We’ve shown you a fair share of distraction-free writing apps before, everything from markdown editing apps to other more intricate apps that can get you writing a novel by playing sounds and placing images to get you in a creative mood. However, today we’re going to show you an even simpler and cheaper alternative to all the other apps we’ve showcased before.
It’s called Imagine. Instead of just imagining how it’d be to write with, let’s take a look at it and see how it holds up to the competition.
Imagine is an free, simple and good-looking writing app. It only has the bare necessary things to get you out there writing: it provides a blank background with a formatted page which contains a title and the body of your text. You can write with it and do basic transformations to your fonts. There’s also a word counter always present in the bottom right corner, and that’s about it. Simple as simple comes.
Imagine’s preset background is a bland light cream-ish color, but you can change it to a number of other preset light colors under the preferences. There’s about 8 different colors that range from a bright pink to a somber gray, and everything in between. Under the settings you can also find a slider that will adjust the size of your fonts, and a drop-down menu where you can select your preferred font from a large list of them.
Imagine works pretty flawlessly in Lion full-screen mode. That’s really where the app shines, since its “distraction-free” gimmick works best when you have only the app to focus on and nothing else.
There’s also a few things that you can do to work with text. With CMD+Alt+T you can bring up the format bar, which will come up on the bottom of your screen and will have a few buttons to work with the font settings of your text, such as highlighting text, underlining it, setting bold fonts and italics. The format bar will also show a counter with the number of words that you have in your current document.
As far as working with different file formats, Imagine can work with text (.txt) and rich text (.rtf) files. It won’t export documents to anything else, which makes it pretty much just a basic writing app and not a complete text editor like Byword and other similar apps that support markdown and exporting to HTML or other formats.
The Simple Text Processor Market
Things have gotten a bit out of hand with so many similar distraction-free writing apps out there. I am a big fan of Byword, an app that could easily be compared to Imagine, if not for the fact that it has many more features like iCloud support, Markdown editing, file exporting to many formats (PDF, Word, HTML), and a line or paragraph focus feature that I’ve found pretty cool to work with. But then, there’s also the fact that Byword goes for $10, compared to Imagine’s low, low price of free.
Sure, there are many more alternatives out there that kind of do the same thing, some of them free and some of them extremely expensive. iA Writer is a very close competitor to Byword, and it even goes for the same price. Then there are other alternatives like WriteRoom that despite being a little more expensive, have a huge following as they have been around for a while.
For its price, I’d say Imagine works as a low-end distraction-free writing app. It doesn’t have the bells and whistles that similar apps in the market do, but it’s considerably cheaper than most of those and it most certainly does well what it should: provide a clean environment for writing without distractions.
The Imagine developer wants you to think of it as a simpler and faster alternative to Word and TextEdit. I’d actually say it’s more similar to apps like Byword and iA Writer, but with a few less features. It’s also a lot cheaper than those apps, which makes it a great alternative to them if all you’re looking for is a pretty, clean and simple writing environment and you don’t care much for features like diverse file exporting and markdown support.
I won’t make a case for minimalist writing apps, we’ve covered that before and I think we can all agree that whether they work for you or only slow you down is entirely up to you to decide. These apps won’t do your work for you, they will just provide for a cleaner and more enjoyable experience for doing it. But like we’ve said before, if you’re spending more time looking up apps like this when you should be writing, then you probably need to prioritize your time and this app won’t help you do that.
Personally, I like these kinds of apps as I find them very easy to focus on. If you are like me and you think you could benefit from an app like this, give Imagine a try. It might not have big features like other similar apps do, but for the price it’s pretty nice and it’ll get you writing.