Extended keyboard

Please add a keyboard extension to make typing easier. And please make it customizable because we all want/need something different. Quick and efficient writing (text entry) – and minor editing/revising – of notes and drafts is what I guess Scrivener for ipad would be primarily about for most people (besides the organizational power of the card view).

There are three kinds of extra keys badly needed: navigational, punctuation and “other”.

Keys for navigation (cursor movements):

Move cursor left or right by 1 one character, 2 by one word, 3 by one paragraph
Move cursor to beginning or end of 1 current line, 2 of current file
(In many apps, not only browsers, tapping on the built-in top black menu strip moves the cursor to the beginning of document, this would make a "go to beginning of document" key unnecessary if Scrivener for iPad could do this)

There are many ways to avoid needing too many extra keys:
Move cursor with tap on margin (one tap one character, double-tap one word?), etc

Keys for punctuation:

For me, the most needed keys for writing English (not available easily and fast enough from the built-in keyboard) are:
( ) ; : / - * (for emphasis/italics in .txt files)

I also very often use ! and ? in my notes to myself, so, space permitting, it would be nice to have these keys available, too, without shifting, although shifting is really no big deal and I can live with it…

Since I discovered that Apple’s built-in keyboard allows upward swipes on the comma and period keys for typing ’ and ", special keys for apostrophes and quotation marks seem less necessary now (unless of course someone has trouble producing them by swiping – another reason to allow full customization by the user!)

Keys for “other”:

Essentials: Tab, Undo and Redo a must (multiple Undo/Redo please, at least five steps back)
Bullets for bulleted or numbered lists (very useful for a clearer listing ideas, plans, todos)
Multiple tabbing (i.e., tabbing each line in a multi-line selection)
Some apps even attempt to provide icons or gestures that function like Alt or Command keys

The best and most efficient implementation I have found so far is in the app Nebulous Notes (right now free in the App Store, but also has a lite version – disclaimer: I have no connection to this software or any other):
totally user definable (as many extra keys as desired, or none: can be completely disabled)
always just one extra row of keys shows but there can be as many rows as desired (rows scroll both sideways for more keys than visible at once on the screen, as well as vertically to show another row with another set of keys - very handy for different writing tasks: normal English, email, business, html programming, emoticons, etc). (Best compromise I am aware of between taking up as little extra screen space as possible and giving the user as many extra characters as desired.)
auto adding space after certain characters (which nearly always are followed by space, such as : or ; or ! or ?)
smart parentheses and quote marks [double tap on a word to select it – and drag if you want more words to be enclosed, – then single tap on this smart parentheses or smart quotes key to enclose the selected text in () or “” – fastest way I know of to add these)
all the essential keys: tab (including multiple tabbing), multiple undo/redo, date, time, expansion of any user-defined boilerplate text (address, signature, etc.)

A couple of other apps I am aware of that have user-definable extra key sets are Underscore Notify, Fastkeyboard, and My Notebook! Other apps with fixed extended keyboards, each with some interesting features, are Writings, iA Writer, DNoteIt, Ghostwriter, Notability, Textkraft, Ext Keyboard, and others.

Please check out also the sensational efficiency of Heart Writer that combines a regular keyboard with one (or two) extra rows of keys, with each key providing 5 chars, one by tapping and four by swiping in four different directions! If Apple had any brains left, they would immediately buy or license this technology and offer it as a built-in option. I bet it would become a fantastic hit. Yes, for the first five minutes it is strange, but afterwards it feels surprisingly obvious and natural and it’s one of those cases when you don’t know how you could have lived without it.

Bottom line: I think Scrivener should steal, excuse me, borrow all the very best ideas from the incomplete attempts in so many other apps to create a better keyboard and bring them all together in “the relentless pursuit of perfection”. After all, it wants to be the Lexus, excuse me, the Rolls-Royce of all word processors, doesn’t it? I certainly would like it to be that!

Thanks in advance,

Hi, thanks for the suggestions.

I’d love to see a customisable “Input Accessory View” (As Apple call these extended keyboard rows), and it’s something we’re actively pursuing.

Of course it’s still too early to say what will make it into the 1.0 release or what form it will take.

Thank you, Jenny, for the quick reply. I am VERY happy to hear that something along these lines is in the plans for Scrivener for the iPad!

In all honesty, I am already so spoiled by the ease and speed that those extra key rows (especially the ones I can customize to my needs!) give me that I just can’t imagine using any more any app without it for text entry.


Nothing at this stage is guaranteed to make it in v1.0, but I’m a big fan of the iOS platform, an even bigger fan of Scrivener (Even if finding it meant I ditched my plans to write thendefinitive writing app), so even if a specific feature doesn’t make it into 1.0 that’s not saying it wouldn’t make it into an update. Just look what Keith and Lee have done with minor updates.