2 Good Ways To Distraction Free Writing On A Mac (one is free, the other is almost free)

When it comes to writing, there are three schools of thought among Mac users. School One is to use Microsoft Word, or Apple’s Pages. Both are competent writing tools with a few bells and whistles, though Word’s learning curve can be steep.

School Two is to use a dedicated writing tool such as Mellel or Scrivenir. These two apps and others have nearly every bell and whistle imaginable, and the steepest of steep learning curves. Both are very good at complex writing projects.

School Three is the distraction-free, minimalist school. High on the list of many writers who want basic writing tools but not much more is the free Bean.

Indicative of the simple writing tools is Writer, which is similarly equipped, elegant, and has a limited list of features, but, like Bean, is quickly used and mastered.

Does this look familiar?


Writer comes with the usual assortment of basics, including Auto Save, Fullscreen, Versions and Resume, plus spell checker and grammar checkers and dictionary.

Headers and footers are supported, as is word count and statistics. Add tables, format paragraphs, and view your work in layout or zoom. And, of course, it numbers pages.


The toolbar will be familiar to anyone who’s used a word processor. Tools are self explanatory, but it’s missing the multipage tabs in Bean. Create styles and store them in a floating palette. And, import and export plain text, Microsoft Word, Rich Text, and OpenOffice Text.

Writer is also iCloud aware so your files are easily backed up to your iCloud account and sharable on multiple Macs. It’s not as complex as Word, and not as full featured as Mellel or Scrivener. In fact, it’s most like Bean, but with a nominal price tag.