Writers’ tools, on macOS

5 digital tools for writing and publishing, to consider on your shiny MacBook or iMac

Not long ago I wrote a post with some recommendations, preferences, regarding software you can use if you need a quality piece of equipment for writing. I wrote that post in the context of Windows 10.

An obvious first choice of operating system, based on popularity.

But we live in a world, fortunately, where there is another big brand in the consumer electronics, and inside that, personal computers market: Apple’s Mac. The wonderful MacBooks, Airs, Pros, and iterations of the desktop type beauty: the iMac.

It’s a well-known fact, many creatives use them. Designers, photographers, musicians, vlogers, even students. Probably some writers, freelance copywriters, translators and editors too. I can imagine.

And everyone needs one, two or more well-written, high quality applications. Let’s dive in:

To write

Pages:

Text editing software of Apple itself. The sibling of, if you like it so, Keynote (presentation) and Numbers (sheet). Let’s say, Apple’s Word.

 

  • Simple and modern interface, highly user friendly,
  • Fast, reliable,
  • Collaboration through iCloud,
  • Free of charges,
  • Formatting options for text and page at the hand,
  • Exporting to ePub,
  • Optimizing images and videos for iOS.
Apple's Pages application start
When opening the app, it’s showing first its templates page
Pages app main screen
The interface where you stare at the most, while you’re wondering where all our ideas have gone to

One of Pages' menu items

Word:

Microsoft’s Word from their Office 365 suite is also an obvious choice. Robust application for both, simple and more sophisticated writing and editing needs.

We could go into many details, but an iteration of the application has been presented in my previous article. There are some interface differences between that and the Mac application, but those are minor, while the convenience and user friendliness is the same.

Ulysses:

Apple Design Award 2016 winner. Should I say more? Of course.

It is also a paid application, after a 14-days fully functional trial. It requires a subscription plan, which can be paid as monthly or yearly fee. Students may receive discount!

The general public tends to love it. If you are going to write a novel, you want to set writing goals and check your progress, want to create a book, you’ll love it too.

It can publish to WordPress and Medium as well, as it is able to export HTML code to use on the web. Available and more details on both, the Mac AppStore and on iOS.

writer-app-ulysses

iA Writer:

 An even bigger favourite of Doers. A simple, pretty and distraction free writing tool.

It has a one time fee, $19.99 (available here), and you get enough features for that:

– Integrated document Library
– Synchronized scrolling Markdown Preview
– Beautiful Preview templates with curated fonts
– Add your own custom templates too
– Focus Mode fades all but the current sentence, for maximum concentration
– Convert formatting to Microsoft® Word .docx, and back again
– Also export formatting to HTML and beautifully styled PDF
– Share drafts to Medium and WordPress
– Auto Markdown formats text on-screen
– Night Mode
– Real-time iCloud and Dropbox sync
– Reading Time; plus sentence, word, and character count
– Customized for Retina displays
– Handoff support
– Full screen for total immersion in the text

And what else not! Good enough, right?

To publish

iBooks Author

Let’s face it, if you’re a writer, and you have works done, or almost, and you do have a Mac, then to make your e-books a reality and publish those to iBooks Store, iBooks Author is a logical choice. And this really helpful and gorgeous tool is for FREE.

It features the following:

Apple-designed templates
• Give your book a great beginning with templates that include a choice of page designs with matching fonts, colors, and textures
• Quickly customize your book with text and images, create new layouts, and even save a custom template
• Easily add a cover, video introduction, table of contents, copyright page, dedication, and foreword

Beautiful text and layouts
• Use a variety of text styles including custom fonts to give your book a rich yet consistent look
• Add text, shapes, charts, tables, and media anywhere on the page
• Import a chapter written in Pages or Microsoft Word and apply a great-looking layout from your current template
• Add sophisticated mathematical expressions with native equation editing using both LaTeX and MathML notation
• Add any word to the glossary with a single click and easily include photos, images, charts, tables, and shapes next to any definition
• Automatically create a portrait view of your landscape book, which allows readers to focus on the text

Multi-Touch widgets
• Choose from a variety of widgets that add Multi-Touch interactivity to your book
• Add a photo gallery, chapter review, movie, audio file, Keynote presentation, scrolling sidebar, dynamic pop-over, interactive image with callouts, 3D object, or custom HTML anywhere in your book
• Many widgets include placeholders for titles and captions and are automatically numbered so you can reference them in your main text
• Add accessibility descriptions to any widget so that it can be used by sight-impaired readers easily with VoiceOver

Export for iBooks Store™ or iTunes U™
• Preview your book in iBooks on iPhone, iPad and on Mac to see how it looks and works
• Submit your book to the iBooks Store for sale or free download in a few simple steps
• Export your book in iBooks format to share on iTunes U or to give to others
• Export your book as a PDF file

ibooks-author interface

And this piece of software has also many third party author templates and toolbox expansions, right in the AppStore™

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