Scrivener for iOS: Now you can write anywhere

Sample screen from Scrivener for iOS

Disclaimer: I was a beta tester for Scrivener for iOS. Yes, I actually reported a bug.

If you use Scrivener for Mac or Windows, you know what a powerful writing tool it is. It keeps your writing projects organized, provides an easy way to move sections of your book, and offers a convenient place to gather notes and research materials. You can generate output in a variety of formats from Word for manuscript submissions to ePub and Kindle to create distribution-ready eBooks. Scrivener offers writers a better creative environment than a word processor. The only thing you couldn’t do with Scrivener was use it on a mobile device.

That has changed with the introduction of Scrivener for iOS.

Now, you can use Scrivener on Apple iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. It has the features of the Mac and Windows versions. You can set up writing projects with binders to organize your manuscript and notes. If you are using Scrivener for iOS on an iPad, you can use the corkboard to organize sections of a manuscript, just as you can with the Mac and Windows versions. Scrivener for iOS enables you to output your manuscript in some formats, including PDF, Word, and plain text. (As of the last beta I tested, there are no eBook output formats.) If you use an iPad or iPad Pro as your primary computer, you can use Scrivener for iOS for your writing with a minimum of compromises.

The real power of Scrivener for iOS is when you use your mobile device to write when you are away from your main computer. Scrivener for iOS uses Dropbox for synchronization between your mobile device and your laptop or desktop. Put your project file in a Dropbox folder and open it in Scrivener for iOS. All of the content you added to the project binder on your laptop or desktop is available on your mobile device.

Synchronization takes place when you open the file. The ensures that you begin with with the latest version of the file. Your project is stored on your mobile device so that you can work on it even when you don’t have a data connection. You can synchronize manually at any time. If there are conflicts during synchronization, they are saved in the Sync Conflicts section of the binder, where you can recover and restore changes. This feature saved me a few times.

I put Scrivener for iOS through its paces as I revised my work in progress, The Remainders. I usually shy away from using beta software for critical work, but I found the Scrivener for iOS beta remarkably stable and reliable. Although I could write with it on my iPad Mini, it was especially helpful on my iPhone. When I find something that helps me in my research or come up with a fix for a difficult scene, I just pull the phone out of my pocket and make the changes in Scrivener for iOS. The next time I open the project on my MacBook Pro, the change is there. With Scrivener on my iPhone, I never have to fumble for note paper or hope I can remember dialogue when I get back to my laptop. I can work on my writing anywhere.

The only limitation I found with the beta has to do with the fonts that appear on the editing screen. I had a problem when my Courier Typewriter text was changed to Helvetica after I worked on a section on my iPhone. This was supposedly fixed in a later beta, but I just avoided the issue by changing the font on my MacBook Pro to Helvetica. Since I configure my output formats to use different fonts, it didn’t matter to me if I was writing in Helvetica.

Scrivener for iOS sells for USD 19.99, and it will be available on the App Store starting July 20. This is well worth the price for a tool that improves your efficiency in writing, whether you work solely on a iPad or iPad Pro or need to be able to work on your projects while you are away from your computer. If you have Scrivener for Mac or Windows, you need to get a free update to use the synchronization features. For more information about Scrivener products, visit the Literature and Latte website.