iPad Compatibility

Hello All,

In my searching of the forum, I have found posts saying that there won’t be a version of Scrivener for the iPad.

I actually agree with this; Scrivener has too much functionality to be adequately included in an iPad version without severely curtailing the full version development.

Having said that, I would LOVE a separate, simple iPad text editor that could read Scrivener files (on, say, Dropbox) and allow one to edit the text–no access to notes or research, unless you open that file.

So, essentially, you navigate to your Scrivener binder and it lists all your files within it and you are allowed to open and edit only one at a time.

I know this is a luxury request, but I find that sometimes I am at my most creative while lying in bed with my iPad. I now use iA Writer to do my writing in this these situations and then have to email the resulting file to myself and cut and paste it into Scrivener.

Lacking such a scaled-down iPad version of Scrivener, has anyone else found themselves in a similar situation? Do you have any better solutions?


Have you tried using the File/Sync/with External Folder feature? It works just about precisely as you describe, the only hitch is that iA Writer has yet to code in folder navigation in their Dropbox integration, so it doesn’t work very well with our sync feature (which is a pity, because I like that editor, too). However there are a number of editors that do. PlainText (which is free), Nebulous Notes (which features a customisable extended keyboard like iA Writer does), Notebooks, and a few others.

Basically what you do is run the menu command mentioned above for your project, and choose a location on Dropbox, making a new folder for it. If you are using a text editor that expects a special folder for itself, then create a folder within that. Set up the options as you prefer, setting the format to plain-text, and from that point on whenever you open the project it will check for any changes and automatically implement them in your project (taking snapshots if you left that feature on). On project close, the same happens in inverse. You can also run this command at any time during the day to check for changes, too. You can even add new files to your Binder this way, by creating new text files with the iPad in the appropriate folder.

Even though it uses plain-text, the feature is pretty smart about retaining your formatting as much as possible. Only those paragraphs you have edited will be synced. If you use footnotes and comments, I recommend using inline when working this way, as those will be synced back and forth using bracket notations, making it easy to see your notes and even add new ones.

To read more about the feature, see §13.2 (pg. 116) in the user manual.

Hello James,

As Amber already said, Scrivener’s synching options are great. I recommend you this tread: http://literatureandlatte.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=11859&start=0

There, another Scrivener user recommended Notebooks as the best option for working all your Scrivener documents on the iPad. I installed it and I’m now an iPad-writting-addict. I write everywhere: on cafes, on my way home, etc., and I’ve increased my productivity exponentially. Best of all, even if it’s not the perfect program (I still want Scrivener for iPad), it’s the closest thing. Once it’s set up (the thread has detailed instructions), all you have to do is synching, and everything you write on your iPad will be immediately uploaded to Scrivener, and every changes you do on Scrivener will go back to your iPad on the next synch. Just don’t use formatting options (because Notebooks change formatted texts from .txt to .html, and always synch both devices before and after you start and quit Scrivener.

Of course, this will only work for simple documents that require no heavy formatting (because it works on .txt, not .rtf). But if you’re writing fiction, you seldom need more than plain text.

Until we get a version of Scrivener for iPad, Notebooks is definitely the best option.

Hope this helps,


One bit of news that came out of the Mac WWDC announcement today was that iOS 5 will support RTF (in mail, anyway). I believe that’s good news for those looking forward to iPad writing apps that will sync to Scrivener in RTF!

Definitely, though I am anxious to see exactly what that means. Is it really just “Bold”, “Italic”, and “Underline” as they showed (in Mail alone), or does it actually have an RTF engine and they’ve simplified what you can do in Mail (which is an HTML output, anyway, not RTF), and any program can tap into it? Just because an Apple application shows off something doesn’t mean anyone else will benefit from it (cf. mobile Pages). Did he actually say “RTF” in the keynote, though? I haven’t watched it yet, so I’m just going on hearsay and somewhat sparse reporting on the matter thus far.

“RTF” was used by the livebloggers I was watching. I haven’t actually seen the video yet, either.

EDIT: Yup, they used it. Here’s a link: iphonedownloadblog.com/2011/ … ext-ios-5/

Apple Mail 4.5 already supports RTF input and export: not just bold, italic, and underline, but embedded web links, indents, and other goodies. It’s all listed under the Format menu, but you may use keyboard commands.

This is regarding the iOS version of Mail, which has of course been plain-text for composition. iOS 5 will introduce what appears to be simple formatting on an iOS device. The speculation is on how much formatting the underlying system provides—is it a full RTF engine based on their OS X frameworks, or are we looking at a very basic rich text system, and can it be used by developer X, or just Apple—as in Pages mobile.

Hopefully it is the best solution, as that would go a long way toward making the iPad a better Scrivener companion.


I am saddened that there will be no Scrivener for iPad. The sync feature is a great idea but there are no apps that support RTF natively so I end up losing my formatting.

This forces me to export to Word format, which everyone supports. I would, therefore, suggest you add the .doc format to the sync option. That will streamline the workflow.

The reason no iPad apps support RTF natively is that there is no standard rich text editor on the iPad. This is why the vast majority of apps are plain text. The only ones that aren’t are by big companies with the resources to roll their own text engines. Scrivener-for-the-iPad wouldn’t solve this problem because we don’t have such resources.

.doc sync wouldn’t help either, because Scrivener uses the standard .doc exporters and importers, and these are buggy and drop line spacing and indents. (Actually Scrivener’s standard .doc export uses RTF internally, but that can’t be used with apps such as Docs2Go.) Also, not “everyone” supports Word format - very few do on the iPad, only the big document exchange programs such as Docs2Go and Office HD as far as I am aware, although I could be wrong.

So there’s no great solution until Apple adds a standard rich text engine to the iPad (maybe in iOS 6.0…).

Note, however, that even if you sync to plain text, only the edited paragraphs will be affected - Scrivener retains the formatting of unedited paragraphs.

All the best,

I don’t understand why you can not develop a version for iPad. Celtx has one, Pages… and many others software… Please, do it !

Hmm, are you willing to pay a developer full time for a year so that we can do it? If you’ve got a spare £80,000+ lying around, let us know! Or were you suggesting that I abandon the Mac version entirely to develop for the iPad instead?

Besides which, Scrivener is entirely built around the idea of extended writing using a lot of screen real estate - it just would not scale down to the iPad very well; any scaled down version would be an entirely different program. But I’m repeating myself. We don’t rule it out completely, but it’s hardly the sort of thing a small company can just “do”.

We already have lots of great ways to sync with the iPad, though - please see our video tutorials page for info.

Just a few thoughts on the subject of an iPad app:

If you contracted it out, it’s unlikely that it would cost £80k to do it. I’ve worked with developers that do quite complex applications, requiring custom resources no less, in the $10-20k range. Of course, you’d need to either be able to do upkeep, or have a good relationship with said contractor.

You do have a built in audience, as well as a great brand. Seems like many people here have a strong interest in it – so many that you’ve developed videos on how to sync to third party apps – all of whom have already paid $45 because they see the value of the software. I wouldn’t bat an eye at $20 to get it on my iPad, and I can’t be the only one of millions of iOS users who feels that way.

As far as the interface… I think the organization bar and the main window are easy, split view available if you have a bluetooth keyboard attached, and tap-to-overlay menus (think Goodreader) for research panes, comments, etc.

I’m not intending to offend you, I just feel that iOS is more accessible than many businesses think.

EDIT: Removed a post about a competitor’s product…

That would definitely be awesome. If I can edit the project on Storyist (on iPad) and synch back to Scrivener without further problems… That would be heaven! Has someone tried yet?

I just read this review of Storyist for iPad: macobserver.com/tmo/review/w … _for_ipad/

It claims that Storyist has a “rich text editor…”. It’s not clear if this is just a qualitative comment or if it really has RTF. Anybody know? If so, isn’t this a first?

It actually is, and yes, to my knowledge that is a first by any third party. It’s fairly rudimentary. The entire specification is not supported (but to be fair, the entire spec is huge, not even Cocoa handles it), but you can read in .rtf files and export them. The biggest thing missing in my opinion, of interest to writers is a lack of overstrike. All in all, not too far off of the mark by my estimation. The iPad has been out for a little over a year now, and I always figured it would take about a year for someone to re-invent part of the wheel. It still boggles my mind that Apple has put developers into that position in the year 2010/1; it is borderline irresponsible on their part, and has likely stymied the success of their platform for productive quality.

A new application, Notability, also edits RTF. It’s not real competition to Storyist because it lacks a lot of features for writing. But it basically can create RTF formatting and export/import to Dropbox.

Is there a way to make the exported projects compatible with Scrivener? I’ve never tested Storyist, but there seem to be a lot of similarities to Scriv functionality based on their screenshots. (Believe me, I’m not looking to switch desktop apps, just wondering if this might be a viable iPad option–at least until Keith hires that programmer…)