Manuscript for iPad

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Location: Peachland, British Columbia

Sat Aug 21, 2010 11:04 pm Post

Like many people in this forum, I've been searching for an effective way of writing on my iPad and exchanging that data with Scrivener. I just bought an app called Manuscript for iPad (from Black Mana Studios) which, while not perfect by any means, permits the exchange of straight text files of any length, has a simple index card feature, a rough word count feature, and lets you use tools such as Wikipedia, a dictionary and thesaurus, and Google from within the application. Oh, and did I mention it imports and exports via Dropbox? Those waiting for Plaintext to arrive may wish to consider this instead. It works quite well.

Someone more technically-inclined than me have another way of moving text from Scrivener into Manuscript for iPad, but so far I've simply copied the content of individual binder folders to a text-based application like Bean, saved it as a txt file, and then dumped it into my Dropbox folder. The import into Manuscript for iPad is quick and clean. I'd welcome any suggestions about how to streamline this process, but honestly I don't find it onerous.

A bonus: if you dump many chapters into a single file, then mark the individual sections with a simple template provided by the app developer, the app will import them all at once and divide them into individual chapters on the iPad. You can then shuffle the sections about at your leisure--just as you can in Scrivener's binder! Nice touch.

I do wish the index card implementation were more robust, but it is a step in the right direction. For example, you can shuffle the cards about but you can't create stacks of cards representing sections or chapters. I suspect that will come in a subsequent version. On the plus side, you are able to colour code individual cards and create distinct "Pitch" and "Synopsis" cards. Not bad for a first effort.

Another benefit for some users is that there is a separate version of the app for the iPhone/iPod Touch. It costs an additional $5. I didn't buy it but I presume you could 'sync' Scrivener content with both the iPod and iPad versions if you were so inclined. Too much work for me.

The app is $9.99 US. You can find it here: ... 32460?mt=8. And for the record, I am not affiliated with the developer in any way; I just think that solid efforts such as this should be supported.

Give it a try. You might like it.



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Sun Aug 22, 2010 2:38 am Post

Thanks for the review; but wish you had posted it on the "iPad as a writing/research tool" thread. Maybe you could put a post there with a link to your comment?

A similar app called "Manuscriptus" appeared one day earlier on the iTunes store. It lacks the index card feature, which is rather nice, but is only $2.99. In my view, $9.99 is way too much for a basic word processor, especially when SimpleNote and the forthcoming PlainText do almost as much and are either free or less than a buck.

But thanks again, and please keep us advised about any developments in Manuscript.

PS: Black Mana Studio also sells an app called ScreenWrite for $7.99

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Sun Aug 22, 2010 7:33 pm Post

I gave this one a look and there are a few things about it that puzzle me. The index card feature seems to be in no way integrated with the actual text, and in fact I'm not sure what the point of it is. You have to actually exit the document to view index cards---there is no way to go straight from text to index cards. Something that will make it difficult to use with the next version of Scrivener is that its Dropbox integration is import/export based. You select a text document on Dropbox and elect to import it, and that that point it becomes a "manuscript" in the library, changing the name in the process. It's difficult to export it back into a place where Scrivener can utilise it, especially because Scrivener needs certain elements of the filename to remain static. So the two problems there are that it cannot easily browse and load lots of little files, which most Scrivener users will be working with, and the second problem is that it treats the imported file as a book, and will insert formatting into the text document to indicate "chapters" and such. In other words, as an alternative to PlainText for taking your Scrivener writings on the road, I don't think it's quite set up for that.

I don't mean to sound as though I'm coming down hard on the project. I think it's a decent program, if a little overpriced, but it's not going to work terribly well with Scrivener's newer features.
Ioa Petra'ka
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The Credulous Mark
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Sun Jul 10, 2011 3:21 am Post

Has anyone tried this app recently? It's $6.99, and I'm wondering if it has improved.

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Mon Jul 11, 2011 6:31 pm Post

they are slooow to improve anything at all. I would use it if it had

chapter word count
bigger text size
a search function
keybord extension/textexpander support

but I extrapolate it will take them about 7 years to implement that.

Black Mana iOS software is something not to go for.