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Hog Bay Software WriteRoom 2.2 review

Avoid distractions when working on your written masterpiece

By default, the application offers green text on a black background that screens out everything else on your Mac

Our Verdict

It's a niche product, but WriteRoom is a great choice for any Mac-based writer


  • Live word count and character count

    Customisable interface

    Saves to various formats


  • Open Recent doesn't work in full-screen

    Plug-in doesn't work with many apps

Once, text editors were clean, sleek tools, designed primarily for -shock! - writing. Anyone who once used Word 5.1 might now shed a tear upon its mention and then get slightly angry at the current state of writing tools for the Mac - many of which have become bloated. For those of us who just want to get on with writing, without distractions, WriteRoom is here to save the day.

If you're used to the palette- and icon-heavy applications typically used to work with text on your Mac, WriteRoom may come as a bit of a shock. It goes so far to the other end of the scale that you'll momentarily wonder if your Mac has suddenly turned into an 8-bit home micro from the 1980s. However, once the shock subsides, something clicks - and suddenly, WriteRoom simply makes a lot of sense.

By default, the application offers green text on a black background that screens out everything else on your Mac, forcing you to concentrate on your work and removing the temptation to switch to a browser window.

Usefully, the display is customisable, enabling you to toggle the scroll bar and information display (live word count and line number), and to change fonts, colours, margins and more. You can rapidly switch between plain text and rich text, and in the latter, WriteRoom exports to several formats, including Word. Also, for periods where you need to write and view something else, the Escape key provides access to a standard Mac OS X window with your text in.

WriteRoom isn't feature-packed, but it's not meant to be. It's not trying to be a layout package or an all-domineering Office application. It's just trying to help you avoid getting distracted - and therefore do your word processing as quickly and easily as possible. And for that task, WriteRoom is nothing short of excellent.