Search results for "Scrivener"

Scrivener 3 for macOS Is More Flexible and Powerful Than Ever for Long-Form Writing

Many text editors are just that – text editors. They take a document-focused approach to writing that centers on creating text. It’s an approach that works for most kinds of writing. However, long-form writing is a different animal altogether that benefits from a project-based approach that also includes tools for planning, organizing, researching, and tracking. Today, Literature and Latte released version 3.0 of Scrivener for macOS with a long list of new features that cements its spot as one of the premier project-focused apps available on the Mac for long-form writing.

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iA Writer 5.5

iA Writer, my favorite text editor for all Apple platforms (which I still use as the central piece of my Markdown collaboration workflow via GitHub), has been updated today to version 5.5 both on Mac and iOS/iPadOS. I’ve been testing this version for quite some time (it’s the update I originally mentioned in my Modular Computer story back in April), and there are some fantastic details worth pointing out.

On iPad, the app can now be fully controlled with the trackpad. Besides obvious support for clicking toolbar buttons and other elements in the app’s UI, trackpad support includes the ability to swipe horizontally with two fingers to show/dismiss the Library sidebar (which I do all the time now) and – my favorite touch – support for clicking a document’s name in the title bar to rename it. I’m so used to these two new pointer features in iA Writer 5.5, I wish more iPad apps adopted them.

Version 5.5 also brings support for highlighting text inside a document by surrounding it with two equal signs – e.g. ==like this==. Highlighted text will turn yellow, and it’s impossible to miss. When I used Scrivener to write one of my iOS reviews years ago, the ability to highlight text in the editor was one of my favorite options to mark specific passages for review; with iA Writer 5.5, I can now highlight text and have a clear visual indication without giving up on the Markdown syntax. Even better: there’s a new ⌘⌥= keyboard shortcut to toggle highlighted text.

Among a variety of other updates (you can read more about them on the developers’ blog), iA Writer 5.5 also comes with a powerful PDF preview (which supports custom templates, so I can export my drafts as PDFs that look like the MacStories website) and the ability to show multiple stats in the editor at once. Thanks to the latter option, I can now see my word and open task count at once while I’m editing a story.

I’ve been using iA Writer as my only text editor for two years now, and I’m continuously impressed by the thoughtfulness and attention to modern iOS/iPadOS technologies that goes into the app. You can get iA Writer 5.5 on the App Store and read more about my writing setup based on iA Writer, Markdown, and file bookmarks here.

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WinterFest 2018: Great Deals on Pro Mac Apps and Books [Sponsor]

Hosted by Tinderbox maker Eastgate, WinterFest 2018 is an amazing collection of carefully-crafted productivity apps and books available for a limited time for 20-25% off.

The 17 apps and books span the entire spectrum of the research and writing process. There are apps to plan your next big project, track your time, discover research materials, organize your research, add and tag images to your project, write, and more.

Each app is hand-crafted by some of the best Mac developers around. WinterFest includes:

  • Tinderbox – Visualize and organize ideas and plans.
  • Panorama X – Collect, organize, and understand your data.
  • Nisus Writer Pro – The powerful word processor for the Mac.
  • DEVONthink Pro Office - Your paperless Mac office.
  • Aeon Timeline 2 – The timeline tool for creative thinking.
  • TextExpander – Recall your best words. Instantly, repeatedly.
  • Take Control Books – Essential books about Mac, iOS, and key apps.
  • Storyspace – Serious hypertext narrative.
  • Bookends –The reference manager you’ve been looking for.
  • Scapple – Quickly capture and connect ideas.
  • PDFpen – Powerful PDF editing.
  • HoudahSpot – Powerful file search for Mac.
  • HoudahGeo – Photo geotagging.
  • DEVONagent Pro – Your smart (re)search assistant.
  • BBEdit 12 – Power tool for text.
  • ImageFramer Pro – Your art. Showcased.
  • Timing – Automatic time tracking for Mac.
  • Scrivener – Your complete writing studio.

Saving hundreds of dollars on these fine tools couldn’t be simpler. Visit the WinterFest website to learn more about each and purchase Eastgate’s Tinderbox and Storyspace. For everything else, just use the coupon code WINTERFEST2018 at checkout to take advantage of these fantastic deals.

Our thanks to WinterFest 2018 for sponsoring MacStories this week.


WinterFest 2018: Great Deals on Pro Mac Apps and Books [Sponsor]

Hosted by Tinderbox maker Eastgate, WinterFest 2018 is an amazing collection of carefully-crafted productivity apps and books available for a limited time for 20-25% off.

The 17 apps and books span the entire spectrum of the research and writing process. There are apps to plan your next big project, track your time, discover research materials, organize your research, add and tag images to your project, write, and more.

Each app is hand-crafted by some of the best Mac developers around. WinterFest includes:

  • Tinderbox – Visualize and organize ideas and plans.
  • Panorama X – Collect, organize, and understand your data.
  • Nisus Writer Pro – The powerful word processor for the Mac.
  • DEVONthink Pro Office - Your paperless Mac office.
  • Aeon Timeline 2 – The timeline tool for creative thinking.
  • TextExpander – Recall your best words. Instantly, repeatedly.
  • Take Control Books – Essential books about Mac, iOS, and key apps.
  • Storyspace – Serious hypertext narrative.
  • Bookends –The reference manager you’ve been looking for.
  • Scapple – Quickly capture and connect ideas.
  • PDFpen – Powerful PDF editing.
  • HoudahSpot – Powerful file search for Mac.
  • HoudahGeo – Photo geotagging.
  • DEVONagent Pro – Your smart (re)search assistant.
  • BBEdit 12 – Power tool for text.
  • ImageFramer Pro – Your art. Showcased.
  • Timing – Automatic time tracking for Mac.
  • Scrivener – Your complete writing studio.

Saving hundreds of dollars on these fine tools couldn’t be simpler. Visit the WinterFest website to learn more about each and purchase Eastgate’s Tinderbox and Storyspace. For everything else, just use the coupon code WINTERFEST2018 at checkout to take advantage of these fantastic deals.

Our thanks to WinterFest 2018 for sponsoring MacStories this week.


Compiling and Exporting Chapters for My iOS 12 Review with Drafts 5

Back in June, I wrote on MacStories that I was evaluating whether Drafts 5 could replace Editorial for my Markdown automation and become the app I use to write my annual iOS review. Putting together these longform pieces involves a lot of writing, editing, and navigating between different sections; the more I can automate these tasks, the more time I can spend doing what actually matters for the review – testing the new version of iOS and ensuring the review is up to my standards.

Once I started looking into Drafts 5, I realized I could take advantage of its JavaScript automation engine to build a custom action that would compile the latest version of my iOS review draft and back it up to multiple locations as a single Markdown (.md) text file.

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Drafts 5: The MacStories Review

There are few apps I’ve ever used which made a lasting impact on my daily workflow. But for years now, the singular app that’s been the foundation of my iOS use has been Drafts. The app has lived in my dock since I first picked it up, it’s the single most important app I use on the platform, and it’s the only paid app I mandate to anyone looking for must-have apps on iOS.

Drafts is the bedrock app from which I build all my productivity. It’s the single point of text entry that shares to any app, whether through the share sheet, a simple action, or a custom and complex action. Any time I have an idea, I put it in Drafts. Tasks to add to my task manager? I do that from Drafts. Something I want to write about on my blog? That idea starts in Drafts too. It’s the focal point for everything I do.

But times change. Apps age. New features are added in the OS that need to be integrated, which cause some developers to pull the plug. So today, I’m saying goodbye to Drafts 4. And it’s getting replaced by the only app that could possibly replace it: Drafts 5.

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    iPad Diaries: DEVONthink’s New Advanced Automation

    iPad Diaries is a regular series about using the iPad as a primary computer. You can find more installments here and subscribe to the dedicated RSS feed.

    When I covered DEVONthink To Go in the first iPad Diaries column back in February, I briefly mentioned the app’s limited support for URL schemes and automation. I concluded the article noting that DEVONthink’s advanced file management features were ideal candidates for my writing workflow – particularly given the app’s ability to store different types of documents, reference them with unique links, and search them with Boolean operators. I also expanded upon the idea of using DEVONthink as my only iOS file manager in the latest episode of Mac Power Users.

    I’ve been moving more work documents and other research material (web archives and PDFs, mostly) to DEVONthink over the past two months. The turning point occurred a few weeks ago, when DEVONtechnologies began adding advanced x-callback-url automation to DEVONthink’s beta channel and were kind enough to let me test and provide feedback for the functionality.

    I was genuinely excited by the prospect of a scriptable DEVONthink: due to iOS’ lack of a deeply integrated Finder, I’ve always wanted a file manager that could be extended and enhanced through automation and other apps. With an improved set of URL commands and various optimizations for usage in Workflow, DEVONthink To Go can now be that kind of file manager. I made my decision: this is the app I’m going to use to manage the research content for my iOS 11 review this summer.

    The automation features introduced by DEVONtechnologies in the latest DEVONthink for iOS go deep into the app’s structure, covering discrete functionalities such as file creation, search, and data retrieval. These changes will enable a greater number of users to integrate DEVONthink with their favorite iPad apps and workflows. And while the new commands are documented in the app, I thought it’d be useful to provide some concrete examples of how we can take DEVONthink to the next level through automation.

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    iPad Diaries: Advanced File Management and Research with DEVONthink

    As I wrote in my story on one year of iPad Pro, I consider cloud services a necessity for managing files on iOS. Dropbox and iCloud Drive make it possible to keep the same sets of documents and app libraries synced across devices, but, more importantly, they help overcome iOS’ file management woes through centralized storage spaces. In the article, I espoused the flexibility of Documents and its tight integration with Dropbox, noting how Readdle had built the missing iPad file manager with features Apple omitted from their iCloud Drive app.

    Since early January, I’ve been thinking about my larger writing projects scheduled for 2017 and whether Documents can scale as a reference and research tool. Looking back at 2016 and the time I poured into organizing and referencing files for my iOS 10 review draft in Scrivener (which I covered here), I realized that neither Scrivener’s built-in file manager nor Documents could meet the basic requirements I have set for this year’s review. These include the ability to search different file types with advanced operators as well as a system to reference individual files and folders throughout iOS with local URLs. It was during this meta-research phase1 that I decided to try DEVONthink To Go again.

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