In the 14 years since Mac360 launched, our crack team of writers have devoted more than our share of digital ink to the status of popular word processors for Mac users. It’s not that we don’t have many choices. We do. Word processors are everywhere these days.
The problem has to do with a Mac word processor that fits into that sweet spot to match famous writing tools of yesteryear. Today’s crop of word processors with few features are called minimalist or distraction free. Those who remember the once great and famous WriteNow from the last century also appreciated the resurrection in the popular Bean word processor which still runs on macOS Majove.
Bean may be the 21st century’s best Mac word processor.
The Mac has been home to many popular and well regarded word processors, starting with MacWrite back in 1984, WriteNow from 1985 to 1993, Microsoft Word, of course, and more recently, James Hoover’s wonderful Bean, considered by many Mac users and Mac360 readers to be WriteNow reincarnated.
Bean 3.2.11 for macOS Mojave keeps the Bean dream alive for awhile longer, but it’s time to bite the bullet, to call it like we see it, to mourn for legends past, not drag an app into a future not yet fully understood.
Bean is a small, easy-to-use word processor that is designed to make writing convenient, efficient and comfortable. Bean is lean, fast and uncluttered. It starts up quickly, has a live word count, and is easy on the eyes. Also, Bean is available free of charge. MS Word, OpenOffice, etc. try to be all things to all people, but sometimes you just want the right tool for the job. That is Bean’s niche.
That’s right. The most recently updated version of Bean specifically for macOS Mojave users. What you get is a handful of bug fixes, compatibility with the latest macOS, and a slightly extended lifetime as macOS High Sierra is on the horizon.
Bean is as free as the wind, as beautiful as a sunset, as memorable as a first love. Does this look familiar?
Bean’s claim to fame as a legendary Mac word processor is a combination of, 1) free, 2) blend of useful features in an intuitive package, and, 3) ability to open most word processing documents.
Bean’s basics include autosaving, date-stamps, backups, a good page-layout mode, live word count, dictionary, word completion, visible invisible characters, a real toolbar, and much more.
Preferences are plenty but not overwhelming; most are set it and forget it.
Bean occupies a special place in the hearts of many Mac toting writers.
The inspector panel makes formatting a breeze. There’s a built-in alternate color option. While tabs are a welcome relief from so-called modern minimalist word processors that focus on distraction free modes, each tab can also be opened as a separate window for easier editing.
Text can be selected by style, paragraph style, even color. Each page can be zoomed to change the view scale. And, the Get Info panel displays basic statistics with word and character count. You also get free-form headers and footers, optional 2-up layout view, split-window editing, and fullscreen.
Even more Preferences are a click away.
Through the years since Bean went into limbo and was resurrected to a temporary life, Mac360’s writers have searched long and hard for a replacement, only to come up short to shorter. But along the way we uncovered many good writing tools. Bean is back– for now– and works well on macOS Mojave, and remains available for download for older Macs as well.
How long will Bean last?
Only Bean’s developer knows, but for now Bean lives and remains the free mac gift that keeps on giving. Alas, the scene of word processors has changed while Bean has not. These days we have minimalist writing apps, monthly subscriptions, and comparable iPad and iPhone versions which sync files via iCloud, Dropbox, and kin. Bean is the historical anomaly, an app with roots to the past but no future, no iOS counterpart, and nothing that can replace it.