Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Two Awesome Mac Writing Tools Compared: One Is Free, One Is Not, Which Is Best?

Write 2When selecting Mac apps to use I want to be discriminating yet give a chance to something that is new and promising yet make sure to compare what’s new with what’s tried and true. When it comes to Mac tools for writers, personal tastes weigh as much as usability, but value can not be ignored. Here’s a quick look at two Mac writing tools. One is free, one is not. See if you can figure out the value proposition.

First up is Write 2, a nicely done lite word processor from Michael Göbel. This is a modern writing tool for cloud users.

Write 2 features Auto Save, Fullscreen mode, Versions and Resume, Substitutions, Spelling, Grammar, and Dictionary, all built in and easily accessible from Menubar or Toolbar.

It also has paragraph highlighting, a unique typewriter scroll function, zoom view, styles, page numbering, word count and statistics. Write 2 can handle tables, header and footer, and annotations, and it imports and exports text, Word, Rich Text, and OpenOffice text. It does more than Apple’s free TextEdit, of course.

Write 2

Going in the other direction, there’s Bean, a free word processor for the Mac.

The feature stack is similar to Write 2, but more traditionally equipped. There’s a live word count, document templates, headers and footers, a page layout view, split window editing with a full screen option, plus OS X basics including dictionary, word completion, and similar file formats (Bean can export HTML files).

Experienced Mac writers liken Bean to the once popular Write Now for the Mac.


Like Write 2, Bean features a standard toolbar but also has tabs for multiple documents. The floating inspector adjusts for each selected document.

Unfortunately, Bean is not cloud ready but works well with Dropbox. Bean is free while Write 2 has a nominal $6.99 price tag. Both are very good tools for writers who don’t require the bulk of Microsoft Word or the eye candy in Apple’s Pages.

Which of the two entices you the most?


  1. Paul Gorski says

    I like and use Bean, but I believe new development has been halted on this excellent free product. From the Bean web site: (http://www.bean-osx.com/Todo.html) “After the release of Bean 3.2.2, active development of Bean will cease. Bean will remain available for download at the bean-osx.com website. It may even be updated as necessary to keep the app running on future versions of OS X.”

  2. willis says

    Love Bean. What a great effort. Alas, what’s free doesn’t last, and Bean may go the way of Write Now. That’s too bad. Excellent app for Mac users with a need to use a lightweight word processor not cluttered up with sludge like Word.

    • Wayne says

      What a shame, I really loved the simplicity, directness and speed of your excellent app. I never use Microsoft Word, even though I have it. Thanks for writing such a great piece of software. You should have charged for it.