Bean: The Word Processor For Those Who Need Something Between TextEdit and Word [50 Mac Essentials #38]

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Bean is one of OS X’s little treasures. It’s a lightweight rich text editor that’s nimble, fast and offers just a teeny tiny bit more than Apple’s own TextEdit. And does all this for free.

Bean’s maker, James Hoover, stresses that his application isn’t intended as a replacement for Microsoft Word. If you love Word, stick with it. But if, like James, you think Word sometimes feels like too much – like “going out for lunch and getting this huge platter of greasy food when all you wanted was something light, like half a sandwich,” as he puts it – then Bean is an ideal and much more nimble alternative.

Wait, you say: TextEdit is all those things too. Why not just use that? You’re right, of course. TextEdit will do most of the basics that most people need. But if they need a few extra features, like writers who need a word count, Bean is the next step up the ladder. In our opinion, it’s a step worth taking.

It doesn’t do footnotes and floating graphics. But it does do a live word count, document statistics, auto saving and backups, a nice full screen mode, and lots more.

This is all old news to the Mac minimalists and the text editor aficionados who’ve been trying out various text apps for various purposes over the years. But that doesn’t stop us thinking that Bean is one of those apps that rarely gets the recognition it deserves.

It’s one of our old favorites. One thing it does deserve, then, is a place in your Applications folder; which is why we’ve included it in our list of 50 Mac Essentials.

For those of you who enjoy posts comparing the merits of all things text-edity and word-processy, this post today at appstorm.net will be write (ahem) up your alley.

(You’re reading the 38th post in our series, 50 Essential Mac Applications: a list of the great Mac apps the team at Cult of Mac value most. Read more, or grab the RSS feed.)