Reviews of e-readers and tablets. Overviews of workflows.

Tech solutions that actual publishing people use to get actual work done.

Friday, June 17, 2011

After a month with an iPad

In a perfect world, there would be an iPad app that was basically Pages with complete Word tracked changes and commenting integration. A manuscript would go from email to DropBox to my iPad and be forever synced and I could comment and change with impunity.

The world is not perfect, alas.

However, I am surprisingly happy with this workflow for novel manuscripts:

Word Manuscript –> DropBox –> iPad/Pages.

I read and make changes. When I want to make a comment, I put it {} or <>—whatever isn’t being used in the manuscript. When I’m done, I move the ms back to my computer with a new file name.

To prepare the doc for the author,In Word, I do the following:

Compare documents: original manuscript to new markup. This essentially creates a new doc with tracked changes. I save this as the file I will send to the author. Then, I search for { or < and turn those into Word comments. This isn’t actually all that kludgy, since I normally go over my initial comments one last time before I send the ms to the author. Just adds a couple keystrokes.

Your mileage may vary, but this works really well for me. Full disclosure: I’m a bike commuter and never really have a subway or bus reading situation.

photo(Also, I am a very happy user of this case, particularly for the above workflow:


  1. That's very similar to what I used to do on my Treo way back when. I used Documents to Go, made annotations using brackets, transferred the file back to my computer, compared, sent notes. Shouldn't we have a better way of doing things by now? I tried DocsToGo for the iPad, but found that Pages was a better alternative. Why aren't comments accessible?! This would make life so easy. I work a bit differently, and will try to post later about it.

  2. Agreed. Every time Pages tells me that it's removing comments from a Word doc, a little part of me cries.

    On the other hand, the comments on my Sony Reader were completely unexportable, and that made a much larger part of me want to die. My first generation Sony Reader with a touch screen was one of the worst pieces of technology I have ever used.

  3. That first touch screen Sony was such a disaster. They never should have released it. I remember that we had a conversation on Twitter about a hundred years ago about not being able to export comments. Clearly, the tech companies are not looking to solve our problems.