The Perfect Mobile Writing And Coding Setup (For Me And Most)

The Perfect Mobile Writing And Coding Setup (For Me And Most)

Today I want to share with you my ideal, most perfect setup for mobile writing (and also couch-writing!) that brings me a lot of joy while I use it and makes me produce thousands of words each day. This post is now slightly over 1,000 words long and it took me under an hour to write.

I will show you how to write a lot of words with very little strain on your fingers, with high speed and having fun while you type as fast as you can think.

The Microsoft Surface Pro line will save you hours of time and your sanity

Let me show you the key points of why I believe the Surface Pro tablets are the perfect choice for writing or coding, all brand loyalties aside:

  • They can be recharged off a power bank through the USB-C port, giving you near-infinite runtime. A single charge lasts me 6-8 hours and the power bank gives me two to three recharges. You can probably find an outlet every few days.
  • They are ultra-portable, even compared to laptops. Even the normal Surface charger is no issue to carry around while many laptops these days are lighter than their power bricks.
  • They run full Windows, and think about it what you want this is the only tablet that is actually a real computer, gives you real access to all desktop applications you would run at home.
  • For pro devices they are reasonably priced at 7-900€ for the bottom- and mid-line models. I have the 900€ Pro 7 with the i5 processor and have not found it remotely hindering in my daily work so far.
  • The drawing experience is now finally where it should be, this used to be the main reason to get an apple device but honestly the pen has made some real improvements.
  • Since it runs Windows I can show you some real powerhouse tools that will transform you into a writing machine and make you question why anyone would use anything else.

I hope that gave you a good idea of just how good a device the Surface line is – and you can get the cheap, non-pro versions for a pretty small sum if you wanted to. Now with that out of the way let me show you the tools that make writing words or code such a joy and fast on the Surface.

First off: Get a real keyboard

The typecovers are actually pretty decent and so are the Surface Book’s keyboards – but they don’t rival the typing experience on a real keyboard that fits your own personal style.

With the USB-A and -C connectors you can run any kind of keyboard you have, but personally I am deeply in love with the Bluetooth Logitech MX Keys that have such a sublime typing feel. I used to be a pretty big keyboard aficionado and used mechanical keyboards, but this one replaced them within a month of me using it. It looks sleek, it feels great to type on and thanks to the battery and heft it does not move on your lap or table.

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In addition to that it pairs with up to three devices, meaning that I can run it with my work laptop, my Surface and my desktop computer. Now, with the hardware suggestion out of the way let me show you the software I swear by to make me super-productive in typing and coding.

AutoHotkey

I can not tell you how much I love AutoHotkey for the amazing speed improvement it gives me. I can honestly type three or five times faster thanks to it and the result is virtually error-free.

That again then saves me hours or editing work, I only ever need to go through the text and break up long sentences.

It will do the following three things:

  • Correct every single typo I ever made before (new corrections are simply added by pressing the capslock key and entering the correct form in a small popup)
  • Abbreviate shortcuts (like eo becoming each other, eos becoming each other’s)
  • Allow me to save a lot of strain on my fingers with shortcuts like „leter“ becoming letter and such quick hacks.

And the best part is that this script is nothing you need to remember, you can just type normally if you like and it won’t get in the way. Oh, and it’s free and you can grab my version of it here on my Github with all the corrections already added for you.

Just try it, you’ll learn to love it a couple days in and then never go back.

VS Code, Medium, WordPress editors

Those three are the ones that I really enjoy using – for ninety percent of my writing I use VS Code though. I love writing in Markdown and both Medium and the WordPress editor allow you to paste Markdown into them where the text is auto-formatted for you.

The reason why I use VS Code both for code and regular writing is simply that it’s a great tool that allows a distraction-free environment and gives you some productivity tools worth taking note of:

  • TabNine auto-suggestions that allow you to write really fast sometimes and save a lot of keypresses – but this is mostly used for coding since I use my AutoHotkey script for regular writing.
  • It gives you all the writing tools like word count and grammar checking if you want them, just go into extensions an enable them.

Google Drive (or equivalent)

Here I actually have no clear preference, Google Drive is just what I used first and it worked so I stuck with it.

The main advantage here is that it integrates like regular folder in your file system, but then it’s also backed up to the cloud and lets you work seamlessly between multiple devices. Oh, and it also avoids data loss, never a bad thing.

I use this for nearly all my data, the best part is that it lets me keep my AutoHotkey script up to date between all my devices and that is just so.damn.useful.

This takes all the stress out of file handling and is a huge time saver that saves me hours each week.

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