A Blast from the Past – Hanx Writer

I have a new toy that turns my iPad into an old fashioned typewriter.  It’s a blast to use, complete with sound effects and visuals that make you feel like you’re typing on an old-fashioned manual typewriter.  (For those of you too young to know what that is, you can google it but you won’t know the fun of using one.  Sorry.)


The app was created at the request of Tom Hanks, the American movie star.  He loves typewriters and has a whole collection of them.  Even though he’s very much in touch with all the latest electronic gadgets, he still likes the touch and feel of a hand typed note.  That gave birth to the Hanx Writer.

This app is a blast to play with.  It supports my Logitech bluetooth keyboard.  When I type I see the keys fly up and hear the thunk as they strike the ribbon.  The carriage moves as I type, and I hear the ding of the bell at the end of the line, the whirr of the carriage as it moves back to the left and advances to the next line.  I even enjoy the clunking of the backspace key.  It’s addictive to type on.


It’s not all old-fashioned, though.  Spell check works on it.  The back space allows you to correct mistakes so you don’t have to worry about getting virtual white-out all over your iPad screen.  It’s the fun of the old with the convenience of the new.  I find that once I start going, the clickety-clack of the keys is like a mantra and I relax into it.  It’s fascinating to watch the action of the keys.  You have to try it for yourself to believe how real it seems.  If you’ve ever typed on a manual typewriter, this will make you smile.

When you are done typing, you can email the result as a PDF.  The app auto-saves your document as you go.  I’m using it for my daily journalling, and find there are limitations.  I’d like to be able to save it as something other than a PDF (like a .txt. file) so that I can use the writing somewhere else.  When I do that, I have to copy the screen, which means multiple copy commands for multiple pages and I paste it into a text editor.  A bit of a hassle, but the sound of real typing makes it worthwhile.

For $4.99 USD you can unlock other features, but I find that I’m satisfied with the original ones.  If you do try it, take the time to go into preferences and enable the features you’ll find there.

Now if you are feeling really nostalgic, you can go to the extreme Luddite revival route and buy a replica keyboard at the pre-release price of $309 USD (going to $399 when they release it).  screenshot_333Check it out at Qwerkytoys and watch the video.  It doesn’t intrigue me as much because there is nothing “mechanical” about it.  I like watching things move while I type, which is what I get from Hanx Writer, but I can see where some people might enjoy it.


 Hi.  I’m Chris.  I’m an introvert.  All of my postings tend to reflect my introvert world in some way or another.  Join me and like minded introverts for a special slant on the world.

9 thoughts on “A Blast from the Past – Hanx Writer

  1. That takes me back to my days of working as a secretarial temp for Manpower. It was the days when the electric typewriter was a new innovation not yet up and running in every workplace. One day I’d find myself on a manual typewriter, the next on an electric, then a manual one again.

    Hell, I got through a lot of Tippex as a result. The two typewriters required a completely different touch. With the manual you had to have your fingers curled and hit the keys really hard and on the electric, you held your fingers straighter — like on a computer keyboard — and the keys really ran away with you. Sometimes my wastebin was so full of screwed up pieces of paper by the end of the day, I’d have to take the paper away with me to dispose of elsewhere (after shredding it manually, of course, as there were no paper shredding machines). I was definitely never in the running for Secretary of the Year.

    Nursing suited me far better, so thank goodness for my career change and thank goodness for computers, printers, and no more paper wastage or carbon copies to correct!

  2. I taught myself to type on an old typewriter many years ago. I loved the sounds it would make, they are very relaxing. I will have to go have a look now.

  3. Oh, I remember the days of manual typewriters so much! I spent so many years typing. I think it’s why I try to make very few mistakes – mistakes were so hard to correct before white out, especially if you were using carbon paper so you had more than 1 copy! Do you remember Selectric typewriters with the rotating ball? Such a big rage when they came out!

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