Writing on iPad 2 - help me sync!
June 19, 2011 1:23 PM   Subscribe

I am a PC Windows/Word/Scrivener user with Dropbox and Google account; I want to write lengthy prose on the move (at cafes, hotels etc.) using my new WiFi iPad 2 with Apple keyboard and keep my text safely synced/compatible/accessible back at home. What apps, accounts do I need?

I'm concerned about accurate, raw text - formatting and fonts are not important. Also I'm after a pleasing but no-frills writing experience on the iPad. Googling has not given me what I need, and the word-processor apps available are not clear on their compatibility and back-up provisions. I need paragraphed text that can travel cleanly from home PC to iPad and back, and vice-versa, without email shenanigans, in file form.
posted by Hugobaron to Writing & Language (14 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Google Docs? Or does "in file form" mean you want local storage?
posted by caek at 1:39 PM on June 19, 2011

Best answer: Evernote will do this, works great for plain or formatted text across multiple platforms.
posted by cbrody at 1:48 PM on June 19, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: To clarify caek - I need to be able to save and work on the iPad when there is no wifi available, for later sync/upload/retrieve. I guess this is really an ipad application question - what can sync with Google/dropbox?. But the essential thing is that the "master" file can travel between devices and net when there is signal. Also what is a decent (better than notepad) writing app for iPad?

Just saw the Evernote post, cbrody. I'll check that out.
posted by Hugobaron at 1:50 PM on June 19, 2011

Response by poster: Evernote looks great for preserving text and sync and I will definitely get on board. What iPad apps are there with a pleasing, clean writing interface? That will let me save reliably and share (on Evernote, Google Docs)? I'm realising this is primarily a specific question for iPad 2 writers...
posted by Hugobaron at 2:01 PM on June 19, 2011

Best answer: Documents To Go is another option - works offline and can sync with Dropbox.
posted by cbrody at 2:02 PM on June 19, 2011

Best answer: Loads of ipad texteditors will do dropbox syncing.

For a simple environment for long form text I would recommend Elements: which is excellently designed and has a straightforward interface

Other good alternatives would be plaintext and Notesy.

In regards to evernote, its current ipad app is a bit of a mess at the moment imo: and is not very well designed. There is a long promised major update in the works though.

Beware with evernote that only a premium account will allow you to write "offline notebooks" which I think means that you need to be online to access your notes unless you are paying the $45.00 a year for a premium account. I may have misunderstood this, but it has always scared me away from the app in the past because, especially just for text notes that is significantly more than the few dollars most of the above apps cost.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 2:12 PM on June 19, 2011

Best answer: Lifehacker has discussed doing this using Simplenote. I use Simplenote on an iPhone and sync it with a desktop client on my Mac. That article mentions a client called Resophnotes for your Windows desktop. Put your Resophnotes folder into Dropbox and you've got secondary backup. Not sure, but I think you could also set Scrivener to point at the same set of files and you'll have a nice desktop editing environment.
posted by Happy Dave at 2:36 PM on June 19, 2011

Best answer: I came here to echo SimpleNote. You don't even have to deal with DropBox then, and SimpleNote and its apps are free.

(If you want to preserve italics, I recommend just taking a couple minutes to learn Markdown; it's supported by SN and Scrivener.)
posted by Nattie at 2:55 PM on June 19, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks people. I will check these out and get back. Great help for a clever but clueless newbie.
posted by Hugobaron at 2:56 PM on June 19, 2011

Oh, on some more Googling, apparently the latest version of Scrivener has both Dropbox and Simplenote sync built in.

Video tutorial here.
posted by Happy Dave at 3:33 PM on June 19, 2011

Writings is what I use. It is distraction free, syncs with dropbox and / or itunes.

Best one I've found.
posted by gonzo_ID at 4:02 PM on June 19, 2011

I used iA Writer + Dropbox for awhile, but am now using Pages, as iA Writer just wasn't cutting it for me. The problem with Pages is that it is a great mobile word processor (use it across iPad and iPhone), but it isn't great at syncing right now. I've taken to emailing myself updated drafts. If you don't require a crazy word processor, just a simple writing app, iA Writer is good at that and the syncing bit.
posted by itsacover at 7:21 PM on June 19, 2011

Best answer: SimpleNote
posted by Patbon at 8:12 PM on June 19, 2011

Response by poster: I think SimpleNote is the elegant, no-nonsense and cheap answer to my needs. Thanks guys.
posted by Hugobaron at 1:11 PM on June 20, 2011

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