Scrivener for iOS: $19.99 –> $11.99

Scrivener Logo


This summer I used Scrivener’s iOS app (in its beta form!) as my primary app for writing at a week away. Even in its beta form it was good.

I’ve written about the desktop app here and here. You can read about my eight most-used features on iOS here.

Just today the price has come down from $19.99 on iOS to $11.99–easily worth it if you’ve got the means. Check it out here.


Scrivener iOS App: $19.99, Win it Here Free

Scrivener Logo


Scrivener for iOS continues to receive rave reviews in the App Store. For good reason. Here‘s my mini-review of the app, if you want to see what the hype is about.


Scrivener for iOS
Scrivener for iOS


Today I’m posting just to say I’ve got a free download code to give away to one lucky reader.

To enter to win, leave a comment with what you’re writing about now. If you share a link to this post on Facebook and/or Twitter, you get a second entry. (Make sure you let me know you shared, and leave the link in the comments.)

A week is a long time to wait for giveaway results, so this one is quick–I’ll announce the winner Friday at 5:00 p.m. EST.


8 Features I Use Most in Scrivener for iOS (Which Releases Today)

Scrivener Logo


Scrivener is so good a writing program, I used its iOS app in beta as my primary place for writing at a recent week away. (For the record, I found no bugs.)

It’s easily the best writing app there is for Mac and Windows. (See here and here.) But its iOS companion has languished in development like a half-finished manuscript.

Until today. Scrivener for iOS (iPad and iPhone) is in the App Store right now. Here it is, worth more than its $19.99 price.


Already 50 5-Star Reviews!
Already 50 5-Star Reviews!


This post was going to highlight my five most used features in Scrivener for iOS; it’s grown to eight, though there is even more than the below to appreciate about the app.

1. Goodbye, Markdown–Rich Text is Back!

No offense to Markdown (Ulysses and 1Writer are still fabulous apps), but I’m happy to have a full-bodied, rich text app on iPad, at long last. Pages is fine, but Scrivener can do so much more, since it organizes your research, supporting documents, and drafts–all in once place.

2. Pinch to Zoom Text

No need to tap through a settings screen. Just pinch (zoom) in or out to adjust the text size you’re seeing as you write. Scrivener does a great job in this way of taking advantage of the iOS platform.

3. Sync via Dropbox to the Desktop Apps

Truth be told, this is probably my #1 favorite feature–you can start working on a laptop, finish up a draft on iPad, and edit on your iPhone. This is what the many users of Scrivener have been waiting for. Ahhhhh.

4. Research: Have Your PDFs Right There

Not only can you save your research in your project you’re working on (for easy access), Scrivener remembers your place in the PDF you were viewing.




PDF Research


5. Set Label, Status, Icon for anything in the Binder

This will mostly appeal to Scrivener nerds, but you can label and color code your way to great visual clarity to track project progress. (I use Red to mean done (at least for now), Yellow to mean working on, and Green to mean do it!)


Binder Settings


Color Coding


Add Notes


6. Recent and Bookmarks

Always a tap away are your recent documents and bookmarks.




7. Two Panes at Once on iPad in Landscape

The iPad app comes out of the box with Split View and Slide Over, but you can also see two panes at once when you’re using Scrivener in landscape mode. This is especially helpful if you want to write, for example, from an outline.


Two Panes


8. Word Count

Word and character counts are easy to access, too.



Once again, here it is in the App Store.

And if you want to desktop version, here are the links for purchasing Scrivener:

You can also try Scrivener on Mac or Windows free for 30 days if you want to see what you think.

Thanks to Scrivener for allowing me to beta test this excellent app, and best wishes to their team on launch day!

Scrivener iOS: Looking Great, Coming Soon

Scrivener Logo


I’m fortunate to be a Scrivener iOS beta tester. The iOS version of the app is coming soon, and it’s looking great. I just used it, in fact, as my primary writing app during a writing week I went away for. Not a crash in sight.

I’m sworn to secrecy, but I believe I can say that those of us using Markdown on iPad and iPhone because we had to will be able to move back into rich text on iOS full time.

I have also at long last completed the paperwork to become a Scrivener affiliate, which means that if you or a friend purchase the app through the below links, this blog gets a 20% commission (at no extra charge to you).

I write about Scrivener here and here, if you need convincing.

I can also say, since the developer publicly has, that Scrivener for iOS runs on iPads and iPhones, supports multi-tasking, and features Dropbox sync between iOS and OS X.

While you wait for the iOS app, here are the links for purchasing Scrivener

You can also try Scrivener free for 30 days if you want to see what you think.


Coming Soon to iOS: Scrivener

Scrivener Logo


The full-featured writing app for Mac and Windows is at last on its way to iOS, soon to enter beta testing.

Here are some interesting details from the developer:

  • Scrivener for iOS will run on most iOS devices – the only requirement is that it can run iOS 9 and above.
  • It runs on iPhones as well as iPads (although certain features that require more space—such as the corkboard—are iPad-only).
  • It supports the multi-tasking features of the iPad Pro.
  • Scrivener for iOS will not support iCloud (at least for now) – syncing will be done via Dropbox. I’ll write a post explaining why soon. (You’ll be able to leave your desktop project open while you’re off using it on your mobile device, though.)

More details here.

Quit Trying New Writing Apps and Just Write

The post headline is directed to myself. (Though I’m glad to have just downloaded Mellel on the iPad, which I’ll be reviewing shortly–couldn’t quite help myself. No, really, maybe this will be the app that cures me of writer’s block!)

But seriously: a favorite procrastinating pastime of writers is checking out the latest and greatest writing apps. Not this guy, however:



Scrivener, Nisus Writer Pro, DEVONThink Pro and Others: 25% Off SummerFest

SummerFest Sale


Some really sweet writing tools are on sale at 25% off:

It’s a midsummer night’s dream: seven great artisanal tools for writers and thinkers, ready for your summer work, each at a terrific price. It’s SummerFest: our annual summer celebration of hand-crafted software.

It’s the time for new plans and fresh projects and great new ideas. Whether you’re mapping out your next novel, finishing your dissertation, planning a product, or writing memories for your grandkids, we think these great tools will help.

I have made some use of Bookends and DEVONThink Pro (stay tuned to the blog for more on those). They are both well-designed, time-saving apps.

Scrivener and Nisus Writer Pro are two of my favorite, most-used apps. I rave about Scrivener here and here, and compare the unexpected awesomeness of Nisus Writer Pro to the 2014 Kansas City Royals here.

All those apps and more can be had at discount. Here is the link you want. It’s not a bundle–you can just check out whichever app(s) you like… and can also avail yourself to free trial options. SUMMERFEST2015 is the code.

Happy writing!

That Time My 2-Year-Old Daughter Gave Me a Writing Tip in Scrivener

Our daughter is in the Terrific/Terrible Twos stage.

The terrible: she does things like write on the new kitchen floor in permanent marker. She leaves tons of tiny fingerprints on the MacBook and almost pushes the TV off its stand because she thinks they are both touch screens. She changes her own diaper and *tries* to flush its contents down the toilet herself. (Okay–this last one isn’t all bad–potty training, here we come!)

The terrific: sometimes, when she presses random keys on the laptop keyboard, instead of making the computer freeze, she discovers new tips. (Far more terrific than that, of course, is the fact that she is an amazing and wonderful human being.)

The other day she saw this little guy in the toolbar when I had Scrivener open for some work I was doing:


Scrivener Compose Icon


She tried to tap it (no Scrivener for iPad… but soon, I hear!). Then between the two of us, we clicked it and Scrivener went from this view:


Scrivener Screenshot
Click or open in new tab to enlarge


to this one:

Scrivener Composition Mode
Click or open in new tab to enlarge


Yes, Scrivener can go into full screen, but this is something a little different–a composition mode where you can just write. You’ll see at the bottom (a toolbar which goes away if you want it to) that I can still pull up essentials like the footnote window on the left. Or I can move all that out and just focus on writing.

I’ve used Scrivener for more than a year now and don’t think I’ve ever clicked on “Compose.”

So… thank you, two-year-old daughter, for helping your dad learn more about a program he uses all week, and for simplifying my workflow!

Want to check Scrivener out? (I recommend it, and offer my thanks to the folks that make it for the review license.) Here you can download a free trial, for Mac or Windows. (It’s a generous trial period, too.) You can read more about Scrivener’s features here.

Nisus Writer Pro: The (2014) Kansas City Royals of Word Processing

No offense to Microsoft Word and Apple’s Pages, but neither one had really hit the spot for a go-to Mac word processor for me. Even after years of using Word, drawing a table or making columns seems harder than necessary. And the new Pages is clunky and seems like it wants to hide my saved documents from me.

KC RoyalsI started using Scrivener this summer, but, as Scrivener is the first to acknowledge, that program is not designed for tweaking the layout and final draft of a document. A number of Scrivener users I interact with recommend Nisus Writer Pro.

I’ve been using it regularly for about a month, and see no need to use another word processing program from now on. Nisus Writer Pro is to my word processing what the Kansas City Royals are to baseball right now: fresh, fun, powerful, and totally adept at getting the job done.

It’s a sophisticated program, with a lot of customization options I’ve barely begun to use. But the first time I used it I was able to almost immediately–without even reading the Help!–get my document to do the handful of things I wanted it to do.

So far, like the KC Royals, Nisus Writer Pro has a 1.000 winning percentage with me. Here are 6 things about NWP I really like, one for each of the Royals’ playoff wins as of the time of this post’s being published:


1. The layout is clean and easy to navigate right away


Check it out (click to enlarge):


NWP Document


At the very top of the screenshot you’ll see the Word Count in the footer (i.e., of every page). This is easy to set up–the Insert menu gives you the option to insert Automatic Numbers there, one of which is the word count, which I like to have in front of me as I whittle down my weekly sermons to something that will keep all of us awake.


2. Native file format is RTF


This means your NWP documents are fairly universal. You can open aforementioned Word (.docx) documents easily. Pages (.pages) is another story, but I think I’m over it.

One bummer (not Nisus’s fault): finding a good app for iPad that plays nicely with .rtf files is difficult, so I’m still looking for a consistent way to get from iOS to my Dropbox-saved NWP documents. (Textilus has been recommended; I’m working on getting that up and running now.)


3. The customizable palette groups get the job done


Setting up margins, headers, footers, even multiple-columned documents is easy to do via the palettes (the bar on the right of the document above). AND… you can create your own palette, customized with the tasks and functions from the Palette Library that you most use. Here’s one I created:


NWP AKJ Palette


You can also hide the palette so you’ve just got the document in front of you. Via palettes you control styles, font/formatting, tables, drawing, etc.


4. Bibliography made easy


One of the drop-down menus has an “Activate Bookends” command. There’s some nifty integration between that program and Nisus Writer Pro.


Strong, Fast
Strong, Fast

5. Support is strong


NWP’s User Guide clocks in at 500 pages. Yes, I read it all for this review–no, not really. But it’s an invaluable reference. Download it here. The staff I’ve interacted with is really great. And there are active user forums.


6. Nisus Writer Pro is fast


This late 2008 MacBook o’ mine is the little (computer) engine that could. But it’s slowing down. Word and Pages (sorry, Microsoft and Apple! I didn’t intend to use your products as foils) both run sluggishly sometimes on this machine, but Nisus Writer Pro never has. It starts right up, closes right down, and never is glitchy in between.


You can see a lot more of the features of Nisus Writer Pro here, where you can also download a free 15-day trial, while you await Game 3 of Royals vs. Orioles.


The folks at Nisus kindly supplied me with a license of NWP for the purposes of review.