Markdown editors come in all shapes and sizes. Typed, the newest entry from Realmac, is a decidedly small one. You won't find a sidebar of documents or a bevy of exporting options. It doesn't crowd you with drop-down menus or overload you with formatting options. Everything about the experience is designed to help you stay focused on what you're writing, no matter how long you're going to be doing it.
Of course, Typed isn't the first writing app with an ultra-minimal interface, but there's an understated and meticulous elegance that sets it apart from others I've used. Each time you open a new blank template you're met with an inspirational quote about the writing process, a trademark Realmac touch that makes even more sense here than in the company's Clear app. There's nothing in the window to draw your eye — turn off the word count option and there's barely an interface at all — and even the font and theme menus are cleverly hidden on the left side of the document window. There are only five fonts to choose from, but each was carefully chosen for its weight and spacing.
The dock icon for Typed is a capital "T" raking white sand in a Japanese rock garden, but it's more than a clever artistic flourish. You'll find soothing sounds all throughout the app, with back buttons and menu selections that subtly mimic the sounds made by bamboo sculptures and rippling ponds. It's the full-screen presentation of Typed, however, that truly drives the theme home.
Dubbed Zen Mode, Realmac has given new meaning to the overused concept of distraction-free writing. Typed's take is more about taking away stress than clutter. Along with the clean writing space, you can select one of six nature-inspired melodies that create an immersive sensation that sort of lulls you into concentration. It's quite soothing, and coupled with efficiency-friendly features like continuous auto saving and intuitive keyboard shortcuts, I found it to be quite effective, even when deadlines were looming.
My main quibble is the lack of any kind of iOS support. In the post-PC era, it's nice to see a Mac-first writing app with this kind of attention to detail, but Typed's lack of Dropbox or iCloud Drive support — not to mention a companion iPad or iPhone app — is frustrating for those of us who do the majority of our work on mobile devices.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.