Plain Text is a free iPad text editor with a simple but elegant interface. Its typography and layout make for a visually graceful app, without letting you forget what you’re there to do: generate thoughts on a page. It’s minimalist: it can only handle .txt files. But it frames your words in a classy 18pt Georgia, with each sentence gracefully line-spaced on an off-white background, like paper, like a final draft.
Just look at the Zen of it.
No clutter anywhere means you can FOCUS, cough out the drafts to meet those darn deadlines, or bring out the inner-mental-patient-writer in you (see the image above).
What you get is all there is (and is probably all you need). If you need to pour your thoughts on a page, then you don’t need all that formatting clutter – that’s for when you actually have something to format. All you need is black text on plain white. No toolbars to fiddle with. Only four or so icons to tap on – and you’ll find them when you need them, not before (unless you’re looking for excuses not to write).
You can use portrait mode to thumb-type minor corrections, to fluidly scroll through your draft, and to quickly load one file after another. The default view has two panes: create files and folders on the left, open up a file on the right. It’s like having a single-purpose can opener that really knows how to open cans.
You can’t change the fonts, you’re stuck with Georgia 18pts and black. That off-white background is eternal. There’s no text-find feature. Bare-bones means there’s no grammar or spell check either – auto-correction is the closest thing you have, and that’s an iPad feature, not a Plain Text one. Believe you me, this is a typewriter that saves your drafts.
What you do have is a clean notepad that fires up quickly, loads files in a blink, comes with word count, and integrates with Dropbox. Speaking of loading files, some text editors yank you out of the document you’re editing, when you want to look up files in other folders. With Plain Text you can stay on your currently open file, while the left pane lets you sift through files in folders, and load them up when you’re ready. I like that.
If you want to view white text on black background, there’s a work around – set up the iPad’s home button to toggle white on black. Voila! Instant night mode reading.
Ho-Kay. Now we come to a mystery: I can’t find any ads in Plain Text. That’s a good thing, but Plain Text is supposed to be free to download, with ads you can shoo away by shoring up $4.99. But the one I have, and I haven’t paid anything (the upgrade offer still shows up in settings), doesn’t have any ads. I kid you not.
Never mind. A good thing is a good thing. So, if you want a quiet, classy-looking, fast-on-its toes, super stable, completely free notepad (with a convenient text-file browser), Plain Text it is.
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