Three types of Apps to support your Writing
There are myriad tools available that claim to help you write. With app stores overflowing with applications, plug-ins and guides offering to streamline your work, it can become difficult to separate truly useful solutions from distractions. We’ve sorted through the many options to recommend our three favourite types of app to help you write more effectively and efficiently.
This may seem obvious, but a solid word processing package is essential for writing. Here, Microsoft Word dominates, often coming preloaded on PCs these days. However, Word is not equipped to deal with larger documents, especially if they contain images. This forces you to write it in sections, and merge these in the end, which can often lead to formatting errors and hours of time lost to Googling solutions.
More advanced software, such as LaTeX, can handle large documents by stripping away traditional word processors’ bells and whistles and enabling you to focus on the content. There is a slight learning curve involved with using these types of software, but it’s worth considering if you’re planning to write larger documents.
It is not uncommon to cite upwards of 50 papers when writing a paper, and hundreds if you’re writing a book chapter, review or thesis. Keeping track of all of these has thankfully been made easier using reference management software, which is an essential tool for every writer to have.
Here, Endnote and Mendeley are commonly used options, offering plug-ins for commonly used word processing software to help with formatting in-text citations and bibliographies, as well as acting as a library within which you’re able to organise and refer back to papers you’re using for particular projects you are currently working on.
Some reference managers also offer a cloud backup option, helping you to automatically save newly added references to a cloud service, making them available on any device you are using. Another great feature to look out for is a web browser extension, which allows you to save anything you are reading online directly into your reference manager library at the click of a button.
Mind mapping is a useful technique to help get your thoughts together for a large piece of writing. Many might prefer to do this on paper, but this often starts taking up unnecessary space and becomes messy when mistakes are made.
Digital mind mapping tools are a fantastic way to put down your thoughts, helping you to form connections and organise your ideas into categories, which will later form sections of your writing. Another great thing about digital mind maps is that they are searchable, meaning you can quickly search them for key words without having to pore over the whole mind map to find them.
There are many options to choose from, such as Miro or MindMup, but you can also create these in basic software you may already have, such as PowerPoint.
With the right apps and other tools to support your writing, you can focus on the most important thing: to actually write. Find the tools that work for you and use them effectively alongside your writing practice to help you hit your writing goals.
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