If you often write, whether recreationally or for work, you have probably frequently encountered frustration with getting all of your notes and research organised for a big writing project. Such inconvenience is what Scrivener has long been sorting out for Mac and Windows users – and the software has just recently arrived on iPad.
Many inexperienced scribes could be tempted to think that, once you’ve got a decent word processor like Microsoft’s Word and Internet access at hand, you’ve got pretty much 90% of what you need to research and write up a big body of text – whether that’s a novel, play, essay, thesis, business report or something else.
However, this would be overlooking the rather haphazard way in which a lot of writers work. Putting together the kind of lengthy literary masterpiece that would make Charles Dickens proud isn’t a case of just starting with the opening paragraph and continuing to type away until you reach ‘The End’. Various parts of a work can be reshuffled and rejigged as the writer struggles to figure out precisely what looks best where.
Software that is tailored to writers’ unique needs
Thankfully, this is something that Scrivener coder Keith Blount understands. That’s likely because Blount was a budding novelist, not a programmer, when he originally got the idea for a hugely comprehensive piece of software that, across the Mac and Windows desktop platforms, he has sold over 500,000 copies of over a decade.
Unsurprisingly given how incredibly feature-packed those desktop versions are, not every aspect that Scrivener veterans will be familiar with has made it to iOS. However, the core essentials – like editing multiple documents simultaneously, making hyperlinks between different sections, and exporting a finished manuscript to formats ranging from PDFs and Kindle eBooks – have done.
A true iPad app through-and-through
While Scrivener has also been made available for the iPhone, limitations with both the smartphone’s version of iOS and screen size mean that a number, though still only a minority, of features are iPad-only.
These include the corkboard – whereby images and notes can be attached to a virtual board for easier, at-a-glance perusal – and support for the iPad multitasking functions Slide Over and Split View. The latter especially, which is available only on the iPad Pro, Air 2 and Mini 4, can prove invaluable for projects that are heavily reliant on online research.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with occasionally whipping out your iPhone to do some quick edits on Scrivener while out and about. However, the software simply makes more sense on iPad – especially given Apple’s recent attempts to significantly bolster the productivity features of its tablet line. And, while the $19.99 price could seem hefty by the standards of most iOS apps, professional wordsmiths in particular could find that Scrivener on iPad soon starts easily paying for itself.