Confession time. I remember MacWrite. And, no, it was not one of the best Mac word processors ever. It was the first and came with the Mac when it was launched in early 1984. I cut my word processing teeth on CP/M systems using WordStart so my switch to the venerable WriteNow was like a fresh, cool breeze and a cold drink on a hot summer day.
Elderly Mac users have fond memories of WriteNow, despite the prominence of Microsoft’s Word, Word Perfect, and others back in the day which sold more and were used by many. WriteNow was fast, stable, easy to master, but with enough features to be useful for many Mac users. Alas, WriteNow died in the mid-1990s and nothing quite like it existed on the Mac until Bean was released over a decade later; another welterweight word processor; lean, elegant, fast, and updated with a list of 21st century features but without the weight of Word.
Bean remains available but is no longer under active development. Is there a replacement word processor available that brings back the flavors or WriteNow and Bean?
At least, no, not yet, despite the growing number of minimalist writing and note taking tools for the Mac. Minimalist? That’s a euphemism for ‘few features.’ Here’s a good example. It’s called Write; billed as a note taking and markdown writing app which mixes a bit of everything into a single app– lightweight word processor, note taking app, markdown editor, text editor.
Write performs with all the modern 21st century buzzwords, too. Syntax highlighting, typewriter scrolling, custom themes, distraction free interface, iCloud sync (plus Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, OneDrive and others). It also features word, sentence, paragraph count, and a nice feature which estimates reading time.
Write also supports MultiMarkdown 4, customized CSS export, file exports as PDF, HTML, or Rich Text Format (RTF). And, of course, you can share content via Email, Twitter, Facebook, Messages, or OS X’s AirDrop.
Write comes with multiple handpicked fonts (though you can use any installed Mac font), tags to organize notes, and a unified library, which I consider to be one of the best available (until OS X Yosemite arrives).
Write makes it easy to copy and edit plain text as well as HTML. Full document statistics are available with a click, and tags are viewable in the Mac’s Finder. The typewriter mode seems outdated (when was the last time you used a typewriter), but is handy to focus on what you’re writing. Images and links can be dropped into Write, too.
Important in the age of mobile devices, there’s a version of Write for iPhone and iPad for just a couple of dollars.
So, what’s not to like?
The price? The iPhone and iPad version is a bargain, but the Mac version of Write costs more. Much more. Even worse, there’s no try-before-you-buy trial option for Write. You pay the price to try Write. If you like it, great. If not, too bad.