App Addict
May 12th, 2024

Bean - A Free, Lightweight Word Processor

Mac Apps
The logo for the Bean word processing program with green letters over a brown coffee bean
Bean Logo

For years, Bean, a free word processor for macOS has been my go-to when I needed to create a document with rich text, tables and images. Weighing in at only 8MB, it starts instantly and places little demands on even my wife's 10-year-old machine. It reminds me of Microsoft's WordPad in a way, only better. The developer, James Hoover issues regular updates including one as recently as last month. Hoover has written, "About Bean, some have said, "Why switch from Word? It has everything that I need!" So, keep using Word; I used Word for years and was reasonably happy with it. But Word is a big brute of a program. Sometimes using Word is like going out for lunch and getting this huge platter of greasy food when all you wanted was something light, like half a sandwich." It's not a Word replacement, but how often do you need all the bells and whistles?

Bean natively reads and writes these file formats:

• .rtf format (rich text)

• .rtfd format (rich text with graphics)

• .bean format (identical to .rtfd)

• .txt and plain text (Unicode and legacy)

• .webarchive format (Apple's web archive format)

Bean transparently imports and exports these formats:

• .doc format (MS Word '97, minus images, margins, and page size)

• .docx format (Word 2007, minus images and some formatting)

• .odt format (OpenDocument, minus images, margins, and page size)

Bean can export all of the above formats to these formats:

• .html (web page format)

• .pdf

• .doc compatible (with images intact)

• Live Word Count
• Make Template Documents
• Free-Form Headers and Footers
• Page Layout View (Optional 2-Up)
• Dark Mode, Alternate Colors
• Split-Window Editing
• Full Screen / Focus Mode Editing 
• Date-Stamped Backups
• Find Panel with Regular Expressions
• Word Completion and Dictionary
• Inspector for Formatting
• Highlighter
• Select By Text Style
• Floating Window