Realmac Software

Typed is a minimalist text editor from RealMac that supports Markdown – a markup language that’s a sort of simplified HTML, designed to create and store documents as plain text with a few extra formatting commands so that what you’ve written looks good when the document is exported to HTML, RTF or saved as a PDF. The advantage of a Markdown document is that it’s simply a text file and can therefore be opened by most programs on most devices – and if you’ve ever struggled with an old document that was created by Microsoft Works or Lotus Ami Pro, you’ll appreciate the long-term benefits of working with plain text.

Typed supports the most basic version of Markdown and can produce nicely formatted headings, lists, nested lists, blockquotes, hyperlinks, email links, images and horizontal rules. Markup is simple (mainly a few hashes and asterisks) and if you can’t stretch to that, common commands can just be picked off the Format menu. Note that Typed doesn’t support some of Markdown’s more advanced features, like tables.It’s worth pointing out that you don’t have to know anything about Markdown to get something out of Typed.

It’s also a pleasant distraction-free text editor that’s designed to push everything else out of the way and present you with a blank page (and an optional inspirational quote to get you started); the theory’s simple – no menus, no button bars, barely any dialogue boxes, nothing to distract you from the act of writing.It’s been done many times before – Writeroom, Byword and Ommwriter Dana all spring to mind – but Realmac has brought real design flair to Typed and the result is quite lovely, all subtle colours, opacity, gentle sound effects and a special Zen mode which gives you a choice of eight soundtracks to play in the background as you type. You also get a choice of six typefaces, white, parchment or black background, three sizes of text and three paragraph widths. Typed works in its own window or full screen in Zen mode when the soundtracks kick in.

We really want to recommend Typed but it’s simply not there — yet. In the distraction-free stakes there’s a lot of competition from established apps like Writeroom and Byword (both of which are also available as iOS versions which Typed isn’t) and if you want the complete zen-writing experience, it can’t match Ommwriter Dana which has better soundracks and more atmospheric sound effects. Markdown fans will find it underpowered and over-priced compared with Byword (which can also publish directly to WordPress, Tumblr and Blogger) and the choice of text sizes – big, bigger and massive – is a really strange design decision.

Rob Beattie

Rob Beattie is a freelance copywriter who designs sites using Rapidweaver. He's been reviewing computer hardware, software and web services since 1981. Yes...that long. And he's also the author of 101 Things to Do in a Shed , Fishing: A Very Peculiar History , and The Bluffer's Guide to Fishing

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