***I was neither endorsed nor sponsored by this brand to make this review. I purchased the item with my own money and am reviewing it of my own volition.***
iA Writer is an app designed around the idea of creating a focused writing environment.
I purchased it last year in hopes of it helping me stay focused on my NaNoWriMo goals. Spoiler alert: It did. Thanks to this program, I managed to stay on track and hit the 50k word goal for 2019.
The way this program works is that it provides a very minimalistic environment to write in. There are no margins to worry about or fonts or formatting… Nothing. It is a writing program with none of those extra bells and whistles. However, it does have some incredibly useful features to keep one focused on their writing.
First of all, it has night mode. I can’t live without some kind of dark mode anymore which is why my site is the way it is. I know that’s a bit unconventional, but for my tired eyes, the greyish font on a darker background is so much easier to read than black on white.
The drop-down I have open in this picture is the “Focus” tab. This is where all the magic is. As you can see, I have it set to focus on a paragraph. This means that the program will only fully light the paragraph you’re working on while dimming the one’s you aren’t. Exactly as the picture shows. You can also limit this to the exact sentence you’re working on aswell.
The second thing you see is that I’ve checked off “Typewriter Scrolling”. Now THIS is what makes me unreasonably happy. As you write, the iA writer makes sure that whatever line your cursor is on is at the center of the page. As in, whatever you’re writing will always be front and center no matter what. If you move around the page, iA Writer will refocus to wherever your cursor ends up. This, to me, is magical. My eyes can just stare at the same spot forever and watch as the lines progress. I don’t have to move my eyes down as I type. Just look dead ahead and there it is.
Under the “View” menu you can alter some technical settings such as how many characters are allowed on each line which alters the width of the document and the font size as well as some other basic document management features.
Here’s what the workspace looks like without any of the menus open:
That’s it. All that’s on the screen is your text. It even covers up the task bar. There is NOTHING else on this screen but whatever you’re working on. (That little icon at the top is not part of iA Writer, it is part of an app I use to manage my dual monitor settings).
One small thing worth noting is probably something you might be wondering about. Since it’s so minimalist, how can you bold or italicize something?
You can enter the asterisks like this to get the desired result or use the ctrl+b and ctrl+i short keys. It does not support underlining.
Another cool thing I kind of liked about iA Writer is that when you close and reopen it, it brings you right back to where you were in the last document you had open. Not only does it open the same file, but it puts your cursor right where you left it. If you’re hyper-focused on working on a single document, this is just the thing you might need. As with any word processor, changing documents is as easy as going to File>Open and picking the one you want to work on.
iA Writer can save documents in two basic formats: .md (mark down) and .txt (text) which are both plain text formats. It can also export them as .pdf, HTML, .docx (Microsoft Word), and .md. iA Writer cannot open or edit these file formats. The only things it can work with are the .md or .txt files.
If you want to do some finer formatting, exporting it or copying the text into a more in-depth processor would be your best bet, but to get the actual writing part done? This program is excellent.
This program was created with the intention of creating the ultimate focus enhancing atmosphere for writing and I think it pulled it off. I found this app incredibly useful when I had to write under a time constraint.
According to their site, iA Writer is available on the following platforms and has the following pricing structures:
I can’t vouch for the performance of any platform besides Windows, but if this is something you might want to try for yourself, every version but iOS has a free trial period. The purchases are one-time and I can also confirm that a key can be transferred between two separate Windows computers. As I just mentioned, I can’t speak for any other platform.
Check it out now over on ia.net!