Scrivener for iPad (again)


Yesterday Storyist for iPad appeared on the AppStore. Ulysses and StoryMill are also developing iPad versions.

I still prefer Scrivener, so I feel compelled to ask if there will be an iPad version of Scrivener at some point in the (hopefully near) future, or not at all.

As you can see, I still have some hope left. :smiley:


Nothing has changed in this regard, and there are no plans at present. We are concentrating on desktop/laptop platform versions for the time being, and as such, both Scrivener for the Mac and for Windows are very much in active development (you will find that many independent developers have to sacrifice properly supporting and updating their Mac versions while they work on iPad versions, but my first love is Scrivener for the Mac and I would never be prepared to put that on the back-burner while I work on another platform that I don’t even use).

Personally - and I understand that some iPad users such as yourself might not be able to understand my own preferences - I would never want to do any serious writing on an iPad beyond a few notes here and there. As I say, I appreciate that some users feel differently, and if they wish to move to a competitor product just because they have an iPad version, then I have no hard feelings and wish them well. However, we do not build our business around what our competitors are doing (and yes, I’m aware that some find this outrageous and “no way to run a business”, but on the other hand I developed Scrivener to meet a need, so get no satisfaction out of copying others), but instead put our resources into the platforms we are passionate about ourselves, and into turning our Mac and Windows versions into what we think is the best possible writing software (and I’m biased but I think they beat any iPad or mobile writing software out there). Although I’m aware that there are some vocal iPad users who swear by it as a writing platform, the vast majority of writers are using desktops and laptops, Mac and Windows, and so it makes sense for us to ensure we cover these bases as best as we can before we extend into mobile platforms (which we hope to do one day!).

I love my MacBook Air…

As a small team we have been working flat-out for the past year in ensuring 2.x is the best it can be and in ensuring the Windows version is as good as possible; had we turned our attention to another platform as well, the Mac and Windows versions would have suffered, and I don’t think that would be any way for us to treat our existing users; and the same will be true for the next few months too. We really don’t want to do our existing customers a disservice by chasing after other platforms just to keep up with the Joneses, or whatever the phrase is.

We rule nothing out for the future, of course.

Good luck with your writing, whatever you choose!

All the best,

(Just back from my honeymoon and about to move house.)

P.S. There’s no need to start new threads for this seeing as you have mentioned this in a couple of other threads too… We read 'em all. I’m really just repeating myself here, but as I say, I stand by everything I’ve said in the past in this regard.

Thank you Keith for your answer. I didn’t really mean to be rude, disrespectful or repetitive… I just wanted to find the thread easier (I always have a bad time finding the iPad discussions. I guess they’re deliberately hidden, but I even wish there was a section on the forums for iPad and Scrivener). I do remember at some point last year that you said that there were plans for a future iPad version, but not before Windows version was ready. Since it’s been a while (and I’m aware that the Windows version is not ready yet), I really wanted to know if there was any progress into that. I’ve had some problems with the Windows version, that I’ve used extensively until a few weeks ago, particularly because I write in Spanish, and I problems with accents are a major issue for me, and because one of my projects is so heavily formatted that I’ve lost many hours fixing simple issues such as bullets and margins in the process of going back and forth from Mac to Windows.

Concerning my preference of iPad over, for example, a MacBook Air, these are some of my reasons. I’m not a typical user, but I’ve seen such an enthusiasm for the iPad around me, that I do believe this is worth considering:

  • The battery life of an iPad is ten hours. The new MBA is only 5 or 6 hours.
  • The iPad works as a touch screen. It’s not the same as a touch pad. I find myself “touching” the screen of my MBP until I realize I’m not working on the iPad…
  • I can turn the iPad at will, so I can write on a vertical format or horizontal format as I wish.
  • I love reading on the iPad (I realize however not many people do) and, as a writer, I read a lot. It’s better if I can use the same device to do both things. And I particularly love reading and annotating PDF files with handwritten notes. That is definitely something I can’t do on my MBP, not in the natural way I do it on the iPad.
  • Since I use an external bluetooth keyboard, I can adjust the “ergonomics” of the whole thing with far more freedom than I have with a MBA or MBP of any kind. For example, I can put my iPad on a table and the keyboard on my lap). My eyes stay in the right angle to avoid stress on my neck, while my hands and arms are in a very comfortable position.

If I were a full time writer, I would probably stick to my computer, and all it’s awesome and advanced features (it’s not Scrivener alone); but I’m not. I have a day job, I travel three hours a day to go back and forth from where I live to where I work (and I don’t have a car), I wake up at 4:00 a.m. so I can have two aditional hours for writing… I need to take advantage of every minute free, no matter if it’s launch time or coffee break. I have even written on the bus, which I use extensively to read (text and audiobooks). As far as I can see now, the iPad is far more versatile for that. (My MBP looks and feels like an elephant compared to the iPad). Besides, it’s more affordable, at least in my country. And since I already have a MBP, it just doesn’t feel right or practical to buy an additional MBA. I would only do it if I were absolutely forced to.

Well, I respect your reasons. I’ve already told you mine, so you have more arguments to consider this, apparently, very small and insignificant fraction of your users. I won’t be bothering again with this.

But I do believe I’m not alone in my dream of having Scrivener on the iPad. I also believe two more things: a) iPad market is huge and will be even bigger in a very short time (far bigger than desktop and portable computers together); b) Windows and PC’s are dead. But I also believe that sometime in the future, Mac OS and iOS will be one and the same… So, a few years from now, we won’t be having this discussion at all… We will just adapt.

Hmm, I think rumours of the PC’s demise have been greatly exaggerated (usually by iPad users, strangely). :slight_smile: The Windows market is HUGE compared to the iPad market. Not that we make decisions that way anyway.

Regardless, as I say, good luck with your new writing tool of choice! (I’d be grateful if you could keep discussion of other software confined to the Software by Other Folk section or to that other software’s own forum, though. Thanks!)

All the best,

Hello Keith,

I can’t deny my own preferences regarding PC’s and Macs. I have my own history: after a few years as a Windows user, I decided to move back to Mac because of a major loss of information and a really bad virus attack on my old PC. That was about four years ago. A few months later I was able to buy my MBP.

I’m currently a Windows 7 user: I have Mac at home, but I have to use a PC at work. So I know both systems pretty well. But even there, even if the PC itself may survive, the institution is studying the possibility to move to open source software.

This year, I’ve seen the iPad phenomenon differently: I’ve already known people who sold their netbooks (Windows) and switched to iPad (not to Mac…). It almost hasn’t been a restaurant or cafe where someone doesn’t ask for the iPad, not the customers: the clerks. I have seen people of many different social origins or incomes talking about the iPad, wishing one, buying one… Even my mother, who is afraid of almost any computer, wants one.

I live in a small country, away from any real metropoli (New York alone is more populated than the whole country), and even here the iPad is becoming a popular culture phenomenon. Everybody knows what it is, like an iPod, and the word itself its taken over the word “tablet”. Just like the iPod word did. People don’t say “look my mp3 player”, they say “look my iPod”, even if its a Zen, a Sansa, or any other brand. And it’s happening to the iPad.

And then I see the numbers… The last numbers published by Apple show a huge mobile market. iPads, iPods, iPhones… If you consider them all together, you have a huge amount of people who was probably out of the PC market anyway, or the Mac market, or the whole desktop computer market. People who use their cellphones like computers, people who live away from the major cities but are, by no means, “disconnected” from the world.

In Costa Rica, the iPhone arrived officially two months ago. Before that, every iPhone you saw (and there were plenty) were jailbroken phones bought abroad at a very high cost ($500-$1000). The day the iPhone arrived, people made lines to buy it, even though the iPhone 5 is around the corner. We have a single phone company (state monopoly, thanks goodness) and it announced it immediately in TV: and here, he who controls television, controls popular culture as well.

So I’m an iPad user, but also a Windows user, and, for a brief period, I even was an Ubuntu user. And I’m also a writer, and an editor (otherwise I would have never found Scrivener). And I like to watch closely the social and cultural changes happening around me. And I’m not seeing a technological phenomenon anymore: it’s bigger than that, and it runs deeper into the minds of people.

So, you can’t blame me for my interest on pushing the iPad as far as I can. For example, I work for the biggest distance university of the area (I mean Central America, not Costa Rica alone). Our goal as university is bring education to everybody, no matter how far away they are, or whatever social, physical, or cultural differences exist. And right now, technology is a major issue for us: if the student lives in an island or a mountain without internet access (and we have plenty of those, including students in indigenous communities and penitentiary centers), and is a person who doesn’t have enough money to afford a computer… then we can’t force that person to use technology. But at the same time, that future professional would be defenseless in a professional world that requires computing knowledge for almost everything. So they’re planning on giving people tablets. Probably not iPads, just tablets. And all of us have to be certain of one single thing: that our students will be able to do absolutely everything they need with that tablet: checking email, surfing on the Net, participate in virtual courses, reading their books, submitting papers… Everything, because they won’t have a printer, or a computer.

So, not just in theory, I need to know how far an iPad or any tablet can go, by my own experience (I don’t want to be told). And these little pieces of hardware go as far as their apps do.

That’s why I can’t stand a world without Scrivener, and the market tablet has become, right now, at this point, part of my world. You can’t blame me either for pushing you, as most as I can, into it. I’m an user, that’s all. But you’re already made your decision and, as you’ve said before, your team doesn’t have the resources this change requires and need to set priorities. I understand that, always did.

As for other people’s software, I think we all have the right to be informed and to know our options; although that’s as far as I’ll go. I’m not selling anything to anybody.

That’s why yesterday I asked, again, if you had any serious (real, on going) plans for an iPad version. That’s how this thread begun: because I needed to be certain that I was making the only possible decision I can make at this point. If you had answered that I had to wait a month or two, or even a year, this would have been different. But you didn’t. You were honest, so am I.

Do I think there is another Mac software superior to Scrivener? No. Even now, that’s my answer, honest as it is. But regarding iPad, after using Notebooks, Simple Note, Index Card, Circus Ponies Notebooks, iAWriter, Pages, Evernote, Noterize, Nebuolous, and Notability, Storyist for iPad is the first real writing application I’ve seen, for my standards (standards that you’ve set with your software). And it looks like it will work for me, for now. I don’t know about other people. I encourage them to make their own decisions. And for what I’ve seen in this forum, they will. This is not a place populated by easily influenced people. They’re all adults with their own minds. That’s why I love this community.

I hope I’m not banned or something, though. Because I intend to remain a Scrivener user. I’m not throwing away my MBP. I’ve always been supportive on my blog, and tell everybody I can to switch to Scrivener, if they can.


At the risk of bringing down the Apple against the world apocalypse, any chance of an android version?

Apple’s latest grab for money in the ebook sales world has turned me off completely. I bought an android tablet (still waiting for it to arrive - argh) and I’m pretty sure that tablets are the future so… any chance?

Which particular ‘grab for money’ are you referring to?

At the risk of answering on behalf of Keith, I think if you read his post about why he’s not working on a iPad version you will have your answer as to the possibility of an Android version. I’m guessing the answer is “not anytime soon.” (Actually, I would imagine the real answer to be something akin to “not bloody likely.”)

Hello Jacqueline :slight_smile:

If you’re typing your messages on an iPad then I am seriously impressed. I’m using one right now and although I think they’re game-changers I wouldn’t want to write anything more than a page on one.

You seem to think that iPad discussions are ‘hidden’. I carried out a quick search and I think they’re all still here. Keith said he wouldn’t be looking at an iPad version in the near future and so the discussions have pretty much tailed off, which could be why you’re not seeing them.

You also seem to think that Keith wishes to stifle such discussions, but I think you have misunderstood his request. This section is for requests for Scrivener/Mac, so if you want to talk about the merits of other applications then there’s a separate section for that.

Now, on the subject of the iPad sales, there seems to be a lot of uncertainty as to whether they are outselling laptops as a whole, or just Mac laptops. They’re definitely killing every other tablet though.

I have to agree with Keith: the MBA is the best mobile writing tool (for me anyway). The six hour battery life is more than adequate because I rarely find myself more than six hours away from a power socket. The clincher here is the real keyboard; I can’t touch-type on the iPad and if I have to carry a bluetooth keyboard with it then I mY as well just get a MacBook Air.

No one’s banned, and I’m happy to discuss most things, but I would just ask, as politely as possible, that we can avoid - however unintentionally - promoting certain competitor products on this forum. :slight_smile: I’m more than happy to discuss and re-discuss the pros and cons of an iPad version of Scrivener on its own merits, but not in the light of what this or that competitor is doing.

Thanks and all the best,


Keith, I promise I won’t name “you-know-who” anymore in your presence :wink: . I still crave for an iPad version of Scrivener, since most part of my working time is happening on an iPad nowadays.

Rayz, when I’m home, I use my MBP, so right now I’m typing on it. But when I’m outside home (more than 12 hours, every working day of the week), I use an external keyboard that I find, strangely as it sounds, more comfortable than a laptop. I wouldn’t recommend an iPad user to buy a docking keyboard or one of those external keyboards that emulate the laptop structure. I love the external, free, bluetooth keyboard because I can arrange the physical aspects of my writing in ways I hadn’t imagined to be so comforable, as I already described somewhere else. And not even the MBA would be as comfortable as that.

Besides, on the MBA I can’t draw and make sketches just like I was working on a real notebook, nor I can read PDF’s and mark them down as I please with my handwritten notes, nor can I read e-books comfortably, and I definitely don’t have Flipboard there (a nice news reading application for iPad that I’m very fond of).

So you both know why I need Scrivener on my iPad so much, I’ll put it in numbers. I’m writing a novel that I started in January, 2010. I got my iPad 2 in April, 2011. Before I got my iPad, I had managed to write nearly 50 000 words, and had many problems to keep myself going on the project. Sometimes weeks passed before I wrote anything. After I got my iPad, that would be about three months and a half ago, my project has reached almost 90 000 words. Those extra 40 000 words have been written on the iPad using Notebooks, and there’s not a single day without writing. Strangely enough, the days I write less for that particular project are precisely the days I work at home, on my MBP.

Of course, now my project is huge and I need a real tool to organize, rearrange, select, discard, rewrite… Notebooks for iPad won’t let me do that at all. It’s simply impossible. I can add, and add, and add… but the real work needs to be done in Scrivener.

Even now, after you-know-who’s version for iPad, I find that program too linear, not Scrivener-like at all. It’s certainly an improvement over Notebooks, and the closest thing to Scrivener I have for now, but it works under a completely different approach. So, even though I believe there is nothing like Scrivener for Mac, these are the things I would like to have on in iPad version of Scrivener:

  • Syncing (that’s so basic, I won’t even explain it)
  • Rearrangement: the possibility to move things over
  • Folder structure recognition, so I can see my project on my iPad exactly as it looks on my Mac and edit or add a file to any of my folders.
  • Metadata: in order to be able to add stuff that the Mac version recognizes
  • Notes
  • RTF editing
  • Corkboard: this should aloud me rearrange things as well.
  • If possible, linking

If I could have at least those things, then I can combine working on Scrivener for Mac at home. On the iPad I could make some simple editing, and keep writing frenetically (as I do now).

When working on the iPad, it’s still nice to have access to templates, pictures, and other stuff. But I can live without many other features, such as adding web pages or PDF’s (because I’m doing that on DevonThink to Go). But even if you want to add that feature, you can use apps like Good Reader and Save2PDF to create some sort of bridge. The screen is so small, that I don’t think split window view would really work, but I don’t know what other iPad users may want. As for full screen view, almost everything on iPad feels like fullscreen (it’s a zen environment per se). It would be nice, however, to be able to change the background and text color. Daedalus (an app from the creator of Ulysses) already has that feature.

Hope this helps you planning that iScrivener you still don’t want… :laughing:

Best regards,


Thanks Jacqueline - as you know (I think), we do eventually want to have an iPad version - it’s just that I don’t want to program it personally (because I don’t want to divide my time between supporting two platforms and thus make the Mac version suffer, and because I don’t use the iPad enough myself to do it justice), and thus we will need to find the right person on the right terms to do it. Your thoughts on what you would like to see go into an iPad version are very helpful, thank you. :slight_smile:

And although I baulk a little at too much promoting of “the competition”, I will say that, having tried it, I am very impressed with how much it has achieved. :slight_smile:

Thanks and all the best,

Not wishing to beat a dead horse here (and I know this idea may be anathema to both you and “the competition,” but could, on the other hand, work to the benefit of both of you), but it seems like a middle-ground here might be possible. Perhaps some ingenious app-writer might be able to configure a translator program–i.e., one that could convert a Scrivener project into the competition’s format (their iPad version) and back again. I haven’t looked at the competition and I gather from comments above that not all of Scrivener’s wonderful options are in place in the competition, so it would have to be a pared-down version of a Scrivener project.

I’m guessing the problem would lie not so much in importing the individual RTF files and such from the i-competition, but in organizing them into a Scrivener-readable project. And then you get the problem of what happens if you get the competition’s version into Scrivener and you add some folder or option to it that doesn’t work in the i-version and then try to send it back to the i-version to edit. It would undoubtedly require a sharing of code between the two parties (or to a third-party intermediary sworn to secrecy or something).

So, I guess this might not be possible at all. But now I’ve written all this speculation and still want to throw it out there for those who are smarter than me to chew on. (I mean, the horse is already dead, might as well cook it and eat it, no?)

Thank you, Keith. I hope you’ll find that person one day. Count on me for ideas or feedback concerning an iPad app. Perhaps, at some point, you can add a forum section named “iPad wishilist” or something. :smiley:

Bargozon, about the iPad software of the competition, at this point I have thought of almost every possible way to integrate that app into a Scrivener workflow. I don’t think it’s possible. The main difference between the two of them is this: Scrivener works with different documents organized as a single project. The competition works with one single document organized internally by text styling.

So, going from one software to the other is hardly something that can possibly happen as a back and forth process. You first have to export your entire Scrivener project as one single RTF file. Then, you import your RTF file into the other program, set styles and work with it. If you want to go back to Scrivener, you would have to import a new RTF file. If you want it divided into scrivenings, you’ll have to do it all, manually, again.

Therefore, once you’ve moved a project into the competitions version for iPad, I think it should stay there for the final manuscript stage at least.

Personally, there are two current projects that I’m working on in the iPad. One of them adapts perfectly to the competition software; actually, I almost think it will benefit at all, because all the text formatting tools that it offers. The other one doesn’t fit at all. The first project is highly structured, the second isn’t. I was able to migrate the first project without hesitation, although I still have a little work ahead setting styles. The second project is still on Notebooks and I think it will stay there until I figure out what to do.

That’s why I insist on iScrivener: even though the competition software is indeed impressive, if you look the other apps available, deep inside, it still isn’t Scrivener. There is a reason why all of us chose Scrivener over the competition at some point; and even if their iPad app is really great, that core reason remains.

Ah–Good to know. You just saved me from downloading the iApp just to experiment with.


The iPad app is very powerful compared to others, especially the RTF and outlining features. But indeed, if you move one project to this software, it should stay there for a while and it won’t definitely, work the way Scrivener does.