A quick look at Hanx Writer

You’d think it would be enough for Tom Hanks to have won two academy awards and be adored by everyone. Now he’s making software for the iPad.

When I first heard about this, I decided I had to take a look. The basic app is free, so I installed it, and much to my surprise I had a lot of fun typing on it. I even wrote most of this review in the thing.

The gimmick of Hanx Writer is that it mimics typing on an old-fashioned typewriter, like the one I wrote all my college papers on. The main way it does this is by keeping the cursor centered on the screen while the editor (looking like a sheet of paper) travels back and forth as you type. The keyboard is in disguise as old keys, and appear to be depressed as you type. The default type face is typewriter, of course, and looking as if you are in need of replacing the ribbon.

Hanx Writer successfully (mostly) recreates the look and feel of writing on an old-fashioned manual typewriter.
Hanx Writer successfully (mostly) recreates the look and feel of writing on an old-fashioned manual typewriter.

You can add pages to your documents, and access them through an interface that is reminiscent to Daedalus Touch:

Save your documents, and leaf through the pages in Hanx Writer.
Save your documents, and leaf through the pages in Hanx Writer.

After you are done composing your master work, you can send it off via e-mail, open it in other apps on you iPad, or do with it pretty much what many writing apps allow.

A few drawbacks:

  1. Using the touch screen to navigate the document and select text is challenging, as the auto-centering function makes the text a bit of a moving target.
  2. The app is missing the ability to add a period to your text by double-tapping the space bar.
  3. You pretty much are limited to plain text composition, although you can change text color to red or blue, and you can center your text.

Hanx Writer is free. But if you upgrade you can change the typewriter style, and you can change background colors and a few other frills.

I doubt this app will make me more productive, but it is a hoot to use.

Update: For a contrary view (and one I can fully appreciate), see this blog post by the mystery novelist David Hewson.

5 thoughts on “A quick look at Hanx Writer

  1. I loved typing my letter but now when I go back to fix errors, e-mail, etc. it is only allowing me to read it. Help!

    1. Hi, Sharon,

      I am able to re-open and edit my documents, as well as shipping them off via e-mail. I looked to see if there is some kind of “read only” mode, but I didn’t uncover one. Try creating another document and see if the same thing happens. If it continues, here is the link to the developer’s support page:


      Let me know how it goes. Thank you.

  2. How did you change the title of your document from untitled? I have changed the title on the title page but it still saves as untitled. Your help would be appreciated

    1. With the document open, click on the title (which for new documents is “Untitled”) bar at the very top of the window. You can then edit it and it saves the new name.

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