Alright, this article is going to be very niche. Okay, it might be very niche as most people do some typing stuff on their computers. There are many word processors you can find, and Calmly is one of them.
When it comes to word processors, there are two things that everyone looks for; the features and the framework. You want the word processor to have many features, but also a clean and simple UI that does not interfere with the typing process.
We have been recently using Calmly in our offices and most of our writers have given their take on the app. Let’s take a look at the review of Calmly, which might be the best writing app for lightweight, basic writing.
The Options You Have
When it comes to word processors, there is no dearth of them. You do not have to pay a penny and still you can get a decent word processor that gets your job done.
In today’s world, “getting the job done” does not cut it. You need to get the job done in the most efficient way possible.
If you were asked to type something long that needed to be free of typos and grammatical errors, here are the options you would choose from:
- Google Docs
- Libre Office
- Microsoft Word
- Dropbox Paper
- Polaris Office (Hey, Grandpa!)
- Focus Writer
- Notepad (If you want to go against societal norms)
We have not included complex programs such as Scrivener, Ulysses, Bibisco, etc because they are almost exclusively used for writing long-form documents such as novels, reports, etc.
But many ways make Calmly stand out from the crowd. Let’s take a look at all the pros and cons of Calmly and should you try it?
Best Things About Calmly
Here are all the reasons that make Calmly a great app for writing. Note that some of these features are available in alternative apps as well, but the point is none of them have all the features in one app.
The one thing that we writers do not like at all is a word processor that looks like it was designed in the early 2000s and forgot to get an update. Messy UI, poor graphics, and slow performance are the worst things a word processor can have.
Writers prefer a minimal design with the least amount of intrusion from the app. We want a large canvas and the beating cursor. That is exactly what Calmly gives.
The best thing we loved about it was the minimal design. There are no superfluous elements that you cannot remove from the screen. The moment you open the app you are greeted by a large canvas.
All the settings and tweaks are tucked nicely at the left side of the app which can be summoned when the mouse hovers over the top bar.
This simple interface without anything else when it is not needed makes it one of the best word processors that helps you focus on what you are writing with minimum distraction.
Compare it to the plethora of editing options and features that are always present on the top in Google Docs or Microsoft Word.
Minimalism should never affect practicality and Calmly understands that. Just because there is minimalism in the UI does not mean that it is lacking under the hood.
Click on the three bars on the left side to pop open the hood and you will see the plethora of features that will allow you to customize the text editor just the way you want.
From the different themes that change the color of the canvas to the distance between the paragraphs, you can tweak everything to make Calmly just the way you want it to be.
There are all the usual formatting options along with shortcuts such as pressing command + 1 will make the selected text into Heading 1. Starting a sentence with “*” will create a list, etc.
But the one feature that really impressed us was “Focus Mode.” This mode essentially fades the rest of the document and only highlights the paragraph that you are writing.
It really does help in focusing, but many writers here thought it was more distracting since something did not feel right while writing. It felt as if the “vision” had been narrowed down.
Calmly also offers an always-visible word counter that shows the number of words and characters along with the reading time.
You can turn it off if you want, since it is placed at the bottom right corner, it is only visible when you want to see it.
There are all the basic bells and whistles that you’d expect in a simple word processor, including text correction, etc, including a typewriter emulator that produces the sound of a typewriter keystroke.
With the coming of Google Docs and other online word processors, compatibility is never an issue. Problems are more of an inconvenience than a hindrance.
Calmly allows you to export the documents in either Word Format or the age-old trusted PDF. You can also save the files as HTML or Text/markdown if you need it that way.
For us, we just use it to type the text and copy and paste the entire thing into Google Docs. That gets the job done, albeit less efficiently.
The Bad Things About Calmly
There are a lot of great things about Calmly, but no amount of great things can manage to remove the presence of bad things. And sadly, there are some here.
If you are a power user of these word processors, then Calmly might feel too simple. People who are accustomed to Microsoft Word will find the absence of all the options sitting above the page a bit jarring.
The absence of saving or exporting the files into other formats is also one of the lacking features. While there is a text correction feature, for some reason, it just offers British English correction, so it recognizes, but it fails to recognize.
Lastly, while Calmly is totally free, there is a one-time payment that it requires for you to get the license. There is no time limit for the trial period, which is a good thing.
The problem is that every time you launch calmly, a prompt asking you to buy the license shows up. It is a minor inconvenience, but if a minor thing is repeated every day, it becomes a big major inconvenience.
Calmly is definitely imperfect. But so is every other word processor out there. But the great thing about it is it gives writers an experience that justifies its name.
Don’t expect to finish your novel on this app. Or even that important report you had to submit. There are different apps for those uses.
But where Calmly will be the perfect option is casual typing; it offers the cleanest typing experience with all the basic features you need. And it is free. What else a writer needs?