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Library

An essential part of iA Writer, the Library is a feature you will use daily to store, organize and retrieve your documents.

As we developed our apps on all platforms natively, we do our best for the look and feel of the Library in each version to be as intuitive as possible.
On iA Writer for iPadOS, the Library should seem familiar to Apple users as it is inspired by Files.

Reveal and Conceal the Library

You can open and close the Library in 2 different ways:

Open the Library Close the Library
Two-fingers swipe from left to right Two-fingers swipe from right to left
Click the left button in the top-left of the title bar Same

Using the Library

The Library is comprised of the Organizer and File List.
From anywhere in the Library you can tap the < button at the top left to get you up to the Organizer (and access Settings as well).

The Organizer

The left-hand panel with a grey background of the Library is the Organizer allowing you to select cloud storage, organize folders and retrieve tags.

On iA Writer version 6, the Organizer contains Locations, Favorites, Smart Folders, and Hashtags. Long pressing any item in the Organizer will pop up a context menu.

1. Locations

Locations is where you can access cloud storage for your documents, the default location being iCloud.
Any files created when inside the iCloud location will be stored in iA Writer’s iCloud Drive folder. These files are synced to your other iOS devices and iA Writer for Mac, too.

To add new locations: at the top of the Organizer, tap EditLocationsAdd Location.

Tapping the Open… button reveals iPadOS’s Files browser for access to your text files from other apps, like Google Drive or Dropbox*.
Any documents opened or created using this browser will be indexed in the Library and are listed in the From Other Apps location.

These documents are still stored in the apps from which they originate—like Dropbox—but iA Writer provides a link to them so they can be edited in situ.
*those cloud providers have to be added in your Files first to be accessible to iA Writer.

2. Favorites

Favorites allow you to create quick bookmarks for your most-used files and folders.

You can add a favorite in 2 ways:
– long-press a file or folder, from the pop-up context menu select Favorite
– at the top of the Organizer, tap EditFavoritesAdd Favorite

3. Smart Folders

Normal folders are static; Smart folders are dynamic. Which files are found in a smart folder depends on the rules which govern it. New files can find their way into a smart folder with no user interaction at all.

iA Writer comes by default with a single smart folder: Recents. This is a list of the 25 most recently used files, across the whole Library.

If you are using iA Writer with iCloud your Smart Folders stay in sync across iOS, iPadOS, and macOS devices.

You can create your own smart folders too: at the top of the Organizer, tap EditSmart FoldersNew Smart Folder.

You will be presented with a view where the parameters of the folder are prescribed.
– first, give your new folder a name
– choose whether results should match all the rules provided or any (at least one)
– tap “New Rule” to create a rule and repeat as necessary
– choose whether to limit results to 25 items or limitless
– choose a custom sort method for this folder, if desired

When creating a Smart Folder, you will be prompted to choose the rules iA Writer will follow to select the files, either:
– Search
– Parent path
– Ancestor path
– Kind (text, folder, or other)
– Date created
– Date modified

a) Paths

Parent path: contents of a specific folder.
Ancestor paths: contents of a particular folder and all of its subfolders.

To enter the paths:
/ refers to the default location (iCloud or local).
Location: / can be used to filter files from custom locations.
From Other Apps: / is available on iOS.

Tips: tap and hold items in Library to copy paths.

b) Search

Search works like a search engine. It’s optimized to be fast with a large number of files.

Search is available for:
– Names of all files
– Contents of Plain Text files (txt text)
– Contents of Markdown files (md markdown et al.)

Search supports the following queries:

Queries Matching files
.png when extension begins as .png*
".m" when extension is m
text machine where name or text contain words that begin as text and machine
"text* machine" where name or text contain a phrase with a word that begins as text and a word machine
#priority where contain a hashtag that begins as text and a word #priority*
-microsoft word that don’t include microsoft but include word
[ ] that contain an incomplete task list item
[x] that contain a completed task list item
-# that don’t contain a hashtag
"#diary" that contain a hashtag #diary
^first where the first word of a name or a text is first*
time AND space where name or text contain words that begin as time and space
name:alice where name contains a word that begins as alice*
name:^"note" where name begins with a word note
time OR "space" with time or space
time NOT space with time but not space
NEAR(time space) where time and space are located with 10 or less words in-between
NEAR(time "space" "travel" 4) with time, space and travel with 3 or less terms in-between
(time AND life) OR "me" with time and life, or me

4. Hashtags

Another way to organize your thoughts without multiple folders is by using tags. We implemented the Twitter spec for hashtags as a starting point, being the most universal implementation.

To make a tag, write the # characters beside a word (no space, just like on Social Media).
You will see your tag appearing on the Organizer under the Hashtag category. When you click on it, it will show you on the File List all the documents containing this tag.

The File List

The File List will show you all the folders and files stored in the selected Location (iCloud for example). You can:
– tap a folder to display its contents in the list
– tap a document to open it in the Editor
– long-press a document to display a context menu (to rename, delete, duplicate, favorite…)

Swiping a document to the left reveals the following actions:
More to open the context menu of this file
Delete permanently deletes the document

Edit Mode

Tap the Edit button in the Library to select multiple files or folders. You can then batch-move, rename or delete them by using the buttons in the bottom bar. Tap Done when completed*.
You can also create new folders from this function.

*If you are using a hardware keyboard, the onscreen keyboard may occlude the bottom row of the Library where these buttons exist. Dismiss it with the arrow on the far right to reveal the button.

Navigating Files

From anywhere in the Library you can tap the < button at the top left to go back to the Organizer.

You can sort your documents in the File List by Name, Date, or Extension.

A very powerful tool to search for files is Quick Search, you can access it from the 🔍 icon on the bottom-left of the Library.