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01.14.10 | Permalink | Comment?

This is a post about writing.

See, after I read Rands’ review of OmmWriter, I sceptically downloaded the program. I ran it. And…

And I took a deep breath. No, not the kind of deep breath you take before your first bungee jump. Or the kind you take when you’re just about to run from the bulls in Pamplona (I’m assuming — not that I would know).

Imagine being surrounded by noise, lots of noise, with one task thrown at you after the other, and you’re struggling to keep up, you feel like you’re on an accelerating threadmail, and then suddenly… Very suddenly. It all stops. It feels great, and you take a deep breath. That kind of deep breath.

OmmWriter is a well thought out minimalist writing tool. It hides everything else on your desktop. You get a calming, Zen-like background to type on, accompanied by equally calming music. And little else.

You start typing. When you move the mouse, a few options appear. Resume typing and all options get out of your way. Simple.


OmmWriter saves its files as plain old text files, so there is no support for bold or italics. It’s fine by me. Spell checking while you type is available and is equally well thought out: misspelled words turn gray instead of the more familiar and more disruptive red underline. Nice touch. Surprisingly though, spell checking is not enabled by default.

The only complaint that I have about OmmWriter is the use of an underline cursor instead of the standard i-beam. In my experience, underline cursors work best with monospaced fonts such as Courier. In the following screen snapshot, it’s hard to tell whether the cursor is under the letter ‘i’ or the letter ‘n’, and I often find myself deleting the wrong letter:

Ommwrite Underline

The program is still in beta testing. I wish that the release version 1.0 will add a Find feature and support for smart quotes.

OmmWriter is not the first program to try this minimalist approach but I find it the best. I eagerly downloaded and tried WriteRoom when it first came out but was disappointed. WriteRoom bills itself as “distraction free writing software”; the right idea but off-the-mark implementation.

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