The iPad as a Word Processing Tool
There are some great apps that turn your iPad into a powerful word processor. To prove this point I produced this article on my iPad in the Pages app. In terms of word processing the following apps are helpful:
Pages for iPad
Dragon Naturally Speaking
When the iPad was released there was some debate about the user friendliness of the on-screen keyboard. In the portrait (vertical) mode the keyboard can be a little small but in the landscape (horizontal) mode the keys are larger and far enough apart that typing at speed becomes much easier.
I have avoided purchasing a keyboard for the iPad because I want to discipline myself to use the on-screen keyboard and become proficient with it, something I have found very easy to do.
Pages for iPad – A Feature Rich Word Processor at $9.99 US
Pages for the Mac is part of the iWork suite that also incorporates Numbers and Keynote. Pages for the iPad is available from iTunes as a separate download. At first I was a little perturbed that the iPad apps, unlike the Mac version, did not come in an iWorks suite but instead Pages, Numbers, and Keynote each had to be downloaded separately from the iTunes store.
However there is an advantage to separating these apps if you decide you only want to use the iPad for word processing or only for spreadsheets – you don’t need to pay for the whole suite, only the apps you use.
Pages for iPad is feature rich and contains many of the features of a full fledged Mac or PC word processor such as:
Formatting commands like Bold, Italics, Strikethrough, and Underline
Outlining features including Title, Subtitle, Headings and Subheadings
Text options with the choice of about forty different fonts and twenty nine different font colours
Media options such as the ability to insert photographs, tables, charts and shapes / lines
Spell checking as you type
Auto word correct options as you type
List options together with indenting capabilities
On screen ruler that can be adjusted
An undo button to reverse any insertions or mistakes
Pages for iPad can do something that neither a Mac or PC word processor can do, namely, move objects all around the screen at the touch of a finger! The other great advantage of the iPad is its long battery life which enables the user to work for a full day or more before the iPad needs a recharge. This enables the user to work on documents during long flights, whilst sitting at airports, in a cafe, on a train, or sitting outside enjoying the summer sun!
To synchronize documents between the iPad and either a PC or a Mac there is the cloud storage solution of Dropbox. You can also synchronize through iWork.com or email the document to yourself.
Evernote for iPad – A Free Feature Rich Cloud-computing Notepad
Evernote works across many platforms and synchronizes in the cloud. You need to create an Evernote account and sign in to retrieve all of your notebooks and notes. Evernote is also feature rich but has the added feature of web-clipping and iSight notes. Evernote features:
Formatting such as Bold, Italics and Underline
Ten different fonts and numerous font sizes
Outlining capabilities with both bullets and numbers
There are a few features that are not in the current iPad version that are pledged for future versions such as Drawing and Notebook. You can’t currently make new notebooks on the iPad, only new notes which are slotted into existing notebooks that you have created on either your Mac or PC.
Simplenote for iPad – A Free Simple Cloud Computing Notepad
This app, as the name suggests, is a very simple word-processor that enables the user to take simple notes. This app, like Evernote, synchronizes across many platforms and even many users. Developers are creating apps to enhance the functionality of Simplenote, but in its native form it is a very simple app for the iPad.
Dragon Naturally Speaking – A Free Dictation to Text App
One iPad app that I cannot say enough about is the Dragon Naturally Speaking dictation to text app. This app is superb in its capacity to turn voice dictation into text. It is very useful because:
You can edit dictated text via the keyboard
You can send dictated text to Facebook and Twitter as status updates
You can review all of your dictated notes, they are saved automatically
You can copy and paste dictated notes into other applications
There are a number of other apps that enable word processing on the iPad such as Documents to Go, QuickOffice Connect, and Office HD. The word processing apps featured in this article are low cost, work well and synchronize across multiple platforms.