There’s an old saying that still holds true: a writer writes.
But it can be hard to write when you’ve got a bunch of noise in the way. Be it visual or audio in nature, noise can really hamper one’s ability to write. And while the term “distraction-free writing tool” can be a bit of a misnomer (after all, a writer writes…right?), if you can find a software solution that gets rid of the clutter so you can focus on the words, then it is a worthwhile expense. Byword takes care of that…and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to get it, either.
Byword is a writing tool by Metaclassy & tinyTreethat is simple to use and essentially turns your Mac into an old-school word processor. It offers a few bells and whistles. But nothing that will detract from what you’re in front of the screen to do: write. Byword allows for full-screen writing and the option to use a writing area that takes up the center of your screen, with nothing in the way to keep you from putting “words to screen”. The amount of lines a user can focus on ranges from single lines to full paragraphs (as shown in the image above), keeping the words you want to have at your fingertips at the forefront, and the interface can be altered to suit your needs, from black backgrounds to how the different types can be presented (wide, narrow, medium). All of this completes what is truly a pleasing writing experience.
One of the drawbacks of these “distraction-free” writing tools is that they go too far with that notion. I’d like to see a little bit more meat from the onset, perhaps a startup message than can be dismissed that allows users to see what is under the hood of the app. Because, despite being a minimal text editor, Byword has a lot going on under the hood.
The distraction-free writing marketplace is a crowded one, and Byword has some distinct advantages over its competitors. WriteRoom offers a lot of similar features, but the full-screen interface (while retro), actually is a distraction unto itself. The highly-touted iA Writer also delivers much of what Byword does, but you’re going to pay more for it – Byword casts only $9.99 while iA Writer costs $1i.99. Byword has happily settled in the middle, allowing users who want to have a simple, distraction-free writing environment at their disposal at a great value.
As far as text editors go for Mac users that deliver both function and form (not to mention the ability to edit Markdown), it’s very hard to find anything better than Byword.
Rating: 4/5 stacks
– Editorial Team @ StackSocial