Manuscripts 1.0: a new take on scholarly writing.

I am thrilled to announce the general availability of Manuscripts 1.0 for Mac. Manuscripts is a writing tool with an entirely new take on scholarly writing. It puts the substance of your writing first, and its design is inspired by our previous life as researchers.

Manuscripts is an independent product created by some of the people who created the Papers reference manager, with which Manuscripts works beautifully. We have prepared the following short video to introduce you to Manuscripts:

You can read more about our approaches to scholarly writing for instance on our discussion forum and in our budding Manuscripts knowledge base (a version of which is bundled with the app as a “Getting Started” guide). We will open this topic up on our blog and newsletter in the future, so stay tuned.

I want us to begin the Manuscripts blog from something a lot simpler though: being thankful.

We feel incredibly fortunate having been able to complete a six-month beta program to tune Manuscripts to the stage it is on now. This beta program concluded a close to three year long development project for us. Polishing Manuscripts together with a super enthusiastic user community who have been kind and patient beyond our expectations has been thus far the best part in the project, so I want to thank absolutely everyone who has supported us during the Manuscripts 1.0 beta program!

The reception Manuscripts had since the beginning of the beta program really kept us going to this point, and from this point on: our users have given us a very clear idea of where to focus after the 1.0 version… so stay tuned.

Thank you.
Matias Piipari, CEO & Co-founder at Manuscriptsapp.com

PS.
Manuscripts is available entirely for free for writing small documents (limitations apply for writing large documents, and can be lifted by purchasing a Manuscripts Unlimited license).

You can download the app for free from here:
Download Manuscripts 1.0

Manuscripts 1.0: a new take on scholarly writing.

38 thoughts on “Manuscripts 1.0: a new take on scholarly writing.

  1. Bruno says:

    The app has HUGE potential. However is not cable to import documents already written (the app crashes). Problems with citations, and is not possible to copy and paste inside of tables?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. VB says:

    This app seems to really have a great potential for papers preparations and submissions. Could it be possible to propose a retrocompatibility with Mavericks OS? Thanks a lot

    Like

  3. Nan Hyung says:

    I wonder how you can make reference section. I tried to put citation using magic citation but I can’t see it when I exported it to .docx file

    Like

    1. This was resolved in one of the post-1.0 versions already.

      For those of you reading who may be unfamiliar with how bibliography entry in Manuscripts works, you can create a bibliography using the instructions provided here: http://support.manuscriptsapp.com/topic/16/creating-a-bibliography/2

      If you’re used to how Magic Citations works with Word, Manuscripts behaves a little bit differently (we’d like to think better): you just insert a bibliography and it will keep itself up to date without any especial formatting commands.

      To choose the citation style, follow the steps here: http://support.manuscriptsapp.com/topic/17/choosing-a-citation-style/2

      Like

  4. Looks promising. Unfortunately, the importing of PDF figures does not seem to work properly (i.e., no figures are actually displayed even though the file is select). Moreover, what happened to the simplicity of copy and paste. Why do I have to include a file?

    Like

    1. You can drag and drop an image in, or you can copy and paste one in… or you can use the import dialog for files (the flow you are describing). We’ve noticed that there is some inconsistency with this file browsing route of adding figures. We are looking into it and hope to improve on it in a free update.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. We built the technology in such a way that an iPad version is possible. I have nothing immediate to announce but we obviously see exciting possibilities there and there seems to be a fair amount of demand for it.

      Like

    1. If you’re having trouble importing LaTeX files still with the current 1.0.7 version, please contact support@manuscriptsapp.com with examples that are failing if you have already, we’ll be glad to help.

      If you don’t hear back quickly, don’t worry we are going systematically through all feedback and have just received lots and lots of it in response to the launch.

      Like

  5. Excellent work folks. This is VERY promising but, if I may, perhaps still a bit too much of a beta version to really want to pay for it? I will still hold off a bit more for the moment mostly due to: 1. repeated crashes (on import, creating lists, import not working/crashing), 2. the lack of possibilities to work on manuscript on iPad/on the move, 3. lack of co-authoring capabilities and 4. no easy import of latex citations, etc (maybe related to the overall issues with importing latex manuscripts?), pdf export via latex not working, etc. Having to revert to a Mac-only workflow is too much of a hindrance on my end. I will have to stick to my text editors (for mmd or latex format) and mercurial/github for versioning and sharing – and Papers for citations (of course!). In other words, if I can’t trust it yet and loose capabilities, I have little incentive to use Manuscripts for my main manuscripts. All that being said, when/if the points above get solved, I will surely give it a good go! I certainly applaud you for the effort. Great way forward and hopefully a fantastic future tool. Regards

    Like

    1. Thank you! The version 1.0 is really us setting out a vision on writing in a form where as much as possible you focus on a story and stick with the same tool throughout the project. We appreciate that there is lots of functionality that are requested from us to make Manuscripts the thing one would use exclusively, for instance supporting collaboration. There are also some field specific needs (such as inline math) that we are still working to get right in the short-term already. But Manuscripts 1.0 is our way to look at writing a large scholarly writing project like a PhD thesis or research paper and we are super excited of the response that it has had!

      Regarding the specific points you raise:

      – We improved on stability in the past week a _lot_. You can update to the most recent version by going to Manuscripts > Check for Updates… or by downloading the most recent version from here:
      http://updates.manuscriptsapp.com/apps/manuscripts/production/download (then replace the version you have put in /Applications with the one you downloaded)

      – We have nothing immediate to announce regarding the iPad but we have built the technology with it in mind. You can hear more about the direction we are taking from our newsletter.

      – Collaborative writing is a big part of our future plans (and in fact has been already a big part of how we built the product thus far): http://support.manuscriptsapp.com/topic/28/collaborative-writing/2

      – The manuscript file format is fully versioned, with very similar peer-to-peer, offline first mindset under the hood to Git / Mercurial: http://support.manuscriptsapp.com/topic/8/manuscript-file-versioning-backups-change-tracking

      Like

  6. Paul Dennis says:

    I’ve downloaded and paid to license two copies. One for my Imac and one for my Macbook air. I haven’t been able to successfully license either verison. I’ve also run into numerous crashes and the link with papers and citations is unreliable and seems to put the references in an unusual order. For example if I order the references in the text by year of publication Manuscripts decides that it knows better and mixes the order up!
    It seems to me that there are way too many bugs with the sytem to release as a commercial product.

    Like

    1. 1. The same license works with up to three computers. Please contact us via support@manuscriptsapp.com if you would like to keep just one of the licenses. There was some confusing behaviour with license activation in the 1.0 version, which was fixed in subsequent updates. You can update to the most recent version by going to Manuscripts > Check for Updates… or by downloading the most recent version from here:
      http://updates.manuscriptsapp.com/apps/manuscripts/production/download (then replace the version you have put in /Applications with the one you downloaded)

      2. Same as with the licensing, we observed some unanticipated crashes and sorted those in updates that came out on subsequent days.

      3. Regarding bibliography formatting, Manuscripts follows the citation style set in the document. To choose the citation style, follow the steps here: http://support.manuscriptsapp.com/topic/17/choosing-a-citation-style/2

      Like

  7. gejin says:

    I download the software two times. Each time after I unzip the file and run it, I got a message telling me I can’t open the application because it may be damaged or incomplete.

    Like

    1. This would have been because of a bad download which your OS has indeed correctly detected — sometimes the bad downloaded file can even get stuck on a proxy server’s cache leading you to get the same damaged file a second time (which one would at first intuitively think is impossible).

      If you see this issue again, try opening a terminal window (by opening /Applications/Utilities/Terminal.app), then type in the following and hit Enter:

      curl –noproxy rink.hockeyapp.net,updates.manuscriptsapp.com -L http://updates.manuscriptsapp.com/apps/manuscripts/beta/download > Manuscripts.zip

      If you now decompress Manuscripts.zip and open up the resulting .app, you should not get the same result anymore.

      Like

  8. Katie says:

    The application keeps crashing. This is an amazing application and I’d love to use it without it crashing so often! I tried re-installing and submitting my activation license.

    Like

    1. We improved on stability in a big way in the 1.0.x updates that followed in days after the 1.0. If you experienced instability, you should already have a much better time (and we continue to improve on it).

      Like

  9. I am loving the app so far ! It still crashes during some things.m Specially couldn’t manage to start form a template without it crashing. Had to open one of your pre made documents to be able to start writing some things I would love to see in future versions:

    – Being able to change the template in the document once you are already working on it. Sometimes you submit somewhere and get rejected and you need to submit somewhere else with a different format having an easy way to change the format would be amazing.

    – Being able to highlight and make comments would be extremely useful.

    – More freedom on the table design (for example not having a total row) and also being able to chose where caption goes up or down. Right now you can only chose it for images not for tables

    – Copy and pasting is still buggy.

    – Would be very useful to copy and paste tables

    LOVING IT SO FAR !

    Like

    1. Hi there

      We resolved the template related crashes (and lots more of small glitches) in the updates that followed 1.0. You can update to the most recent version by going to Manuscripts > Check for Updates… or by downloading the most recent version from here:
      http://updates.manuscriptsapp.com/apps/manuscripts/production/download (then replace the version you have put in /Applications with the one you downloaded)

      To respond to your other specific comments:
      – Being able to change the template is coming up, precisely for the use case that you describe.
      – Highlights and notes are coming up, in fact they were already present in the pre-1.0 versions but we took them out from the 1.0 because the feature still needs some polish.
      – Additional table formatting options are coming up: ability to toggle the header or footer on or off, likewise with caption placement (which is already configurable for figures in 1.0).
      – If you continue to hit copy-paste issues with the most recent version, the best thing to do is contact support@manuscriptsapp.co with an example screencast (and document, if applicable) demonstrating the issue as they are highly contextual in nature.
      – Regarding copying and pasting tables, if you mean an entire table, right now your best bet is Edit > Paste as > Paste as Markdown. This will paste the text as Markdown (we support tables in Markdown in the pipe table form). Pasting in Excel and CSV data is something we are considering for a future update.

      Like

  10. Gabriel Fernandes says:

    I am a supporter that payed for the beta version. And I expected more for the 1.0 release.
    – When you export as PDF is similar to a screen shot (the EDIT tag appears in front of authors names)
    – It does not fill the authors affiliations.
    – I expected to insert a bibliographic referece (using papers) and it appears already formated for the Journal. But it is shown as a default format that I can not change. For example, in Science Journal, the references appears as numbers, but using Manuscript I can not do that.
    I hope to have improved versions coming out soon.

    Like

  11. Nice looking application. I’ll be starting to use this as a way of developing and structuring business focused blog posts as well as academic research studies. Great to see something integrating with Papers so well. Looking forward to using it!

    Like

    1. Your best bet is to export to MS Word and use the Word importer in Manuscripts: Apple does not document the Pages format and has been known to change it multiple times in the past. Indeed in its present form it’s a binary format that is very difficult to reverse engineer. We are aware of no 3rd party tools which would parse the Pages file format and it is unlikely we would be able to.

      Like

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