Using a tablet to get things done doesn’t have to be difficult, so long as the right tools are available to make the job or task easier. Those who have to write a lot, be it for school, work or hobby, likely appreciate the versatility and power of a tablet. With the ideal accessories in place, there are some quality apps to make the writing process more seamless.
For some, writing anything, much less a sizeable document, on a tablet can seem a little daunting because of the ergonomics and apps involved. That perception may slowly be changing, now that keyboards and apps are improving enough to make the concept feel more viable than it used to be. Here, I’m focusing on apps that will help you write, but if you’re thinking about a keyboard, there are several of those out now, too.
Naturally, you will be able to use this on virtually any Windows-based tablet, but Word is now also available on iOS and Android tablets. To write new documents, however, does require an Office 365 subscription, so it’s not free to use. If you do have access to one, you would be able to add the iPad or Android tablet you use to the list of devices and have full access to create, edit and save documents to the cloud via OneDrive.
For those used to using Word on Windows PC or Mac, the experience on a tablet is a little weird at first, but is quite nice once you settle in and get used to it. I doubt you will feel fully comfortable after a day or two, but give it a bit more time, and you should be fine.
Again, there is a familiarity here that is likely to be a draw for those who feel a more seamless transition. The tablet version for both Android and the iPad includes the full word processing stack you would come to expect from the browser-based version for computers. This does include offline functionality—crucial to anyone on the road or lacking a Wi-Fi connection on their tablet.
All the editing features are readily available here, thereby ensuring the learning curve isn’t going to be steep, particularly for those who are already Google Docs users. Newcomers can give it a shot without paying anything.
This is a solid choice for iPad users for the simple fact that it’s free to download and offers plenty off the bat. The writing section is complemented to the right by options for translations, definitions and synonyms. Creating an account opens up all the other features that include a personal dictionary for words or phrases that you might want to keep track of, as well as everything you’ve favourited.
The Quick Tour and Tutorial sections are quite extensive, with YouTube videos explaining several of the ways you can make the app work for you. Outside of that, Ginger Page keeps things pretty simple, which is the way it should be.
Now that Bluetooth keyboards are becoming more widely available for all tablets, it’s easier to use word processors on Android tablets of varying shapes and sizes. JotterPad is among the best currently available, thanks to a clean user-friendly interface that makes the most of the bevy of features on offer.
On top of a clean and distraction-free sheet to write on, the app does a good job of looking after your content. Linking to a Dropbox account can automatically sync a document over, ensuring you have a backup (so long as you have access to the Internet, mind you). The Typography section is a neat way of changing the format based on what it is you’re writing, including custom ones you come up with yourself.
The app is free to download, while the Get Creative portion is an in-app purchase that adds a number of editing features, plus a typewriter simulator.
This isn’t a word processing app, but rather an aid to keep you honest. The idea is to track a word count with a duration of time. So, for example, if you’re writing an essay that is 1,000 words, and you want to get it done in one hour, then Writing Journal can time you. The objective is to get it done within the allotted time to avoid procrastinating.
There is a technical side to this as well, since you can have all the assignments you’ve logged into the app exported as a spreadsheet viewable in Excel, Pages or other spreadsheet programs. There are even graphs to highlight your writing speed and more.
Searching for others
Doing a search for writing and word processing apps clearly shows that the choices are very extensive on any mobile platform. Apple makes Pages available for free now on the iPad. WPS Office, Polaris, OfficeSuite, Werdsmith, iA Writer, Book Writer and EasyWriter are only a quick snapshot of the many others that are out there.
These are primarily for creating written content of all types, but there are apps specific to notes, editing text or for certain forms of writing, like poetry, novels and songs, if you want to consider something that might be more in line with what you’re working on. With all these tools in place, it’s totally reasonable to assume that you can be productive in writing the documents you want, when you need to write them. Emailing and sharing them is easy enough, as is saving and backing them up. Some of these apps have those features already baked in.
Finding the right keyboard for your tablet is easier with the various options available now, including for devices that aren’t the iPad. Give these apps a try and see if you can find the one that gives you an edge in getting things done.