If you're the type of person that needs to get a lot of writing done for their work, then you know how easily you can get distracted from a task at hand by the plethora of things to do on your computer. There's a reason why some people disconnect their Internet connection in order to get stuff done. We've been looking for a low-noise, easy to use writing app for a while, and the iA Writer fits the bill quite beautifully.
We've been playing around with the iA Writer app for about a week and we have to say that it's one very nice piece of software. Currently, you can get iA Writer on your Mac for $17.99 at Mac App Store or for $4.99 for your iPad. While this may sound a bit expensive, you get a complete app that allows you to work on a variety of writing tasks without getting too complicated. iA Writer is one of the few apps that has made it onto our Dock.
Our default word processor still remains Microsoft Word, but when you need something to edit simple text, without all of the bells and whistles of a full-on program like Word, then iA Writer works well for those tasks. Firstly, the app isn't big; it's about 1.5 MB in size. There are a few different features that make iA Writer nice to use. It's keyboard-based, so you won't need to use your trackpad all that much. If you've ever done any coding, then you'll feel at home with iA Writer's minimal interface. You're presented with a blank window, an old school cursor, and a fixed-width font.
There is only one font available, and there are only a few ways to enhance text, by using some handy shortcuts for bold, emphasized, and headings, so it allows you to focus on what you are writing. By pushing the '⌘+↵' (Command + Return) key combination, you'll enter full-screen mode. There is a full-screen mode available in MS Word (View -> Full Screen, available only on Macs not PCs), but you still have the option of using all of the features of MS Word. In many ways, this can be a hindrance to getting things done.
iA Writer also has a unique feature called Focus Mode (⌘+D). It will place the focus upon the sentence you are currently working on. You can easily navigate between sentences, but while you're working on one, the rest of the document is slightly dimmer. Once you have completed your text, you can export it to HTML and then use this format to use in your blog. If you're using the iPad version, then the files can easily be saved to your DropBox.
Here are some alternatives to using iA Writer:
1. Microsoft Word: While for some, MS Word can be a bit overwhelming, it's still our go-to word processor.
2. Evernote: This app works on PCs and Macs, and can save your files to the cloud, making it quite useful.
3. viJournal: One of the best apps for daily note-taking. It's available for iPhones, iPods, and iPads.
4. Memoir: This is a simple app to take notes in OS X.
5. Simplenote: This cloud-based app works on a few different platforms and it's free.
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(Images: TentBlogger and Range)