No-frills rich editing on the go with Texts

Texts is a new iOS app from Text Software Limited, designed as a companion app to the company’s Mac OS X- and Windows-based application of the same name. (It should not be confused with another very similar iOS app that goes by the same name.) It’s available now as a free Universal download from the App Store; the desktop version is also free to download, but requires purchase of a license for continued use.

Texts is designed to be as simple and straightforward as possible while still allowing the flexibility for basic formatting and layout functionality. Upon first opening the app, a sample document is shown detailing the variety of options available to the user; once this is dismissed, however, it may not be brought back again. Fortunately, the app is very intuitive and easy to use, but it would have been good to see the option to return to this document for reference if desired.

Texts provides its users with a blank canvas on which plain text may be written. Using on-screen buttons for Indent, Paragraph and Word formats, it becomes possible to customize the visual appearance of text as well as adjust the layout. Internally, Texts is creating Markdown documents, but the app does not allow its users to enter Markdown codes manually; instead, it acts as a WYSIWYG editor to automatically create Markdown .text files which can later be converted easily into a variety of different formats (including HTML, PDF and ePub) using the desktop app.

Syncing between multiple iOS devices and the desktop version of Texts is achieved through Dropbox support; if the user has the Dropbox app installed on their iOS device, Texts will automatically switch to it and request permission to connect to the user’s account when the “refresh” button from the app’s main screen is tapped. Texts documents are simply saved in the root of the user’s Dropbox folder by default — not ideal, but it at least makes them easy to find and relocate later if necessary.

Texts is a simple but effective app that performs its main function relatively well, but there are few things about the interface which could be tweaked a little. For example, when applying formatting to words before typing them, the interface gives no indication as to whether emphasis, strong text or any other formatting is currently applied — it’s not until the user starts typing that they discover which options they have left switched on. When toggling various options on and off, the app also doesn’t give any clear indication as to which ones are active or not — a simple check mark next to any currently-active formatting options would have sufficed.

These issues aside, Texts is a good no-frills rich text editor that works equally well on iPhone and iPad, and when combined with the desktop application forms a surprisingly solid solution for deploying documents in a variety of different formats. It would be good to see the aforementioned improvements to the interface as well as the facility to type things directly using Markdown codes for those who are familiar with the language, but for now at least, it’s a good solution for those who need a simple and straightforward app for putting together well-organized, well-formatted documents.

You can follow Texts’ progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social apps and developers.