Let me gush for a while about one of my favorite free Mac downloads out there. It’s Bean for Mac OS X. Bean is a free word processor for Mac users, and it does everything right.
A friend introduced me to Bean, because we both write on a daily basis. Sometimes I need a word processor, because it’s just much easier to work with than a website’s content management system (CMS). I don’t have to worry about anything but the words I’m typing. Save every-so-often, and I’m good. Bean gives me everything I want in a word processor: fast, free, simple text formatting and everything else you need for a simple write-up. I choose it over software like OpenOffice and even Apple’s Pages because it’s so efficient. All I have to do is write and save to my Dropbox, and I have access to the document from both of my computers.
The makers of Bean do admit that this is not a full-blown word processor like Office or Pages. Rather, it lies somewhere between your TextEdit application and Pages. You get basic formatting and you can place images, but you won’t have footnotes and other fancy options. That’s okay, because I don’t use any of that stuff. I just type out a document and paste it into a CMS when it’s ready, or I send it to my editors as an .RTF. It works, and it’s compatible with just about anything out there.
I like the simplicity. Still, everything I need is available. It counts my words as I type, which is very important when writing for a newspaper (and some websites that want a certain word count.) The CPU load is minimal, and it starts up and functions very, very smoothly. This is also a great thing for writers, because sometimes we have to cover something and we need the software to open quickly. When launching your word processor, the difference between two seconds and 10 seconds makes a lot of difference if you are covering a live event.
For the most part, Bean will open documents from other applications. You can open some word files, but when something else comes up I usually just use Pages to open those documents. I use it almost every day, and I would truly miss it if it were ever to go away. Let’s hope the developers continue to support the software. It’s truly great.
You can download it here: Bean. It’s free, so why not give it a shot?