Setting Reminders

The Reminders app in IOS and Mac OS is a great way to keep track of things to do. Writing Shed lets you set up reminders in several places. In the Mac version you will see a Set Reminder button at the bottom of Inspector windows. Clicking the button displays the following panel:

Fill out this form to create a single/repeating reminder. These are added to a list called Writing Shed (what else!) that can be viewed at any time from the Reminders app.

In IOS you need to look for a button with the following icon:

You will find this on a text page, collections/publications lists in edit mode, and the information page for a submission. Here’s a screenshot of the dialog displayed when you tap the reminder button:

Versioning

Versioning is one of the most useful features of Writing Shed. Writers typically revise texts many times before they are complete (some would say they are never complete, just abandoned). Using traditional word processors such as Word and Pages, even Scrivener, each revised version requires you to create a copy of the text file; either that or to append edited copies of the text to the existing file. Whichever method you choose you are faced with a management problem.

Writing Shed allows you to easily create multiple versions of a text.

In the iPad version you will see the following 5 buttons at the bottom of the text editor (on the iPhone the two circular ones are missing) :

Tapping the plus button will add a new version of the text that is a copy of the selected one. It will also copy any notes attached. To move between versions just swipe left/right. To remove the selected version tap the trash can button. The title bar displays the current version number (v3/3) as shown here:

In the Mac OS version you need to look at the toolbar at the top of the screen:

The version controls are the 4 grouped on the right. The buttons beneath each button describe its function.

The version number of the currently displayed text (v1/1) can be viewed in the inspector window on the right:

If you haven’t already found out about versioning then I hope this tip will persuade you to give it a go.

iCloud Sync

When does Writing Shed sync your work: answer, when you activate/deactivate the app. There is also a Synchronise Projects command in the Projects menu. Choosing this forces the app to sync your work.

It is natural to assume that synchronising your work across devices takes place, if not instantaneously, then at least within minutes. Well, it is never instantaneous, but it quite often takes place within minutes, if not seconds. But, and it’s a big but, it can take much longer, sometimes hours.

This might seem odd, you muse, because, well, my iPhone and iPad are both next to me and my desktop Mac is in the next room…

The trouble is that your work has to travel through the Internet on its way to your other devices and that lays it open to network delays and iCloud delays.

Sorting Scenes

Tip: How to sort scenes assigned to a chapter

Scenes are arranged in alphabetical order within chapter. Scenes that have not yet been assigned to a chapter are listed as unassigned. You cannot change this from the scene view. What you need to do is open the chapter view. At the bottom of the view is a sort button that lets you reorder chapters. If you select a chapter you will see the scenes assigned to the chapter. Choose edit mode and you will given the option to reorder the scenes. This order is not reflected in the scenes view.

On my ‘to do’ list I have a task requiring me to enhance the scene view to allow you to reorder scenes within chapter and also reorder chapters. I think this should simplify the interface.

Using Help

Tip: Using help

At the top of most views you will see a button with a question mark inside it. If you tap this a number of help hints will appear around the screen. Those filled with yellow are just hints. Those filled with blue are also links to more information. Tap one and another view will appear

Handwriting

Tip

I guess lots of writers, particularly poets, handwrite their early drafts. I certainly do. Since creating Writing Shed though I have started using Notes Plus, a brilliant handwriting app, to produce my initial drafts. When I am ready to add the text to Writing Shed I simply tap a button to convert the handwriting to text. I then copy the text and paste it into a new draft in Writing Shed. There are usually mistakes in the conversion, but these are easy to correct. If your handwriting is clear then the number of conversion mistakes will be small.

Text Display

TIP: Text Display Size

If you were to display a 12-point font on an iPad it would look very small, and could be difficult to read. You might think increasing the font size would do the trick, and it would, but would also affect the size of printed/exported text. To overcome this Writing Shed lets you change what it calls the Display Scale %. This is the % amount increase/decrease that the app applies to displayed text. By default this is 150%, so 12-point text is displayed as if it was 18-point. You can change the value by visiting Settings/Default font.