How best to use an iPad for proof-reading / copy editing.


This isn’t a cry for tech support, but a general “how are others doing it?”

I’ve got a plan to get an iPad 2 for general iOS stuff, but for my work for occasional writing and proof reading / copy editing

So if my projects looks like this


  • Chapter
  • Scene
    • Document
    • Document
  • Chapter

What the current state of the art combination of apps / workflow to proof-read / copy edit? I need a process that:

  • Allows reading in a standard page based eBook stanza / kindle type way.
  • Allows notes and/or annotations to be made against the text
  • Allows the notes to be brought back into Scrivener
  • Is non destructive to my structure in Scrivener

I don’t need:

  • Fancy preservation of formatting (Italics would be nice, but not essential)
  • An app to use for extending writing stints, I’ve got that sorted, via standard apps and folder sync

I don’t mind:

  • Altering my project structure for the editing phases
  • Working on one chapter at a time, but nothing more granular

I’m running on the assumption there isn’t yet a method to take a full Scrivener project, work with it on the iPad as a “Book” and then get it back in Scrivener with the previous structure / meta data?


How do others do this?

Another question…

Anyone used iAnnotate? Any good?

The easiest way is going to be using the external folder sync feature in the File/Sync menu. Using this with plain-text formatted files on a Dropbox folder will make it easy to interface with a number of text editors on the iPad that have Dropbox support. Do read the fine print, as Dropbox support all by itself doesn’t mean it will automatically work well with Scrivener. Some do not handle sub-folders, and rely on their own special folder at the top level in the Dropbox area to function. These will not work well with Scrivener as it uses folders to organise the sync workflow.

Alternative to that, if you don’t mind working in the Simplenote editor, is using the Simplenote sync. I’d say if you are starting from scratch with no system already in place or preferred applications, sticking with the external sync folder will be a slightly better option. It’s faster, allows greater flexibility on the mobile end since you can choose your editor, and is a useful technique for other things as well, not just toting an iPad around.

Annotations cannot, at the moment, be added to your texts when working this way, but this will change soon, and will probably be based on some form of punctuation for delineating where a comment (or footnote for that matter) starts and stops. Most likely something like ((this)), where “this” would be imported back into Scrivener as an annotation or linked comment (depending on your Import & Export preferences).

The only downside is that it doesn’t fit your desire for a page based preview. Being plain-text files coming straight out of your binder items, they will act much like they do in Scrivener in terms of not being paginated, and broken up by sections, not book structure constraints. For that, compiling to PDF would probably be the best move. iAnnotate is not bad for this sort of thing, though getting the annotations you make back out is not going be an automatic process. That’s pretty much true for any PDF annotation mechanism. There is just no compatible common ground between a 200 point outline structure and a flat, pre-formatted printer format with a meta-data overlay that is not necessarily even anchored to text.

I believe the latest beta builds have this using [annotation] and {footnote}. Of course it may change again.

Yeah, that’s precisely the case. The single brace nomenclature has too many conflicts with other character-based notation systems and so would probably have to be disabled for a percentage of people. Double brackets will ensure it works for the largest slice.

Sweet. I dared not request it, but that would be much nicer.