7 Essential Mac Programs for Writers

Macbook and the writer If you are writer, new to the Mac, you may find yourself stumbling around trying to determine which programs you need to purchase and download. Rather than spend hours “shopping” for the programs you need (instead of doing the writing you need/want to be doing) try starting out with my own basic pack of program bliss.

The following seven programs are those, of the many available apps and programs, I consider essential:


This is the program I use for my writing projects. I currently have my in progress novel coming together in Scrivener as well as the final draft of my memoir. I’ve used it for short projects and uber long ones. It’s great because you can use it as a simple distraction-free word processor, or you can view the tutorial to learn all of the tools available therein. I particularly like the character naming tool and the index cards for outlining.

DiskTools Pro

This program helps to resolve and prevent problems on your diskdrive. It’s excellent – especially if you are willing to learn to use full feature set of the program. This is also the program I use for my backup – there’s an option for “bootable” backup – which means that I can keep an external hard drive with a carbon (and bootable) copy of my Mac at all times. The bottom line is if your Mac is ruined (should you decide to drop it in a lake, for example) you can buy a new one and have it functioning the same in about 30 minutes. It’s a nice little insurance plan. I’ve tried many backup options and this trumps them all.


The BEST software for ripping DVDs to digital format (and it’s FREE!). It’s the way I get my personal DVDs in a format I can upload to my iPad or my iPhone. There are several options for format to make it work at any size/definition.


This launcher makes “hunting” for applications and how to do things a thing of the past. Quick launch favorite programs with a two-key stroke (Free). I’ll admit I use only a few of the options available on this program. Eventually, I’ll learn how to use the rest. For now, it’s worth having just to use as a shortcut launcher.


This little utility makes sure when you delete apps that ALL PARTS of the apps are deleted to keep your HD nice and tidy. Great tool for those who, like me, download a BUNCH of apps to try out before selecting the best. (Free)


This is an essential for good security and makes it easy to click a button to auto-fill information in browsers by merely typing in the master password on your own computer. I would be lost without this one. Excellent encryption. Also available in mobile versions for phones and tablets/ipads (I use it on ALL my devices).


A simple text program for notes and non-formatted text (doesn’t have the bloat — or the features – of a full blown text editor). I’ve tried probably two dozen of these, both free and paid options, and this one is the best. I use it for anything from programming code to making shopping lists. (Free)

This is a great starter list, I’d love to have input from writers who have other programs they consider essential to share!