Dropbox-Powered iPhone Text Editors

Dropbox is one of the best free tools to ever hit the Mac. Much more than a simple backup utility, people use Dropbox in all sorts of different ways, from hosting entire websites to sharing files with classmates.

The Dropbox API makes it possible for developers to integrate Dropbox functionality into their own apps. The most popular use of this technology we’re seeing on the iPhone is a recent crop of Dropbox-compatible note-taking applications. These apps allow you to create notes on your iPhone and then access them on any computer or mobile device where you have Dropbox installed. Below we’ll take a brief look at a few of these Dropbox note apps so you can decide which is best for you.

PlainText – Dropbox text editing

We’ll start off with an app that’s simple, attractive and free; just like Dropbox. I really like the PlainText interface, it’s super minimal with attractive use of thin lines and old style serif typography.

screenshot

PlainText for iPhone

Plain Text doesn’t try to be cute or give you some trendy theme but instead focuses on high usability and readability. Unsurprisingly, it’s from the same developer as Writeroom, another awesomely simple text editing application for both Mac and iOS.

PlainText also looks beautiful on the iPad:

screenshot

PlainText for iPad

Nebulous Notes

While PlainText seeks to standout in its simplicity, Nebulous Notes goes the opposite route by setting itself up as one of the most powerful Dropbox text editors around.

Apart from the obvious Dropbox syncing functionality, this app has a number of advanced features including TextExpander support, customizable fonts, full-screen editing, multiline tabbing, word count with goals, and an awesome customizable macro system for frequently used keys that aren’t easy to access on the iPhone.

screenshot

Nebulous Notes

Another great feature is the ability to choose from various visual themes for for coding, writing, and dream journaling. If you like the dark environment of Writeroom but want the convenience of Dropbox integration, you’ll definitely want to check this app out.

Nocs (with Dropbox & Markdown)

Nocs takes a completely different route for text editing by focusing on rich formatting. The text editors above are great for simple text, but what if you want bold headers, links or bullet lists?

screenshot

Nocs (with Dropbox & Markdown)

This is where Markdown comes in. Using this simple language, you can easily apply formatting to your writing using special symbols. To learn more about Markdown, check out our recent review of a markdown email client.

Nocs, allows you to create documents using Markdown, preview them with the formatting and even export them as HTML. It also has support for a number of file types including PDFs, Pages documents, Word Documents and more.

Other Dropbox Text Editors

The three apps above represent the range of basic concepts under which developers are releasing Dropbox notes applications. There are a few more apps that you might want to check out that basically mimic the functionality of one of those above, with slight variations.

Conclusion

To sum up, if you’ve been searching for a good way to create text documents and share them across all your various computing devices, check out the great selection of Dropbox text editors in the app store. Whether you’re looking for simple text and a beautiful interface, or powerful features and Markdown formatting, the apps above will get you what you need.

Leave a comment below and let us know which of these apps you use. Also be sure to let us know about any other great Dropbox utilities you’ve come across.


  • http://twitter.com/ivince_ Vince.

    I really like the first app, ’cause it’s very simple and does just want I want, edit plain text in my dropbox.

  • http://fairheadcreative.com Adam Fairhead

    I too downloaded the first app, since it brings plain text, and it looks mighty fine.

    I’ll still do most of my note-taking/plain text in Evernote, though.

  • http://www.701gaming.com Jamie

    I use Simplenote on my iPhone and Notational Velocity on my Mac –– they sync seamlessly.

  • http://twitter.com/michalkozak Michal Kozak

    I’ve been using PlainText since the day one – and I’m more than satisfied with it. Great, great app. Many times, I write whole articlies using it. Or I write drafts, which I later finish on my Mac. Buy it, it’s worth it :).

  • http://techinch.com/ Matthew Guay

    PlainText is my absolute favorite iOS note app … beautiful typography, clean interface, and Dropbox sync. Plus, you can In App upgrade to get rid of ads for just $0.99 during November, so if you haven’t tried it yet, I highly recommend you give it a try!

  • Marc Garneau

    I really like Trunk Notes – it has a lot of great features (including Markdown) and the update which just came out added Dropbox support.

  • http://www.macosxscreencasts.com Zettt

    Since yesterday I would add Trunk Notes to the list. The ability to link between documents is just awesometastic…and everything’s written in MarkDown.

  • http://www.coroflot.com/joshuajohnson Joshua Johnson

    Cool! I hadn’t seen Trunk Notes, thanks for the heads up.

  • http://techinch.com/ Matthew Guay

    Woah, you guys just gave me a new notes app I’m going to have to try out … Trunk Notes looks awesome!

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  • Bill

    Let’s make a wild assumption, a person has more than 3 notes in Dropbox; I have over 1000 small text notes. Now go ahead, find a note on the iPhone.

    As far as I can tell, none of these editing applications provides a search to find the document to be examined and possibly edited. The closest is Textforce. If I were to go and put all of my notes for each category in a single document, then searching within the document would be possible. Not a very practical solution.

    I would gladly pay $20 for an iPhone app that would make Dropbox a truly useful on that platform: 1) document search and 2) text editing that is compatible with editing the notes on the computer. I could live with a Windows Notepad subset of text formatting, i.e. no formatting.

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