The Best Free Word Processor The World Has Ever Seen

My first Mac years ago was a hand-me-down gift from Aunt Tera. It didn’t do much back in the early 1990s. I couldn’t afford Photoshop or Microsoft Office, so I scrounged around for whatever I could get my hands on to help me with school papers.

One app that was left on my first Mac was WriteNow, a blisteringly fast, crazy simple word processor. It was discontinued but still ran on that old Mac for a few years.

WriteNow is alive and well, fully reincarnated as a free word processor for the Mac. It’s blisteringly fast, crazy simple, yet a full-fledged modern Mac app.

If you’re starting a book you’ll want a word processor that won’t get in your way as you write.

That’s Bean. It’s fast. It’s free. It works. If you remember WriteNow, this will look familiar, yet modern.


Bean is an uncluttered writing tool with just the right blend of basic writer’s features.

There’s a live word count, templates, headers and footers (which are easy to setup), an optional page layout view.

It also features split-window editing, distraction free writing and full screen editing, and automatic, date-stamped backups.

Because it’s also a good Mac OS X citizen, the dictionary and word completion is built-in. The only negative is the number of file formats that Bean can handle.

It does standard .rtf, .rtfd, plain text, Apple’s web archive format, and the Bean file format. Bean also imports and exports .doc and .docx (both used on Microsoft Word).

Unfortunately, it doesn’t read WriteNow files, so I’m left with a hundred or so college papers, musings, and reports that may never see the light of the 21st century.

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