Microsoft Word Alternatives

A while back I posted an article on alternatives for Microsoft Office. However, many people who use Office primarily use the Word application. So, I thought I might post a few articles on Microsoft Word standalone app alternatives. Believe me when I say, there is life after Microsoft Word.


Lean & Mean Word Processors

I am going to divide this up into two categories: Lean & Mean Word Processors and Full Featured Word Processors. There are several Lean & Mean Word Processors available. Some of them are free, some of them request a donation and some are pay for software. Lets start with the free ones first.


I have done Mac tech support for several years and had the frustrating privilege of trying to support Microsoft Word. One of my places of employment was a total Microsoft Office shop. That is pretty common in the business world. However, many of the writers using Macs at this place did not need to use Microsoft Word. They preferred the much simpler Bean word processor. This description is from the Bean website:

Bean is a small, easy-to-use word processor that is designed to make writing convenient, efficient and comfortable. Bean is lean, fast and uncluttered. It starts up quickly, has a live word count, and is easy on the eyes. Also, Bean is available free of charge.

Here is the main window of Bean:

The Toolbar area is uncluttered and the Inspector is pretty straight forward. It possess some basic word processor functionality, but really just focuses on writing. There is no iOS version of Bean, it is just for the Mac. However, you can save a Bean document in Word format if you need to do so.

Growly Write

Growly Write from GrowlyBird Software is another free word processor. Here is a description from their website:

Perhaps the word processor you’ve been using has 100 times more features than you need. Or it won’t work the way you want it to—too many views or too few, and nothing makes any sense. Or it looks as if it were designed back when computers displayed text in green letters on a black screen. Growly Write is something else entirely: fresh, capable, and simple. But not too simple.

The “not too simple” ending phrase is important. Growly Write is a bit more sophisticacted than Bean. It is also a free app. It has a few more features, but is not bloated by any means. Here is the main window of Growly Write:

You can do more things with Growly Write. It’s Inspector area is pretty well laid out. Growly Write has no iOS version. It is Mac software only. Obviously, you can download these free word processors and try them out, which is nice. Growly Write will not save in Word format, but you can safe in RTF format which Word and almost any other word processor can open.


Yes, we cannot forget Apple’s Pages word processor app. It has become a free application which can be downloaded from the App Store. Pages is a very sophisticated word processor with templates and all kinds of other features. It is not stripped down by any means, but it is free if you are using a newer Mac. Here is the main window of a Pages document:

Pages has all kinds of menus and other features. If you need a free Word replacement, you might consider Pages. It can open and export Word docs. Some people do not like the way it is laid out, but I think it is decent enough. Of course, there is an iOS version of Pages which can be handy.

There may be other free standalone word processors out there, these are some of the more popular ones. In the next installment of this series I will go over Lean & Mean word processors for which you have to pay money.


That wraps it up for free word processors. Yes, you can get word processors in other full office suites, but if you are just looking for a free standalone word processor, then one of these will do you.