About half of what I do for a living is writing on my Mac. Features, stories, reports, presentations, analysis, documents.
Most of the other half of what I do is email (or, so it seems). Here are six utilities for Mac users who write. All free.
It always surprises me how many people actually write on their Macs. For many, the word processor of choice is Microsoft Word. For those on a budget, other tools will do the job, or help do the job for much less.
#6 – NeoOffice
Think of this as the poor man’s Microsoft Office. Word processor, spreadsheet, database, presentation, and Office compatibility. Mostly.
NeoOffice is a Mac version of the popular open source suite, Open Office. The latest version is the most dependable I’ve used and is worth far more than the price tag. Did I mention that NeoOffice is free?
Like Office, NeoOffice is loaded with features, so much so that the somewhat quirky and overwhelming interface gets in the way.
Still, if your needs are word processing and spreadsheet and “mostly” compatibility with Microsoft Office, you can’t beat NeoOffice or the price tag.
#5 – Services
More and more these days we write by entering text into a browser field. So, how many characters or words did you enter?
Unfortunately, it’s a guessing game, or cut and paste into Word, count, then go back. Messy. Fortunately, DEVON Technologies still has a few freebies that do the job.
The AntiWordService lets some Mac Cocoa applications open Word documents. CalcService calculates the results of formulas in Cocoa applications (TextEdit, Mail, Notes, Stickies, etc.).
My favorite is WordService. 34 different functions to convert, count, change caps, sort lines, remove characters, and so on. However, DEVON hasn’t updated their services to be fully Universal Binary to run well on both PowerPC Macs and Intel Macs.
#4 – Bean
I know what you’re thinking. How many word processors does a person need these days. Add Bean to the list.
If Word or Office or NeoOffice are all overkill for you, and you have trouble with TextEdit, try rich text editing with Bean It’s small, fast, and does a few things that TextEdit doesn’t, even though they share Apple’s text engine in OS X.
Bean adds word count. That alone is worth the price of admission. Wait. There is no price. Adjust print margins. In-depth statistics. Zoom slider. Floating windows. Plus, lots of import and export options, including Word, PDF, RTF and more.
#3 – Writer (as in, “typewriter”)
There’s always someone with a different view of how the world behaves. Enter Writer, the word processor that’s as simple as a typewriter.
Prepare to be underwhelmed with everything but efficiency and simplicity. It’s as if your whole screen became a simple typewriter again. Black background, slider bar for resizing, and, well, start typing, cause that’s all Writer does.
Interestingly, the developer of Writer also has a few nifty OS X services, including CalendarCreator which has a handy Add To Do for iCal. Nice.
#2 – WordShaker
Writing is all about word manipulation, and there’s two kinds. The arrangement of the words and their implied meanings, and then all the extra effort you’re required to perform while entering the aforementioned words.
Enter WordShaker from France. Julien-Pierre Averous’ little filter tool lets Mac users manipulate word lists using filters—dictionary filter, regular expression, anagrams filter (my favorite), and more.
Crack open your high school French books, because that’s how the instructions look to me. French. Or Greek. There’s not much difference.
#1 – Memoires
This is the gem. Good writers keep a journal, and the Mac has plenty. Not all are priced the same, though. If your needs are modest and your budget even more so, check out Memoires. It’s free.
Write as many notes as you have time and fingers. Memoires has a calendar to the left and text area to the right. Even drop in photos. There’s also a search field to find what may appear to be lost.
Are you a writer? What’s your favorite Mac tool to create your mental magic? Word? TextEdit? Pico or vi? Talk Back to Mac360 readers and enter your experience in the Comments section below.