Scattered Words Processor

I want a tool that will let my precisely place words in a standard printed page sized space. The completed pages of poetry will be saved as a PDF so I can stick them on my website. The app needs to be desktop and tablet compatible. What you see is what you get presentation is highly desirable.

My favorite markdown apps won’t work. Apple notes works better but I couldn’t get easy page and line breaks and … Pages has much of what I want in terms of formatting my work.

Can you think of other possible apps? Desktop publishers? (Hmm Keynote??)


Oh. You said that you want it to be WYSI(S)WYG … what you see is (sometimes) what you get not WYTIAWYG (what you typeset is always what you get).


Yup. Pages and a favored or tweaked template/style should get you there. It will show the format and show you page breaks and works on Mac/iOS.

Personally, I’ve come to dislike seeing formatting and even line breaks when I’m writing, so I can focus on the writing. I use Ulysses then choose an appropriate output style at the end.

(And if for some reason I don’t like the available/downloadable styles I’ll copy/paste the text into some other app and quickly apply a font before printing to PDF.)

1 Like

Use Ulysses for most of my writing… but having experimented for this use… nah Think of having a stack of cards with a word on each one. Then arranging them randomly on the sheet of paper one top center, a card below offset to the right a smidge, then one to the far right, and six monospaced words on the next line.

Affinity Designer and Graphic have desktop and iOS versions.


If Pages doesn’t have enough flexibility for you, have a look at Affinity Designer, which is available for macOS and iPadOS. It’s basically a replacement for Adobe Illustrator. It does do multiple page documents, but not for flowing text between frames. Affinity Publisher does that but isn’t available on iPadOS. Hmm. Anyway 90 day trials are free.

1 Like

Like an electronic version of fridge magnet poetry… There are a ton of iOS apps that I think only let you choose from pre-made word ‘tiles,’ like this one.

In your case you’re better off looking for a layout or publisher app that handles inserted text plus simple images (of words you’d make). Lots of options including Pages, Affinity Designer, Adobe InDesign, iStudio Publisher, Swift Publisher.


I agree with @rcannonp that Affinity Designer and Graphic are probably your best choices. (OmniGraffle works, too, but it’s expensive.) I would choose Graphic over AD because it user interface is more standard and exporting to PDF is easier to understand.

1 Like

I also agree that Affinity Designer would be ideal for this. It allows more freedom and has more advanced features than Pages and lots of beautiful templates are available online.

1 Like

Thanks for the suggestions. I’m off to look at Affinity Designer.

Follow up — Downloading Affinity right now — Then off to install Premium PDF Embedder on my WP site. (Lightly tested the free version… it works, incorporating PDFs into my posts and pages)

Having fun anyway. Thanks again,

1 Like

Sounds like you’ve already found a solution, and it really does sound like Affinity Designer will be a good option for you

Just wanted to add: for my own writing I ended up tweaking some markdown output templates in Drafts to enable me to render poetry with indents, and this is one of the reasons I couldn’t never get comfortable with Ulysses or IA Writer. CSS sends me cross-eyed, and I remember lots of experiments with styling <pre> tags. Oh, the (not) joy!

I sometimes return to the thought there’d be value in a variant of Markdown that might be a little more forgiving of non-standard layouts while retaining the ease and speed of writing in a plain text format amenable to being rendered according to a template for presentation/publishing. But I guess I’m in a small club of potential beneficiaries there…

(And: if anyone has any suggestions for anything I’ve missed, recommendations would be welcomed…)

1 Like

Being a fumble around WordPress user I avoid CSS whenever I can. Recent years that’s always.

1 Like