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Mellel for iPad

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Posted by MadaboutDana
Jun 22, 2015 at 11:29 AM


Okay, so Mellel for Mac is a word processor, not an outliner or an info management app - but it’s a very powerful WP with outliner features (the desktop version is even better at outlining than Word is) and an excellent search function. So the interesting and unexpected news is that an iPad app has suddenly emerged from the woodwork, sporting most - if not quite all - of the features of the desktop version.

Quite a few writers may well be thrilled to hear this! Mellel beats Word hands-down in certain areas (notably multilingual processing), and the thought of a fully iPad-capable version is a delight.



Posted by Paul Korm
Jun 22, 2015 at 02:48 PM


Thanks for the headsup, Bill.  $19.99 is a pricey CRIMP, though tempting—I’d wait until Scrivener makes its debut.  I wonder what the future will be for RTF on iPad—the Markdown/MultiMarkdown options are getting better and better. 


Posted by Hugh
Jun 23, 2015 at 12:13 PM


Thanks, Bill. I’ve long been interested in Mellel. I perceive it as being in a Mac long-form word processor hierarchy of three or so, with Mellel at the top as both the most capable and the most complex, including elements of page-layout functionality, Nisus Writer Pro with its terrific macro library in the middle, and Ulysses (and other Markdown editors) as the simplest at the bottom. (Scrivener I see primarily as a long-form drafting tool, though of course many people now use it successfully for both word-processing and publishing - and MS Word - well Word is Word.) I would have invested in Mellel long ago, but gone are the days when I had to compose impressive-looking reports with type flowing round tables and graphs. Nisus is ideal for my current purposes, except that, unlike Ulysses and now Mellel, frustratingly it alone of the three has no iOS sibling.


Posted by Amontillado
Feb 28, 2019 at 12:15 PM


Mellel for iOS got me into their camp.

I’ve been quite the Nisus partisan for several reasons. For one thing, I was blessed with parents who did everything they could to raise me right. My formative years were long before computers fit on desktops, but sound moral foundation nonetheless saved me from Microsoft Word.

It turned out to be a MacOS issue, but Nisus crashed on me, twice. Auto spell check in MacOS 10.14.3 has a known failure mode, and Nisus crash logs indicated I triggered it both times. The answer is turn off auto spell check. I’d already cast my wandering eye to Mellel, though.

It’s probably going to be a keeper for me, but can’t replace Nisus. I need mail merge. I like to give Congress regular broadsides, and once a week I print envelopes for customer bills via mail merge. Mellel doesn’t have that feature.

I will also sorely miss Nisus’ draft view, which is where I live and breathe in Nisus.

Two Mellel features really call to me, though.

Mellel for iPad is very interesting. It’s not full featured, from what I hear, but it won’t make dookey on anything in a MacOS-generated Mellel document. I have yet to find an RTF editor for any platform that will leave Nisus style sheets intact.

As much as I praise Nisus styles, Mellel may do a little better job. Styles aren’t hierarchical, that’s not so good, but every style can have eight substyles that inherit attributes from the base style. It’s just a one sub-level thing, but that’s probably OK.

Mellel has character, paragraph, list, section, page, and table styles. Nisus is character, list, and paragraph. It’s a trivial thing, but with Nisus I had to remember to update headers and footers for two writers groups I attended. In Mellel, the page style includes header and footer setups. As with Nisus, you can ignore styles and do everything by hand, but that’s no fun, not for a writing nerd.

The missing draft view is going to be the biggest drawback. I liked being able to shrink my writing window down and have it reflow the text instead of scroll horizontally. My workaround is going to be to have a style set in Mellel that is my draft view with smallish page margins. I may make a second style set for half-screen, but there is still the problem of seeing page breaks.

Mellel supports a compact view that gets closer to Nisus’ draft view, but still forces the page paradigm at composition-time. It’s WYSIWYG-y.

I would stick with Ulysses for cross-platform writing, but I find myself studiously ignoring metadata in Ulysses, like notes and tags. They work fine, but they are stuck in Ulysses, and I don’t want to build a library of work in a single app.

Mellel, like most of the world, advises against iCloud. I have to use it (or so I tell myself) for Apple’s reminders, contact, calendar, and things like that. I’d rather not load another cloud service.

DEVONThink has never burped with iCloud, at least not for me, so I will use it to sync my writing across devices. That was also something I mildly regretted about Ulysses. I could put stuff in a directory (or in a DT group) for a project, but the work itself was in the Ulysses app.

I remain very attracted to plain text writing, but in many cases there comes a time when you have to move from plain text to formatted stuff. Mellel’s proprietary file format is a minus, but I keep regular snapshots, anyway. Mellel will export to plain text.

Just a few thoughts, submitted for your entertainment.


Posted by Paul Korm
Feb 28, 2019 at 12:27 PM


It’s a tough world out there, and the beast is very tempting, but being of strong moral fibre in the face of O365 is admirable.  Your parents raised you wel..

Amontillado wrote
> My formative years were long before computers fit on desktops, but sound moral foundation nonetheless saved me from Microsoft Word.


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