Microsoft Word is the face of word processing, but that doesn't mean the program is faultless. The application's numerous options may prove visually intimidating to novice users, and the price isn't exactly right at £110 for the standalone version. Write 2, a Mac word processing app from MOApp Software Manufactory, aims to alleviate those obstacles with a solid combo of affordability (it's just £6) and a clean, easy-to-navigate interface. This basic Word alternative may not pack the full feature set found in Microsoft's app, but those with simple or merely semi-advanced needs will find a lot to like here.
Write 2 isn't designed to replace Word. Instead, it's meant to be a streamlined alternative that facilitates a simple word processing experience (though it shouldn't be mistaken for distraction-free writing apps like FocusWriter or OmmWriter, or web-based writing apps like Google Drive). The visual distractions are kept to a minimum with just font, spacing, essential text formatting (bold, italics, underline), and alignment options on display. The layout is impressively clean – I enjoyed Write 2's white space as I typed up sections of this review.
Write 2 isn't barebones, however. Clicking the gear icon in the upper-right corner launches a toolbar, which reveals a ruler, program settings, colour and print options, and more. A command icon that lives south of the gear icon grants access to more advanced features such as the ability to create a table of contents and header/footers. Write 2 packs a surprising amount of functionality when you consider that it costs barely more than a fiver.
In addition, the Mac app lets you import and export plain text, rich text, Word docs (1997-2007), OpenOffice text, and PDFs. Like Word or Pages, Write 2 also supports versioning, auto-correct, page numbering, find and replace, templates, and styles. Write 2's Mac-specific nature leverages OS X's multi-touch support so that you can reveal/hide word counts by swiping up or down – very cool.
The free Google Drive and Microsoft SkyDrive with Word offer many of the same features, but of course they’re limited by the availability of a web connection (though Google Drive has an offline mode if you use it in conjunction with the Google Chrome browser and appropriate web app). Writer 2 exists for users who don't want to jump through such hoops.
Write 2's simpler-than-Word nature offers a more streamlined user experience, but also reveals a few holes. Write 2 doesn't track changes, it doesn’t have a true full screen mode (the writing area simply expands a bit), and neither does it support endnotes and footnotes, or preserve columns and tables when you save files in DOC format. If those features are essential to your workload, you may want to pass on Write 2.
Still, Write 2 is priced at just £6, which is over £100 less than a standalone copy of Microsoft Word. Mac users with basic/semi-advanced word processing needs will find Write 2 a competent, well-designed Word alternative that's easy on the wallet.