In my never ending search to replace WriteNow and Bean, I have encountered more than my fair share of writing tools that range from minimalist and distraction free (Translation: fewer features, price tag anyway) to complete writing systems (Ulysses and Scrivener and Mellel come to mind). Here’s another one.
The toilet paper analogy seems appropriate when compared to writing tools. Different strokes for different folks. I sling words for a living so I need a toolset– like those that come with Scrivener and Ulysses) but the trend these days is subscription-based bare minimum mini-word processors like Bear.
The one on my list this week is called WonderPen. Nice icon. Free lite version to try. No subscription. But all the standard features you’ve come to know and love and describe in a single paragraph. Or two. Yet, for all the promise, it still misses in a couple of areas.
WonderPen is standard fare. Minimal toolbar because tools are minimal. The lefthand sidebar features file navigation which means you control your own file organization. I like that. There’s Markdown support, fullscreen mode, but not many document formats.
- Tree view, drag-and-drop to reorder.
- An easy-to-use text editor that supports Markdown.
- Supports full-screen mode, lets you focus on writing.
- Docs can be exported as Image, PDF, HTML, etc.
- Auto save while editing. You can backup all docs as a single file and restore from it later.
- Add memo for each doc.
- Focus on one node of the doc tree.
- Search in all docs.
- Automatic backup.
That said, document backup is automatic and what you see on the screen is, well, familiar. Far too many Mac writing tools look like WonderPen. Even a document with plenty of Markdown can be viewed fully formatted with a click. I don’t fully appreciate the Markdown approach as it isn’t much different than WordStar or Wang word processors of yesteryear.
What’s wrong with WYSIWYG?
There isn’t much to complain about with WonderPen but it’s nothing to write home about, either.
What’s missing? No iPad or iPhone version, for one, and no true WYSIWYG formatting options, either. The price tag is nominal. It’s not Bear but it’s not pay by the month forever. There is a kind of try-before-you-buy option with the Lite version in the Mac App Store. Bean still works– and it shows up as 64-bit on my Mac so it could run for a few more years– but there are plenty of word processors that do the deed and run on macOS High Sierra and iOS 11.x.