The only difference between a professional writer and a drunk texter is the ability to edit. Some writers follow the simple process of “Pre-write, write, rewrite” and they seem to do alright. Some of us are a touch too critical for our own good and end up dropping a tonne of usable content in search of perfection. At some point during re-editing (it’s about all we do) we realize that we should not have edited out some word or phrase, which we are unable to recall. There are built in revision tools in most word processors that let you track your text history. Microsoft Word lets you track changes alongside your document, Mac has a native version history with each file, so on and so forth. Now, we have a solution that lets you write in your favourite editor but track changes separately. Draft Control lets you track, search, archive and restore edits as you please. There is a $19.99 in-app purchase that lets you access multiple documents simultaneously, the free version lets you edit only one.
The app features a very simple interface, nary a seam in sight. Simply drag your document into Draft Control and it will start tracking the document. You may continue working on your document as you normally would, meanwhile Draft Control will update the document at regular intervals, or any time you press save. You will be notified each time.
In a selected document, any additional text is colored green, any deleted text turns red, with an arrow pointing to what the text became. When editing, it makes it easy to scan through the document quickly to track any changes. You can even check a preview of what your file looks like without the edits
The document used for a test was a markdown file, edited using WriterPro (easier to adapt).The following formats are supported, with support for .mellel having recently been added:
- Microsoft Word (.docx)
- Pages (.pages)
- LibreOffice, OpenOffice (.odt)
- Scrivener (.scriv)
- Mellel (.mellel)
- Markdown (.md)
- Rich Text (.rtf)
- All plain text formats (.txt, .tex, .html, .fountain, etc.)
The Draft Control app has its share of downsides. If you are working on a large file and realize you need a few sentences from a previous draft, you will have to make that change manually, as this is strictly a tracking app. There are additional controls that can be accessed through the menu bar, but there isn’t much explanation provided on how to best put them to use. All in all, either you will absolutely need this app, or not at all. There isn’t much of a middle ground, though definitely recommended for a test run.