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Monday, August 10, 2015

Growly Write 1.23-An Excellent Light to Medium World Processor Written by a Guy who knows Word Processors

Growly Write 1.23 is what Chris Mason wrote for his own use. Why should you care about that? Chris, it turns out, used to write for Microsoft. He worked on Microsoft Word twice. He has now retired to Florida with his wife Nancy and his animals. Read about Chris here. 

With considerable experience in writing heavy-duty word processing software and no love for Windows, he wrote Growly Write for OS X for his personal use and now our personal use.  I used it to write this review and like it.


Growly Write is an excellent choice for writing on the Mac. When I say writing, I mean planting your butt in a comfortable chair and typing away. It doesn’t do all the chores that Word does.  On the other hand, it doesn’t use anything akin to the ?#! Ribbon that drives many users crazy.  As you see from Figure 1, it uses a static user interface with a configurable Tool Bar across the top and a palette on the right-hand side. You make this palette disappear by clicking on the blue Format icon on the Tool Bar. 

Growly Write interface




If you want to know all of the features, read the excellent Help file that comes with Growly Write. Chris, it turns out, knows how to write intelligent English. I would recommend downloading Growly Bird if you want to write your own software and need an example of a well-written Help file. 

 You would think that Chris had pulled up a chair beside you to answer your questions. Having suffered through some God-awful technical writing in the past-I’m looking at you, IBM COBOL manual-this is just wonderful. 

 The help file shows off the features of Growly Write, such as bookmarks allowing you to jump from topic to topic. It tells you what features Growly Write has and how to use them. 

 For some features that Chris didn’t include, such as templates; the Help file explains how to use built-in features like the Stationary Pad you access from the Get Info window from the Finder. 

 Growly Write doesn’t include note-taking features or drawing capabilities. You would turn to other apps in the Growly Bird family for those. I will review the free Growly Draw and the $5 Growly Notes later on.

 Growly Write does not simply rewrite TextEdit. You can create and save styles, as well as use a Format Brush, akin to MS Office’s Format Painter. On the other hand, it only handles a limited number of file formats. These formats start with its own .gbwrite, and include plain text, rich text format (.rtf), Apple’s own Rich Text with Documents (.rtfd) and HTML. 

 It does best importing Rich Text Format, while the accuracy of importing Word .doc and .docx files depends on the complexity of the document. It doesn’t work with the Open Document format  (.odt) that  NeoOffice and LibreOffice use. The Help file states that Growly Write comes with its own code for importing Rich Text Format, while it relies on OS X’s built-in code for importing Word documents. 

 You don’t use Growly Write to write the final version of your master’s or doctoral thesis. If you can’t afford Word, you have the option to use LibreOffice.  If you want to write without interruption, though, Growly Write is an excellent way to start. 


Tom Briant

Editor, MacValley Blog

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