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More iPad: Using Scrivener and Pages…

February 1, 2012

As I said in earlier iPad posts, I am looking for a nice way to link the iPad as a remote writing tool to the Mac (at home) running Scrivener.  Through google (our good friend) I looked for existing solutions and found several – initially the most promising involved using SimpleNote on the iPad, and Scrivener on the Mac (presumably in a home or office).  This looked promising, and used the cloud for information exchange (a built-in proprietary feature between the two apps), however it appeared to me that the iPad would require cloud connection to use SimpleNote (so you would require a WiFi or 3G connection “always on”), and I really wanted an editor on the iPad that could be stand-alone and save files as needed on the iPad for future upload.  So the search continued… and I found a similar solution using Elements on the iPad.  This solution used Dropbox as the “cloud”, since Elements is really a Dropbox based text editor.  Again, while this works as does the SimpleNote based solution,and I do have, while rudimentary, a stand-alone editor I wanted to use on the iPad, it does require use of a third-party tool in Dropbox that needed to be installed on both Mac and iPad.  And frankly, while I’m certainly NOT an Apple snob (I use Microsoft based systems extensively at work, I host a Debian Linux server at home, and I own a Mac, iPhone, and now an iPad), I wanted to find a solution that would use the Apple iCloud as my common connector, and I really wanted to use my iPad Pages app as the iPad based writing solution.  Pages is a big leap forward as a text editor on the iPad compared to most editor apps, and it can be easily configured to connect to the iCloud. 

I ran an experiment, saving a document in .doc format to the iCloud and then tried to retrieve and insert it into a Srivener project.  After saving a file to the iCloud from Pages, I went to my Mac and opened Scrivener, and started a new project using the “short story” template.  I opened the iCloud on my Safari browser, logged in, and opened the iWorks folder.  Under the Pages sub-folder I found my document uploaded from the iPad, and downloaded it to the Mac “Downloads” folder.  In Scrivener I chose File>Import and imported the file I had downloaded into a “Scene”.  Scrivener performed an automatic conversion of the .doc file into a rtfx format, but there it was.  So, the reverse experiment… I created a new Scene in Scrivener and exported it to a file in my Documents folder, again as a .doc file.  Back to iCloud/iWorks I imported the file from Documents into the Pages area of iWorks.  And now the drum roll please… I opened up the iPad, brought Pages up… and opened it to edit an existing file, and there it was – my Scene uploaded from Scrivener!

OK – all good… I think I have found my toolset for writing on the iPad and connecting to Scrivener! This also has the potential to extend my Mac-side writing, since eventually one may want to export the Scrivener “final draft” into a real word processor for final formating and completion… and iWorks / Pages on the Mac is a good solution, allowing the possibility of using the iPad directly through Pages to tweak the final novel/product as well.  The programmer in me would like to automate and formalize the process a bit, at least on the Mac side… so perhaps a Ruby project will be next steps to make all this file exchange process a bit more seamless and organized.  I’ll let you know…

Thanks to Jamie Todd Rubin and his Blog site, and some key experiences he suggested I found quite useful.
SimpleNote and Scrivener
Elements and Scrivener

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From → Technology, Writing

2 Comments
  1. This is really helpful. I’ve been looking for a way to work on my Scrivener projects while out and about. I also like the idea of using pages, not only because it’s a pretty good editor for iPad but also because I’m used to it.

    I’ll give your suggetion a try but it sounds like it might be just what I’m looking for.

  2. Reblogged this on Reading, Writing, Life and Stuff and commented:
    I use Scrivener for my writing projects and I love it. However, since I got an iPad earlier this year, I’ve been looking around for a way to work on them while mobile. It seemed like an impossible ask and I was about ready to give up and switch to a different application. I’d even bought an app which, although nowhere near as good as Scrivener, held all documents online and was available for the iPad.

    I’m so glad I found this post before I went to the trouble of migrating all my projects to the new app. It’s early days yet but it looks like it might be exactly what I’m looking for. Thank you so much to Todd Kersh for sharing his expertise.

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