Nowadays, there are so many distractions to keep you from your work: social networking, surfing the web, AIM and Twitter, just to name a few. There are many ways to keep us from using these things, and today I am going to talk about one of the easier ones. It’s called WriteRoom.
WriteRoom, by Hog Bay Software is a tool for working without distractions. It puts a black (or any color you want) background behind a text editor. It is very easy to use, and really does help to keep you from getting distracted, even if you have ADD!
WriteRoom has a full screen mode and a regular mode. The full screen mode is the one that helps with those distractions. In the regular mode, it simply looks like any other text editor. You can easily switch between these modes using the Esc key. If you put your mouse in the lower left-hand corner of the screen (only in full screen mode), it will tell you the name of your document, plus how many characters, words and lines there are.
Where the real features of WriteRoom are is in the Preferences. The General tab of the Preferences gives you some basic options, like whether to use plain text or rich text. The man difference in these is that plain text does not have any formatting, like color or styles. You can also choose what to display in the lower left-hand corner here. Other preferences here include how many lines long the writing is and how many characters wide.
The Text Editing tab gives you options for the actual editing of the text. A feature that I really like is the ability to turn of the block insertion point; I like the line insertion point more. The main part of this tab is choosing which fonts are used for which kind of text. You can choose a style (that you see) for plain text and rich text.
The Full Screen tab gives you lots of features for how the full screen mode will look. This is the part that sets WriteRoom apart from a normal text editor. My favorite part of this tab is the ability to choose background color, page color, and text. The background color is what is around the text editor, the page color is the color of the text editor and the text color is, well, you get it. It would be very cool if people could create themes for this preference tab alone, so you could get a full screen mode that someone spent lots of time working on. A feature I really like about the full screen mode is the typewriter scrolling. This makes it so the line you are working on can always be in the center, so it’s easy to see.
A feature of WriteRoom that I really want to use is the Edit in WriteRoom plugin. However, this does not work in Leopard yet, so I have been unable to try it. From their website, the developer has released an early version of QuickCursor, which is meant to give you this same ability in Leopard. However, I don’t like that it puts the button in the menubar; the Edit in WriteRoom plugin puts it into your Edit menu. QuickCursor is still in development, but I am hoping he gets this working soon, because it looks like such a nice feature. This would make WriteRoom a perfect tool for doing HTML, too!