As mobile devices become more and more prominent as productivity tools, so an increasing number of apps offering solutions become available.
Earning my living as a freelance writer, I’m particularly interested in word processing on my Android tablet, which I use as a proxy laptop computer (indeed, since my old Dell laptop died, my HP TouchPad running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich has offered far more mobile performance than I could have dreamed of). Thanks to a selection of useful apps – native and third party – I’m able to work from just about anywhere!
There was one type of app that caused me some problems, however. I just didn’t seem to be able to settle on a word processor. As a writer this naturally seemed unacceptable, but as the months have rolled on some better options have come to light, optimized for Android tablets.
Expectations Of an Android Word Processor
Whatever tablet platform you’re using, a word processor app should be able to deliver a range of basic functions, from rudimentary formatting (text size, indentation, justification, etc.) to saving and opening files. Access to the cloud is also good, but not 100% necessary.
Input should be supported from the software keyboard or an external Bluetooth device, although printing isn’t particularly necessary. The most important is stability. There’s no point in wasting time on a document on any platform if the software is going to crash regularly!
This excellent piece of software is a stripped-down word processor, perfect for any number of projects from simply taking notes to writing an essay or even a book!
All you need to get started is a keyboard – there are no complicated menus and the app auto-saves your work as you write, removing the potential for lost documents.
If you need to format your text, the app uses various punctuation symbols in order to denote this. For instance, to italicize, surround a word with the asterisk symbol *like this*. Lists and quotes and various headings can also be added – the full list of formatting options is displayed in the default document when you launch this free app.
Considered by many to be the master of word processing tools for Android, Google Drive has a good reputation, and rightly so. The modern incarnation of Google Docs, Drive has added cloud support and supports offline documents, enabling you to work anywhere (a big bonus over earlier incarnations that tended to crash when a network connection was lost).
Upon installation, Google Drive will instantly connect to your Google account and find any exusting documents you have saved there. Editing options include bold/italics/underlining, fonts, justification and indentations, and once you’re done tapping the tick symbol will enable you to save your work back to the cloud.
In addition to word processing, Google Drive also provides spreadsheet and presentation editing tools. Our review of Google’s cloud office tool will give you more information.
If you prefer the flexibility that a stylus offers, then the free Write app from Stylus Labs might be the best option for you. Eschewing keyboards in favour of natural handwriting, the app does a very good job of accurately capturing written text.
Various tools are added to enable this, from variable pen styles to a very useful undo feature based on a clock format. Various touch UI options are available too, enabling a nice degree of flexibility, while the web view is provided for quick and easy note taking on web pages and other online content.
It can be tricky on any platform to find a useful word processor that offers useful formatting for scripting, but the rather wonderful MyScreenplays Free includes the tools to do just that.
Designed to enable the writing of scripts (typically for movies, although it should be suitable for TV and stage) this ad-supported app provides the various elements (scene, character, dialogue) as building blocks for you to add to your script.
It’s all very well organized, and features support for pasting and importing from other formats. There is also a script preview, accessed by swiping left, that displays your progress so far.
Writing Is Easy On Android!
So there we have it: a screenwriting tool, an office suite, a stripped down word processor (ideal for getting on with the job and not being distracted by menu options) and a stylus-based notebook for those of you who write faster than you type.
However, regardless of which tool you use, remember to make good use of the native auto-completion option when typing. Both software and hardware keyboard input can be improved considerably using this method.
With a great selection of apps for your text-based productivity, there is no excuse not to make better use of your Android tablet!