052: Plain Text Productivity for the Preacher

In a long-awaited episode 52, we explore the various options and advantages to becoming a plain text preacher. 

Notes from this episode:

##Why Plain-Text? (Advantages)

  • Original - Because it's been around for a loooong time, and it will continue to be around for a long time
  • Portable - will work and can be read by any app, word processor, code editor, or even web browser
  • Small - takes up a tiny tiny amount of space (1GB = 1000 MB = 1,000,000+ text files) [54 files = 127 kb]
  • Future-Proof - will work on anything in the future, almost certainly
  • Robust App Ecosystem - tons of apps for iOS, a few for Android (iText Editors)
  • Editable - edit on the go, no need to PDF anything, make last-minute changes to lessons, sync through Dropbox/GDrive
  • Flexible - can import plain text into anything (Word, Pages, code editors, web forms, Taskpaper)


  • Limited Styling - some styling through use of Markdown (but can paste easily to other apps)
  • So nerdy and simple some people don't (or won't) understand it
  • Need for nested file structures in a sync system (such as Dropbox)
  • Sync may or may not be instant through various services (looking at you, iCloud)
  • Setup and customization can be time-consuming and difficult

Plain text is perfect for preachers because we so often live in text - not so much a need for spreadsheets and formatted materials, but most of our stuff is for internal use and mostly only seen by us.

##Getting Started

  • No matter what platform you're on, there's plain text support there
  • Mac: Typora, Taskpaper, Byword, TextEdit
  • PC: Notepad, Filenotes
  • iOS: Drafts, Editorial, Byword, 1Writer
  • Android: Draft, MarkdownX
  • Sync with Dropbox is probably your best option - fast and reliable
  • iCloud also an option to sync on iOS/Mac

##My Workflow

  • Dropbox + Typora + Editorial + Taskpaper
  • Everything starts with Dropbox - nested files live here, and everything syncs here (saving files)
  • Typora (beta) on the Mac is where everything usually starts
  • Editorial ($9.99, Universal) is where I manage/view text files on iOS devices (search built in!)
  • Taskpaper ($24.99) is where I manage my to-do lists (iOS = Editorial)


  • Markdown is where everything ties together
  • It's a way of writing styled plain text (if that makes sense)
  • It lets you style text but still maintains the integrity of a plain text file
  • Created in 2004 by John Gruber (open standard)
  • Pages/Word/Excel/Publisher/Scrivener have their own metadata formats
  • Markdown includes no metadata whatsoever, just like plain text
  • You won't have any problems opening an .md or .txt file, because they're the same


I love plain text. I know plain text. I have been working for the last four years in plain text, and every time I abandon it for some other note-syncing service, I always end up coming back. It's just better, and I know that I won't have to jump ship when it comes to using different apps and services. I love it, and I know if you give it a chance, you'll love it too.