Image: iA Writer
Mac customers authoring textual content snippets, composing content material, writing copy and in any other case drafting notes and concepts generally flip to macOS’ personal TextEdit. While it’s a reliable textual content app, there’s no pure equal for Apple’s iOS customers, who additionally generally use Macs. Information Architects’ iA Writer is a deceptively easy Markdown language textual content enhancing app that allows accessing and enhancing information throughout all Apple units (Macs, iPads and iPhones), ought to a person want and buy each the macOS and the iOS corresponding licenses. In addition to this system’s ease of use and minimal person interface, iA Writer is a strong writing program that exceeds TextEdit in lots of different methods. Here are 5 methods iA Writer supplies necessary performance TextEdit lacks.
1. Complete Markdown assist
iA Writer supplies full Markdown language assist, making it straightforward for authors to remain inside the writing circulate when composing net copy, informational articles, weblog entries, social media posts and comparable content material that usually contains hypertext (HTML) language. There’s no have to elevate palms from the keyboard, break rhythm, attain for a mouse and start right-clicking, copying and inserting hyperlinks, as is usually crucial utilizing TextEdit.
Instead, with full Markdown assist, hyperlinks might be embedded inside the pure circulate of writing, as might be seen in Figure A. This yr alone I’ve written tens of 1000’s of phrases for company webpages, advertising and marketing supplies, newsletters, informational web sites, weblog posts and comparable retailers and I’ve discovered such comfort remodeling. With at present’s distractions and our personal brief consideration spans, don’t underestimate the significance of remaining inside a single headspace whereas writing.
iA Writer supplies full Markdown formatting options, in addition to a number of focus and export capabilities.
If you’re unfamiliar with Markdown formatting, and when you carry out any type of writing both for work or to raised set up your ideas and plans, it is best to check out iA’s Markdown Guide. Using easy punctuation, reminiscent of a single hashmark to format a phrase or phrase as a headline, you may fashion the textual content as you write.
With Markdown, you may keep within the writing circulate and by no means want to succeed in for the mouse to hunt a method choice someplace inside an ever-changing menu. The similar is true for specifying italic (single asterisks round a phrase or phrase) and daring (double asterisks) types. With the addition of a few keystrokes, you may stay inside the zone whereas additionally easily embedding hyperlinks, emphases, lists, bullets and highlights. The comfort is a recreation changer.
2. Multiple export choices
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While I typically write content material inside iA Writer that I by no means intend for publication elsewhere, I sometimes write for a e-newsletter, web site, publication or different outlet. While some retailers work straight with a Markdown-formatted file, typically the endpoint is WordPress, an HTML e-newsletter, a Website or different supply. Subsequently, I typically present publications with PDFs and Word paperwork. iA Writer helps exporting textual content information to each. The program additionally helps exporting textual content information on to HTML and venture information.
When I’ve tried exporting macOS TextEdit information, Markdown-formatted hyperlinks, different headings and types don’t translate correctly. The native macOS app, as an alternative, sometimes works higher when writing simply straight or easy wealthy textual content not requiring a lot formatting or manipulation.
Yet, a lot of writing advertising and marketing copy, inventive content material and different materials authored at present advantages from the options iA Writer, and Markdown formatting, allow. The program’s a number of export choices, subsequently, show crucial.
3. Integrated file navigation
When working with TextEdit, macOS proves a bit disruptive by first opening a window that mimics Finder. From that file administration window, Mac customers can then create a brand new textual content doc. iA Writer, however, opens a brand new file by default. And when you select to open iA Writer with its Library displayed, not solely does the app open with a brand new file prepared for composing textual content, however an iA Writer file navigation menu seems alongside your open file.
These are delicate variations, I acknowledge. But whenever you spend the higher a part of every day capturing ideas, content material and materials and writing, the comfort provides up. Switching between iA Writer information proves a lot simpler, too. Mac customers don’t lose their prepare of thought by simply navigating between information and paperwork inside iA Writer.
4. Focused enhancing and magnificence checking
I nonetheless bear in mind when Microsoft launched purple underlines for textual content its Word program didn’t acknowledge. As knowledgeable creator, this technical innovation was extremely useful. iA Writer has taken the idea even additional. The program contains a number of focus choices that allow flagging varied components with shade coding to assist spot errors, complicated passages and alternatives for readability enchancment.
From this system’s Focus menu, Mac customers can select to focus on particular syntax, reminiscent of nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs and conjunctions, as proven in Figure B. The Focus menu additionally permits highlighting types, together with fillers, clichés and redundancies. If you’re employed inside a specialised subject, the app additionally helps specifying customized fashion alerts wherein you enter your individual guidelines and exceptions utilizing this system’s Preferences.
iA Writer permits highlighting quite a few variables whereas writing to assist enhance textual content composition.
The app’s capacity to focus on nuances doesn’t finish there. iA Writer’s Focus capabilities additionally allow setting focus scope — the realm the app highlights and emphasizes as you write — to a sentence or paragraph. These are compelling options that have to be skilled in the midst of writing to actually recognize. But the app’s capacity to middle your consideration on the attributes you specify is a nifty characteristic that higher permits writers to direct consideration to the content material they’re drafting, versus the predetermined mechanics of the app getting used to gather that writing.
TextEdit, in the meantime, permits checking spelling and grammar when you sort, which is useful, and even mechanically correcting spelling — a characteristic I’ve realized over time to keep away from in favor of highlighting particular passages, which I’ve discovered works higher for the supplies I incessantly discover myself composing. But the native textual content app doesn’t supply the quite a few fashion and focus choices discovered inside iA Writer that show so efficient.
5. Focused writing
With just a few fast keyboard shortcuts — COMMAND+E toggles the navigational library and file record to the present view and is amongst my favorites — iA Writer can swap from displaying a listing of information you’re actively growing to only the textual content you’re actively composing. With the flexibility to show a single textual content file full-screen with no different ribbons, toolbars, standing menus or distractions current, mixed with the flexibility to allow a single sentence or paragraph focus, iA Writer excels at limiting your focus to the precise textual content you’re actively authoring.
When Hog Bay Software’s WriteRoom was initially launched 11 years in the past, its singular deal with textual content was my favourite characteristic. You can consider iA Writer as an analogous composition app, solely with the addition of a number of sturdy options that fine-tune deal with the copy and textual content one is writing, whereas allowing Markdown performance and a number of export choices.
Priced at $29.99, it’s possible inevitable the app will swap to being a subscription-based product. I’ve develop into so dependent upon the Markdown writing program I’ll fortunately pay a month-to-month price, although. iA Writer’s minimal however sturdy characteristic set helps refine writing, and in at present’s harried skilled surroundings, the performance is effectively well worth the expense.