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Byword: A great text editor with improved sync

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  The clean user interface of all versions of Byword enables you to concentrate on the paragraph under construction. Full Markdown support is there, of course.
The clean user interface of all versions of Byword enables you to concentrate on the paragraph under construction. Full Markdown support is there, of course.

What makes a good plain-text editor? A good user interface is essential, as is Markdown support. For me, though, the availability of both iOS and OS X versions is absolutely essential.

Writing Kit is a great favourite of mine see my review here because of its in-built research facilities, including a very useful ability to link to Instapaper articles. But it has no OS X companion for those of us who are constantly switching between Mac, iPad and iPhone.

Byword, on the other hand, is a no-nonsense text editor that comes in three versions, iPhone, iPad and Mac. It has a beautifully simple UI with full-screen option and highlighting of the current paragraph so you can macro-focus on the words in your mind.

The latest version, released last week, brings some important improvements to synchronisation. No longer do you have to choose between iCloud or Dropbox; you can now have both enabled at the same time, in addition to a local-save option. All three versions now take advantage of iCloud’s ability to create folders, an absence that was irksome in the old version.

I use Byword to prepare most of the Macfilos articles and the new ability to sort drafts into folders is essential if I am not going to get bogged down in a long list of files.

I also take advantage of Byword’s ability to export in HTML format which can then be pasted directly in to the Squarespace web-based text editor. New, though, is the facility to export a file as a PDF document.

Byword is available in the both the Mac and iOS App Stores. The universal iOS version cost £1.99 while the Mac application costs £2.99. For what you get, this is unbeatable value.

by Mike Evans, 4 September 2012