Unlike most lawyer-tech enthusiasts, I use Windows and I enjoy it. But the OS has always lacked good writing apps. (I love Microsoft Word, but it’s meant for editing and publishing, not writing.)
Windows lacks writing apps like Ulysses. Apple’s ecosystem has spawned a plethora of apps meant to do one thing: get you to type words. Apps like Ulysses are free of distractions and pleasant to use. They make it easy to just type.
Windows has lacked this kind of app for a long time (probably because Apple users are more willing to pay $20 or $40 for it). The closest contenders are Writemonkey, which shows its age, or Draft, which is browser-only, or Write!, which lacks some features I’d want. These are good programs, but they never quite hit the sweet spot of features plus minimal design.
When it comes to writing, I want as little friction as possible. That means I want a program that does what I need and nothing else. There’s a Goldilocks zone the app must hit.
That zone has been so hard to hit for me that I confess to occasionally checking the website for Ulysses (and other Mac/iOS writing apps) just to see if, by some astronomical alignment, its developers are working on a Windows version. I am always disappointed.
That’s why I’ve been enjoying Appy Text. It has what I want from a minimal writing app:
- Custom fonts—I’m picky about typefaces (blame Matthew Butterick for that), so the ability to pick any font installed on my computer is almost essential. The lack of this feature is largely what left me unsatisfied with Write!.
- Good typography—Appy Text lets you control the size of the text and keeps line lengths short for optimal legibility.
- No distractions—The program displays just a single column of text, a bar for basic functions like undo, and a couple of buttons. Because it only saves plain text and Markdown files, there’s little formatting to fiddle with.
- A pleasant writing space—Appy Text has several color themes, and all of them look nice.
- Markdown—Appy Text saves plain text files and supports Markdown, which is an easy way to add HTML formatting (like bold, italics, and bullet points) to a plain text document without needing a complicated formatting interface like Microsoft Word. It also has an easy button for previewing what your Markdown document will look like when published. Markdown is an ideal format for drafting content; it’s easy to convert to any publishing format needed (particularly HTML and PDF).
- Automatic Save—A lifesaver for any writer.
Appy Text is a simple program, and that’s a good thing. It’s great for pounding out a blog post or an article. I hope more apps like it come to the Windows Store.
If you use Windows and find Microsoft Word distracting, give Appy Text a try.