Draft Announcements: Comment out writing, auto-simplification, email documents to Draft

Hi there! Hot on the heels of the last Draft announcement here are a few really exciting features:


 Comment out your writing

Draft’s origin came from pain I had trying to version control my own writing. Today, here’s a neat addition.

And credit where credit is due - this feature was inspired from conversations with Jason Fried, the CEO of Basecamp, on what’s missing from version control for writing…

Often I’ll be working on a paragraph (or even a Tweet), and I’ll want to see what a new version of the paragraph looks like. So I’ll duplicate the paragraph inside my document to keep the old one around for reference.

But having duplicate sentences or blocks of text in my document makes reviewing the actual writing harder.

If you are a software developer you are very familiar with the idea of “commenting out” code. You might comment out some HTML to see what your user interface looks like without it. You might comment out some backend Python to refactor it. You comment out these things because storing, deleting, then finding them again even in “version control” is too much friction.

So today, you can now comment out your writing like you comment out code.

To do so, select a block of text you want to comment out, and use the keyboard shortcut: Shift+Alt+/.

The text will be removed from your document and shuttled to the right side of the screen, like so:

Use the ‘<<’ link to auto-insert the text back into your document. Draft saves details of the original location of the commented out text to try and insert it back to an appropriate place.

These behave a lot like other comments. Use the Escape key to hide them. Use the comment bubble at the bottom right of the edit screen to show them again.


 Auto-simplification

One of our biggest problems as writers is that we write too much. How can I say the same thing with fewer words?

Often I go to my wife. She’s awesome at helping me write more concisely, but she’s busy. So I created a way for Draft to help simplify my writing automatically.

In the edit menu, there’s now a “Simplify” button:

Clicking it will send it to a friendly Draft robot who will become a collaborator on your document and will attempt to detect and delete sentences that might be your least important. The robot will then send you an email linking to the changes it made, which of course you can accept and reject.

You aren’t going to agree with deleting some of these sentences. But even the sentences you don’t delete, might be good places to manually simplify.

It’s not perfect, but it’s already proven useful to me, and there’s other neat things I’m planning for it :)


 Email your docs into Draft

Email is still the most used and convenient app on my mobile phone. So I’ve created a way to create a new document in Draft simply by emailing a secret address on your account.

Look up your secret address in Settings → Your Info. Emails to that address from you (the address you send from must match the address on your account) will turn into new documents using the text of the email as the content. Images attached also get included. So take a photo of something that interests you while riding the bus, write a few words, then flesh it out into an entire blog post later with Draft.


That’s it. I hope you are having an awesome week and enjoying Draft!

And as always, if there’s anything I can help with or improve please let me know.

-Nate

https://twitter.com/natekontny

Or the official Draft Twitter account:

https://twitter.com/gooddraft

 
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