The only difference between a professional writer and a drunk messenger is the ability to edit. Some writers follow the simple process of “Pre-write, write, rewrite” and seem to do well. Some of us are too critical for our own good and end up dropping a ton of usable content in search of perfection. At some point during the re-editing (it’s about everything we do) we realize that we shouldn’t have edited out some word or phrase we can’t remember. There are proofing tools built into most word processors that allow you to track your text history. Microsoft Word allows you to track changes along with your document, Mac has a native version history with each file, and so on. Now, we have a solution that allows you to write in your favorite editor but track changes separately. Draft Control allows you to track, search, archive, and restore drafts as you wish. There is a $19.99 in-app purchase that allows you to access multiple documents simultaneously, the free version allows you to edit only one.

The app features a very simple interface, with not a seam in sight. Just drag your document into the Draft Control and it will start tracking the document. You can continue working on your document as you normally would, meanwhile Draft Control will update the document at regular intervals or any time you press save. You will be notified every time.

In a selected document, any additional text is colored green, any deleted text turns red, with an arrow indicating what the text has been converted to. When editing, it makes it easy to quickly scan the document to keep track of changes. You can even see a preview of what your file looks like without the edits

The document used for a test was a markdown file, edited using WriterPro (easier to adapt). The following formats are supported, with support for .mellel being added recently:

Microsoft Word (.docx)
Pages (.pages)
LibreOffice, OpenOffice (.odt)
Scrivener (.scriv)
Mellel (.mellel)
Markdown (.md)
Rich Text (.rtf)
All plain text formats (.txt, .tex, .html, .fountain, etc.)

The Draft Control app has its drawbacks. If you’re working on a large file and realize you need a few sentences from a previous draft, you’ll have to make that change manually, as this is strictly a tracking app. There are additional controls that can be accessed via the menu bar, but not much explanation is provided on how to best use them. All things considered, either you will absolutely need this app, or you won’t need it at all. There’s not much of a middle ground, though it’s definitely recommended for a test.

Download Draft Control from the Mac App Store