Scrivener for iOS - What Do You Want? [PLEASE READ FIRST]

Hi all,

As you may have read, an iOS version of Scrivener is currently in development. As I write this, on 16th December 2011 (or rather, as I edit this, since a different version of this post was put up earlier, before we could announce anything for sure), some work has been done on the corkboard and rich text editor code and we are about to enter the design process proper. I’ve therefore set up this sub-forum of the Wish List area so that you can tell us what you would like to see in an iPad/iPhone (or mobile) version of Scrivener.

(Also, although this forum specifies iPhone and iPad, those who want an Android version are welcome to post ideas here, too. Although we have no solid plans for an Android version right now, it is something we want to try to organise over the next year, and an Android version would most likely be very similar to the iOS version.)

Before posting, I would be grateful if you could take the following into consideration:

  1. Although we are soliciting suggestions, obviously we can’t promise that all ideas (or even a fraction of them, depending on what they are) will make it into the final product.

  2. Although I am conflating iPad and iPhone versions here, really these will be quite different because of differences in available screen real estate - so feel free to start separate threads for different versions. For instance, whereas having a binder open next to an editor might be possible on the iPad, such an arrangement might be impossible or at least awkward on an iPhone.

  3. Perhaps the most important thing to bear in mind is that even an iPad is not capable of running a full version of Scrivener, let alone an iPhone. We are looking at a very, very stripped-down version of Scrivener here, so we want to focus on what you see as the core, essential features. For instance, it’s highly unlikely that split-screen editing would work on iOS, and obviously you couldn’t have the binder-editor-inspector set-up on an iPhone screen unless we provided users with a magnifying glass. So, please try to keep it realistic (although of course we don’t expect you to have an intimate knowledge of the limits of the iOS APIs). The general idea is to have an app that allows you to edit your text, add new documents, move cards around and rearrange the binder while you are out and about.

So, please let us know what you would consider essential for an iPad or iPhone version - what would you want to do with your Scrivener projects while out and about? What would a version of Scrivener that is stripped down to its core basics be to you?

Many thanks for your input,

Keith, thanks for opening up this line of comments.
In my early remarks on the iPad (Mar 2010), I said it was a writing machine.
With a wireless keyboard, it’s good for drafting copy and light revising.
So, as far as I’m concerned, I’d like to see an iOS version that:

  1. displays a project, both the Draft and Research folders, in 3-pane view
  2. displays PDF and URL items in the Research folder
  3. saves writing and editing in any RTF files (including comment, annotation, footnote)
  4. saves a ZIP backup file to Dropbox

That’s it: no complex file/folder synch, no split screen, no Page, Corkboard, or Outline view.
Also no Snapshots, Collections, or Saved Searches.
I would like to see a Ruler in the Editor pane, and the usual parts of the Inspector.
(I am thinking only of the iPad screen size; I can’t really imagine writing on an iPhone.)

Good luck, and I hope that it works out.

I would like an iPad version but I can imagine an iPhone version too for some people. You could have the binder as a pop over, like mail was on the iPad in portrait mode.
I would like to have the binder and to have the iOS and Mac OS X versions able to share the same .scriv on Dropbox. Syncing to an external folder would then be less desirable but would remain a useful and probably much desired feature.
I would also like to have tap on the left and right outer margins to move one letter forward or backwards or two fingers to move one word forward/back.
I would like to have a small size custom row of keys that works like the one in Daedelus Touch. That is a perfect solution - you can programme keys from a pop over list and save sets, you can also add more keys as you want until you have a full set that caters for second and third level keyboard entries.
Incidentally, I don’t find typing an issue on the iPad and do quite long entries at times but I hate having to go through second and third levels to get at odd characters. Making any special or optional keyboard row smaller than the default set would have to be part of the deal as otherwise the content window is too small. (This was actually what made me stop using iA Writer).

I would like to first say hello! I just signed up today and have been using Scrivener for awhile now, working on getting my first book finished. I like the whole process though I have to admit Im still new with it and probably don’t have all the more advanced features down.

If there is a possibility of having iScriv on the iPad/Android I can promise you I would be the first one in line to buy it. Feature wise I don’t expect a full set like on my Macbook, but there obviously has to be some type of syncing capabilities. From what I have read about in other threads the infrastructure is there it just needs to be an in house solution. Call me a fanboy if you like but what is better then the actual program syncing with a mobile solution? That would be my first concern, what features would give the iPad version an added flair over carrying your laptop around? Obviously mobility, you never know when an idea will strike you and it’s easier to jot a quick idea down on a iPhone/iPad then anything else.

I could see the mobile idea being like Firefox, with a quick gesture you can open your binder and inspector do what needs to be done and return to writing. What if you were to have it load strictly into your text, with four directional swipe locations (Lack of better terminology) if you do a down swipe you access your text styles and menu buttons. With an up swipe you can access your sync button, your corkboard and other features. Right and left swipes could be your inspector and folders with other documents you can access.

All of your core features could be there, taking up the same real estate just not visible to cramp up the small iPad screen. Maybe it’s just me but I love Swype on my phone and I always feel cramped trying to type on that little keyboard. We need a feature that could make mobile writing more easier then picking at those little keys.

Speed is what would be the issue for me, I like my iPad but over the next year Android tablets will be releasing faster multi-core processors that run cooler and faster. Most notably the Nvidia Tegra which is in the Motorola Xoom and soon to be released Xoom 2.

In reality, the future is the tablet as they get faster and more mobile. I don’t want a full featured Scrivener on either platform, I think most of the core features should be ported to both platforms but make way to new features that give iScriv/Scrivdroid a uniqueness that makes them indispensable to the modern day writer.

The scrivener team always does such a great job with whatever project they take on, it’s inevitable that any iOS product they deliver will overdeliver on my simple wish list.



To automatically sync to my desktop version of Scrivener would be great.


I would like to see a Scrivener Lite version on Android. Just accessing project files w/ a three-pane view (or two-pane) showing the list of notes/folders and then the content would be great. If I had that, I could edit my novels anywhere!

Auto-sync is not really necessary. If the user has Dropbox installed, their files would auto-sync back to their desktop. I used this between two Windows machines for NaNo with success.

I got through my masters degree using Scrivener and Devonthink. In an iPad version of Scrivener, I want to be able to read a PDF, then move over to the two screen Binder and Editor and make notes. So I would like to see a two or three pane interface at least.
I always have custom font and background colors. I am the type of person who has to have the right color environment to work (I am a visual artist).
I would like the software to able to sync with files in dropbox, and Devonthink to go.

I am not very productive on my iPad without Scrivener. My iPad is crippled without it.

Thank you so much.

I’m really happy with the bundle Scrivener + PlainText, syncronised via Dropbox. The only thing I’m missing is a way to preserve character formatting. I’m currently using MMD syntax, but this is obviously a workaround that requires some severe editing. Therefore, I would be happy to work with a system as clean as PlainText, but capable of supporting bold, italics, underlined.

Another solution to my need would be automatic conversion of MMD to RTF formatting. Write in Scrivener, and the export routing will export a, UTF-8 file with all character formatting converted to MMD. Open the project in Scrivener, and do the opposite. Transparently, without even advicing of the procedure.


The two things I’d want:

  1. Syncing a project between my iPad and my computer
  2. The ability to add footnotes via whatever means you can come up with. I am a historian; I use footnotes constantly. The ability to add footnotes, as I can very easily in the desktop version, would make Scrivener on the iPad very useful. Without that ability, Scivener on the iPad, FOR ME, would not be useful. I would think others in academia, where the iPad is gaining in popularity, would like this as well. It would make the iPad a complete laptop replacement.

Thanks for considering this.


I am thrilled to see that you are considering developing this. I am also a historian, and I love using Scrivener, except that I don’t want to have to fire up the MBP to do it!

  1. If you put in support for footnotes and italics in the text, that would be perfect. Nothing fancy would be fine. How you do that doesn’t matter much to me: multimarkdown or something like what Pages already has. The key, though, would be the ability to export something (to the OSX verion of Scrivener or into a PDF) and have it render correctly.

  2. The ability to move things around easily (everything you put in #4).

Right now I am getting along well with a combination of Elements (iOS) and Scrivener (OSX). My only complaint is that I’m always having to fire up the MBP so that I can use Scrivener to move things around.

I second the votes for seamless integration. The ability to go back and forth reliably and predictably would make any stripped down version of Scrivener much more useful than trying to replicate full feature sets.

Other requests:

  1. Preserve template formatting - I like to use screenplay and play templates and would see using the iPad for these purposes extremely helpful.

  2. Syncing automatically via Dropbox

  3. Index cards and cork board - I think it’s fine to have these in different views. The UI of the iPad really encourages this in general. More single-task oriented than a laptop.

I’d love to see this happen. I hope you’re getting excited to do it!

definitely would want some sort of seamless syncing if possible…

and the general basics of the Scrivener Feel…

Corkboard would be nice to plan and arrange on the move

So glad to hear you’re taking on an iOS Scrivener!

From working with several writing & notetaking apps on my iPad in an effort to put something together as useful as Scrivener has been on the desktop, I can spot a few things that I’d urge you to consider.

• Speed. The variation in responsiveness of apps is quite wide, and there are some iOS apps that are just snappy. Even on an iPad (1), for instance, a certain competitor to Scrivener which also starts with “S” has an app which is VERY quick to use while writing, and this includes full formatting capabilities.

•Syncing. Needs to be rock solid, as quick as possible, presumably Dropbox based, and TO BE CLEARLY EXPLAINED as to which features will be dormant in a document when opened on the iPad or iPhone version.

• Searching. A great aspect of Scrivener’s utility is the combination of research and writing into a single toolset. So, please consider that in the design. The current Scrivener<–>iOS solutions have meant that I’ve moved my research notes out of Scrivener.

• My big personal “favorite feature” request would be that the outlining functions, along with the various metadata for index cards - label/color and status - be included. This has been a source of frustration thus far as the last time I messed with it, color coding wasn’t going back and forth between with sync to and from [iOS app] Index Card.


Hello. For an example (I don’t think an optimal one) of split screen editing on iPad, see Circus Ponies Notebook for iPad … 36065?mt=8

Personally I think they tried to jam too much in, but I think a form of split screen could be very useful. I see it working like this:
• Kindof like “multiple buffers” in old school editors.
• Title bar of an editing page can be dragged/flicked left-right to access two editors.
• An icon left or right of the bar indicates which way it can be scrolled.
• If the bar is deliberately dragged into the middle, it would snap to split screen. Both text areas remain side and independently scrollable.
• Enabling typing/editing in split screen mode could be disallowed if it effected performance.
• Enabling split screen snapping could be disabled if one pane included a tricky non-text media type (such as pdf for instance.)

Such a system wouldn’t be too taxing on the iPad, and would allow similar convenience to desktop scrivener when it comes to comparing chunks or text, or keeping references a finger-flick away.

Just my two cents. Oh, PS. Please ensure “edit scrivenings” mode remains, if at all possible. :slight_smile:

I have loved Scrivener since the Windows beta version came out (I don’t use a Mac) and that is one of my major wishes, that it work with the Windows version, but if it is a stripped down version it should work with both.

The only things that I really need are the binder view (maybe a slide over like someone mentioned that works like mail) The Editor/cork board/outliner view. (Even if the outliner view is strictly read only)

Double tap select to move things in the binder/cork board would be wonderful.

And working with Dropbox is a must, I don’t sync with my pc via the cord very often so I need it to work automatically as I am constantly running around to doctors appointments and such and having all my info at my fingertips is a must have.

Oh, and autosave like we are used to.

I would echo the call from posters above for italics and some way to work with footnotes. I’ve been synching with simplenote, but it’s a challenge not to have italics or footnotes.


I’m looking for Scrivener on the iPad. (Woohoo!) I don’t care about having an iPhone version. I will use it for new composition, revision of existing prose, and creating/editing/viewing of “metadata”: research, lists of characters, places, etc., all in the context of the binder. Serious restructuring, production of output formats, and such like, I would do on my desktop machine.

Here’s what I’d want to see:

  1. Rich text editing.

  2. Display and editing of any text item in the binder. (I use IndexCard with Scrivener, and while it works the limitations are annoying.)

  3. The ability to rearrange things in the binder (and add new items, of course).

  4. If the binder can actually display a tree view (rather than being a list with folders that you have to drill down into) that would be outstanding.

  5. Index card view and regular text view. In particular, I want to be able to edit both the summary on the index card and also the main body of the text.

  6. Superlative sync’ing with the Mac version of Scrivener. If possible, I would prefer that this be done through Dropbox rather than through iTunes file sharing; it’s comforting after a writing session out and about to save my text to Dropbox and know that it’s been backed up and doesn’t only exist on my iPad. I don’t want to have to wait and sync my iPad when I get home.

  7. A clean minimal appearance for serious composition and revision of document test. I currently use Nebulous Notes for that purpose; it does a pretty good job of it.

For the iPad version, I don’t care about:

  1. Creating, adding to, or (for that matter) viewing collections.
  2. Setting keywords or other metadata.
  3. “Scrivenings”. If I can edit individual items, that’s good enough.

Thank you, thank you! This is excellent news!

+1 for sync.

Ideally, it would be an invisible process. Just start up on the desktop machine or iPad and the latest version of the current file is there.

For the time being, I can’t conceive of my iPad being my main writing machine - but I can see it as something that will allow me to work when away form the desk for a few days - especially for polishing, editing etc. I really like the way that iCloud keeps everything in sync on my Mac, iPad and iPhone, or that the Kindle app on my iPhone knows where I got to in my last iPad session.

As far as usage is concerned, just give us the binder (swipe right to reveal perhaps), a good full screen no-distractions mode for getting words down, and seamless sync, and I’ll be first in the queue.

And thanks for taking the plunge!


PS: would be nice if the forum supported Tapatalk for reading/posting on an iPad/iPhone… :wink: