If you own a Mac, there are plenty of word processing apps to choose from. Whether you’re penning a research paper for college, a report for your boss or your next bestselling novel, there’s an app that’ll help you get the job done.
To make your life just a little bit easier, we’ve drawn up a list of our favorite writing apps for Apple’s desktop operating system.
Byword is the app that I use to write almost all of my articles at TNW. I wanted a word processor that was fast, lightweight and beautiful to look at. Since I grabbed it from the Mac App Store, I’ve never looked back.
The minimalist design is timeless; I prefer the light color scheme, although I’ve switched to the dark one for a few night-time writing sessions. The typefaces are stellar and the three text width options offer some flexibility for different writing styles. I enjoy crafting news stories with the narrow setting – it reminds me of the column width used in newspapers – but usually revert back to the medium and wide options for long-form pieces.
iA Writer is similar to Byword, with a minimalist design that prioritizes a clean, focused writing experience over advanced formatting features. It’s difficult to recommend one over the other, as they’re both tremendous word processing apps. You’ll be happy with either one, although it’s worth experimenting with both to see which one suits your writing style and workflow best.
iA Writer has a few special tricks that are worth considering, such as Focus Mode, which dims everything but the last three lines that you’ve been working on. The app also supports Markdown formatting, which you can preview at any time in a separate window.
I’m fairly invested in Google’s expansive portfolio of products and services, which makes it all the more difficult to ignore Google Drive. A cloud-based storage solution and a set of productivity apps all rolled into one, it’s never more than a few clicks away – especially if you’re a Chrome user.
Its accessibility and non-existent price-tag is what makes Google Docs such a compelling word processor. Regardless of what device you’re on, you can just navigate to your Drive and begin typing straight away. You don’t have to worry about native apps and all of your progress is saved and synced automatically.
If you’re writing a dissertation, novel or script, it can be difficult to organize your workflow. References, notes and ideas are often contained in separate documents, which result in a long-winded back-and-forth scenario while you write. In short, it’s just not very productive or intuitive.
Scrivener cleans up this mess with a well-designed, straightforward interface tailored to anyone working on a long-form piece of text. The app’s document hierarchy is shown on the left, split into three default folders called Draft, Research and Trash. Draft allows you to split your document into separate sections or chapters, before compiling them into one long document at the end. Media, meanwhile, supports a wide variety of file types for you to reference as you write, similar to Evernote, and Trash is pretty self-explanatory.
Scrivener has a fairly difficult learning curve and some advanced features that many writers shy away from. Storyist is a popular alternative that offers a similar experience – the ability to write and review multiple documents in a single window – but with a simpler design to wrap your head around.
It’s geared heavily towards novelists and screenwriters though, which could be a problem if you’re writing for another purpose. In the left-hand panel you can create and edit your stage play, manuscript and film script pages, as well as unformatted text files. There’s also space to detail all of your characters, plot points, locations and any research that you’ll be referring to.
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