Thursday, March 26, 2009

For the Mac Writers

I've had some e-mails come in complaining that my freeware lists don't have any programs listed for Mac users, and asking me to do something about it.

First off, I have done a Mac-only freeware list in the past. When any program I find is compatible with Mac I always indicate it in the OS notation at the end of the listing (as I did with Japplis Tool Box, SeeColors and TexFinder on this recent list.) Keep in mind that I don't own a Mac myself, and most freeware sites I frequent like and (formerly Freeware World Team) offer freeware only geared for Windows users.

I've compiled the following list of what freeware I think may be of use to writers who use a Mac, and I will continue to keep an eye out for it in the future. As with any freeware I list, keep in mind the usual caution: always scan free downloads of anything for bugs and other threats before dumping the programs into your hard drive.

If you need a free word processor for your Mac OS X, there is the open source Bean rich text editor that features "live word count, a Get Info panel for in-depth statistics, a zoom-slider to easily change the view scale, an Inspector panel with lots of sliders, date-stamped backups, autosaving, a page layout mode, an alternate colors option (e.g., white text on blue), an option to show invisible characters (tabs, returns, spaces), selection of text by text style, paragraph style, color, etc., a floating windows option (like Stickies has), easy to use menus, remembers cursor postion (excluding .txt, .html, .webarchive formats), and all of Cocoa's good stuff (dictionary, word completion, etc.)" (OS: Mac OS X 10.5 Intel, Mac OS X 10.5 PPC, Mac OS X 10.4 Intel, Mac OS X 10.4 PPC)

The recently updated Jer's Novel Writer features a word processor designed for novelists, along with margin notes, automatic outline, database, full screen mode, bookmarks, and separate formatting options for print and screen. It recognizes chapters, provides a note panel for story issues and ideas, takes a word count, gives you more accurate page count estimates, and according to the designer, "performs better than most word processors for really, really big documents." This one is available to download for free and use as long as you like; purchase price is $30.00 U.S. and even better, the designer is willing to haggle over the price with you (OS: Mac OS X 10.5 Intel, Mac OS X 10.5 PPC, Mac OS X 10.4 Intel, Mac OS X 10.4 PPC)

LyX/Mac not only has its own wiki but according to Fraser at is a "different kind of word processor. Most word processors let you focus on content and style, giving you inconsistent documents most of the time. LyX allows you to create professional documents while focusing on structure first, and when you’re done, you can export your document as a PDF or web page. This tool is excellent for professional reports, scientific papers and so on." (OS: Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later, with a TeX installation)

myWords is "a simple application for writers of all kinds" and allows you to "track ideas, plots, people, places etc, write in fullscreen, create from templates\boilerplates, separate formatting for screen, print, export, password protection & encryption" as well as offers an "autosave feature - revert to saved in case of mistake." Designer notes that the producy is "extra handcrafted for slower (older) Macs." Because I use IE I couldn't gain access to the developer's site to get cost info, but lists it as shareware with a purchase price of $10, so you probably get a free trial or limited-use version when you download (OS: Mac OS X 10.5 Intel, Mac OS X 10.5 PPC, Mac OS X 10.4 Intel, Mac OS X 10.4 PPC)

According to the designers, with NeoOffice you get "a full-featured set of office applications (including word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, drawing, and database programs) for Mac OS X. Based on the office suite, NeoOffice has integrated dozens of native Mac features and can import, edit, and exchange files with other popular office programs such as Microsoft Office. NeoOffice is one of the most stable office suites for Mac OS X. We have created an office suite that is adapted to the unique needs of Mac users by taking the features in Sun Microsystems' office suite and adding improvements such as: Fast, free, and friendly support for all users, extremely stable Mac OS X code that has been in daily use by hundreds of thousands of NeoOffice users since 2003, significant speed improvements to the code, dozens of features requested by our users designed specifically for the Mac." (OS: Mac OS X 10.3 or higher)

Fraser at also recommends Skim PDF Reader and Note-Taker, "a PDF reader with a few powerful built-in editing tools such as adding an arrow/circle, or striking out unwanted text. With Skim, you can quickly sort through and edit your PDFs in a pinch." (OS: Mac OSX 10.4)

Resources to check for more Mac freeware:

MacApper's The Great Mac OS X Freeware List



  1. Anonymous10:24 AM

    Surely you jest.

    Complaining? People are complaining that you're taking your free time to provide these incredible lists and not including Macs? (I'm a Mac user!) Yikes.

    Thanks for the info, but huge apologies from your loving fans that anyone was so churlish.

  2. Anonymous10:59 PM

    I agree with Aerin. Thanks for thinking of us.

    BTW, NeoOffice is a nice program that I've used for a while.


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