Recommendations for Notepad/Text Editor Apps

Discussion in 'iOS Apps' started by Ashyukun, Feb 4, 2009.

  1. Ashyukun macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2008
    #1
    For the our next podcast episode we're going to be taking a look at Notes replacement/Text Editor apps as our Core Topic. The problem is while there's not quite as many of them (that I can find...) as there are fart apps there are a still lot of them- far too many both for us to reasonably review (or want to buy, given how surprisingly many of them are $5 or even more).

    So, we decided to solicit a bit of advice from our listeners and from the vast pool of app afficionados here. What Notes-replacement apps do you use? How happy are you with them, and why? Are there features that they don't have that you wish they did? What other similar apps have you tried but dropped, and why?

    Please feel free to PM me with your response if you'd prefer to not post it out in the open, but I would recommend simply replying since that means more people will be able to see what is out there and what people are using and enjoying. Thank you!

    -Bob
     
  2. Macjames macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2007
    Location:
    Yorkshire, England
    #2
    I waited a long time for a good notes/text app, as a writer ideas are always popping in and out of my head and while the basic notes app works just fine, it is distracting ugly and lacking in certain features. Then one day while browsing the app store i came across WriteRoom for £2.99 and it was everything i was looking for, i purchased it there and then and its one of few apps i don't regret buying.

    What does it do well?

    - A wonderfully clean interface (no vomit yellow). You can change the colors under the settings menu to suit your preferred tastes. Perfect for the longer writing sessions.

    - Landscape text entry.

    - Access your documents over wifi

    Honestly i feel ashamed for not posting a review but it has been a godsend for when i am away from my macbook air. I have written chapters on my iPhone and that in itself is a miracle.

    It suits my needs very well and so i have never tried any further apps.

    A few pics as well

    Edit: Ive now posted a short itunes review to make up for it
     

    Attached Files:

  3. Gokunama macrumors 6502a

    Gokunama

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2008
    #3
    I keep a lot of sensitive notes on my iPhone, and I don't want to enter a code for every note I want to look at, entering the code just once when I open the app is much more convenient. The tags and monthview calendar of 'Momo' are also nice features, and it has a landscape keyboard and online back-up.
     
  4. liptonlover macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2008
    #4
    I'm a writer like macjames, and I also waited a while until the perfect text editor came, which came in the form of writeroom. My biggest gripes were that notes doesn't have landscape, I wanted a smaller font so I could see more at once, and I wanted a way to get what I write to and from my computer/touch. Writeroom gives all of that and more. The last thing I would want from it is uploading/downloading to/from my mobileme storage, which would be a more useful way to transfer stuff than bonjour.
     
  5. Ashyukun thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jul 19, 2008
    #5
    liptonlover and Macjames- I'm kind of curious after reading up a bit on WriteRoom, did you two have experience with the Mac version before getting the iPhone version, vice versa, or not at all? Given a number of the other apps (including most of the free ones) have features like Landscape, a cleaner interface, and the ability to change font sizes, was the WiFi transfer capability the feature that really sold you on it?

    Sorry for so many questions, but getting responses from people who're actually using the apps for real work wasn't something I was exactly expecting and it's a different and interesting aspect to all of this. Thanks!
     
  6. liptonlover macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 13, 2008
    #6
    I didn't know there was a mac version until I read the description, and I havent checked it out even though buying it on the iPhone gave me a $5 discount. On the computer I just use textedit, which works fine for my needs.
    Back when I bought it, there were only a handfull of options, and only writeroom had all the features. It was the first with font resizing, which was my main shopping point. Landscape came second, I wasn't thinking about file transferring beyond getting it to my computer. I adjusted my MO to start mobile, email my first draft to myself, and use the computer to finish it, post it online, etc.. So though that was an important thing, if it were my main issue I could just write in mail if necessary. Also, just be clear to transfer files you need to use bonjour through safari. It was too much trouble for me so I left it alone after trying it out.

    I listened to the first episode of your podcast, and while I like it I have one comment. When you talked about an app or something like the $80 earphones, though it was introduced in conversation it sounded like it was just to set you up for a prepared speech on the subject. I think you should change how you introduce your opinion of something, or change how you give your opinion.

    Nate
     
  7. Stampyhead macrumors 68020

    Stampyhead

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2004
    Location:
    London, UK
    #7
    I rather like Magic Pad. It has it's own copy/cut & paste feature within the application and it allows rich text formatting as well (bold, italic, change color, change font, font size, etc.). You can also email your 'documents' to yourself from within the app. The only things I would like to see improve are sending the doc as an attachment rather than as the body text of the email itself maybe as an .rtf doc, and I'd like to see wifi sharing as well, like Write Room has.
     
  8. Macjames macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 12, 2007
    Location:
    Yorkshire, England
    #8
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 2_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/525.18.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.1.1 Mobile/5H11 Safari/525.20)

    I have never used the mac version before or after as i use pages 08 and like liptonlover it was the only one around at the time that had the features I was looking for.

    Ask as many questions as you like I don't mind :)
     
  9. Ashyukun thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jul 19, 2008
    #9
    liptonlover & Macjames- Thanks for the additional input! It sounds like being early to the game as they were as well as having a solid expansion over the standard notes app definitely helped WriteRoom out. :)

    liptonlover- Very good- and altogether too accurate :p- observation on the podcast. Early on, at least in my case, I was reading what I had written down before more than just being conversational because it was the prep method I was most comfortable with. I've since shifted how I both prep and address things such that it's hopefully improved a bit, which I think has both improved the tone of the podcast as well as making it easier on me when I go to edit the final release together- I'd at least like to think that it's steadily improved (even if I hate how I sound in the most recent one due to having to use my USB headset mic due to a power outage :(). Kevin has been much better at this kind of thing from the start- he's a natural at it. :)
     
  10. Macjames macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 12, 2007
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    Yorkshire, England
    #10
    agreed it worked in writerooms favor but also i have never experienced any problems with it. No crashes, no data loss, it has been 100% solid and reliable.
     
  11. BLewisMaltz macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2004
    #11
    Are any of these providing more than the built in notepad feature? :confused: I use that a lot and find it meets my needs. But then again, I often find there are needs that I didn't know that I had.
     
  12. Ashyukun thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jul 19, 2008
    #12
    Most all of the 3rd-party text editor/notepad apps provide some sort of enhanced feature set over the stock Notes.app. Since there's so many and such a variety of features, I'm actually working up a spreadsheet with a grid showing the more common/useful features as well as some of their specialties- I'll post that once it's done so everyone can see how the different apps fall out in features.

    Probably the most common feature that the different apps add in is the ability to use the Landscape (wide) keyboard to make typing things out easier than doing it on the smaller Portrait keyboard as well as using a less annoying color scheme than the 'yellow sheet' look of the Notes app. Some of them implement true Rich Text capabilities, many incorporate internal copy & paste and the ability to save your files and transfer them off your iPhone/iPod Touch to your computer or a service like Google Documents. Others go still further away from the standard by implementing alternate ways of entering text such as handwriting recognition and even more interesting entry methods.
     
  13. iFerd macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2007
    #13
    I've replaced the built-in Notes app with Notespark, mainly because it allows me to synchronize and access my notes from someplace (the "cloud") besides the phone. It also allows you to share notes with others, who can add to them if you wish, so it has potential for personal collaboration.

    I'm not sure it's on target for what you are wanting to review, but give a glance at least.

    Edit: Notespark was just updated this afternoon, soon after I posted this suggestion. It now includes landscape support, among some other improvements.
     
  14. gekkota macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2008
    #14
    I'm sure a lot of us will appreciate a comparison of the different note apps! I have been looking at all the various apps available and trying to decide which would be best for me. Are you planning on also looking at Notebook, Notebooks, and momo? These are three of the ones on my list of possibilities...
     
  15. liptonlover macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 13, 2008
    #15
    Macjames pointed out another thing. I use writeroom all the time, but I've NEVER had a crash. Not when writing, not when transferring files, never. That's a pretty nice record to have.

    Do you mind a suggestion for your podcast? If you could make it video, that would help alot when reviewing apps and products. You're doing a great job with just audio, but video would make it that much better.


    I used writepad before as well, (I think that's it, the free one that lets you write for input) and while they did a great job implementing the writing, it just wasn't a natural feeling and I stopped using it. But I believe the app is still free, so people can at least try it themselves.

    Nate
     
  16. laserfox macrumors 6502

    laserfox

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2008
    Location:
    new york
    #16
    Currently I am using two Notebooks from the app store. I like them both for different reasons.

    1. Rainbow Note. I ove the clean and colorful UI. It is bright and makes reading and editing notes a pleasant experience. Users are able to customize the look of the notes from background images to different fonts. The best feature of this app is its googledocs connection. It downloads and uploads google documents wirelessly. Editing on the go is simple. When an edited doc is uploaded, it is created as a new google document on the website.
    [​IMG]
    The cons of Rainbownote is the lack of folders. I have a lot of notes and I am also working on a novel. I like to edit it chapter by chapter and rainbow notes organization system is not very useful. It offers color organization of some sort, but it just doesn't cut it.
    [​IMG]

    Hence the reason I am trying Notebooks.
    This app allows you to places notes in nested folders in a way that suits your needs. You can quickly jump to a particular note and move it to other folders.
    [​IMG]

    The looks of the app is a little on the drab side. I prefer the bright colors of Rainbow note, however this app works well for the most part except it isn't very snappy. It seems to lag quite a bit, especially when trying to scroll through your notes.

    [​IMG]

    A google docs connection isn't offered unfortunately, so I may have to set up the sync service they offer.

    Both Rainbownote and Notebooks offer landscape typing. Notebook can be used used fully in landscape mode including the menus and start screen. While the folder system is great in Notebooks, it doesn't allow you to order it how you please. Its ordered according to date edited. Very annoying.

    I love google docs so I am hoping an app comes along in the future that combine the clean and friendly look of rainbow notes with the great nested folder organization of Notebooks.

    Oh Well.
     
  17. Ashyukun thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jul 19, 2008
    #17
    It would be great if we were going to be able to review every one of the available notepad/text editor apps- but honestly I've had a hard time simply finding them all (you guys have pointed out several that I didn't find inf my searching actually...). I'm currently at having found 30 of them... trying to review and address all of them would present several problems: first off, it would make the podcast a lot longer than we want each episode to be, and secondly as a large number are in the $5 range (much to my surprise going into this- I expected most would be about $1-$2) we really just can't afford to buy and review all of them since we're doing this without any financial support/advertising/etc. But largely, it just isn't practical from a time standpoint....

    As such, we're going to have to limit it to reviewing and comparing a smaller pool than all of the available apps. The spreadsheet I'm working in finishing populating (and that I'll update as I find more, which I'm sure I will...) will have the feature info for all of them though, so hopefully that will be of some help since it will gather info on all of them into one place vs. going through all the app descriptions like I've been doing. :p

    liptonlover- Amusingly, my co-host (Kevin) and I originally met via another hobby of ours that involves video editing, so we actually could probably do a reasonably good job of a video podcast- but there are already at least one or two that do this fairly well. We largely decided to start the podcast because we noticed that there really didn't seem to be one that took a bit broader view of things and looked at and compared apps within an overall class vs. doing in-depth reviews of individual apps, and I think we're both pretty happy with how it's working out so far.
     
  18. Ashyukun thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jul 19, 2008
    #18
    Notepad episode up & Spreadsheet

    We recorded the Notepad episode last night, and it's now up and available for download either from iTunes or the site directly.

    Here's the links to the spreadsheet we put together on all of the ones that we found, both in its native Google Docs Spreadsheet form & a HTML version:

    Notepad Apps Overview: Native Google Docs Version
    Notepad Apps Overview: HTML Version

    If you notice any errors or omissions, please let us know and we'll do our best to update the sheet to rectify them.

    I wish we could have been able to review and compare all of the different apps, but as I said earlier that just wasn't feasible for us to do... hopefully what we were able to do though will at least be helpful.
     
  19. KabukiAdam macrumors newbie

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    Oct 23, 2008
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #19
  20. Macjames macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 12, 2007
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    Yorkshire, England
  21. liptonlover macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 13, 2008
    #21
    Good episode, I'd just like to correct something even though it's too late. I write a ton, but only as a hobby. I've never made one penny off of it. Just wanted to clear that up :)
     
  22. gillybean macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2008
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #22
    Sounds like it's too late now to suggest more notepad apps, but I would have recommended "WritingPad."

    WritingPad lets you trace along the virtual keyboard instead of having to type the letters in one at a time, allowing you to enter text much more quickly than you normally can.
     
  23. Ashyukun thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2008
    #23
    WritingPad was actually one of the ones we tested out and did mention in passing- other than the unique text-entry method, we didn't really find it all that noteworthy (no pun intended). The entry method was interesting, but while it at points did seem to allow for faster entry, with it only being available in one particular app at least I decided that it was more troublesome to be dealing with multiple input methods and have to be switching between the shapewriting and the normal keyboard everywhere else.
     
  24. alainr macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    #24
    syncbook or things

    i have been hearing about both of these as note programs for the itouch.
    has anyone tried them?
    i am looking for a note program that allows me to see/edit them on my itouch when i do not have wifi connection, sync to my mac.
    when i look at the chart which lists all the programs, how can i tell if i need internet connection to view my notes?
     
  25. gekkota macrumors member

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    Aug 13, 2008
    #25
    Why would you need an internet connection to view your notes? You only need a wifi connection to sync them, as far I as I know...unless I am not understanding your question.
     

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