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The 5 Best Writing Apps for the iPad

The 5 Best Writing Apps for the iPad

    So you’ve decided to start writing on your iPad, be it the original model or the shiny new iPad. You’ve made the call to use it not just as a consumption device, but as a creative device. You begin to look for the usual suspcets, but Word doesn’t exist for the iPad and Apple’s Pages is something you could probably avoid if you’re willing to look around a little bit.

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    Or…you could just take a look below and get a taste of what I consider to the 5 best writing apps for the iPad.

    1. iA Writer

    Write without distraction. That’s the whole idea behind iA Writer, which first appeared on the Mac and has since made its way to both the iPad (and very recently, the iPhone). If you’re looking for a writing app that has very little in the way of customization, then this is the app for you. It’s pleasant on the eyes and keeps you focused on the task at hand – writing. And it syncs across platforms using eitehr Dropbox or iCloud, so you can write on whatever platforms you have ia Writer installed on. That’s pretty darn seamless.

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    2. Simplenote

    Simplenote is a fantastic app that will allow you to do the same in terms of syncing that iA Writer does. But Simplenote is generally viewed as an app used for notetaking more than writing. Still, with its ubiquitous nature and cross-platform capabilities, Simplenote is among the best at letting you get the words out of your head and onto the screen. Any screen.

    3. Writing Kit

    Writing Kit may not look as pretty as iA Writer, but it has a ton of bells and whistles built right in. The app has a browser integrated right within the app, allowing for research and quick linking where needed. It also allows for export into a variety of apps, including Things and OmniFocus – a great boon for the writers out there who happen to be right into productivity as well (ahem). The fact that Writing Kit allows writers to use Markdown syntax (as does ia Writer – and Simplenote when you bring something like nvALT into the mix), syncs to Dropbox and features a plethora of options for users puts it as a bit of a dark horse on this list. But a very worthy addition all the same.

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    4. PlainText

    If you’re looking for something clean and simple, PlainText has got you covered. It’s not as feature-rich or as pretty to look at as some of the others on this list, but it does what it is supposed to do: help you get writing done. The team behind it also developed the very populat WriteRoom (Hog Bay Software), so they’ve got experience in this realm. It does allow for syncing via Dropbox and is perhaps the most frictionless app on this list because of its stripped-down nature.

    5. Byword

    The new kid on the iOS block, Byword has been around on the Mac for some time. Now available for both the iPhone and iPad, it brings much of what the Mac app had to the mobile platform. Featuring Markdown support, syncing in the cloud, and an interface that balances feature set, focus and function, Byword already makes this list based on my limited time with it. Those using Byword on the Mac should jump into using it on the iPad to create a continuum in their writing workflow, and the consistency across all platforms is what makes this one a winner in my books during my brief look at it for the iPad.

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    There are others to consider (Notesy immediately comes to mind), but hopefully with this guide you’ll be able to find the writing app for your iPad that best suits you. Because there’s nothing worse than playing around with writing tools rather than actually writing with them

    (Photo credit: Contemporary Digital Tablet… via Shutterstock)

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    Mike Vardy

    A productivity specialist who shows you how to define your day, funnel your focus, and make every moment matter.

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    Last Updated on May 14, 2019

    8 Replacements for Google Notebook

    8 Replacements for Google Notebook

    Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

    1. Zoho Notebook
      If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
    2. Evernote
      The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
    3. Net Notes
      If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
    4. i-Lighter
      You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
    5. Clipmarks
      For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
    6. UberNote
      If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
    7. iLeonardo
      iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
    8. Zotero
      Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

    I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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    In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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