Friday, February 13, 2015
Writing Tools: Hanx Writer
Then along came the iPad mini. I love it as a reading device, but would it work as an input device for first drafts, allowing me to still use my favorite writing spots and avoid the dreaded keying stage? I searched for an editor and settled on Hanx Writer.
Hanx Writer is supposed to mimic a typewriter with the look of the keyboard and the sounds of an old manual, including a ding at the end of a line. It's nostalgic and kind of romantic to imagine pounding out your first draft on a virtual typewriter. Unlike an old-fashioned typewriter, Hanx Writer has a built-in spellchecker with suggestions and you can easily move the cursor around the document to delete or add text. It also gives you a word count. To get your hard work into your favorite word processor, simply email the document to yourself as a pdf.
The app comes in three flavors: Hanx Prime Select, Hanx 707, and Hanx Golden Touch. The basic version is free. Use it to give Hanx Writer a test drive. Unfortunately, the basic version only allows for one document. If you want to work on multiple projects, you will need to upgrade to either the 707 or Golden Touch (both available as in-app purchases). So far, I've only had one bad experience. I was trying to move my cursor around but it wouldn't display anywhere. I pressed the space bar and lost a half-page of text. Fortunately, that half page was fresh in my head so I rewrote it (probably better than the text I somehow deleted). That hasn't happened again. However, I recommend emailing the document to yourself on a regular basis so that you'll have a backup in case something dire happens with the app or to your iPad.