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  1. #31
    Volunteer Moderator Alumni Badger's Avatar
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    Scrivener is great for storyboarding. You can write chunks of whatever (scholarly paper/book chapter, creative project, your cookbook, etc.) and reorganize it using the cork board. It's also good for keeping everything straight for a literature review. My favorite feature is that it automatically formats screenplays and you can export to Final Draft.

  2. #32
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    FWIW I found Scrivener a good writing tool for the Mac but I need to love my tools and I just never fell in love with Scrivener. The UI is just too busy, and like Word, the sheer number of features/options/configurations is a bit overwhelming. I know lots of folks who live in Scrivener but I just never warmed up to it.

    I'm a very, very happy user of Ulysses, both on the Mac and on the iPad. To me it's just about perfect - the UI is minimalist but beautiful, the features are invisible unless you call for them, and the EPUB exporting functionality is peerless. Every time I sit down to Ulysses whether on my Mac or iPad, I feel as close to the good old typewriter paradigm as I've felt with any Mac/iOS writing tool. Ulysses is not cheap at $50 for the Mac version and $20 for iPad, but if you get a chance to take it for a spin you'll understand why it's such a no-brainer for writers. Noted author David Hewson has written an excellent primer on getting up to speed with Ulysses, and I highly recommend it to all users.

    But here's the thing. One of the best-kept secrets in Mac writing tools is absolutely free, and in some ways better than either Ulysses or Scrivener. It's called nvALT, and it's a Markdown-centric fork of the excellent Notational Velocity plain text notes editor. I use nvALT all day long and to be honest if Ulysses wasn't around it'd be all I used for writing. It hits all the right notes for me, too - files saved as simple, future-proof plain text, no proprietary formats, Dropbox syncing across all desktop and mobile devices, and full compatibility with just about any writing tool found on any device you may own.

    nvALT is here. Download and install it, and if you don't already have a Dropbox account (does anybody still not have at least the free tier 5GB Dropbox account?), sign up for and install that as well.

    I created a folder in Dropbox called "PlainText", and I point nvALT to that folder so that when it opens, there are all my text files. I can write in simple plain text like the old ASCII days, or I can use Markdown (all I ever really do is bracket a word with asterixi for italics, or two asterixii at each end for bold, or sometimes if I'm feeling really frisky, THREE asterixii for bold italics). As soon as I type a character, it's saved to to the cloud and Dropbox even saves old versions of files in case I want to log in to my account and recover something a few versions back.

    On my iPad (and my iPhone as well) I've got a $5 text editor called 1Writer that's pretty much nvALT for iOS. So I've always got all my documents on all three platforms, and they all auto-sync via Dropbox, and everything just works so perfectly all the time it's a bit boring if I'm being honest. At least with Ulysses, I've had a few scares with iCloud syncing eating all my documents, which is really exciting and white knuckle if you're looking for more of that in your life. With nvALT on the Mac and 1Writer on iOS, all my words are always all three places, and my writing environment is as simple and distraction free as you could hope for.

    So what does nvALT give up to paid, full-featured apps like Ulysses or Scrivener? Forget cork boards, story boarding, all of that. It's just a bunch of plain text files. And the UI's not as pretty, being just a simple Dropbox-synced text editor. It also can't do folders, so there's that. You just see a big list of your plain text documents, viewed either alphabetically or by date. You can tag files if you really need to group them, but I'm not really a tagger, so I just live with the lack of folder support. Oddly enough 1Writer does have full folder support, but nvALT doesn't. Maybe someday it will.

    Exporting is also much more limited in scope than Ulysses or Scrivener. No professional looking EPUB exporting so your work looks like a real novel right out of the gate. nvALT is just a plain text editor after all. You can spit out RTF, HTML, and surprisingly you can also export as a Word doc if it's going to someone who freaks out if it's not Word.

    I may be more inclined to love nvALT because for my first post-typewriter writing job I used a simple ASCII text editor in pre-XP Windows, and I far preferred it to Word. If you can deal with simple text and you don't need all the fancy formatting Word offers, I highly recommend plain text. The files are smaller without all the Word cruft, they'll always open on any computer past present and future, and they're not married to a specific writing tool or computer platform. None of this doc/docx nonsense. "I couldn't open your Word file, can you resend it as a doc? Or a docx? I don't know, it just won't open" - how may times have you heard this? Such nonsense. Plain text uber alles.

    So a lot of words here. Sorry, this is one of my obsessions, Mac writing tools, and Ulysses and nvALT are my two favorites. If you've got the 50 clams, Ulysses all the way. Best I've tried and I've tried them all. But I'm telling you, nvALT is unbelievably great and should not by all rights be free. It's an epic error somehow. Even if you're going with Scrivener anyway or some other paid app, give nvALT a try. You may find it's everything you want from a writing tool.
    Last edited by jonjake; 06-16-2015 at 04:05 PM.

  3. #33
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    Scrivener is a far better tool for students, too. With Scrivener, you compile your documents: "Export or print your draft for submission or final formatting in a dedicated word processor." Documents are broken down into sections, and the paper can be fleshed out section by section. MS Word may be needed for final formatting, but MS is bundling word for free to students at many Universities. Also, there is a free web version of MS Office available free with a MS OneDrive account (also free).

    The only people who really benefit from using MS Office are folks who are doing close collaboration on papers and need to closely track changes. Most of us don't need redlining.

    The L&L folks have been working on an iPhone/iPad version for a long time. It will have 100% compatibility with the PC/Mac versions. Mobile devices will be great to take to the library and do initial research on a paper. There's a strong community of enthusiasts on the Literature and Latte webpage forums.

  4. #34
    Forum Member BPritchard's Avatar
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    Cool Trial Version time limit the best

    From WEB download site:
    The trial runs for 30 days of actual use: if you use it every day it lasts 30 days; if you use it only two days a week, it lasts fifteen weeks. Before the trial expires, you can export all of your work or buy a licence to continue using Scrivener.

    Very nice. I plan to use it to create kindle/pdf docs of programming notes, application usage I have collected over many years.
    Can't ask for a better trial period!!!!!!!!

    After creating a test project, I checked the file/floder/subfolder structures created. All are rtf, txt, and XML. Nothing propriatary. Readable by any text editor.

    Definitely have to go through the Tutorials since there is a learning curve.
    Last edited by BPritchard; 10-08-2015 at 08:52 AM. Reason: additional info
    Been there. Done that. Can't remember.Confused

  5. #35
    Forum Member BPritchard's Avatar
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    Thumbs up On sale

    Finished tutorial which is an actual Scrivener project.


    Scrivener on sale for four more days.
    Been there. Done that. Can't remember.Confused

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