Scrivener and iPad usage Scenarios


I have been watching the debate on one of the other forms here about getting Scrivener moved over to the iPad because Storyist has released an iPad version. I have tried both their iPad and Mac versions and have no intention of switching away from Scrivener. It has helped me get too much writing done since I stumbled across last winter.

The decision stated by Keith that there most likely won’t be one I can except and his reasons why I can respect and do understand.

I am wondering what others do when using Scrivener and do their writing on a iPad? This is something I have struggled with since starting with the iPad.

I use the iPad for 95% of my writing for a couple of major reasons. The first reason is the portability of the iPad and being able to write anywhere when the mood strikes. The second and most likely more important reason is when I type on the iPad there is no clicking noise of the keystrokes which drives my wife crazy. I am a self taught typist who when typing has no natural rhythm. On the iPad there is so much less noise from my typing on the touch screen my lack of rhythm never enters into it.

Myself I used Writings to do all of my writing in and then sync it with my iMac through iTunes by copying the files from there to the desktop, and then from there into Scrivener.

I have tried using DropBox but am very hesitant to get involved and depend on something that requires the Internet for connection.

I would like to find a two way method of syncing.

If anyone can guide me in different directions that I can try it would be greatly appreciated.

Hope this makes sense and is not too long or rambling.


On the iPad, try writing with SimpleNote or PlainText.
Either app synchronizes with DropBox.
When you get to your home computer, open Dropbox, and there are the files.
Scrivener will import either kind.
And it has built-in synching for PlainText files.
See File: Import: From

You might check out the MacBook Air, which will run Scrivener fine and is only slightly heavier. I know the keyboard on my MacBook is remarkably quiet, particularly with a keyboard protector over the keys. Type softly, and it might be quiet enough to let your wife sleep.

Or if that doesn’t interest you, there is iTap, which claims to turn “your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch into a WiFi-enable touchpad and keyboard for your Mac or your PC.” You’d need to have a Mac running Scrivener close by, but you could do your activity on your iPad in complete silence. Read the reviews before you buy though. Not everyone likes it.

–Mike Perry

Yeah, there is also other apps what can be used as a keyboard. I have used Rowmote Pro sometimes (well, not with Scrivener but with Adium). It is the application what can be used as an external mouse and keyboard. It works also as a remote for iTunes, Spotify and many more, but I have used it mostly as an external mouse/keyboard.

Splashtop remote for iPad is nifty. Let’s you run scrivener over wifi from your Mac on the iPad. Makes it seem as if scrivener was an actual app. Great if your at home and can fire up both devices. There is a slight delay when typing though. It’s only slightly annoying. But annoying none the less. I plan on using this config in this years NaNoWriMo.

Moderators, feel free to make this into a new topic, or attach to a different one.

The situation: I have a buyer for my wonderful 2009 MacBook Air with SSD. It’s my only computer, but spends 90% of its life plugged into my beautiful 24" apple monitor, which gives me and my weak eyes the space I need to display Scrivener in all its many paneled glory.

The question: do I replace it with (usage scenario #1) an 11" MacBook Air, or (usage scenario #2) a Mac Mini, and use my iPad as my portable writing tool?

Mini + iPad pros: twice as much storage, superior performance, half the price, and I already have the iPad, external monitor, BT keyboard (which I can use with the iPad on the road), trackpad, and CD/DVD burner to attach to it. Although I used to spend a lot of time on road assignments where I needed a real Mac (writing stories in hotels etc.), now I mostly work from home, where I have the big screen set up.

Mini + iPad cons: can’t use Scrivener on the road. iPad storage inadequate on the road, meaning I have to rely on access to my files via Dropbox (necessitating an internet connection). Even with BT keyboard, writing on the iPad isn’t as easy as on an Air because iOS is inferior for writing, and the small screen and only-one-document-at-a time-display are limiting. Hard drive instead of SSD means it will fail sooner.

Air pros: coolest computer ever made, lightweight, MacOS, Scrivener. SSD. I absolutely adore my current Air.

Air cons: costs twice as much, less storage, lower performance at home. But still easily powerful and (with external HD I already have) capacious enough for my needs. And I’m not on the road that much these days anyway. But when I am on the road, I fear it would be a major impediment to my productivity to write stories on an iPad.

Have any other Scriveners faced this dilemma? If so, what did you decide? I’m particularly interested in hearing from those who’ve chosen scenario #2 – was writing on the iPad with external keyboard significantly harder for you than using a Mac?

I’m leaning to scenario #1 but the other one leverages my current investments best and gives me a faster, cheaper computer with more storage for 90-95% of my writing time. Advice welcome.

If you can afford it, I’d go with the Air.

My primary reason? You adore your current one.
There are other reasons of course (many you have stated yourself), but this one is hard to argue against.

Honestly, I don’t think I have ever heard anyone say they have regretted a decision to buy an Air.

EDIT: for the record, I have never used one myself.

Here me are. I had to face this dilemma during the latest days, and yesterday I went out and bought an iPad. This does not solve the dilemma, so much that I’ve not yet had the courage to unpackage it.

The Air 11" is the sexiest computer ever made. Small, but complete. And runs Scrivener (and DevonThink) in full colors. I still hope to be able to take one, when time will come to replace my MacBook Pro.

But there are things that it is supposed to do worse than the iPad: being a reading machine. I found myself reading digital books more and more. My latest research used about 70% of my sources in digital format (downloaded books or online books/articles). Reading on a vertical screen, where you use to work, is not as comfortable as reading with your text laying down on a table.

(Maybe this task can be accomplished with the cheaper Kindle. Reviews did not convince me that it is as easy as on an iPad, when facing multiple sources in Google Books, PDF, XHTML.)

The iPad can interface finely with Scrivener: I tested this with PlainText on my iPhone 4. Keith did a great work in allowing syncronization with external software. Writing with the external keyboard should be fine (for me, it will be fine only if the TextExpander set of replacements will work fine to remap this keyboard to the ISO Italian layout I’m accustomed to). A bluetooth keyboard is very light and can sit on your car’s back seat, or be in your travel case.

So, I don’t have suggestions to you. Just the report of an ongoing experience. Also, keep in mind that I’m writing on paper more often, when I’m out (in public gardens, cafés or restaurants). And when I move for longer times, I’ve my MacBook with me.


I’m facing a similar dilemma… I’m going back to school and am currently tossing up the idea of a 27" Thunderbolt display to complement my 13" MacBook Pro when I’m at home, or an 11" Air to supplement the 13" Pro when I’m not on the road to try to save a little bit of what is left of my back… I am already planning on picking up an iPad from a coworker (It’s a 32GB Wifi, 1st gen model for $430), to use for books as I plan on doing as much as I can with digital books. I think that the Air/iPad combo would be a good combo for school as between the two devices I can make it through classes with power to spare and have the screen real estate I need to get the job done. One of my biggest complaints about my 13" Pro is that I don’t have enough screen real estate. I’m about to go back to two displays on my desk because a single 1440x900 display isn’t really that much more than the 1280x800 that is built into the MBP…

I keep going back to the Air to supplement the MBP Though. I do plan on using Scrivener to write papers and such or school (Especially as it has the template for an MLA paper built in…) I’ve never found any other software that is so adaptable for as many people than Scrivener. I think that regardless of what I do, I will have the best combination of hardware and software to get my associates degree and then move on in the path. I really just need to figure out what I want to do…