Multiple windows in iA Writer.

iA Author, my favourite textual content editor for iPhone and iPad (which I’ve beforehand coated intimately right here and right here), has acquired a significant replace to model 5.Three this week, including assist for key iOS and iPadOS 13 options and bringing a welcome enchancment to certainly one of its strongest superior functionalities.

First up is integration with darkish mode: like a number of different apps we’ve coated right here on MacStories over the previous month, iA Author now allows you to determine between letting the app observe the system’s look setting mechanically or selecting both the sunshine or darkish theme manually. Each choices may be configured within the app’s settings below ‘Look’; personally, I want letting iA Author (and different apps) at all times observe the system’s look setting.

iA Author’s darkish mode is identical darkish theme the app has lengthy supplied as a customized function, solely it could possibly now observe your gadget’s look mechanically, which isn’t inherently shocking. What did shock me, nonetheless, is how, along with the app’s default preview templates, even your customized templates will observe the system’s look setting in the event that they’re programmed accurately. I’ve two customized iA Author templates that permit me preview Markdown paperwork as they’d look as soon as printed on MacStories; with iA Author set to observe the system’s look by default, once I allow darkish mode from Management Heart, my customized templates in iA Author use it too.

My custom MacStories template in iA Writer can switch to dark mode automatically alongside the rest of the app now.

For iPad customers, the massive addition to iA Author 5.Three is full assist for multiwindow in iPadOS 13. A number of paperwork can now be opened in a number of home windows of iA Author: when doing so, the app will spawn new main home windows that function the total set of navigation controls within the sidebar to navigate in your library and open another doc. The power to open a number of cases of iA Author means you possibly can maintain your frequent paperwork in Slide Over, work with a number of editor home windows side-by-side in Break up View, or mix completely different iA Author home windows with completely different apps in a number of areas in your iPad. The selection is all yours.

Multiple windows with iA Writer.
Editing two documents at the same time with native multiwindowing support in iA Writer.

Sadly, like a number of different iPadOS 13 apps we’ve coated to this point, iA Author at the moment doesn’t allow you to open the identical doc in a number of home windows. When you attempt to try this, the app will current you with an error message explaining that the doc is already open elsewhere:

The app allows you to transfer the chosen doc again to the present window, which is a useful possibility I’d like extra document-based apps to implement, however, ideally, I’d very a lot want to open the identical doc throughout a number of cases of the app.

As a consequence of this limitation, it’s not doable to edit a doc in a single window and preview it in one other. This is without doubt one of the greatest options of the newest Ulysses replace for iPadOS 13, and I hoped iA Author would permit me to construct the identical setup, however sadly this isn’t supported proper now. If solely in a restricted “preview-only” mode that doesn’t allow you to edit the identical doc in two completely different home windows, I might love the power to open a preview for the doc I’m engaged on in a live-updating window on the aspect; this function feels like the proper candidate for auxiliary home windows restricted to at least one view at a time.

What iA Author will get proper about multiwindow is providing a number of methods to activate the function. As is commonplace on iPadOS, you possibly can open the app’s Exposé view and faucet the ‘+’ button within the higher proper nook to open a brand new window; alternatively, you possibly can choose up the app’s icon from the dock and drag it to the aspect of the display screen to open a window in full-screen, Break up View, or Slide Over. iA Author 5.Three enhances these default choices with the power to open paperwork in new home windows with context menus and keyboard shortcuts. Within the sidebar, you possibly can long-press a doc and choose ‘Open in New Window’ to open it as a brand new window subsequent to the one within the present area (in Break up View); when you’re utilizing an exterior keyboard, you possibly can create a brand new window with a brand new doc with ⇧⌘N or – and that is my favourite contact – open Fast Search with ⇧⌘O, search and choose a doc with the arrow keys, and hit ⇧⏎ to open the choice in a brand new window.

You can open documents in new windows from iA Writer's new context menus.
Press ⇧⏎ to open the selected document from quick search in a new window.

After I was engaged on my protection for the primary replace to MacStories Shortcuts Icons final week, the power to open a number of iA Author home windows got here in helpful: in a single area, I stored a draft of my weblog submit, whereas in one other I created a Break up View for our product web page and FAQ so I may edit each on the similar time. I discover the combination with the app’s fast search exceptional because it permits full keyboard navigation inside iA Author – a side of the iPad expertise I’ve at all times pushed for extra builders to undertake.

With this replace, iA Author has additionally added official assist for a wide range of different iOS and iPadOS 13 applied sciences. Along with context menus (which have rightfully changed the app’s outdated customized menus within the library), iA Author now totally integrates with new gestures for textual content modifying and doc choice (you possibly can learn extra particulars in this part of my assessment). Full-page seize is supported too as a approach to rapidly generate a plain textual content PDF of the doc you’re engaged on: simply take a screenshot, choose ‘Full Web page’ on the high of the display screen, and share your doc with different folks or apps. I like this addition, however I’m shocked that the generated PDF at all times comes with a white background – it doesn’t respect the app’s darkish mode setting.1

A plain text PDF generated with full-page capture on iPadOS 13.

Moreover, due to its (current) assist for the native Recordsdata picker, iA Author can now add exterior library areas for folders saved on exterior drives resembling USB drives or SD playing cards – a complicated possibility I’d solely seen carried out in Scriptable and Jayson earlier than. I don’t assume I’m ever going to depend on this performance myself, however I’m glad it’s supported.

Lastly, I wish to point out an enchancment to content material blocks in iA Author 5.3. As I’ve defined earlier than, I take advantage of content material blocks extensively to insert references to native photographs saved in iCloud Drive once I’m modifying a narrative in iA Author. Because of content material blocks, I can see what an article will appear to be with screenshots with out having to add them to my CDN first – a course of I described in-depth in Difficulty 192 of MacStories Weekly for Membership MacStories members. In older variations of the app, when you needed to retailer recordsdata to reference with content material blocks in a folder separate out of your major ‘Paperwork’ one, you have been compelled to maintain that folder inside the similar listing you have been engaged on. My iA Author articles are saved in iCloud Drive/iA Author/MacStories Posts/ and with the outdated app I needed to maintain my ‘Picture Property’ sub-folder contained in the ‘MacStories Posts’ one. It was a suitable compromise, however I didn’t like having to see that folder intermixed with my paperwork.

In iA Author 5.3, the content material blocks syntax has been up to date so now you can reference recordsdata from a dad or mum folder. As you possibly can see from the screenshots under, screenshots for this text have been saved in a folder referred to as ‘Picture Property’ situated outdoors of ‘MacStories Posts’, which I can now reference with the next syntax:

../Picture Property/Picture.png

A file from iCloud Drive (left) used as a content block in iA Writer.

This extra versatile content material blocks syntax will assist me additional customise and optimize my modifying setup for future longform tales, permitting me to reference screenshots situated wherever in iCloud Drive’s iA Author listing.


iA Author 5.Three is without doubt one of the greatest iOS and iPadOS 13 updates we’ve seen up to now, and I’m particularly impressed with the app’s strategy to multiwindowing and exterior keyboard integration. The one function that’s clearly lacking for now could be native assist for the new Shortcuts app with actions primarily based on parameters: iA Author nonetheless depends on x-callback-url instructions for automation, and model 5.Three of the app doesn’t embody any native Shortcuts actions to create or retrieve paperwork. My hope is that iA Author will finally match Drafts and Ulysses with actions to create paperwork, append content material to current recordsdata, and search the app’s library for paperwork matching particular standards. As I argued in my iOS and iPadOS 13 assessment, it’s time for apps to maneuver previous URL schemes and embrace the way more superior, safe, and dependable automation framework enabled by Shortcuts.

Hopefully, we received’t have to attend lengthy for iA Author to be deeply built-in with Shortcuts, following within the footsteps of different textual content editors we’ve coated over the previous few weeks. Within the meantime, iA Author 5.Three is a strong replace, and it’s out there on the App Retailer.


  1. Because it’s a plain textual content PDF, content material blocks containing picture references don’t get expanded inline. On an analogous word, full-page seize can also be supported when previewing a doc with a customized template, however, similar to plain textual content PDFs, iA Author doesn’t use the darkish mode model of the template if the system’s look is darkish. ↩︎