10 iPad apps for the writer

10 iPad apps for the writer

Summary: Contrary to popular belief tablets can be quite capable tools for writers. Whether used with an external keyboard or by tapping on the onscreen keys, with the right apps the writer can work when the muse dictates with the iPad using these 10 apps.

TOPICS: iPad, Apps, Mobility

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  • Storyist

    This app is a tool for serious writers, designed to handle complex novels and screenplays. In addition to  an editor designed to handle large writing projects, Storyist handles all facets of the project to keep the author on top of the action.

    There is also a Mac version that syncs with the iPad app.


  • Tapose

    This app is a graphical notebook for the most artistic projects. Information can be typed anywhere on the two pages displayed at all time, or scribbled by finger/pen can be done.

    The Tapose interface is one of the best for touch on the iPad or any tablet.


  • TouchDocs

    Google Docs is a good cloud service for working with documents including presentations and spreadsheets, and TouchDocs is a wonderful way to do that.

    The iPad interface of TouchDocs facilitates finding the document needed in even big archives, and the editor is a joy to use.


Topics: iPad, Apps, Mobility

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  • Right tools for the write job.

    Oh come on, if you're a writer, you want a decent keyboard.

    If not, you're making life difficult for yourself.

    Only an idiot would do that.

    Yes, tablets are nice, but lets not try and shoehorn them into uses that they are not designed to do.
  • Absolutely

    Try writing a 10K word essay for publication on a tablet - with footnotes, references etc.! Just won't work. Maybe the Surface would go some way to alleviate that, but I am not holding my breath. Yeah, sure, if you want to scribble down a few points or compose a paragraph or so, these apps work (I use Evernote on Android myself), but I know the limitations. Seriously, serious writing cannot be done on tablets...yet...though who knows what the future holds!
  • If You Need An External Keyboard ...

    ... doesn't that defeat the purpose of a tablet?
    • Keyboards are not the work of the devil...

      I don't get this thought process. Just because you have a tablet means you must never use it with a keyboard? What exactly is the 'purpose' of a tablet? Is it something that would never, ever, benefit from the occasional use of an external keyboard?

      In fact, wouldn't a (powerful) tablet plus portable keyboard be the best of both worlds?
      • Times & places for portable keyboards

        @CrystalSoldier - I have written a 20k word shortstory on my ipad using both the onboard screen and portable keyboard in the Pages app, so it's doable.

        As for the purpose of having a portable keyboard, no it does not defeat the purpose. If I want to show someone somethin on the iPad all I have to do is lift the iPad off the keyboard dock and move around, then when I'm done, I just put it back on the dock and go back to typing. Simple.
    • Not necessarily

      There are times and places for a tablet with a keyboard. I find my tablet great for Church, where I want to take notes, but rarely use it elsewhere. I like having the flexibility. I used to use a HP TouchSmart laptop for this purpose, so I'm not opposed to using an ultrabook instead - but I happen to own a Galaxy Tab 10.1, so I use what I have.
  • Hunt and Peck

    I'm an aspiring writer and always find myself one step behind the rest in terms of technology. I was the last of my peers to get a PC, the last to get a new cell phone, and STILL don't have a tablet. A keyboard is essential for me, and although I have it down to an art, I still type using the hunt-and-peck method. I guess I have a hard time grasping the concept of writing thousands and thousands of words using a touch screen which is little more than an enlarged cell phone.
    James Keenan
  • Android??

    I don't do Apple. Any suggestions for Andriod?
    • Good question

      I only know of Evernote but then again I have not looked hard enough. Did try some of the Office suites - terrible. And, anyways, Evernote (while very good for what it is meant to do) is not enough for serious writing.
      • Android apps

        Well quite a few of these are simply access to the web, which you can do with Android.
        Wikipedia has an official app for Android which lets you save for later. There are wordprocessors and note-takers on Android, I use MindJet on both Android and Windows laptop for mind mapping, and of course Evernote is always there.
        The advantage of a laptop is voice recognition - forget the keyboard, just dictate and make the few corrections that need making. So far tablets and phones only support short commands by voice, which have to be uploaded to the internet for processing.
        When a proper pen-based laptop comes out (similar to the early Windows tablets, but able to handle voice too) then I can think about making the switch. Of course, that might mean waiting until Windows surface - did I say Windows? Wash my mouth out!
    • ideas?

      Toshiba Thrive! Asus!
      Thrive is the best with all it offers and can do!
  • Geez

    I go to a cafe near me and I see people simply sticking their iPad into a slim keyboard dock, usually one that's part of the iPad case. People were doing this sort of thing way back in the PDA era, and these new tablets are far more practical for that.

    That said, the word processing packages are still hit or miss depending on what exactly are you trying to do, and the only desktop level word processing package out there for a tablet seems to be SoftMaker Office for Android, but it's still in beta and only for Android. On the iPad side things like Documents to Go and Cloudon seem promising, though, while some think Pages is good enough.
  • It's about having a range of tools...

    When it comes to tools every writer can be as different as their individual voice. There are still people out there who write novels in longhand on legal pads. That's their thing and it's no less valid than using a tablet or a laptop. Writing can be a desperately lonely and frustrating activity. You do whatever works and use whatever tools you need at that time to foster your creative spark and encourage productivity.

    I use my iPad for writing much more now. I pair it with a full-sized Logitech wireless keyboard, that has a case that becomes an easel for the tablet. I also have a stylus. On the iPad, I have CloudOn for word processing. Celtx for screenwriting. Also, who says a writer is only writing when they are typing? Dragon Dictation is a great way to get ideas down quickly for import to formal word processing later. I like the fact that all of my influences can be kept at hand - photos, news items, drawing, etc. - for quick references and inspiration. I am regularly finding new uses for tablet in my process. Cool stuff.
  • Is there something about the iPad

    that makes it a better choice for a writer than an Asus Transformer Infinity with the keyboard dock? That combo, 32gb model of course, would set you back 650$ and tax. That's slightly cheaper than a comparable combination with the iPad, and in theory better battery life.

    I say in theory because I haven't used a Transformer of any variety.
    Michael Alan Goff
    • The software..

      I have a Galaxy Note 10.1 and an iPad 3. I like them both, but truthfully when it comes to tablet productivity Apps, Android isn't even in the same league. The amount of GOOD, Tablet only iPads for practically any writing job I would need is mind blowing. Even Scrivener is headed to the iPad.

      I use the Galaxy Note 10.1 for editing PDF's with the pen, but all my writing is done on the iPad.
      • Edit Correction

        **GOOD, Tablet only iPads for practically ** iPads should be Apps. They really need an edit button!
  • Capable but expensive

    I have no doubt that an iPad can be used effectively as a writing tool. And I'm already using Evernote regularly on my Droid. But when you consider the costs involved in buying an iPad, accessories and (presumably a word processor app), is there really any benefit to be found in using an iPad like a netbook over actually using a netbook?

    I have a netbook I purchased several years back. It dual boots Windows XP and Linux. In both operating systems I have LibreOffice installed - a free and capable office suite. Total cost was around $300, and I don't have to buy proprietary adapters or peripherals (OK, I did buy an external keyboard after I accidentally spilled coffee on it and messed up some keys - but that's another story).

    Bottom line: If your main purpose in buying a device is to write, there are more economical ways to do it and still have the portability you need.
    Some Geeky Guy
  • Purchase advice versus usage tips

    Slates were never designed as writing tools - that's why they don't come with keyboards attached. Those folks that tote a keyboard around with their slate are not only wasting good money, but are ignorant towards what a device such as a netbook was meant to be used for. As for the apps mentioned, a lot of what you're paying for to do here can already be done for free on a PC.

    There are better ways to get the job done... and cheaper!

    You know James, for every one tip you mention in favor of slates, I could throw out ten arguing against it. It's not because I'm a netbook fan, I'm simply being objective. I know how to use the right tool for the job because I understand the capabilities of the hardware and software at my disposal - a skill that many consumers lack.
  • Seriously...

    How many writers want to use a 10" screen to write with? Why not use an ultra-book for the same price and get a larger screen with keyboard built in?

    Writing a small blog does not equate to writing a novel no matter how much of an apple fanatic one might be.
  • UX Write ($14.99 App) and old AlphaSmart

    UX Write is out as version 1.01 with external keyboard support for iPad and is more sophisticated than most. But I am surprised at the number of writers who used a 1990's surplus "AlphaSmart" to just write with and then copy the text over to something else for formating. These are usually $30 used and all from schools, dumped once laptops got cheap enough.