Mac word processors for writers are a dime a dozen. That means there are plenty of them, and they’re not expensive. Which one is the best? The most powerful?
Frankly, the answer depends on your requirements, writing capability, and experience. If we count mere features, maybe Microsoft Word. If we count functions for writers, the answers will vary. For writers, this Mac app is tough to beat.
Eye Of The Beholder
A number of word processors and writing tools grace my Mac. My three favorites, beyond the basic elegance of Pages and feature thickness of Word, are Scrivener, Nisus Writer, and Bean. Scrivener because it’s a wonderful writing project tool that any Mac user can master.
Nisus Writer because it’s powerful and easy to use.
Bean because it’s just so good and so free.
Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder. Discounting Microsoft’s behemoth, and the overkill of writing project management apps, what’s the most powerful word processor for Mac users?
Why Pick This One?
Selecting any app as most powerful, or the best, is fraught with danger. Still, if I’m on a limb, I’m with company. Tops is Mellel. Old school. Loaded with features aimed at writers. Mellel is for writing, and not so much document management and publication.
Mellel isn’t as easy to use as Nisus Writer. In fact, the feature list is a bit overwhelming. However, all of what you expect is in there, though sometimes cumbersome to find and implement.
Tables, hyphenation, multiple columns, search and replace, special characters, live stats, image placement and resizing, spell checking, and styles. Did I mention styles? Paragraph, character, page, document, headers and footers, sub-styles.
Also built in is an outliner, table of contents generation, and multilingual support par excellence. Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic and Persian, Greek, Hebrew, and Cyrillic.
I work with a number of writers in California academia who publish very large documents. They swear by Mellel for a variety of reasons. It’s blazing fast. It’s rock solid stable, even on documents with many, many hundreds of pages. Mellel uses style sets that can organize pages, columns, paragraphs, footnotes, even style lists—faster than hand crafting similar functions in other word processors.
Beyond Processing Words
Mellel provides a number of unique features that document writers love, including a robust outline tool which is connected to the elements in each document. Move elements around from the outliner, and keep chapters, sections, headings, captions intact.
Elements can be promoted, demoted, cut, copied and pasted with a click or keystroke. Some publication apps forego the benefits of WYSIWG. Mellel handles visual widows and orphans, pages and sections, and multiple hyphenation options.
Yes, it’s the 21st century, and what writing tool doesn’t have distraction free writing features built in? Mellel has it, too, but gives you limited access to tools you need—just a click away.
Why Mellel and not, say, Word or Nisus Writer Pro?
All have more features than we’ll ever use.
Who is passionate about Word? In the publish or perish crowd, and among writers who do it all day for a living, all year, Mellel incites passion. I hear the phrase “nothing better” all the time.
My experience, using a dozen or so word processors and writing tools, through the years tells me that Mellel, like good beer or fine wine, is an acquired taste. When used for a substantive period of time, it becomes loved. When used extensively, Mellel becomes indispensable.
Agree? Disagree? Whatever your choice of top word processor or writing tool, share your experience and passion in the Comments section.