Latest posts by Ahmad Imran (see all)
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Last updated in November 2017 after using Calmly Writer app for over 3 years.
As a chromebook user, your options of word processors are not as many as if you are on Windows or Mac.
As soon as you enter the cloud-based computing model, your options shrink. Microsoft Word Online and Google Docs remain a couple of strong contenders in the list.
But what about something lightweight, minimalist and free of distractions.
If you want something simpler and more convenient as your word processor on your Chromebook, I am going to share with you what I use when I want to write free-flow.
As a blogger and online writer, I use creative writing a lot and that is different from factual writing. Creative writing explains your thoughts, emotions and opinions as opposed to more facts, numbers and results.
When I am in flow of writing, I don’t want any menus, sidebars, options, toolbars or formatting features at all. I just want a plain screen and a keyboard to write. A simple and clutter-free page on my chromebook’s screen where I can spill my heart and mind out.
To mimic the old school “pen and paper”.
Your requirements might be different to mine however, you will agree with me that there are occasions when you have your thoughts ready to take the shape of words but too may distractions are in your way.
All you want is something practical and simple to help you bring your inner thoughts and feelings out. Perhaps a simple click on your laptop and you are in the writing mode with blank screen as your playing ground.
This is where a clever little Chrome app comes into play.
You can either get it installed as an “app” on your chromebook or access it through its online interface. For the purpose of this article and as I am a chromebook user, I will cover the “app” version which gets installed in your Chrome browser.
I have always used it as an installed app on my Chromebook.
Let’s get straight to the point. First thing first.
Calmly writer is a paid app on Chrome Web Store. I paid £2.49 for it. It currently sells for £3.10 in the UK Chrome Web Store.
My first reaction was the same as yours.
Why should I pay for a simple text writing app while several free options are available?
I agree with this logic to some extent but not fully.
It depends on how important is “good writing” for you and your vision. If you think that any app or software can give you the desired results, go for it. You don’t need to spend money on this one.
However, if you think that quality and no-distraction-environment are important factors for you, I recommend you to give this app a try. The cost is minimal as compared to the “benefits” which can be achieved if you get used to it.
Once installed, you simply open the app and it gives you a minimalist interface to start writing. In its simplest form, you are virtually writing on a blank slate.
The menu is on the left hand side and gives you a well-designed set of options to perform various tasks.
You can start creating a new document at any time by simply selecting the first option from the list titled “New”. Otherwise, when you open the app, you are already in the writing screen and ready to write.
You can open an existing document where you have the following options.
- Choose from a list of existing written articles automatically stored in Cloud (by Calmly). Every written assignment you do in this app, is stored in Cloud (Google Drive in my case) and synced between your different devices. They are available in chronological order and a simple click will bring this writing for you on the screen.
- Existing documents in either text, markdown, HTML, MS Word (.docx) or Calmly’s own format (.cml) by importing them from “Import” button.
“Export” option allows you to store your document in various formats as outlined above. You also have an option to save/print it as a PDF document. This “saving” or “export” option is on top of the automatic storing on cloud if “Cloud storage” option is selected from the “Preferences”.
You can insert pictures in your text using the menu option titled as “Insert Picture”.
“Full Screen” feature takes the minimalistic approach of this app to one step further. It shrinks the menu further which now sits as a small icon on the left hand side under this option.
“Print” option allows you to print your document or saves it as a PDF document for distribution.
Under “Preferences”, it gives you a few options to enhance the features and functionalities of the app. Key highlights are that you can choose between two different font types, size of fonts, toggle focus mode, White vs Black backgrounds and cloud storage etc.
Finally at the bottom of the menu is the statistics section where basic information is always available to you. Things are kept simple here by just providing the number of words, characters and estimated reading time.
The simple answer is “no”.
It depends on your requirements and circumstances.
And many other text writers of various forms and shapes. Have a look at this short video (3:28) by Thomas Frank where he gives us a flavour of a few other options. This is not meant to distract or confuse you. This is just to give you a wider picture.
But after trying many, I settled for Calmly Writer for my quick spurs of writing. For my creative writing and free flow drafts.
Designed and coded by Yusef Hassan, it is small, beautiful and planned with a “quality conscious writer” in mind. Its user experience encourages good writing skills and promotes focus to bring clarity, depth and punch in your writing.
It can help you develop a skill to write creatively and productively.
I absolutely love this app. If you are a Chromebook user, I recommend you to try this app. You can check it out for free via Calmly Writer Online interface to get a taste (or if you are a Windows or Mac user)
Sacrifice a one-time coffee and buy this app if you like the idea.
What writing tool do you use for your articles and blog posts?
Is there a simple and practical text editor that you can recommend for our readers here?