The best cross-platform writing apps for Mac and iOS

Title: The best cross-platform writing apps for Mac and iOS

Author: Michael Simon, Macworld

Full Text & Source:

The Internet, Online, 29/10/2015

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iOS devices have completely changed the way we write. Not only has iOS given us the flexibility to quickly jot down our thoughts wherever and whenever they strike, it’s fundamentally flipped our expectations of the humble text editor………

Simply put, the essence of a great text editor is more than the sum of its fonts or keyboard bars.The bottom line is focus. The best cross-platform apps know what to leave behind when switching from a 21-inch-screen to a 9.7-inch one, and they do it without trampling over any of our individual writing styles and preferences. And while mine may certainly differ from yours, here are my picks for the best ones:

Best: Ulysses III

Long before the minimalist trend, Ulysses put a heavy focus on writing rather than formatting, giving authors the tools they needed to brainstorm, organize, and create their projects with ease. Today, Ulysses III (Mac, $45; iPad, $20; iPhone, $1) has evolved and matured into the premier writing experience on the Mac. ……………

Ulysses III on the Mac more than lives up to its namesake’s lofty pedigree.

Ulysses may be a simple Markdown text editor at heart, but an array of carefully crafted features makes it a true multipurpose utility for writers. All of your documents are stored right within the app’s attractive sidebar, allowing you to search and organize your projects with ease…………..

And unlike many of the other text editors I’ve used, The Soulmen didn’t water down its vision for iOS. On the iPad, you’ll find a full version of Ulysses formatted to fit the smaller screen and reimagined for multitouch…………

As you switch between Ulysses for Mac and Ulysses for iPad, iCloud keeps your documents safe and synced, but it’s the uniform experience that will keep your words flowing. Fonts and themes match across both devices, and many of the things that make Ulysses great in OS X, such as attachments, exporting, and picture-perfect previews, all make an appearance.

On the iPhone, there’s Daedalus Touch, a unique, extraordinary text editor in its own right, but it doesn’t follow the Ulysses aesthetic, at least not yet. Instead of panels there’s a system of stacks and sheets that mirror the ones in your OS X sidebar. However, since it syncs only with the Mac and not the iPad, working across all three devices isn’t exactly seamless……..

Runner-up: Byword 

A canvas free of icons, menus, and other distractions has become a staple of the modern text editor, but Byword (Mac, $12; iOS, $6) takes it to a whole new level. Starting a new document is a lot like opening Apple’s classic TextEdit app: The only identifying marking you’ll find is a word counter at the bottom of the window. …..

 Whether you’re using the full-screen mode or a floating window, an excellent implementation of customizable text widths (which can be set to narrow, medium, or wide) will help you set up your perfect workspace………..

Byword excels as a Markdown editor, but if you’re not proficient in the language, you can also write using rich text, just like you would in Microsoft Word. Having another option is a nice touch; unfortunately it’s not one that extends beyond the Mac. Only plain text documents will sync with iOS, so if you want to use bolding and italicizing across your devices, you’ll need to get comfortable with asterisks and underscores.

But it’ll be worth it. Byword’s iOS offerings are gorgeous exercises in style and restraint, delivering an experience that isn’t just minimal for minimal’s sake. While the iPhone and iPad versions offer identical interfaces and features, each of the two apps take advantage of the screen they’re presented with; for example, the iPad app presents your documents in a sidebar that isn’t feasible on the iPhone, but both utilize the same simple gestures to navigate between files. And you’re not stuck with iCloud—Byword also lets you store files in your Dropbox folder for easier sharing between other apps.

TinyWord (Mac, $2) does. As its name suggests, it’s not exactly overloaded with features, but Word users will certainly notice a distinct similarity in the interface. It can handle all of your .doc and .docx files with ease, and there are more than enough text and exporting options to keep your files looking their best.

 If you’re looking for a completely free way to write and edit on whatever Apple device happens to be at your disposal (and it’s been purchased within the past year and a half), you won’t find an app anywhere that beats Pages (Mac and iOS, free).

But writers working in a standard template will be pleased with Pages’ responsive layout and exporting options, which includes .doc as well as ePub and PDF. Documents are neatly formatted for each screen, and there’s even a web component that lets you work on Windows PCs and collaborate with up to 100 other writers. And if you work alone, you can still utilize Pages’ excellent annotations by inserting comments, monitoring changes, and highlighting parts you need to work on later…….

 Day One (Mac, $10; iOS, $5) does. With an impressive system of tags, reminders, and hashtags, Day One is versatile enough to be more than a digital diary—with a little creativity, it can become one of your indispensable writing tools, especially if you’re already accustomed to using Evernote or OneNote to record your thoughts throughout the day.Not only does it have a gorgeous interface that lets you effortlessly organize your entries by date, time, and location, its support for Markdown support lets you easily share your entries with virtually any other app you may use for writing.

StackEdit (Mac and iOS, free; $5/year subscription unlocks all features) bucks that trend with a responsive, feature-rich interface that stacks up against most anything you’ll find in the App Store. Nothing about it feels like a web app: Not only will you get full Markdown support, it even includes a live preview pane that will show you exactly how your formatted syntax will look. A toolbar of Markdown shortcuts lets you style your text, add images and links, and create lists, while a simple file hierarchy shows you everything you’ve previously worked on. Saving and opening documents is as easy as signing into your Dropbox, Google Drive, or CouchDB account, and you can publish to an array of services with just a few taps. Alternatively, you can import and export files right on your Mac and share links for collaboration……

Others of note

Notefile (Mac: $5, iOS: $5), an ultra-minimal utility that’s always ready to receive your words. It’s extremely light on the features, but it will dutifully sync your sentences no matter how fast they arrive. You don’t even need to launch the app on your Mac to start writing—a handy menu bar icon and Dashboard widget make it extra easy to access a blank sheet.

Writer (Mac: $10, iOS: $5) was the original distraction-free word processor and it’s still a strong entry, as is its workflow-oriented follow-up, Writer Pro (Mac: $20, iOS: $10). There’s a simple, understated elegance to the interface that works on any screen you’re working on (though the status bar is getting a bit too crowded for my taste), and you won’t find a better choice of fonts on any other text editor.

 Write (Mac: $10, iPhone: $2, iPad: $2). While it loses points for lagging behind in its iPhone 6 optimization, its iOS apps offer an array of features, including custom URL actions, in-app Dropbox browsing and a clever “scratch pad” for quick thoughts. On the Mac side you’ll get a killer image panel and a bevy of sharing options, along with the same gorgeous interface you’ll find on the iPhone and iPad versions.

Simplenote‘s (Free, Mac and iOS) classic, fresh experience either. Its lightweight, thoughtful interface puts a premium on organization and tracks every change you’ve made to a particular file, letting you scrub through saved versions with ease……… read the rest of the article online

About Author Annette J Dunlea Irish Writer

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