I write. Therefore, I am. Mac users have a few dozen word processors, one of which is bound to satisfy your writing needs.
Right smack in the middle of the lineup are two lean, mean, Mac writing machines. One is loaded. One is lean. One has a nominal price tag. One is free. Both are superbly crafted writer’s apps which make writing a pleasure, not a chore.
Not Your Father’s Microsoft Word
Allow me to get this out of my system. Neither app is Microsoft Word. They’re lean, not fat. They’re fast, not slow. They’re both almost intuitive, and neither requires a night class at a community college to figure out.
First on the list is Nisus Writer Express (not the pro version). It’s a full featured word process with all the basics, and more where that came from.
Express reads and writes Word, RTF, RTFD, Unicode, and plain text files, so it’s mostly compatible with any major word processor or editor.
It handles numbering, bullets, tables, and styles. Customizable keyboard shortcuts are built in. It does find and replace, footnotes and endnotes, and can even select multiple sections at a time.
Also built in is a multiple clipboard, right to left text, which is handy because Express also does over 180 languages. If that all looks like a bargain, it is. But Nisus Writer Express looks and feels like a typical word processor, though usage is more intuitive.
On the other end of mid-range is Bean. It’s free. It’s lightweight and boasts a number of surprising features.
Bean does a life word count, with more statistics in the floating Get Info panel. The inspector panel controls most aspects of Bean. There are auto saved, date-stamped backups, a page layout mode, and a zoom slider for close up viewing.
What it doesn’t do is footnotes, pre-defined styles, floating graphics (as in a page layout). However, it uses OS X’s dictionary and word completion. Like Nisus Writer Express, Bean does most of the basic word processor formats, including Word.
What’s the difference? Bean is free. Nisus Writer Express is not. Bean is lean. Nisus Writer Express is more full featured (less than Word, more than Pages).
The similarities are notable, too. Both are easy to use and don’t require a Word Processing for Dummies manual. For casual but regular writing, Bean is superb. If you write and get involved in documents, Nisus Writer Express is the next step up.