App of the Week: Bean

Writing has been major part of my life.  Some people prefer to write by hand, I prefer typing.  As such, I’ve used a lot of writing apps over the years from Microsoft Word, Open Office, Pages, and more.  When using a writing app, you want a certain balance of functionality and usability.  Sometimes you need a power office tool, like Microsoft Word, while other times you just want a lighter tool.  But that lighter tool sometimes just doesn’t have the features you need, and may just not be all that inspiring to write in.  Bean is an app that meets us in the middle.

Bean is a beautifully simple app to work in.  Its name is a joke off of several facts, including the fact that a lot of writers seem to like coffee, and the app is coded in Apple’s Cocoa framework (props just for creativity).

A screenshot of the Bean 3 (version 2.9) beta (courtesy to

Its beautiful and sleek design make me actually want to write just looking at it.  I actually started re-working on a old novel I had begun to write from several years ago.  One nice feature that it has that few other writing apps do is a fullscreen writing mode.  It’s been in there for awhile and is not exclusive to people who have upgraded to Lion

It works primarily in Rich Text format and Text format (.rtf and .txt respectively) but has the capability to work with Word files, OpenOffice documents, and more.  I’m working with someone who wants his files in either RTF of .txt formats, so having Bean is nice to fill in the holes that TextEdit has, while keeping me free from worry about working with .txt file’s formatting in a bulky app in a full office suite.  Bean is not a replacement for your office  suite, however, with Bean’s website even saying so on the front page.

Bean is very light, quick to start up, but I did notice a few bugs.  For example, when opening up a document, it always seemed to be in “Fit to Width” mode, even though I kept telling it not too.  I also found occasional bugs when switching to “Alternate Colors” mode.  To be fair, though, I’m using Bean in Lion, and though Bean works fine in Lion, it does not officially support it yet.  All in all, Bean is a great app for any writer (or want-to-be writer) to have on their Mac.  It’s available for free at  It works on 10.4, 10.5, and 10.6 officially, and also Lion unofficially.

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