Your own blank canvas, ready to be painted with words. This is where the magic happens. You’ll spend most of your time here.
Once you’ve selected your file in the Library or launched a blank doc, you can get right down to business. Here’s a look at the Editor.
The top bar on your screen includes powerful navigation, formatting and sharing options. From left to right let’s take a look at these:
Show or hide the Library pane while you work.
Navigate through your recent document history, the same way you would in a web browser. You can press and hold on either key to reveal your history and quickly select a document.
AA – Editor Options
Set your ideal font size using the A A A buttons.
Toggle focus, style and stat options you’d like to see while you work. You can always tap AA to quickly toggle options on or off.
Switch between Light and Dark modes. Note this option is not available when you’ve configured the
Appearance setting to System.
Click Configure Editor for access to even more Editor settings.
By tapping the file name in the bar you can access file options like moving and renaming. You can also browse for backups of the file or revert to prior versions (when working in iCloud).
You can enable the Preview by clicking the ► (play) button. For more info on the power of Preview, please check out this article: Preview
Sharing is caring! In addition to exporting and print options, you can use
Share to send your work via other iOS Share sheet options. For more details on sharing from Writer please check out this article: Export, Share, Print
Keyboard & Keyboard Bar
Besides the blank canvas (or your current work in progress), the next important part you’ll interact with is the keyboard.
In standard configuration (iOS 16 shown) you’ll see a row of keys above an on-screen keyboard.
When working with a connected keyboard, the on-screen keyboard is hidden, but it is possible to configure the Editor so that you can still have access to the keyboard bar functions like undo/redo and the new Lightning menu.
In Settings → Keyboard → Hardware Keyboard: toggle Show Keyboard Bar to on.
When enabled, the keyboard bar lives at the bottom of the Editor as long as your hardware keyboard remains connected. Language switcher and iOS Dictation buttons are also shown in this keyboard bar.
💡 Take advantage of keyboard shortcuts when working with a connected keyboard. Press and hold on the ⌘ key to show a list of all shortcuts. For more please see this article: Keyboard Shortcuts
– Press the loup for Quick Search. Press and hold to show Find and Replace function.
– Left and Right directional arrows move the caret one place in selected direction
– Undo/Redo inputs. Redo key will be replaced with a ‘Go To’ button when the caret is within or adjacent to any link
– Lightning Menu*. Add your favorite formatting functions here so they are just a tap away!
* On devices running iOS 14 or lower, you will see the Command Keyboard button (⌘ ) in place of the Lightning menu. Users on iOS 15 and above can use the Command Keyboard side by side with the Lightning menu by enabling this in Settings → Keyboard → Command Keyboard
Double-tap Shift (⇧) key:
– Indent (or outdent) current line or list item
– Move Text. Current line or selected block of text can be moved up or down.
Writer is designed to get you up and writing as quickly as possible. Most users simply launch Writer and begin typing.
There are however some settings you can use to tweak the Editor to your own tastes. You can configure these in Settings → Editor or by tapping the AA key and selecting Configure Editor
Focus Mode (scope): You can choose either Sentence or Paragraph focus. You can also toggle Typewriter (scrolling), which keeps the cursor centered in the middle of the Editor.
Syntax: Lets you set up Syntax Highlighting to work for you. Simply toggle on/off the parts of speech you’d like to see highlighted in your text. You can learn more about this special feature here: Syntax Highlight
Style Check: Lets you configure Style Check to your own tastes. Selecting Custom Patterns opens a new window to allow you to add your own patterns. To learn more about this unique feature please see: Style Check
Text and Appearance
iA font and line length can be set here. You can also set how highlighting and completed tasks will look. (Both of these settings also affect how these are rendered when using built-in templates)
Because some Markdown syntax (e.g. code blocks) requires specific indentation, Writer allows you to specify you preferences for how indentation is handled. Here is a breakdown of the settings.
Indent text using: Select between using a single tab or 4 spaces for indentation when issuing the tab key.
Indents – Using tab anywhere within a paragraph will indent the entire paragraph to make a codeblock or create a nested list (sub) item when used in a list.
Inserts Tab – A tab is inserted at the cursor.
Tab width: Allows you to set how wide a tab appears anywhere in the Editor (measured in number of spaces). This does not change the number of spaces used.
Indent width: Number of spaces used (width) to indent when
Indent text using: is set to Spaces.
Note that when Spaces is set to 2, indenting paragraphs will not form a codeblock and indenting list items will not create subitems. Markdown syntax requires 4+ spaces for both syntaxes
Wrapped line indent includes:
Whitespace – Wrapped lines include leading whitespace preserving indentation. When disabled, wrapped lines are return flush to left margin. Note that indentation here has no effect on output in Preview, print or exported docs.
Markdown block markers – Wrapped lines are indented to line up with the text above, but not the Markdown block markers (i.e list markers/bullets)
Spelling and Auto-completion
Writer for iOS uses iPadOS system Autocorrect functionality.
You can enable/disable this in app by toggling Check Spelling on or off.
You can also enable Smart Quotes or Smart Dashes to take advantage of replacements for:
In case you missed it, don’t forget to check out our article on Writer’s Library. Or, keep moving forward and learn about Preview!