a Scrivener for iPad. Keith the developer has enough to do with keeping the app for the desktop the best it can be. What he has done though is, worked out ways for us to be able to do the important task of writing on the iPad, so that it will sync back to the Scrivener application. The writing and the grabbing of ideas out of the head to stuff them into the computer is what it is all about, isn’t it. We don’t need to have fancy word processing applications that are just about desktop publishers, in terms of features. We just need a space to put in the text easily and do a little bit of arranging so that we can do the real work back at base. So what are the best writing apps for iPad until there is a Scrivener iPad application for writers that want something for their specific iPad business use?

Which Are the Best Writing Apps For iPad

Here is a list of some writers applications that you can use to help with the writing process on the iPad. The app recommended by Scrivener is SimpleNote and I have to say I like it. It is simple, but does have the feature of a word count that is very handy. I also like NebulousNotes because I can write in Markdown easier and still get it into Scrivener easy by using the sync with folder technique. Syncing with folder works the best when you sync with your Dropbox folder. The I mention Edito, which is more markdown orientated and MindNodePro which is a mind mapping application that will output into OPML which is your outlining format. ThinkBook also gets a mention as being a super outliner even if it is a little quirky in operation. There is Pages for writing but it is totally over the top in terms features for a writer using Scrivener. It is more for the one off beautiful page or flyer rather than novel or article writing. Which do you think is the best writing app for iPad?

Hard to imagine that there would be so many note taking applications available for your iPad. There is more than just taking notes when you’re thinking about using a note-taking application. You can also do notes for audio, video, you have photos, bookmarks and diagrams, and you can even do illustrations. You have to consider the look and feel of how the application actually does the job with the writer organisation and tagging for example. You have some simple note taking applications that just give you the basics and input of text. Notes takers like Simplenote, Notes or PlainText just give you the basics. More or less just the writing of a title and writing the rest of it in the plainest of text.

Also you will find writers applications like Notarize or even more so NebulousNotes in which you can put a whole lot more than just text. You can have all your notes alongside your text. When you use Evernote it might be that you won’t need anything else because you can do clipping of text, include audio and pictures and you have the excellent synchronisation, so that you can have your writing everywhere you have Evernote installed.


Byword is a favourite of mine for longer pieces of writing on the iPad. What is so good is the iCloud synchronisation. I know that I will have whatever I have written ready to put into Scrivener when I get back home to the iMac.

If you are using Scrivener on your Mac or even on Windows, is good to have an application that you can synchronise with Scrivener. SimpleNote is one of those applications although if you synchronise a folder you can you use something like NebulousNnotes which has a better keyboard for writers. For writing on the iPad I’d like to have the application which supports the use of TextExpander. TextExpander will expand snippets of text for you so that you can do less typing. It does save a huge amount of time. Simple note has a couple of nice little tricks. One of them is where you click on a icon of a clock and you have access to backups of your notes. It is easy to publish one of your notes to a web page and then you can send your link to wherever you wish. What would be good is if we had a Scrivener for iPad.

With *SimpleNote you can use tags that lets you share notes with others. If you hit the ‘i’ info button, you’ll get more information about your writing, including a word count and the number of characters. That can be very useful when you’re working towards a target for a minimum number of words for example.

The Fabulous NebulousNotes

For some time now, my favourite writing application for the iPad has been NebulousNotes. it does just about all I want to do for me, when I’m writing. It is easy to use and it has access to Dropbox. I’m able to use textexpander and it also has an extra row off keys The extra row of keys allows you to have programmable of text or characters which is very good if you’re writing markdown, which I do quite often now. Nebulous also has four different themes for changing they look of the app when you are using it.

Notarize the note taker

Notarize is not so much a writers application more of and app for taking notes in meetings or lectures. You can do highlighting, use an eraser as well as use all your notes. You can share documents as PDFs. And you can export the audio through the document folder and get it into iTunes. It also allows you to write hand written notes and because of this they have a 15% discount deal with the stylus Pogo sketch which allows you to do writing better on your iPad.

Weirdo Edito

Edito for iPad is an editor that is optimised for if you want to write your text in Markdown format. it doesn’t do some of the other features that you find in other writers applications for the iPad but is a very useful application all the same. It also has the extra row of keys and this gives you access to the characters you need to write Markdown, like the star or asterix symbol, square and round brackets. Edito gives us a good way to write simple webpages. There are CSS files that show you your document formatted in a few different ways. Edito lets you export your text – either as plain text markdown text or as converted to HTML. It is still one of the useful iPad writing apps for writers.

ThinkBook is a Oddity

ThinkBook is a new application for the iPad. It does have a strange interface and it does come with other features you wouldn’t expect, such as a to-do list and questions that you can check and answer. It certainly will completely baffle you when you start to use it. I think though it is probably worth taking the time to learn exactly what ThinkBook does. It does connect with your Dropbox account, which has to be the best way to [move or copy files to iPad].

Thinkbook is very good if you want to use it as a outliner you can move things around within the outline of the notes and reorganise text really very easily. You can actually use ThinkBook as a get things done type of application as you can combine checkboxes questions, and you can also have dashboards, projects, pages and notes. ThinkBook as an outliner is a different way of working and could be just thing that you are looking for.

Non Linear Thinking And Writing

MindNodePro is a application which allows you to get your ideas out of your head and into your computer in the disorganised way that suits most brains. It is a mind mapping application which is a really good way to get your ideas formed in such a way as you can organise your writing and develop further. A very good writers tool.

While MindNode Pro is a very good tool, the one I have settled on since writing this post initially is iThoughts. I talk about this in my book The Good and Geeky Writers Workflow. At the bottom of this post you will see an invitation to subscribe to the Good and Geeky Books newsletter to get 20% discount off Scrivener. Join the party and I’ll give you the book for free too.

Pages The Word Processor From Apple

in fact Pages is much more than a word processor. Its more of a desktop publishing application, you have a number of templates that allow you to create report cards, posters, flyers and newsletters. You can easily add pictures into your documents and it does some text wrapping to flow text around those images. There is a media browser for adding your photos and videos and Pages is more of a finishing off tool than a writers tool. Depending on the type of writing that you do Pages could be just what you’re looking for if you’re requiring really good beautiful pages and if you want to have pictures and videos in there. You can copy documents to your MobileMe iDisk or to a WebdDAV service, you can also use iTunes file sharing.

Recommendations for using Writing tools on the iPad – Writing Apps For iPad

After you have got set up with Scrivener for writers on your desktop machine and you have a DropBox account. In your first projects set up one that is to sync with a DropBox folder and set up one that is set for syncing with SimpleNote and see which you like the best. Test using ThinkBook and MindNodePro for doing outlining on the iPad and getting those documents into Scrivener. You will soon have a good writers workflow using iPad writing apps that will allow your creativity to flow out of your head and into some finished works. I doubt if Scrivener for iPad as an application will be necessary.

21 thoughts on “Using Scrivener On The Mac And iPad Writing Apps

  1. Geoff says:

    Have you tried PlainText? I like it better than Simple Note for prose (as opposed to note taking). It is DropBox enabled. IA Writer is another app I’ve seen recommended with some frequency.

  2. Erik says:

    Thank you for a cool post. I can’t however find Notarize in the app store?


  3. admin says:

    I just looked and it seems it is only available in the USA App store at the moment.

    Best thing to do would be to contact the developer Robert Stretch to find out what is going on???

  4. Chris says:

    In April, I actually wrote to the folks at Literature & Latte about the possibility of an iPad app in the future. According to the reply:

    “We are working on an iPad app, but with everything else going on at the moment (Scrivener 2 evolution and Scrivener for Windows beta), it could be some time before we get anything to market.”

    So sadly, it looks like it might be a while but there is hope for the future. On the other hand, the added sync features that have been built into recent revisions are an adequate substitute (right now I’m hooked on the Scrivener/Simplenote combo).

  5. Rory Hunter says:

    I use Elements, which is a Dropbox editor for the iPod or iPad, and the “Sync with external folder…” feature in Scrivener. Works great for me.

Comments are closed.