It was called WriteNow, and still to this day we Mac old timers think of WriteNow with great fondness.
It was elegant, fast, and with just the write balance of writing tools. Alas, WriteNow died many years ago, but seems to have inspired one of the more popular Mac word processor’s in the 21st century, one you’re likely to have heard of, read about, but haven’t tried.
If you’ve used Bean, you know how much it resembles WriteNow. If you haven’t, but end up trying Bean, you’ll be revisiting a little of the Mac’s history but in a new package.
What’s so special about Bean? Simple toolbar, good blend of writing tools, but no fluff, fluster, or clutter. The floating Inspector palette gives a writer about all that’s need to write and not have to manage the tool.
What you’ll notice right away about Bean is the lack of a complicated toolbar, the absence of tools you don’t need when you sit down to write.
Bean has a real-time, live word count. Documents can be turned into templates. The headers and footers are free-form. There’s a page layout view, split-window editing, and distraction free full screen editing. And, of course, multiple documents can be opened in different tabs (great feature).
It reads and writes RTF, RTFD, plain text, Apple’s web archive format, and imports and exports Word ’97, Word ’07, the Open Document format (with a caveat or two), and exports PDF, DOC, and HTML pages.
To be fair, Bean isn’t Microsoft Word. And it’s not Apple’s Pages from iWork. It’s a lean, clean, uncluttered and very fast word processor which lets you focus on writing, not word processing (as in management).
That Bean is so good and free is a testament to the influence of previously great apps for the Mac, such as WriteNow.