52 Writing apps for iPad: What is your favorite?

How many writing iPad writing apps are in the app store? Fifty-two, according to a crowd sourcing project initated by Brett Terpstra! Now thats quite a number, so how are you finding the one that is best for you?

One option would be to just use each of them for exactly one week, and after a year you could decide which was the best one. Or, a less expensive and time consuming way would be to have a look at the awesome iOS Text Editor roundup that Brett put together.

In his own words, this writing app comparison is meant…

to help you find the most useful way to write, code or take notes for your personal needs. Every editor is geared toward a slightly different purpose, with their own strenghts and focus.

What I like about Brett’s overview is that you can filter the overview table according to your own individual needs. For example, iCloud, TextExpander, and Extra Keyboard Row support are the most important features of a writing app for me. Once I filter for these features, the table of 52 (for iPad, the total number is 56) is reduced to two old friends of mine: Byword and iA Writer. Looks like I am still good.

Comparison of 52 writing apps for iPad

What is not in the table, however, is whether these iPad writing apps have sibling apps for the Mac. To my knowledge, only a few apps have a dedicated Mac companion app, and these are:

  • Byword
  • Compositions (free)
  • iA Writer
  • OmmWriter
  • WriteRoom

Obviously, having a companion app makes the integration between writing on the iPad and on the Mac a lot easier. However, as long as the iPad app uses a plain text format and has Dropbox support (you can filter the table for that), you can integrate you writing through any of the apps above or the plain TextEdit app that comes with your Mac. The same is true if you are using a Windows machine (then you would use Notepad).

But enough talk. If you are looking for an iPad writing app, go check out Brett’s comparison chart. Or, check out the reviews of writing apps on academiPad.

Alternatively, if you have already found your favourite writing app and you want to become serious about writing with your iPad, check out some ideas about why and how you can turn your iPad into the ultimate writing machine:

Disclaimer: Table screenshot from Brett’s comparison chart. Please consider sharing this article if you found it useful.

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  1. Synergi says:

    I use index cards for story plotting and storyist for my writing of the story. It has two way sync with drop box and a desktop program.

    One of the most important things for me is to be able to change the font color of a single word or sentence. This helps me when I need to edit so that I can easily see what I’ve changed.

    I also like notability. It’s probably one of my favorite apps for organizing notes into subject and category with color coded tabs. It also has many background options.

  2. Pete Wood says:

    Really useful article – thanks. Penultimate is by far the best of the bunch here because of the handy-dandy algorithm it uses to discard doodles caused by a rested hand on the capacitive screen. And, acording to this, it’s just been acquired by Evernote so hopefully full integration with the world favourite note taking app is just around the corner! http://voato.com/tech/ipad/penultimate-is-the-best-handwriting-app-for-ipad-and-just-acquired-by-evernote/

    • Jo says:

      I am really excited what Evernote is going to do with Penultimate! Right now I just don’t have enough space to get really creative on Penultimate. Zooming and maybe different page formats would be great!

  3. i use notability by gingerlabs. it’s great because i can not only type, but also handwrite, highlight, draw, AND insert: pics, webclips, figures, textboxes & handwriting boxes. it also has this zoom feature that allows you to select a spot too small to write/draw in normally (e.g. between lines of text, opens a writing space for you to add whatever you want, & inserts your note/drawing into the tiny space. and yes, that now tiny insertion is perfectly legible (provided your handwriting isn’t the issue).

    and of course, you can do all this on .pdf files, too. did i mention that it’s FREE? yes, it syncs/shares to dropbox, iDisk, webDAV, & iTunes, in addition to emailing & printing.

  4. Julie says:

    PlainText is still my favourite. Although it doesn’t have a companion app, I prefer using text edit on my mac anyway. PlainText is free, with enough features to keep me happy: dropbox syncing, folders, minimalist formatting (with a TNR-esque serifed font, which I prefer to the courier-esque fonts of some of its competitors). There are also nifty and useful features, such as tapping the left or right margin to scrub left or right one letter or more, depending on how many fingers you tap with.

  5. complectrum says:

    I think worrying about whether there’s a desktop version is ridiculous. I use Elements on two devices in conjunction with Notepad++ (via Dropbox) on Windows, and I’m pleased as punch.

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