How do you replace The Best Free Word Processor The World Has Ever Seen? I’m in the midst of a thorough search to replace my beloved Bean, which, though still available, is, alas, no longer being developed.
That’s a shame. Bean was the 21st century version of WriteNow but without a price tag. Some might call it Word Lite, but Bean is really less than that, and that’s what made it so good (just the right balance of features and performance).
So, can Bean be replaced? I’m beginning to think not, though I have scoured the Mac web and come up with a few potential replacements; none quite so well balanced, and all with a price tag. This week I’m into Byword, a notable Mac word processor of the mini calibre in everything except price. Byword is competent, friendly, almost inviting, but comes with a few features that are more akin to 21st century publishing than Bean.
What is 21st century publishing vs. writing with a word processor? Byword understands Markdown and can publish to WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, Evernote and other online locations. And, Byword is mobile. There’s Byword for iPhone and iPad so your writing goes wherever you and your iDevice travel.
Features, though remain basic (iPhone and iPad version only write in plain text). There’s typewriter scrolling mode, word and character counters, spelling and grammar checking, plus all the built-in OS X extras including Tags, Resume, Versions, Fullscreen, and Autosave.
It doesn’t take much for Byword to become a premium writing tool without the premium features. If you want to publish to online blogging sites that will cost you extra.
Byword’s claim to fame has to be the Markdown and blogging capability. Otherwise, many Mac word processors in the mini class do more and cost less, including Evernote, which is multi-platform and free.