Category Archives: Apps

Reviews of apps for word processing, blogging, autocorrection, and anything else that can help you write.

Notebooks Icon


Notebooks Icon

Update 20 March 2011: As of Notebooks version 4.1.1 you can now print from directly inside the app. A EuroSmartz printing app isn’t required. The new version also has Markdown formatting, support for lists, additional editable file types, additional fonts and you can convert a plain text document to PDF.

Writers get their ideas from many places. A jotted down lyric, an image-heavy web page or a carefully researched PDF can be the inspiration for tomorrow’s article or next year’s novel.

But no matter how good the idea, if you don’t write it down, you’re sure to forget.

What writers need is a way of storing and organising their ideas, the files that inspired them, and the resulting notes and drafts.

On the Mac, Scrivener is the solution. It can store, play and organize anything: text, image files, web pages, PDFs, sound files, and even video files.

Now iPhone users have an app that can do nearly everything that Scrivener can do. If you have Dropbox installed, it can even exchange data with Scrivener.

The app is Notebooks and it’s the perfect digital scrapbook and word processor for your iPhone or iPad.

Is there anything Notebooks cannot do? You can use it to scribble down ideas, or write entire drafts. It saves as you go without having to be told and integrates with the TextExpander app for automatic spelling correction. For ease of screen reading, there’s a choice of seventy fonts and you can vary the font size with the slide of a bar. You can write in both landscape and portrait orientations, with a Bluetooth keyboard or the on-screen keyboard.

If you have one of EuroSmartz printing apps installed, you can print directly from Notebooks.

Notebooks can be your daily journal. It can list tasks and notify you when they are due. It can take and store photographs from the camera, and store audio files, PDFs, Microsoft Office files and iWork files (though you cannot as yet edit them.)

You can organise your files in Books, which are folders that can be nested inside each other.

Most importantly, Notebooks integrates seamlessly with Dropbox, so you can pick up or drop off any type of file. As Scrivener version 2.0 also integrates with Dropbox, you can keep text files on Scrivener that can also be accessed and edited from your iPhone using Notebooks.

Notebooks has far more features than I could mention. To give you an idea of how much this app can do, the PDF handbook is 42 pages long.

Notebooks is $7.99 on iTunes. If you want to write on your iPhone, get Notebooks now, you won’t regret it.

Write a Letter to Santa

Write a Letter to Santa

Write a Letter to SantaWrite a Letter to Santa app allows younger children (and adults if that’s your thing!) to send Santa a festive drawing.

Older children can sent Santa a letter that lists what they want for Christmas.

Sending the letter or the drawing leads to an animation of Santa’s reply.

The app remembers the letter so that Santa and parents can view the present list afterwards.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Charl at iPhone Writing!

Type While Walking

Type While Walking

Type While WalkingGot no time to write? Make time by writing while you’re walking.

Type While Walking app uses the iPhone’s camera to show you what’s in front of you while you’re walking or enjoying a view. The words you type appear in white against the background image of where you’re going.

Type While Walking is a simple idea but surprisingly effective. With a bit of caution, you can avoid obstacles with ease. Just be careful of the things that aren’t in front of you. There’s no point avoiding a pothole while you’re crossing the street if a car sideswipes you.

Once you’ve finished typing, you can put your text into another app by tapping the buttons at the top of the screen. You have the option to past text into your SMS app, or Mail, or use it to update your Facebook status. You can also choose to copy the text for use in any other kind of app.

Type While Walking Screenshot

Unfortunately for writers who want to write while looking at something else, Type While Walking is pretty basic as far as word processing apps go. There’s no TextExpander support or word count. There’s a character counter, which is helpful for SMS and Twitter but not very useful for writers. All in all, Type While Walking is more a toy word processor than a serious productivity app.

You can find Type While Walking for approximately a dollar in iTunes.



TextExpanderAre typing mistakes something you never make? Do you live for writing out long repetitive email signatures or web addresses? Is going back and capitalising words your hobby?

If so, TextExpander is not the app for you.

But if you’re one of the 99.9 percent of people who hate doing those things, TextExpander is an absolute must.

TextExpander works simply, but the end result is very powerful. The app monitors your keystrokes inside other apps that support it. Then it compares what you’re typing to the keystroke combinations stored in its database. These keystroke combinations are called Snippets. There are thousands of predefined Snippets and it’s easy to add your own.

When TextExpander recognises a keystroke combination you’ve typed, it replaces it with the relevant Snippet, which could be the correct spelling of a word you always misspell, an email signature, or an email or web address. Snippets can be only a letter long or go on for paragraphs. After making the substitution, TextExpander beeps to let you know. You can change or turn off this beep if you like.

TextExpander can save you literally hours of typing and editing. It’s an app that’s valuable the moment you choose to install the predefined Snippets and it only gets more valuable over time as you customise it to your writing style by adding Snippets of your own.

TextExpander works on the iPad, iPod touch, and there’s a version for the Mac as well. All these versions can sync wirelessly with each other, so if you add new Snippets to one of your devices, you can easily update the others.

If you’re at all serious about writing on your iPhone, you need TextExpander.

TextExpander app is US$4.99, and the Mac version is US$34.95.

Dropbox Icon


Dropbox IconDropbox is one of the must-have apps for the iPhone. It’s a free service (if you’re storing under two gigs of data) and it puts a folder on your iPhone that you can drag and drop files into from your Mac or Windows computer.

Think of what you could do with that! You could drag and drop PDF files onto your iPhone for later reading in either the Notebooks or iBooks apps. You could drop in the photographs you’ve just taken, for your family and friends to pick up.

Writers can use Dropbox to store text documents that can be accessed and edited from your iPhone and home computer. No longer will you have to email documents to yourself, paste text into your word processor and not be quite sure if you’re looking at the latest version of the document.

If you use Scrivener 2.0, you can arrange to share a text folder that you can edit from both your home computer and your iPhone.

Dropbox is an absolute must-have for writers, and best of all it’s free if you use under two gig of storage space. After that, plans start at US$9.99 a month.