We took a lot of time getting this version ready, and are really happy about the changes we’ve made in WriterDuet version 5. They are both deep and broad, like Lake Erie.
Our core focus in version 5 is in building a world where you can write in any way that works for you. At the same time, you’ll be creating a final product that doesn’t involve hours of copying and pasting.
In classic WriterDuet form, this involved a massive technological rewrite. With new multi-editor capabilities, we brought our core text editing technology to every corner of the application: scene/outline cards, personal notes (now called private pad), the title page, and anywhere else that you can type. Multiple editors in one browser also allowed us to build application tabs, and documents internal to your project.
As we turn our focus toward speed, elegance, and simplicity in versions 6 and beyond, we believe that we have laid a solid groundwork that will allow us to build faster, more fluidly, and with more references to the Great Lakes going forward.
Along with those major changes behind the scenes, v5 has loads of changes that are standing in the spotlight:
New line types
There are two new line types in WriterDuet that you’ll see in the line type bar: Outline lines and Image lines.
Outline lines are a new line type that will be activated by default in any outlining view. They’re filtered out by default in the script, but can be viewed using the option under the widget menu icon (also new). You can still always add outline lines from your main script view using the Outline icon or Command/Control+0.
Image lines can be used to add Images in your document, which is a new feature in WriterDuet. Click on the icon or go to Edit > Insert > Image to open the options for adding your Image. Google Drive and Dropbox share links on images can also be used, like this one.
We have unified the design and functionality of our sidebar tools, dubbed widgets. All of them can be expanded and collapsed, and many have more options under the aforementioned widget menu. Be sure to check those options on any of your preferred widgets to see if there are tools and preferences that you’ll want to use.
Drag any widget to another place to customize your layout, or to the trashcan icon that appears in the bottom right when dragging if you want to hide that widget.
To show widgets/see what widgets you can drag into your workspace, go to View > Show Layouts. From there, you can also switch to a minimal layout.
The Cards widget contains your scene cards as usual, but it has been completely redone. You can now edit the text in these cards just as you can in the script. To jump to the scene, click on the nav icon or scene number in the top right corner. Click-hold-drag to reorder cards, and access other options on cards from the menu icon that appears on hover, or with right-click. For example, use Focus on card to limit the document to only view that card’s content; checkboxes appear when using this to quickly toggle/untoggle any combination of cards. Double-click in empty space between cards to create new ones.
Use the Cards widget menu to toggle outline mode, where Outline lines are displayed instead of script content. This turns them into the cards from the outliner card view (literally the same tool), which can be viewed in its own editor tab under Tools > Outliner > Cards (this replaces Tools > Outliner & Scratchpad from version 4).
In this full Cards view, use the sliders to change the height and width of the cards in the default grid view, or click ‘Allow free drag’ to resize and click-hold-drag each card independently.
For unsynced outlines (such as the ‘Characters’ and ‘Information’ corkboards in version 4), these are now under the Docs widget in v5. Since sets of cards are simply a different way to view a document, unsynced outlines can be created/opened using Docs > New Document or by double-clicking the document in the Docs tab, and then by navigating to Tools > Outliner > Cards after opening that document.
The Comments widget is a new place to see all of your comments in one place. Under the widget menu options, you can sort by date or by the line’s position in the document. You can also filter by commenter, and toggle deleted comments in or out of the view (they will appear faded out). Click on any existing comments to jump to that line in the document.
Private Pad widget
Your version 4 personal notes are now called the Private Pad in version 5. The pad copies over the content from your personal notes box in v4 when loading your scripts in v5 for the first time. However, it won’t be synced between the versions after that. The reason for this change is because the Private Pad is now a WriterDueditor, just like your main document. This means that you can copy in content and formatting will be maintained, from bold/italic to line types, etc.
Docs–called Branches in version 4–are in the Docs widget, where you can create and manage any number of documents within one project. Create new blank docs, copies and ghost copies from the widget’s menu (or under Docs > New Document). See the history of each doc in your project from the time machine. Double-click docs to open them, and access other options from the menu icon that appears when hovering over them.
The title page is now a doc within your project instead of a popup. This means that it also has full editor capabilities, as well as its own template and line types. Like anything you open now, it will open in a new editor tab within your app, where it can be toggled between or closed without having to reload the window.
There are three new templates under Format > Document Template: Book, Graphic Novel, and Notes!
The Book template contains a number of useful line types for novel writers, and is something that we are able to provide now due to a number of enhancements in version 5, such as:
- Variable typeface and font size (under Format > Font Settings, or Customize > Format for document-wide settings)
- A ruler for fast customizations of a single line, or of a whole line type when holding Shift (toggle the ruler on under Customize > Format, with the ‘show editor ruler’ checkbox)
- Optional Tab and Shift-tab behavior that reflects the behavior of a more traditional, non script-based text editor
The Notes template is a more basic text editing template, built for simplicity and aesthetics. It can be great for a brainstorm, treatment, or anything; Since I personally use WriterDuet for everything, I’ve come to use it a whole lot.
The Graphic Novel template makes writing graphic novels fast and simple, and in combination with our existing tools we believe it’s the best thing out there. Our new text auto-complete abilities for line types allows you to use shortcuts or line type icons to quickly fill in Page and Panel lines that automatically update their count for you.
So much more
There are times when you might want to share your script in its current state, such as a completed first draft. While you want to share just the first draft, you also want to continue working privately, and control updates for collaborators manually. This can now be done within WriterDuet using the Static collaborator option.
Under Share > Share Project, select the Static option when adding a collaborator or generating a link. This will share the document that you’re on in its current state, so that you can keep writing without worrying about the collaborator(s) seeing any continued writing that you do. However, any comments or edits that the static collaborator makes will still be immediately visible to you and any other non-static collaborators.
When you do get to a second draft or other moment that you want to share all of your updates, just go to Share > Update Static Collaborators and they’ll see all of your new changes instantly.
Go to Share > Edit Collaborators to change an existing collaborator’s status to or from Static at any time.
When coloring cards, you’ll now have the option to label the color so that meaning can be assigned to it. This is a tag, so you’re now able to filter cards based on their color by navigating to Production > Tag & Filter. The same or other tags can be applied faster in the editor itself now too, using Tools > Quick Tag.
Color themes 🎨
You can now customize the color of your display under Customize > Display!
On a personal note, we are in our own office for the first time!
Three years ago, Guy and Jack (office dog and CTO) were doing everything from their house. Since then, as the team grew from one to eight (?!), we have toured the many coworking spaces of Austin, loudly debating theories of business and creativity like so many bulls in a coworking china shop.
But now, alas! We are in our own office and it is beautiful.
|(There are also desks)|
To celebrate, we’ve hired a ninth employee, thus completing the full spectrum of single-digit possibilities!
Lettuce know if you’re ever in Austin and want to swing by and check it out. Free T-shirts are right next to the front door 🙂