Scrivener and Android

A small joy, maybe miracle
December 14, 2013
Inspiration and Determination
January 13, 2014

A couple of months ago, I was asked what I wanted for Christmas. I had only one thing on my wishlist, a tablet. Basically I wanted something that I could use to be mobile and not have to worry about lugging around a laptop. For a while now, I’ve been using my IPod Touch to fulfill the requirement. Yet, I really wanted a bigger screen with more capabilities. My IPod, which is a second generation, has been showing it’s age for a while now. I managed to work around things, including having to work in plain text and email myself any updates to the books because I couldn’t Dropbox them.

My requirements were pretty basic:

  1. Stay within a budget of less than $250.
  2. A known brand.
  3. The ability to store files on a MicroSD card.
  4. 16 to 32 GB of internal storage (My IPod has 16GB).
  5. A processor that would be compatible with most apps. Quad core, if possible since my desktop has that .
  6. A decent size screen of 8 inches or above with decent resolution.
  7. Added bonus – decent camera.

My idea was a Samsung 10.1, but that was way out of my budget. The 8 inch version barely fit it. I also really wanted an SD card to go with the tablet to help requirement #3. I finally chose an ASUS Memo Pad 8 after learning they co-developed the Google Nexus with Google. The Memo Pad fit all my requirements (even the camera part) and it was made by a brand that has been the heart of my last two desktop computers.

There are several reviews of the tablet out there, so I’m not going to beat a dead horse.  One thing I will say though is that there is a lot of pre-installed apps by both Asus and Google. So far I’ve disabled 13 of them.  Probably can and will disable a few more.

Android Olive Office Screenshot

Screen shot of Olive Office on an ASUS Memo Pad 8.

One of the things I really wanted to do with the tablet is write my books and use Dropbox to keep myself in sync by importing and exporting into Scrivener. Well, that’s where my interesting adventure began. I went through app after app looking for something that would do RTF or Scrivener’s version of a Word Doc, which for some reason on my computer was still RTF even when I told it to use Word for exporting (Tools->Options->Import/Export and then click the box that says use Microsoft Word or Open Office for doc and docx conversions.). There were a few that worked, but they either had clunky interfaces or tiny buttons. So I switched to docx format. I found a few apps that handled this, but I was uncomfortable with purchasing them because really I was going to be paying for more than I needed since I wasn’t even thinking about doing Excel or Powerpoint just to receive a feature I needed (the docx support) or I was paying for something that hadn’t been developed in what looked like 2 years.

I finally came across Olive Office Premium. It had everything I wanted and something I totally didn’t expect.  When I zoom in, it actually enlarges the fonts and makes the words wrap to fit the screen.  I don’t remember seeing that on the other apps that I tried.

I’m actually excited and thrilled by both the tablet and the app. I can’t believe that I spent hours at a time on the IPod, working on the books and making progress, especially when I hold up next to the tablet and am reminded of how small it really is.

10 Comments

  1. Hi, just wondering, it’s not clear whether you were able to open the actual Scrivener project files on the Android, or if you worked from an exported docx and then had to import that back into Scrivener. I’m getting sooooo frustrated trying to find an option that will let me opne the actual projcet files from Dropbox, rather than exported files!

    • horsecents says:

      I feel your pain. I was hoping the latest beta version of Scrivener for Windows had the file sync option, like Mac version does, but sadly, it doesn’t.

      I finally gave up on the Scrivener for the final draft of a novel that I’m working on and went with a different combination of programs to help with the whole sync thing. What I’m working with now is something called Judoom, which is a really basic word processor with a file management tab. With Judoom, you can point project directories anywhere, even your Dropbox folder. Then to sync between my Andriod and PC, I use an Android app called SyncMe Wireless and bypass Dropbox completely. If you want to use Dropbox then I recommend DropSync

      As I said in another post, I’ll still use Scrivener for the rough drafts and other stuff I’m not working on the Android for because I like a lot of the features it has like the project search / replace, automatic spell checking, and being able to create note cards instead of whole documents.

    • mclass says:

      you can view the rtf files on your android by downloading an app that can read rtf files (there are several free ones). They are in the project folder, Files, Docs. I don’t recommend editing them though, you never know how it’s gonna look. Plus, it might be hard to find the right file, because they have been named by numbers. Hopefully they will fix this with an update. In this day and age, not being able to sync your work with the cloud seems kinda stone age…

      • horsecents says:

        Thanks for the suggestion. Other alternatives are always great to know.

        Yeah, the numbers thing is a pain.The File->Sync feature they have on Mac seems to be the answer to that, but, according to the developers, “. . . Folder sync isn’t planned until the first major paid upgrade of the Windows version, as it’s a huge job and was never planned as part of the 1.x spec.”

        As far as not syncing with the cloud, it’s more of a choice than lack of knowledge or technology. I don’t see the practical need for it.since I’m not using my tablet outside my home network. Next road trip, though, I’ll definitely be dropboxing it.

  2. Terry Britton says:

    All these limitations of Scrivener and the cloud sync are really turning me off to even bothering with it. I may as well use yWriter, I suppose. I want to use my Nexus 7 and a bluetooth keyboard as a primary portable writing tool. I’m just starting on a new book (a biography) and really want the right setup from the get-go. Sounds like your Judoom and a combo of SyncMe Wireless and DropSync may genuinely be the answer. Thank you for sharing all your research!

  3. scorho says:

    I’m considering Scrivener, but because I spend a good part of my writing time away from my desk, the lack of mobile functionality is keeping me from buying it. A few of my writer friends love it, but I’m afraid it won’t quite fit my needs. Looking for alternatives led to writing a 7-part blog series on tools for the mobile author. Hope you don’t mind my sharing it with you and your readers. Maybe somebody will benefit.

    Part one is here: http://utahchildrenswriters.blogspot.com/2014/05/the-mobile-author-part-one-portable.html

  4. Sarah West says:

    Thanks for your great post!! I’m looking at buying Scrivener for my Mac but I have an Android phone. I’m trying to found if there’s an Andoid Scrivener version but it doesn’t appear to be so. Darn…. I’m also curious how people like the ios app and how well it syncs with the desktop version. i’m new to the writer software world so I’m really wanting to know folks experience and learn more! Thanks for all your wonderful writing!!

    • I have the IOS version and I love it. It’s almost like having my desktop with me. I say almost, because they have to cram everything that the desktop version does in one screen. It’s better to use it on an IPad than a phone as well because of how much it tries to do.

      There are two options for syncing with the desktop, Google and through ITunes. I go through ITunes. I’m not about to put my whole life’s work up in the cloud! You can read about my adventures with the app and how to sync with ITunes here.

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