If You Write, You Should Have Byword

If you ever write anything longer than emails, do yourself a favor: Download [Byword](http://bywordapp.com) on your Mac, iPhone, and iPad. 

A Boon to Writers

Byword logo

If you ever write anything longer than emails, do yourself a favor: Download Byword on your Mac, iPhone, and iPad.

Byword is built for editing text and Markdown files. It’s simple, pretty, and clean. It’s my favorite place to write.

As mentioned in Part I, text editors like Byword work best used in conjunction with a “cloud” service such as Dropbox or Apple’s iCloud. Syncing with the cloud lets you start a document on your iPhone, and finish it on your Mac. Or whatever device you have handy. Instant access to all your important text.

Byword is by no means your only option. But if you are just joining the Revolution in Text, I think it’s the best place to start.

Mac

Byword on the Mac is real straightforward: It’s just an app like Word or Pages. It’s job is to open and save plain text files from anywhere on your hard drive. But I would encourage you to start working in the Text folder you created in Part I.

iOS

Byword for iPhone and iPad is also easy. You just have to connect it Dropbox.

Open Byword, and tell it to connect to your Dropbox account.

Connect Byword to your Dropbox account

Then go back a level, and tap on Settings > Dropbox Setup > Folder, and choose the “Text” folder you created in Part I. Tap Done, and then tap on Dropbox to see all your text files.

Magic in an asterisk

But how do you make it look good? Look what a few well-placed asterisks can do:

Made-up Markdown example

Those characters use a really simple idea called Markdown. It’s easier to learn than making popcorn.

Links and images are also easy:

Made-up Markdown example

Here’s the kicker: Byword knows all these codes, and inserts them for you. Even on your iPhone. It’s as easy as any word processor, but without all the cruft — or the cost — of Microsoft Word.

Byword screen shot

What then?

“Great, fine,” you say, “but what do I do with that nicely formatted text?”

Easy magic! Byword automatically translates Markdown into formatted text (Rich Text Format or .rtf) and also HTML. You can copy formatted text straight from Byword into an email, or into Pages or Keynote. Bloggers can copy HTML to paste into a WordPress post. And if you use Squarespace (and you should totally use Squarespace), you can use Markdown directly in your web site and blog posts.

Markdown has gone viral among nerds, but I am here to tell you that it’s the writing tool for anyone at all.

Come to my presentation at BlogItSA! to learn more!

Author: jjmarcus

Mac Whisperer, Cloud Integrator, Gadget Wrangler, Content Beautifier

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