The best free Mac word processor for pure writers

“Do you remember MacWrite on the first Macs, circa 1984? Outside of showing a bomb graphic when it crashed, MacWrite didn’t do much,” Ron McElfresh writes for Mac360.

“However, it did enough to surprise Apple honcho Steve Jobs who had commissioned another word processor for the Mac—just in case. That unique Mac app was called WriteNow, and considered by many to be the best ever Mac word processor,” McElfresh writes. “I remember WriteNow for the Mac. It was elegant, had enough features, handled documents better than MacWrite, and was blazingly fast.”

McElfresh writes, “If you remember WriteNow then you’ll be completely at home with Bean. If ever there was WriteNow reincarnated, Bean is it.”

Full article here.


  1. I loved WriteNow. I used it with my MacPlus as my word processor through graduate school. Between that, my Imagewriter II and Jasmine SCSI 20mb harddrive, I was all set. Why would you need anything more?

  2. I remember WriteNow fondly, but have always preferred BBEdit for writing, not just coding. So much so that I never even bothered to check out BB’s free derivative app, TextWrangler.

    So if I’m gonna try out Bean, I’m gonna have to try TW too. If any other BBEdit writers with a review care to reply, I’ll read it, thanks.

  3. Unlike most applications, WriteNow was coded in assembly language, instead of a higher-level language. So it was extremely efficient and fast, even on an 8 MHz Mac with a 9-inch CRT. Amazingly (for one of the oldest Mac apps out there), it still worked fine on a recent PowerPC Mac with Mac OS X Tiger (under Classic). I liked its thesaurus and the efficient way the spell checker worked (back when the checking was not done “on-the-fly”); the “word” was used as the text in the correction choice button.

    Bean seems to be a nice program…

  4. I love OmmWriter too; just tried Bean and it’s not different enough to keep along with Word (which I need for compatibility reasons, sadly). Word, OmmWriter and Pages are all I need and then some. YMMV.

  5. “Pure writing” begs the question, what makes “Pure Writing” pure?

    What I have found for extensive documents is that I need to start in an outline mode (or my favorite OmniOutliner) simply because organization of all the different elements in “Pure Writing” need structure, references, comments, planning and such, which outlines can do easily.

    You can collapse something the size of War & Peace down to just chapter headings and that greatly simplifies keeping mental track of what you do.

    It may be needed to put it in a display program later, but that is no problem exporting to an rtf file.

  6. WriteNow was awesomely fast, effective and uncluttered. I’ve really missed it. The problem was you couldn’t send a native WriteNow file to any of the 98% of computer users who, at the time, were running Windows. I especially like how you could easily copy ruler setting from one chunk of text and apply it to another chunk elsewhere. Made getting specialty tabs, margins and indents consistent through a doc really easy.

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