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Bean (software)

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Bean (software)

Bean icon
Screenshot of Bean on Mac OS X
Developer(s) James Hoover
Initial release May 1, 2007 (2007-05-01)
Stable release 3.2.5 (March 15, 2013 (2013-03-15))
Written in Objective-C
Operating system Mac OS X
Type Word processor
License Bean Word Processor Software License

Bean was a word processor for Mac OS X that is no longer being developed, however it is still available for download.[1] Originally free and open source software Bean became closed source at version 3. However, the Bean executable is still distributed free of charge.[2] According to its author, James Hoover, Bean is not meant to replace Microsoft Word, but to be a lean word processor that is beautiful and user friendly. Many of Bean's operations are carried out by the underlying Cocoa framework of Mac OS X. The name Bean is a play on Cocoa and Java, two popular programming frameworks.

After the release of Bean 3.2.2 in November 2012, Hoover announced that "active development of Bean will cease. Bean will remain available for download at the website. It may even be updated as necessary to keep the app running on future versions of OS X. Also, I'll try to continue technical support at the usual email address."[3] Since this announcement, Hoover has provided three further updates or fixes for Bean, reaching version number 3.2.5 by March 2013.


The design of Bean was heavily influenced by Marten Van De Kraats' article "Lean Word Processor Specifics".[4] It is especially suitable for note taking or writing short articles because the program is highly responsive and starts almost instantly, while full-featured office suites take a much longer time to load. While Bean is not designed to compete with programs like Microsoft Word, its feature set is complete enough to cover the needs of many users. Starting with version 3, Bean has a completely new user interface with an emphasis on simplicity.[5]

Bean has the following features:

  • A 'Live Word' count
  • A 'Get Info' panel for 'In-Depth' statistics
  • A zoom-slider to easily change the view scale
  • An Inspector panel with lots of sliders
  • Date-stamped backups
  • Autosaving
  • A page layout mode
  • An alternate colors option (e.g., white text on blue)
  • Selection of text by Text Style, Paragraph Style, Color, etc.
  • A floating windows option (like Stickies has)
  • Dictionary, word completion, etc.

As of version 3:

  • Tabbed editing
  • Ability to resize the width of the draft edit view within its window

It also includes full screen mode, which only displays the text.

The following features are deliberately missing: footnotes, pre-defined text styles, floating graphics (but it does support in-line graphics).

File formats

Bean natively reads and writes these file formats:

  • .rtf format (rich text)
  • .rtfd format (Rich Text Format Directory, rich text with graphics)
  • .bean format (identical to .rtfd)
  • .txt format (Unicode and legacy)
  • .html format (as source code)
  • .webarchive format (Apple's web archive format)

Bean imports and exports these formats:

Bean can export all of the above formats to these formats:

  • .html (web page format, minus images)
  • .pdf
  • .doc compatible (with images intact)
  • .rtf (Rich Text Format, with images intact)

Version history

Version Number Release Date Changes
0.9.2f May 1, 2007 Initial release (beta)
0.9.2g May 3, 2007 Bug fixes
0.9.3a May 16, 2007 Bug fixes, minor changes and enhancements
0.9.3b May 20, 2007 Bug fixes
0.9.4a May 27, 2007 New icons
0.9.5a June 20, 2007 Major revision
0.9.6 July 30, 2007
0.9.7 August 31, 2007
0.9.8 September 17, 2007 Bug fixes
0.9.9 October 14, 2007 Bug fixes
0.9.10 December 18, 2007
0.9.11 January 6, 2008 Bug fixes
0.9.12 March 14, 2008 Preview of Bean 1.0
1.0.0 March 25, 2008
1.0.1 March 26, 2008 Bug fixes
1.1.0 April 17, 2008 Bug fixes
1.2.0 April 29, 2008 Enhancements
1.3.1 June 9, 2008 Enhancements and bug fixes
1.3.2 June 11, 2008 Bug fixes: improved kerning
1.3.3 June 20, 2008 Bug fixes
2.0b December 17, 2008 Beta release of the upcoming major update
2.0.1b December 20, 2008 Bug fixes
2.0.2b December 22, 2008 Bug fixes
2.0.3b December 23, 2008 Bug fixes
2.0.4b January 6, 2009 Bug fixes
2.0.5b January 9, 2009 Bug fixes
2.1.0 January 26, 2009 Official (non-beta) release of Bean, version 2
2.2.0 March 7, 2009
2.3.0 May 31, 2009
2.3.1 June 19, 2009
2.4.0 August 31, 2009 Major update
2.4.1 October 3, 2009 Minor changes, added localization for French and Italian.
2.4.2 November 30, 2009 Snow Leopard support
2.4.3 February 20, 2010 Bug fixes, added localization for Czech and updated Danish
2.4.4 July 12, 2011 Bug fixes and minor changes
2.4.5 December 14, 2011 Bug fixes
3.0.1 December 24, 2011 Complete rewrite sporting a new user interface and new features. Older versions remain free and open source. New version remains free, but has become closed source with the switch from the GNU General Public License to the Bean Word Processor Software License
3.2.4 January 12, 2013
3.2.5 March 2013

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ News & Plans, November 12, 2012
  4. ^
  5. ^

External links

  • [1], official website
  • [2], 2007 review at Low End Mac
  • [3], 2008 review at Macworld
  • [4], 2009 interview with James Hoover, creator of Bean
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