Way back in the day, back when keyboards clattered and words were processed, I cut my writing teeth on WriteNow, long considered one of the Mac’s best word processors ever.
WriteNow achieved that near perfect blend of features, usability, and speed which made it the darling of savvy writers who chose the Mac as their main tool for content creation (not what it was called back then). For two decades since I’ve search for the perfect Mac word processor. So, where is it?
Mac360’s writers lament the passing of WriteNow here and here. Bean, like WriteNow, blends just the right amount of features, usability, and speed into a word processor that you want to use. Alas, Bean is no longer under active development (free isn’t much of a business model), hence the search for a replacement.
Last week a co-worker told me about Zoho Writer which reminded me of Bean and WriteNow.
This nifty little word processor is just about right. Lean, elegant, fast, just enough tools in the Menubar, limited clutter, imports and exports plenty of file formats, and could be a better document creator than Bean.
And, like Bean, Zoho Writer is free. Well, almost. Zoho Writer is part of the Zoho documents system which costs money to use each month, and much like Google, documents are stored in the cloud, in this case the Zoho Docs cloud.
The search continues and I’ve tried them all (or, all that I could find that looked promising). There’s Zen, which is minimalist on price and features, but that’s the trend these days. Minimalism and distraction free are euphemisms for few features.
A search of “word processor” on the Mac App Store reveals a few dozen word processors. Who says the Mac App Store is dead? I have trouble figuring out the Mac App Store’s search mechanism, though. Select Most Popular and you wouldn’t expect a word processor with 2 1/2 stars to be the first listing, right? It is. It’s Apple’s own Pages. And we accuse Google of stacking search engine results.
At one end of the writing scale is Scrivener, which I use, but it’s more a writing system than it is a comparison to WriteNow or Bean. iA Writer looks nice. I don’t mind the price and it gets five stars but only from nine reviewers. Sounds like family and friends to me.
The simply entitled Write is good, too. Plenty of good reviews, modest price, much more than TextEdit, more traditional than Pages, a bit Bean-like to use, and it improved rapidly than development ceased. Perfection needs a price tag. The successor to Write is called Write 2 and it’s a leaner and lighter look than Write; far less Fisher-Price.
If light is what you’re after, but you need basic formatting tools and less clutter, Write 2 might be a good choice. It’s not a reincarnation of WriteNow, and it’s not as powerful as Bean, but it’s affordable, somewhat traditional but flat and simple to use, and, as of now, it’s nor orphan-ware or a zombie app that exists but isn’t being developed any longer. I’m still looking, but I like Write 2 and it’s from a Mac app developer with other apps and a business model, although the lighter Write 2, called Free, isn’t really free.