If you’re a Mac user, I’m sure that you’re hip to the jive that is TextEdit. It goes above and beyond what it’s name leads you to believe, but it isn’t a panacea. Sometimes you need a little more control over your text, but you don’t have a need to pay for Apple’s Pages or Microsoft’s Word. You don’t have to work with the Java behemoth that is Sun/Oracle’s OpenOffice either. There is a small, powerful word processor available for free: Bean.

It reads and writes almost any text file format you can think of from the last two decades. TXT and RTF are par for the course, but it also works with formats such as DOC, DOCX, ODT, and WEBARCHIVE. Large scale compatibility woes are a thing of the past. At the very least, you’ll be able to get the text from any file thrown your way. It might not render the text exactly the same as Word or Pages, but that is small potatoes in my opinion. When you’re on a deadline, small visual quirks are the least of your problems.

It is incredibly customizable, and it has a few really great features. Full screen mode allows you to write without distraction. Dictionary.app integration and auto-completion lets you finish your work faster than ever. Most importantly, it has fine-tune text manipulation tools that allow you to make your text look exactly the way you want. This is a very slick, professional Mac application available for no cost. It’s hard to believe that Microsoft has been working so hard to make Word for OS X work and look like a Mac app should, and these folks have already accomplished that, and they aren’t even asking for your money.

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