I’ve been a long time user of the excellent Scrivener. Bad Blood, Cut Dead, Tell Tale and Two Evils were written using Scriv. That’s something close to half a million words. Now though I’m thinking of changing. My main complaint with Scriv is that it’s not great when you want to quickly edit something, perhaps on a phone or tablet. I believe an Apple iPad/phone version is being developed, but this isn’t much good for the majority of people who are not in the Apple universe (there seems to be a belief amongst Apple devotees that there are a lot more users out there than in reality). Hence I’d begun to look elsewhere. To my surprise, I found the answer was with Microsoft…
Like many, I’ve existed in the Google universe for the last few years, exasperated that Microsoft hasn’t properly embraced the cloud. Well now it seems as if they have. With an Office365 subscription I can get access to my documents on my laptop, phone (android) and online. If, as is often the case, I want to add or change something after my computer has been shut down, I can open Word on my phone and edit there and then. With Scriv I was forced to make notes and then add them in the next day. I can also open my draft on any machine because it is stored both on the computer and on the cloud (this is why I think Office now beats Google Docs – which I always had trouble getting to work offline). The future is device independent software. I don’t care what brand the thing is my hand is, it’s a tool, not a fashion accessory. It’s there to do a job, in this case to allow me to edit my documents when and wherever I want.
The one thing I need to come to terms with is using a separate programming for note taking. Luckily Office has OneNote, which is pretty decent. In fact, since my usual setup has two screens, it’s handy to have one screen with OneNote and the other with my draft in Word. OneNote also has a mobile and an online version so I can make notes whenever I feel like it.
Office365 also has the bonus of 5 terabytes of data storage for myself and family and the full suite of software for everyone.
Now you’re probably expecting an affiliate link since I appear to be lauding MS above all else. Not at all. Word still crashes (something I don’t think I have ever experienced with Scrivener) and in a straight up comparison Scriv still wins. It just doesn’t have the flexibility when you begin to factor in multiple devices and ways of working.
I still rate Scrivener and I may find the shock of the new too much. Whatever, I hope they can find a way of making the leap to mobile/cloud computing. If they can then I may well, like Arnie, be back.