Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"Writings" for iPad

When the iPad 1 came out a year ago, I lamented the lack of good, simple word processor apps for it. (I lie, there was already one: My Writing Spot.) But I predicted and hoped they would soon come. And indeed they did, there must be a dozen good ones now, and one of the latest looks very nice: Writings for iPad.

Like many such apps, it's a pure text editor, meaning you can't even use bold or italics or such. Pure text. This is great for concentrating on pure writing. But... I usually think of which words I want to emphasize while I'm writing, it would feel odd to go over the text later just to put in those. And standard manuscripts, pre-Internet, used underlining for all emphasis, for clarity.

Any working writers who can tell me how they do this? And how to editors in various fields want their manuscripts? Pure text? Some formatting? How much?


Joe Kissell said...

When writing in plain text (my strong preference), I generally use Markdown syntax to represent formatting—surround text with single asterisks or underscores for italics, or double asterisks or underscores for bold. Both TidBITS and Macworld use Markdown, as does my blog, so I know the necessary transformations will take place before publication. And even when stuff is just for myself, or for another outlet, it's trivially easy to convert between Markdown and real styles when the occasion arises.

eolake said...

Thanks. That sounds like a good idea. And I already use asterisks for emphasis in email, it works really well when you want to email pure text for compatibility. (Though it seems not many people these days use it.)

eolake said...

BTW, what's an easy tool for converting from "Markdown"?

Adam C. Engst said...

There are a bunch of tools for working with Markdown, though most are built into content management systems and blog systems. If you use BBEdit, there's a shell script you can download from John Gruber's site (I think; it was a long time ago when I got it) that will turn Markdown into HTML, and once copied to the right location, becomes accessible via a menu item in BBEdit. It may work in TextWrangler too; not sure.

eolake said...

Thanks to Adam for:



eolake said...



Interesting, I think I'll study this markdown a bit. One doesn't have to know *all* the codes to get good use from it.