I am a long-standing fan of Papers. When I heard about this new Manuscripts app, I was really looking forward to try it out. I was hoping for a manuscript editing software which would finally make the process of scientific writing enjoyable.
After spending several frustrated hours with this program, I am now giving up on it. I believe that you should not have given out the software as is; having paid for a license, I really think that I did pay to be a beta tester. This is not cool.
The general idea and look of Manuscripts is great. Its promise is great. But this promise is just not kept. Here's a selection of my "favourite" nuisances encountered when trying to write a manuscript using Manuscripts:
References and bibliographies are a mess. I updated to Papers 3 expressly to use Manuscripts and expected to enter a brave new world of seemless editing, but far from it. Inserting a reference using Magic Citations is a gamble: it will sometimes work, but more often not. If it doesn't work, it's generally for cryptic reasons. Also, "this bibliography will automatically update as you cite" is a euphemism, to say the very least. It does update, sometimes, but it tends to just "forget" inserted references randomly. Magic Citations of Papers 2 with Pages 09 on a Mac used to be SO GOOD, why could you not just improve from there but decided to break the whole thing and rebuild it much worse?!
Manuscripts very much likes to eat and delete text I already wrote. At random moments while writing I get pop-up windows saying the Manuscripts "repaired" my manuscript. That usually means that I have to look for text which was deleted from random places across the manuscript and re-write it. Seriously? This is, like, the biggest fathomable sin for any scientific writing software: deleting text which was already there.
Exporting just crashes, most of the time, and then expects me to "identify the problem" from the Export crash report which is sometimes shown, but more often not.
It seems to be completely impossible to copy/paste text into other word processors. Fed up with all the glitches and bugs, and because the Export function stopped working for my manuscript (see above), I tried to at least copy the text I had already written into Word. But no, that is completely impossible. I will instead have to re-write the entire bloody manuscript. I feel like a medieval monk, really. What did we invent computers (or even just the printing press) for in the first place?!
The user interface is really un-intuitive. Keyboard shortcuts which mean the same thing across all kinds of software seem to mean something completely different in Manuscripts. Command+X for cutting, then Command+V for pasting will NOT do what you expect. Instead, it will delete your text, but not let you re-paste it. Thank you. Editing text, then jumping to the next section will undo your edits. Awesome, but I really don't understand WHY.
Out of all the functions I tried out, 90% were buggy. Manuscripts was supposed to increase my productivity. Instead, after writing one sentence, I found myself banging my head into the deskplate for like two minutes, then spend another 10 minutes googling to figure out what the software had done to my writing AGAIN and how to fix it / undo it.
In its current form, Manuscripts felt to me not even like a beta version (which ought to be FREE, not 10$/20$ or 40$!!!), but really like an alpha. It is completely experimental and, sorry to say so, unusable for the purpose it was designed for: to make writing papers smooth. It feels unstable, crashes for cryptic reasons and DELETES text which was already written. Seriously, I am disappointed. And I am now, with a heavy heart, moving to MS Word plus Mendeley to enter a completely novel world of pain of its own.
I expect it will take a few months to fix Manuscripts into a tool that is even barely usable. Maybe I will give it a shot again when it's at version 1.9.X or something. Until then, you have lost me as a user for good.