My search for the perfect writing tool has been in vain. I cut my writing teeth on WriteNow from back in the last century. In recent years I used Bean on my Mac but we’ve entered a new era with more devices and more options to write. What do I use now?
Bean on the Mac is something of a throwback application that brings into the 21st century the ease-of-use and familiarity of WriteNow without the learning curve or price tag. Bean, however, is Mac only and in changing times I’ve looked far and wide for a replacement.
Alas, no such perfect writer’s tool exists, but instead we can choose from many which, in some cases do more than Bean or WriteNow, but in other cases with other applications do what needs to be done to write in a different time and place.
Enter iA Writer, a Mac, iPhone, and iPad mini-word processor which touches a number of the new era bases. First base– sit down and start writing; no thinking required.
Second base– iA Writer is minimalist, not cluttered with seldom used features, but with enough of the basics to be instantly familiar. Third Base– iA Writer is cross platform; Mac, iPhone, iPad, even Android devices, and that means files can be stored on iCloud or Dropbox and be shared easily.
Home Run– a balance of writer-oriented features from syntax highlighting to focus mode to custom templates with options to drop in tables, images and photos and formatted text. File formats? Got ’em with HTML to DOCX. As an added bonus, the document library function means you can search, sort, and move quickly between documents.
These days I use iA Writer because it’s just easier to get started writing, and depending upon the requirement, I can dump a near finished project into Word or wherever else it needs to go for formatting and distribution.
Is iA Writer the perfect word processor? Nope. It’s likely those days of Bean and WriteNow and others which tugged at our heart strings as the tools of choice to craft various forms of prose are gone forever. Today we have multiple devices and that means a measure of compromise.
You can spend good money on Ulysses and Scrivener and get every feature, function, and tool a writer with a good imagination could imagine, so iA Writer is a compromise toward always available convenience with a modest price tag. If you need similar functionality for less, there’s always Apple’s own Notes app which can do the job but is more of a jack-of-all-trades type of utility than an app made for writers.
What if price is not an object? There are two other cross platform writing tools to consider here.