At one time or another, most of us use a Mac word processor. Whether it’s the growing complexity and bloatware of Microsoft Word, or Apple’s built-in and under powered TextEdit, words and keyboard and Mac come together onscreen in a word processor.
Because our needs vary, word processors vary in their functions, features, and capabilities. That means it’s impossible to say one is the best. But it is possible to declare one more of a value than another. Here’s a look at three Mac word processors that range in price from free to $20 and in between.
True Value: Free vs. Not Free
From Microsoft Word to TextEdit, there’s no shortage of Mac tools that help us write.
Value? If it’s affordable and does the job for you, the value is already built in.
Apple’s Pages is available from the Mac App Store for a mere $20. This is a modern word processor.
It’s template based with over 180 Apple-designed templates. Photos and graphics are drag and drop. There’s a built-in outline, table of contents, automatic list formats, word count and page numbering. It’s buzz word compliant with a full-screen mode.
Pages imports and exports Word documents (with reasonable compatibility), and imports all kinds of media file types from jpg to png to MP3s to movies.
All that for $20. Is that a value?
More Than Free
That’s right boys and girls, guys and gals. One Mac app developer and four or five or six (I lost count) word processors. Each with a different set of features and a different icon.
What’s with that? Are word processors that easy to develop? Or, are Mac using writers clamoring for individualized feature sets?
More Than Money And Priced Free
It’s difficult to argue that Apple’s own pages is not a good value. It’s feature laden and not expensive.
At the other end of the scale is a free word processor with an attitude. Bean.
First, it’s not Pages and doesn’t claim to be. Pages is a 21st century word processor with typical bells and whistles. Bean is more like Word Lite. Or, TextEdit Ultra. It’s laced with traditional features and looks and performs like Son of WriteNow.
Sorry, no templates in Bean. You get a single, easily identifiable icon (a coffee bean). Features? Just the basics.
Full screen mode. Word count. RTF import and export. A floating inspector palette. A self-explanatory Toolbar. Drag and drop images. A zoom in and out slider bar.
Bean comes with autosaving built in, date stamped backups, and plenty of statistics. There’s a page layout mode, a dictionary, and word completion.
It opens and exports to a variety of word processor file formats, including some Word formats. In other words, Bean gives you many of the same features as some word processors with a price tag that starts and ends with free.
If you need a competent word processor that does much more than Apple’s TextEdit and you’re completely out of money, Bean is for you. It’s free. If you collect word processors, MOApp Software Manufactory seems to add a new one to their growing line of apps every few months. Or, there’s Apple’s Pages for Mac, which is the bells and whistles word processor for the average Mac Joe. One day it might be integrated into iCloud and that might make it worth more than it actually costs.