If you’ve recently purchased a new Mac, you might be surprised that Appleworks is no longer included in the bundled software. The only dedicated word processor is TextEdit, which, if you’re used to Word, Pages, or BBEdit seems pretty cheap and limited. However, TextEdit is actually a pretty robust program – it’s also very fast, stable, and with a little poking around, easy to use. I use it for the majority of my writing. Until recently, I used MS Word so I could get an accurate word count. However, I haven’t used Word since I discovered a nifty little program called NanoCount, which counts words as you type in TextEdit.

You can read about NanoCount here.

TextEdit can also edit HTML, open and save Microsoft Word .doc documents, and is deeply integrated with OS 10.4’s Service menu.

To make TextEdit feel like a “real” word processor, I always choose Format>Wrap to Page, and I always choose Format>Rich Text. These options can be set as the default settings under File>Preferences in TextEdit, as well.

Here are a few other useful TextEdit links. I suggest checking them out – TextEdit really is a great program for the vast majority of writing tasks.
TextEdit 101

Using Tables in TextEdit

Editing HTML in TextEdit

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