Good VoiceOver accessible apps for authors

iOS and iPadOS

Hi all! Has anyone tried the write or die, my writing desk, or index card app for iPad? I can't find a demo version of either app, and I am hesitant to pay the price without knowing if it works well with VoiceOver. If not, any other writing app suggestions are welcome! Thanks in advance for all of your replies! :)



Submitted by angel18 on Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Pages is a good app for writing books.

Submitted by Amber Shuping on Thursday, December 31, 2015

The following is a list of apps I've found to be useful and that work well with Voiceover. Yes, MyWritingDesk and Index Cards are among them.

1. Story Planner: helps you organize characters, scenes, and plots
2. STory Tracker: USeful for freelance writers, this app gives you a place to keep track of what articles you have submitted where.
3. Genesis: Has a large number of generators for everything from fantasy creature to starships.
4. THoughts: A great app for keeping track of ideas and the beginnings of stories or articles.
5. Just Write: Has quotes, warmups, and prompts to get your imaginative juices flowing
6. Fictional Character Generator: Creates a random person and a few details about them to get you started on a new story.
7. Topics: Generates the beginning of a story for you to finish
8. Creative Writing Prompt Narrator: Works the same as Topics, but with different prompts...
9. Index Card: Create projects and write notes on notecards within that project. For example, you can start a project called "The Well" (a story I'm working on), and jot down research on notecards about psychology, depression, and PTSD (topics that fit that story).
10. A dictionary and thesaurus well worth downloading; it has a widjit for the word of the day, too.

11. My Writing Desk: An organizational app for writing stories.

I have not been able to find out if Write or Die is accessible or not. But hopefully some of these apps will help you out!

Submitted by WriterGirl on Thursday, December 31, 2015

Thanks for the help! I will be sure to check out everything mentioned. The website version of "write or die" seems to be reasonably accessible with VoiceOver, so I am assuming that the app will be accessible as well. I am thinking of contacting the developer to see if there is a limited version that I can download to see if it is accessible before upgrading to the full version. :)

Submitted by Alan on Thursday, December 31, 2015

I was looking for something like that but, for some reason, I never searched for an app on Ios. After reading this post I purchased Story Planer and it is just amazing: simple, easy and voiceover friendly. Could you tell me something else about Index Card? Is it worth it? Any diferences with Story Planer? Thanks and good writing!

Thanks for the info on story planner! My writing desk is amazing as well, all though I am going to have to label a few buttons! It may well replace pages on my home screen. I would also appreciate more info on the index card app. I write fantasy, and I have desk drawers full of brailed index cards that are completely disorganized. Do any of you use the app to replace paper index cards? Also, has anyone used storyist or ulysses? I have just gotten a new iPad air 2 and am excited by the prospect of using the bigger screen for some serious writing and outlining. Thanks again for the help! :)

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Friday, January 1, 2016

I personally write all of my stuff in markdown and let leanpub do it. I don't have an example handy right now or I'd give you all a link. Actually if you go to the guide about making a bootable thumb drive you can see an example there. These are just simple text files you later upload to leanpub for conversion. You have to be willing to learn a bit of code but it really is beautiful, at least to me.

Submitted by TJT 2001 on Friday, January 1, 2016

I have heard a little about Markdown, and it sounds interesting. What is it, and from where can it be learned? How do you write it, and, once it is written, what do you do with it?

Submitted by jrjolley (not verified) on Friday, January 1, 2016

In reply to by TJT 2001

Markdown is a text preprocessor that originated in the early 2000s as a means to help bloggers format HTML. The syntax is really easy and loads of editors support it, I use byword myself but any good editor now supports markdown. Does this site support it by the way?

Submitted by Jim Homme on Friday, January 1, 2016

This program has nice VoiceOver features. I bought it when I first got my device. I like the Outline feature and the Word Finder feature. The only things I would like it to do would be search and replace, and double tap to replace misspelled words with the choices it suggests.

Submitted by TJT 2001 on Saturday, January 2, 2016

Where can you learn the syntax for writing Markdown? Also, what is Byword, and can Markdown be used in ordinary word processors such as Microsoft Word?

Submitted by WriterGirl on Saturday, January 2, 2016

Can markdown be used for plain text editing or is it more for web formatting? Also, how difficult is it to learn the necessary coding and where can I learn it? I am mostly looking for good outlining apps for novels, along with simple editing apps, but I might be interested in blogging in the future.

Submitted by Jim Homme on Saturday, January 2, 2016


For story writing, you don't need to know a lot of MarkDown. Here is some syntax that will get you started. Once you have read this, I recommend that you get the program called pandoc. I use it on PC. I'm unsure if there is a Mac version, but I'm thinking that there is. Here is the Syntax.

To make paragraphs, leave a blank line between each chunk of text by pressing ENTER twice.

To create heading levels 1 through 6, put 1 pound sign followed by a space at the beginning of a line for heading level 1, and increase the number of pound signs for the other levels.

# This Is Heading 1

## Second level heading

### Third outline level

To make numbered list entries, put numbers, followed by a period, followed by a space at the beginnings of the lines of each entry.

1. First numbered entry
2. Entry number two
3. Final entry

To make a bulleted list, start the lines of each entry with a hyphen, followed by a space.

- My kitchen
- My dining room
- My den

To end a heading, numbered list, or abulleted list, leave a blank line after the chunk of text.

To create hyperlinks or e-mail addresses, where you want to use the actual address, and not link text, just type the address.

To make a hyperlink or e-mail address that has link text, start with an open square bracket, type the link text, type a close bracket, enter an open parenthesis, type the address, then enter a right parenthesis.


You can also have lists inside of lists, and other fancy stuff, such as tables, images, and links to the middle of a document, either the one you are making, or another one.

Once you have created your MarkDown document, you can then use PanDoc to convert it to various formats, such as rich text, which you can then open in other programs, such as Word and Pages, Media Wiki, for sites such as Wikipedia, and HTML.

Submitted by Jim Homme on Saturday, January 2, 2016


Does anyone know of a writing app that can expand, collapse, jump among, and move chunks of text in an outline? For those who use PC, Microsoft Word can do this. Word can expand and collapse whole heading groups and swap them up and down, and so forth.

Submitted by WriterGirl on Saturday, January 2, 2016

Thanks for the info on markdown. I'm not sure if this is really what you're looking for, but I use writers app for outlining novels. It has built in templates for creating characters and settings. You can also write chapters and reorder them by dragging. It works very well with VoiceOver after you custom label a few buttons. I am also still looking for an app that will work like MS Word. There is a word app, but I haven't managed to make the outline feature work with VoiceOver as of this time.

Submitted by Jim Homme on Saturday, January 2, 2016

Hi WriterGirl,I aspire to do technical writing, because I have a 27 year history in Information Technology. Technical writing mostly consists in telling people how to use things and some of it can be about using things besides software and hardware. I want to keep track of ideas mostly for what I'm thinking about, whether personal self-help stuff, or boring stuff like how code libraries work together. I even try to write poetry for my own amusement sometimes. The main idea is to try to keep thoughts Organized and centralized. So I hope whatever I use will be able to be used on my phone and PC.



Submitted by WriterGirl on Saturday, January 2, 2016

Hi Jim,
I write mostly fantasy, so I haven't had much experience with the type of app that you are looking for. However, I have used everNote extensively and it is a very good organizational tool. The app for PC does not seem to be very accessible, but they have a website that works well. I mostly use the iPad app to keep track of ideas and outline chapters.

Submitted by Jim Homme on Sunday, January 17, 2016

Hi, does Pages or Word for IOS do spell checking?

Submitted by Ken Downey on Sunday, January 17, 2016

I use MBraille for most of my writing on iOS. It beeps when I misspell a word and it's easy to get suggesttions. Now that it even has search capability, it rivals any other writing app I've ever used on the platform.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Sunday, January 17, 2016

Pages for osx does spell checking nicely acgtually. Not sure about ios as I have the app but don't really use it much.

Submitted by TJT 2001 on Sunday, June 26, 2016

I know that this is extremely off-topic, but how do you do outlining in Word for Windows?

Submitted by Voracious P. Brain on Wednesday, March 15, 2017

I know this is an old thread, but if TJ is still wondering....
There are two things people can mean by Outlining: either making an outline or an outline view of a document that collapses or expands text. For the first kind, Word does Automatic bulletted/numbered lists and an Outline is possible that way. But for the second, in Word, hit alt+shit+left arrow to elevate a paragraph to a heading level, or alt-shift-right arrow to demote it. At that point, you can either use Word's document map in the navigation Payne (Windows or Mac) or Jaws' quicknav mode to quickly navigate long documents. Word also has an Outline View in which you can expand/collapse heading levels and read your whole document that way. IWork Pages had an outline view until version 5, when they also took away scriptability to dumb it down to be in line with their IOS app. Now, VoiceDream Writer has a good outliner, but it's a rare animal on Mac, it seems.

Submitted by Michael Feir on Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Club AppleVis Member

Hello. I have come to treasure the Ulysses app. It uses markdown and activates the commands when you export to a different format. At the moment, it's usig the built-in spellchecking features in iOS. I've contacted them about perhaps finding a better way to spellcheck more easily and they may do that at some point. The support staff respond to questions quite quickly. I do all my writing in Ulysses these days. It's a relatively expensive app but worth every penny in my opinion.

I also use an app called Wordbook which is a dictionary and thesaurus that works offline. I used to like Wordweb but something made it less accessible and I thankfully found Wordbook and another nice similar app called Terminology. The Google and Wikipedia apps round out my writing app collection other than Blog Touch Pro for posting blog entries to Blogspot after writing them in Ulysses. Timeglass is a nice app letting you build timers with sound cues and different stages. I use it to work to the Pomodoro technique which I find very useful. In a nutshell, you work for 25 minutes and then take a break for five minutes taking a longer break every two hours.