Hanx Writer and Office for iPad

Make Tom Hanks and Office for iPad work together.

All the talk in iPad land is about Hanx Writer; a typewriter app for Apple iPad. Hanx Writer is a pleasant novelty app. It looks and sounds like a typewriter.

Having spent a lot of time delving into Office for iPad for our popular book, we could not resist a look at this retro newcomer and how it might work with Microsoft’s 21st Century apps.

http://img.office-watch.com/ow/Hanx%20Writer%201.png image from Hanx Writer and Office for iPad at Office-Watch.com

For those of you are too young or don’t remember, typewriters were devices for imprinting ink on flat sheets of dried wood pulp. In olden days we used typewriters while waiting for word processors to be invented.

Naturally, there’s only one font (this is a typewriter, not an IBM ‘Golf Ball’ Electric typewriter) with sound and animation as you type.

http://img.office-watch.com/ow/Hanx%20Writer%202.png image from Hanx Writer and Office for iPad at Office-Watch.com

One acknowledgment of modern word-processing is ‘Modern Delete’ which defaults on. With this option OFF, pressing the Delete key will backspace and overtype x just like we did for most of the 20th Century. There’s also ‘Show Cursor’, another option not available on a real typewriter.

http://img.office-watch.com/ow/Hanx%20Writer%203.png image from Hanx Writer and Office for iPad at Office-Watch.com

Hanx Writer drops one ‘feature’ that was essential on a real typewriter – the Carriage Return lever. The virtual typewriter automatically wraps to a new line in a way a physical typewriter never would.

There are various in-app purchases if you’re interested in some extra features like different ‘typewriters’, multiple documents, text alignment, Title Page and Picture, different page background colors and different ‘ribbon’ text colors.


With Office for iPad

If you’ve typed on Hanx Writer, how can you export it to Office for iPad? You can’t, at least not directly. Hanx Writer only exports in PDF format using the ‘up arrow’ button at top left. The PDF document can be saved to a cloud service like OneDrive or Dropbox, emailed as an attachment or other PDF enabled apps on your iPad.

The workaround is to Copy / Paste text with Hanx Writer. Select text on the page just like any other app, choose Copy then Paste into Word for iPad or any other app. You can also select text and paste it into Hanx Writer or select text and use Cut/Paste to move it around a page.

http://img.office-watch.com/ow/Hanx%20Writer%204.png image from Hanx Writer and Office for iPad at Office-Watch.com

Aside from the novelty, Hanx Writer has little to recommend it. There’s nothing wrong with a little novelty but without the celebrity name, it would not have reached the #1 spot on the App list.