Writing App that Syncs
February 18, 2012 4:33 PM   Subscribe

Recommendations for a clean, simple, functional writing app that will sync documents between a desktop Mac, ipad, and iphone/ipod touch.

I've been looking at WriteRoom and Celtx, but was wondering if there are any apps that anybody loves for writing between on all three devices. The text is a book that I'm writing which will contain italics and bold, so it can't be completely barebones.

Because it's not a personal or classified document, the use of dropbox is okay.

I don't want something overly complex or cluttered.

Any recommendations? What apps are great for writing?

posted by The ____ of Justice to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
If you use Mail on OS X, Notes on iOS syncs via iCloud with Mail. Notes works with photos and probably anything you can copy & paste.

Otherwise, you could go with PlainText (link) that syncs normal plain text documents with Dropbox while also letting you edit them. I've had problems opening some of the documents on the PlainText app if they weren't created on the app, though.
posted by wei at 5:21 PM on February 18, 2012

You could use Apple's Pages all around. So that's one option.

If you are willing to use Markdown for styling and Dropbox for syncing, you have a whole mess of options. I use NValt on my Mac. Although I use it with Simplenote on my iPhone, I've looked hard at Writeup, which has Markdown support. The nice thing about this setup is that you can experiment.

The workflow of getting Markdown into a form that you can use it in a word processor or page-layout software might be a little hairy, and would probably be something like export to HTML>import to Word>import to Indesign. So you wouldn't want to do it more than you had to.
posted by adamrice at 6:18 PM on February 18, 2012

This review by John Chandler might have something that fits the bill.
posted by ajr at 6:20 PM on February 18, 2012

I'd suggest Markdown and Dropbox too.

I've heard great things about IA Writer, but haven't tried it personally. There is a Mac app, and an iPad app. iPhone app is forthcoming, so you'd have to use one of the many Dropbox text apps for iPhone in the meantime (I hear Notesy is great).
posted by backwards guitar at 8:31 PM on February 18, 2012

Notational Velocity is probably my favourite Mac app ever. It's ultra simple and minimalist, you can control it only using the keyboard, and you can sync it with dropbox or simplenote. The box where you enter in title for the note also searches all your other notes, so it works really well with large amounts of notes.

There's also NValt which is a fork of Notational Velocity with some slight changes, such as markdown support and the option for (imo) a nicer looking interface.

I write basically everything in NValt, invoking it quickly with a keyboard shortcut, and it syncs all my notes to dropbox instantly. I haven't found a notes app on the iPhone yet which syncs with dropbox that I really like though, but they do exist.

I have IA Writer as well and I do like the interface and font, but NValt just works so damn well.
posted by blaisedell at 2:53 AM on February 19, 2012

Do you know or want to use Markdown? Unless I'm mistaken, Plaintext, Simplenote, and IAWriter all do plaintext only - no bold or italic. Notational Velocity syncs with Simplenote so I imagine it's plaintext as well. iCloud on Mac requires Lion, but if you have Lion, Pages would seem to be a good option. Evernote allows bold, italic, bulleted lists, some other formatting, but iOS interferes with formatting by always offering its own pop-up menu when you select text. Its kind of annoying. Also, you'd have to export documents to HTML.
posted by dmo at 4:46 AM on February 19, 2012

Most of the Dropbox syncing text editors seem to support Markdown, including IA Writer. I love Markdown, and the syntax is pretty simple. Surround text in asterisks for *emphasis* and two asterisks for **strong/bold**.

The main advantage is that the files are in plain text, so I should be able to view them on any computer without difficulty, even fifty years from now.
posted by backwards guitar at 6:01 AM on February 19, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for the great suggestions guys, as well as tip about Markdown. I'll be checking them out this week.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 2:30 AM on February 21, 2012

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