iPhone like Predictive text

My suggestion is very simple: I love the way predictive text works on my iPhone. In fact, I owe to it my renewed urge to write.

As a writer when I moved from Italy to the US and I started speaking, thinking, dreaming and working in English I found writing in English rather easy to learn, to the point where I have earned more than a few $$ as a copywriter and copy editor for shopping carts, websites, etc. It’s not my job, but it is related and I discovered that many native speakers can’t write very well at all.

However, some aspects of writing in English have never come easy. I am a terrible typer and because Italians do not spell, spelling has always been an issue for me.

To overcome that, I have become very particular about editing my own writing, reading what I write at least twice and correct any errors as I write. And there is the problem. Whenever I tried to write fiction, my first and only real love, I discovered that the tricks I used to make sure I wrote correctly, slowed me down and distracted me to the point where I would lose the thread of my story and I ended up staring at a blinking cursor. My spelling was perfect but my writing was terrible, when I wrote at all.

Additionally, I have big fingers and I often mistype words I otherwise know how to spell. I often write “you” as Yo7u" because when I type the “u” my finger manages to catch the 7 above.
For that I use a program called PhraseExpress where I can have it correct mistypes on the fly so I don’t even have to look at them most of the time.

Nevertheless, writing a story remained a struggle. Until after purchasing “Scrivener” and getting excited about this new way to organize my thoughts, I also purchased an app called “Scrivo” that can exchange data quite nicely with Scrivener.
So I usually structure my stories in scrivener, write them in Scrivo on my iPhone, and edit them in Scrivener or in Scrivo on my iPad (using a bluetooth keyboard).

My discovery was that somehow when I wrote on my phone I wrote more and I wrote better. I am also almost as fast and when I consider the slowdown of having to correct mistakes and misspellings on Scrivener I am a lot more productive on Scrivo. Or I should say on my iPhone.

But why? The reason is two fold and if Scrivener could somehow mimic Autotext or Predictive text with the degree of accuracy of my iPhone I am certain it would increase my productivity exponentially.

Reason #1: Autocorrect. This is a no brainer. I can type like this:

“i wokre up taht mo4rning nad I didnt has a p9ot to pis in”

and my iPhone would kindly translate that mess into

“I woke up that morning and I didn’t have a pot to piss in”

Yes, often it misses but the hits are many more than the misses.

Reason #2: SMALLER SCREEN. My compulsive “fix as you write” habit doesn’t happen on my iPhone because
a) there are fewer things to fix
b) I don’t see the errors so I can continue writing without the squiggly red line bothering me to distraction.

Sadly, there is no software that perfectly mimics a cellphone predictive autocorrect for Windows 10 And I doubt there is one for OSX). Even PhraseExpress which is the best of its kind is but a shadow of the brilliance of my iPhone Keyboard.

I have been training PhraseExpress to do as much as it can to autocorrect my writing and I am training myself to type as I do on the phone, without capitalizing “I” or inserting an apostrophe on the various contractions (which I regularly type as don;t , won;t , shouldn;t anyway).

The cruel thing is that Windows 10 does have predictive autotext. But it works only with the screen keyboard. There is no way that I have found to activate it with an external keyboard.

I know a lot of people hate predictive autotext. That’s why it needs to be turned on. But to me it would make the difference between finishing my story and making my “stillborn stories” folder bigger yet.

That’s why I can’t wait for Scrivener for iOS to come out. Scrivo is excellent (and it has an awesome keyboard with arrow keys and other features that I really hope Scrivener iOS is going to have as well) but it’s not yet 100% compatible with all the features in Scrivener and I am hoping Scrivener iOS is going to give my creative writing yet another boost.

Anyway, that’s my suggestion for the day. iPhone like predictive autotext beyond M dash, and curly quotes.

@conticreative - autocomplete is built into Mac OS X and has been for several years. Just hit escape in any Cocoa text box.

Change your operating system!

While Chris’s unhelpful suggestion may be irksome (really, let’s not delve into such tiresome platform trolling, please), there is a seed of useful information there.

The reason iOS and even the Mac have this feature is because the base text-entry systems on both platforms have them built in. That means that programmers can just plug the feature into their software with relatively little effort. There is one development environment and one programming language (well two now, until Apple can retire the old programming language) used by the vast majority of Mac & iOS

On Windows, there seems to be a long history of abandoned programming tool kits (or so I’ve read… never even tried to program for Windows myself). If such a feature exists in MS’s programming toolkits, it probably won’t work across multiple OS versions. When the Windows version of Scrivener came out, the developer settled on a programming toolkit that didn’t even originate with Microsoft, so even if there were auto-complete features built into Windows, I don’t know that Scrivener could have taken advantage of them via the 3rd-party programming toolkit.

In short, some features missing from WinScriv may remain missing for a very long time, if not forever, because building them from the ground up may be too much in addition to the core Scrivener features. Predictive text may very well be one of those features that only big companies can afford to program and maintain themselves, with programming teams dedicated to those features apart from the applications that take advantage of them.

I hope I’m wrong, and that the upcoming major upgrade to Windows (probably a year or more away from the vague hints I’ve seen dropped in various forums), this kind of feature will be one of many improvements. I’ve never used it on the Mac (it always changes the words I choose incorrectly), but I can see how it might be helpful to you. Good luck!

Chris is going to be happy with me: I have a Mac OS, in the form of an older Mac Mini. In fact, I have been a Mac user for more or less half my career so I am really familiar with macs and I own one. Actually my first computer was a Mac Plus with 1mb of RAM and eventually I even purchased a microwave sized 1mb hard drive for it. It was a beast.

Unfortunately, my Mac Mini won’t take the latest OS and I relegated it to entertainment duties, where it does a decent job. It’s a bit slow but it plays movies and netflix all the same. I have thought of using it for Scrivener, but the OS version is so old and the MacMini so slow that it’s not worth losing my media server for a single application. I am not even sure my OS has autocorrect.

I have to make a confession though: There are aspects of the mac OS that I absolutely hate. For instance, the way the application menus are always stuck at the top of the screen. As we all use larger and larger screens, that layout should be consigned to the dustbin of history because when working with multiple programs not set to full screen mousing all the way to the top edge of the screen is a real pain. At least, OSX should give users a choice of where to place your program menus. There are other things that drive me nuts, such as the way it copies folders. It makes it very easy to wipe out the contents of a folder (at least it did with the earlier OSX versions. I hope they addressed that).

Anyway, that’s not the topic of this thread. You are right that windows is a mess of toolkits and programming environments, but since I also have a couple of Linux boxes, working on them always reminds me it could be worse. Linux is nice, but you need a degree from MIT to do the simplest things sometimes.

What irks me about Windows is that they have the autocorrect but won’t make it available to keyboard users. Make me want to drive to Microsoft and key their cars (not really, I’d never do that. I prefer small explosive devices or smoke bombs).

Actually, since I wrote this post I found a way to use PhraseExpress to capitalize the “I” in “I am” “I will” etc, which is a nice thing to have.
Still, Predictive Autocorrect is a lot smarter than PhraseExpress or any autocorrects available out there, because it is contextual. It will correct “its” if it recognizes it in context as needing to be spelled “it’s” and leave it alone when “its” is correct. No plugin like PhraseExpress is that smart.

Settle petal, I wasn’t trolling, it was said tongue-in-cheek and I forgot the sarcasm tag :smiley: I use all major operating systems daily (even BSD) and none of them are perfect. In fact, I’m a very vocal critic at how poor macOS is at many, many tasks that Linux does so much better (memory management, graphics stack, file system, package management). Even Windows is better in terms of graphics support and performance and its file system. The current Mac line up is outdated, overpriced and Apple’s love of glue, solder and garbage keyboards is user hostile in pursuit of profit.

So… I don’t say this lightly, and back on topic but…

…text handling and writing aids on macOS is second to none and is the ONLY REASON I still use macOS (well, that and Scrivener is better on macOS). It’s so good that if all I did was write, I would only use macOS/iOS even though I’d have to accept paying more money for less performance and freedom.

So, trust me, I’m no Apple fanboy trolling for $hits and giggles :smiley: If Linux had the same system-wide text and language features as macOS and LitNLit hadn’t switched off life support for Linux I’d ditch the Aluminium Gaols in a heartbeat.

Mate, I’m Australian, I’m happy with everyone! You show some fine vintage there!

Apologies if my flippant post came off as trolling - wasn’t the intent - was just having a bit of fun.

Out of interest, what Mac mini do you have? Might be that a little open-mac-surgery (RAM and SSD upgrade) breathes some new life in it. Auto correct came in at Lion or Mountain Lion if memory serves and I believe both will run the latest Scrivener. Mountain Lion was a better OS than Mavericks and Yosemite anyway. You give that badboy some TLC and set it up as a dedicated writing box :smiley: