This week I devoted a thousand words or so to a handful of Mac apps for writers; specifically, both ends of the tool scale. Two feature laden tools with a hefty price tag to match, and one I use (with a nominal price tag to match the minimalist approach).
Writing tools are like pillows. They may look similar but each of us choose a different one. Of the email I received from readers, the one Mac app I did not mention was mentioned the most frequently. Mellel for Mac and iPad. In retrospect, Mellel has advantages and similarities to the two more expensive tools reviewed earlier in the week.
For ‘Real’ Writers
The phrase most used in the reader feedback was “‘real’ writers.” I understand. Long form documents make up a well educated and experienced group of Mac owners and Mellel seems to have a place which isn’t easily dislodged by the likes of Ulysses, Scrivener, and certainly not my minimalist favorite iA Writer. Mellel’s strength isn’t just document creation, certainly not mere word processing, but more of an industrial strength long form document app for scholars, researchers, and writers with more complex and technical requirements than the aforementioned apps.
Technical requirements? Mellel is excellent with large documents with multilingual options that make the others appear anemic. Arabic? Persian? Hebrew? Syriac? Got ’em. Some of my readers who responded immediately about my choices countered that despite a lengthy list of formatting options, Mellel has never crashed or lost a paragraph.
I’ve used Mellel but more as a curiosity venture than livelihood option. From what I can see, Mellel excels in four basic categories, so if you write within one, give the app a test run.
- Editing and Publishing
- Academic Writing
- Technical Writing
- Creative Writing
Each field has similarities, yes, but distinct differences in approach and how the written word needs to be compiled and organized. For example, editing and publishing places higher value on styles and story. Academic writing uses notes, outlines, and bibliography options. Technical writing requires more cross references, auto-titles, and multilingual support. Each field has similarities and differences and Mellel’s built-in tools have strengths which cater to each.
Perhaps as impressive as Mellel itself are the tutorials publisher by the developer. The tutorials library is next to none and provides details for titles, bibliography and citations, cross reference options, file management, and search options. Outlines and styles can be tricky depending upon the need but Mellel’s tutorials are as detailed and useful as I’ve seen anywhere in the industry.
Here’s a surprise bonus.
Mellel’s website has detailed video intructions which highlight various functions; everything from indexing to multilingual support. One more bonus. All the so-called word processors mentioned earlier have support for macOS High Sierra and iOS; especially iPad. Mellel has an iPad version, too (which I have not tried, so I cannot comment on file compatibility).
It should be obvious– based upon my email this week– that Mellel has a large and growing base of customers who are willing to evangelize a product that has been around many years, and receives regular updates and upgrades.