Type Different: Text Editors for the Mac

Everyone who uses a Mac types words; sometimes in an email app, other times on Facebook, and often in a word processor. You may write in the ubiquitous Microsoft Word, or in Apple’s Pages, which is provided free on your Mac. You may even use a different word processor–there are several options available.

You may recall that Microsoft announced the end of support for Office 2011, and if you don’t use the app often, you may not want to pay a monthly subscription fee for Office 365. And Pages may be too complex for what you write. While it’s easy to use, it has a lot of features that can get in the way if you just want to write something simple.

Many people have shifted to using text editors to write on their Macs. These are apps that generally don’t offer any formatting, just plain text. They free you from the hassle of styles and fonts and let you focus on what you write. Instead of working around a complex app that wants to do more than you need, a text editor lets you focus on writing text.

In this article, you’ll learn why you might want to use a text editor for the Mac, and I’ll even recommend some favorite apps for you to try.

Read the rest of the article on the Mac Security Blog.

12 thoughts on “Type Different: Text Editors for the Mac

  1. This article confirms that Apple Mac has gotten too complicated for the average user, Snow Leopard was the last simple OS imo (It just worked).

    Buggy software, frequent updates, and change for the sake of change, that’s today’s Apple.

  2. This article confirms that Apple Mac has gotten too complicated for the average user, Snow Leopard was the last simple OS imo (It just worked).

    Buggy software, frequent updates, and change for the sake of change, that’s today’s Apple.

  3. This is a very useful article but there’s still the problem of how to deal with the incoming documents from the 99 percent of the sheep flock who use Word and dumbly assume that’s what everyone else has. I often ask the people with whom I deal to send me PDFs but the request is largely ignored (some Windows users probably don’t even know how to create a PDF). I am still using Office 2011 on my 2010 iMac running High Sierra and it struggles to open but then it works, with a creak and a groan. So I will be forced to upgrade eventually but will it be to the subscription version? No way – not if I can help it! Can any of these text editors open Word documents? It’s impressive the way Office attachments open instantly on iOS devices, albeit without the ability to edit. I don’t think MacOS has an equivalent feature (yet). Does it?

    • TextEdit can open Word files, and has been able to for several years. Pages can also open Word files.

    • While I own several of the text editors that Kirk mentioned, the text processor that I launch most often is Nisus Writer Pro. It will open Word documents, and in most cases, allow me to trade documents back and forth with colleagues and clients chained to Word, without any difficulty. Especially important for some tasks is Track Changes, which Nisus Writer Pro can handle in a Word-compatible way.

      I’ve used some version of Nisus since the 90s, and I like the current product, and the company. It’s worth considering for those who need to work with the Word herd, but want to remain outside the pen.

  4. This is a very useful article but there’s still the problem of how to deal with the incoming documents from the 99 percent of the sheep flock who use Word and dumbly assume that’s what everyone else has. I often ask the people with whom I deal to send me PDFs but the request is largely ignored (some Windows users probably don’t even know how to create a PDF). I am still using Office 2011 on my 2010 iMac running High Sierra and it struggles to open but then it works, with a creak and a groan. So I will be forced to upgrade eventually but will it be to the subscription version? No way – not if I can help it! Can any of these text editors open Word documents? It’s impressive the way Office attachments open instantly on iOS devices, albeit without the ability to edit. I don’t think MacOS has an equivalent feature (yet). Does it?

    • TextEdit can open Word files, and has been able to for several years. Pages can also open Word files.

    • While I own several of the text editors that Kirk mentioned, the text processor that I launch most often is Nisus Writer Pro. It will open Word documents, and in most cases, allow me to trade documents back and forth with colleagues and clients chained to Word, without any difficulty. Especially important for some tasks is Track Changes, which Nisus Writer Pro can handle in a Word-compatible way.

      I’ve used some version of Nisus since the 90s, and I like the current product, and the company. It’s worth considering for those who need to work with the Word herd, but want to remain outside the pen.

  5. “…Microsoft announced the end of support for Office 2011, and if you don’t use the app often, you may not want to pay a monthly subscription fee for Office 365.”

    This is a false dichotomy. I hate subscriptionware [the app-specific ransomware that you install yourself! ™ ], but it is possible to buy Microsoft Office 2016 under the traditional one-payment license purchase model. A quick Google search just revealed prices from $45 up to $90, from various vendors. I try to avoid using it, but I have it installed for the rare cases when it is required to work with a colleague.

  6. “…Microsoft announced the end of support for Office 2011, and if you don’t use the app often, you may not want to pay a monthly subscription fee for Office 365.”

    This is a false dichotomy. I hate subscriptionware [the app-specific ransomware that you install yourself! ™ ], but it is possible to buy Microsoft Office 2016 under the traditional one-payment license purchase model. A quick Google search just revealed prices from $45 up to $90, from various vendors. I try to avoid using it, but I have it installed for the rare cases when it is required to work with a colleague.

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