We live in a age when up is down, bad is good, and what’s worthless is given value. Examples? Kardashians, people who say anything to get what they want, politicians who disparage others but offer no details on their own plans, and things that are called free but are not.
Today’s example is the Mac app Free. It’s not. It’s $9.00. But the app’s name is Free. See the disconnect? Worse, Free is from a Mac app developer with a growing list of useful, cleverly designed apps. Free is billed as a clean and clutter-free text editor. It’s not even a text editor. Instead, it’s more of a mini-word processor.
I’ve long grumbled about apps that claim to be clutter-free or distraction-free or minimalist; all of which are euphemisms for few features. Free is no different. It’s low on features but not so low on price.
Yet, as my grandmother often said, ‘The proof is in the taste of the pudding’ and that’s where Free works well (despite the name, despite the minimal features, despite the price tag vs. the Free name). If you want a minimal mini-word processor, and you don’t plan to use it to edit text in the conventional sense, Free might do the job for you because the sum is greater than the total of the parts.
That’s a mini-word processor if I’ve ever seen one.
Free is packed with the basic, despite being called minimalist. There’s a toolbar at the top, a standard ruler with tabs, settings available with a click, and plenty of options to convert text from one format to another; importing or exporting. And that includes the infamous Word .DOC format.
You’ll also find paragraph highlighting, color schemes, totally distraction free typewriter scrolling complete with sounds. Free also has stats. Word, character, sentence count, word frequency, and even readability statistics.
I don’t consider Free to be a text editor in the common sense (one which developers, webmaster, and geeks would use to edit programming text), but it handles Markdown.
Free is a mini-word processor specifically for OS X El Capitan and Yosemite, so it has other useful built-in functions, include Auto Save, Fullscreen mode, Versions and Resume, plus the useful spelling, grammar, dictionary.
If you’re worried that a $9.00 mini-word processor doesn’t have enough power or options, then check out the menus, then check out the trial download.
Free has a value that goes beyond the name and the price tag. It’s uncomplicated and straightforward to setup and use. It feels somewhat like Bean, one of my favorite free word processors from days gone by, but modernized.
I understand the use of the name Free– as in free yourself from clutter so you can focus on writing. Free isn’t free in the traditional sense, but it has a very good Mac-like feel to it. If you need to edit text in the traditional sense, use Text Wrangler instead (free, more text editing features). If you want to write and don’t want to learn how to use a complicated app, then Free is a good choice.