iPad as Writing Tool, Part 2

I wrote once before about how I use my iPad as a tool to aid my writing. If the subject interests you, you can find that earlier post here.

Last time I covered this subject, I was using the iPad as a supporting tool for note-making and information-gathering, but not really writing anything on it longer than an outline or synopsis. At that time I was using Evernote for almost everything, and that’s still true. The reason for this is that Evernote, while not a word processor or even really a text editor, is great at organizing, sorting and tagging small bits of text. Also with versions for iPad/iPhone, for Mac OS and for Windows, it covered pretty much all my technology bases. Now I’m using a Droid phone and there’s an Evernote version for Droid, as well. So with this free account, I can create notes (including photo or audio notes), or edit, tag/sort, or delete existing notes, wherever I am.

If you’re a writer type, you may be saying “That sucks, give me a word processor,” and I hear what you’re saying. But while Apple Pages is a decent enough word processor in some ways, and only $9.99, it lacks the ability to easily get your work on and off the iPad so you can work on your files with other computers. You can open a text document out of your Dropbox in Pages but when you’re done working, you can’t put the saved changes back into Dropbox. You have to wait until the next time you’re ready to sync your iPad, and that sucks. Maybe Apple will fix that in the next Pages rev. If so, they’d also better add a word counter while they’re at it.

So that’s why I don’t bother using my iPad for serious writing, and nobody else really does either, unless they’re using ONLY the iPad, and just synchronizing up once or twice a week to move materials off for printing and archiving.

Today I was inspired to cover this subject again because a new application just came out called Elements which runs on iPad and iPhone. It’s $4.99 and it allows you to sync files through your Dropbox (if you haven’t figured it out yet, people who use more than one computer absolutely NEED Dropbox), so you can start a file in Elements, save it, and open it later for formatting and printing on your Mac or PC… or open your works-in-progress in Elements for a little tweaking while you’re on vacation or on the subway.

I haven’t even downloaded Elements yet but I can see from looking at the web site that it’s just what i need. It even has word count!

An iPad with Elements, plus a bluetooth keyboard, would make a pretty nice mobile writing setup. Even though I already have a great Macbook Pro, and I love the giant 17″ screen, there are times I’d like to tinker with a work-in-progress on my Ipad.

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