Clean Writer Pro for Mac

Distraction-free minimalist text editor for Mac with great features for writers.

Clean Writer Pro is a powerful fullscreen-capable text editor that liberates your inspiration by providing just the essential features, when you need them. By removing clutter and hiding complex options from sight it eliminates distraction and boosts your creativity and inspiration. Designed for real writers and creative people who need a simple powerful tool that won’t overwhelm them with countless options. There is no individual font change, custom alignment or advanced formatting. Extra options are hidden from sight, leaving you alone with your words.

Based on the popular minimalist OSX editor Clean Writer, it adds extra stability, improved performance and cool new features at the perfect combination of minimalism, efficiency, flexibility and user-customizable settings.

Clean Writer Pro is not a swiss-knife, but a sharp single-purpose tool, small memory, quick to launch, easy to use, fast and effective. It is also powerful and flexible enough to help you in 90% of your writing needs.

Cool new features

OSX Lion only! - We got rid of the past and aim for the future. By removing Snow Leopard compatibility we achieved better performance and stability.

  1. Paragraph focus mode - fades away all paragraphs except the current one, allowing you to focus on the current phrase.
  2. Markdown preview - converts the current file to HTML using Markdown syntax and previews it in a pop up
  3. Markdown-to-HTML copy - converts the current file to HTML and copies the result to the Clipboard, ready to be pasted to your blog, email or website
  4. live counters - the counters at the bottom show you number of characters, words, hard lines(not wrapped) and the current line number
  5. OSX Lion window fullscreen mode
  6. OSX Lion document autosave and versioning

In addition to plain text editing, Clean Writer Pro allows reading and writing of several document formats, but take note that some formatting will be lost or ignored. Plain Text mode disables formatting and only saves plain text files. Rich Text mode brings you basic formatting and possibility to save your work to different formats/extensions: markdown(.md) plain text, RTF or HTML files and more.

All commands have clear shortcuts and menu items in the Edit menu(also accessible in fullscreen mode). Use the Preferences panel (click on cog icon, use the menu Clean Writer Pro->Preferences or the keyboard shortcut) to:

  • Chose from various global text fonts or pick a custom one.
  • Chose among different page widths.
  • Fine tune your writing experience with grammar check, autocorrect and more.
  • Hide UI elements that you don’t need, for an even more focused writing
  • Activate paragraph transparency mode for deep focus into the current paragraph. All other paragraphs will get dimmed out to the specified opacity.
  • Power users can override Clean Writer Pro settings to custom colors and font, paragraph indents, text transparency and more, using some advanced command line commands and settings described over here


  • ⌘+, for showing the Preferences panel (click anywhere else to close it)
  • ⌘+/ for showing this Help panel (click anywhere else to close it)
  • ⌘+⇧+f for Fullscreen toggle
  • ⌘+⇧+⌥+v Paste and Match Style - pasted text will match your document font format
  • ⌘+⌥+r for (lossy) conversion from plain text mode to rich text and vice-versa
  • ⌘+⌥+f to show/hide formatting buttons (only in rich text mode)
  • ⌘+⌥+m to show the Markdown html preview
  • ⌘+⌥+c to copy the markdown-formatted html to the clipboard
  • Standard formatting shortcuts(only in rich text mode): ⌘+b to bold the current selection, ⌘+i to make it italic, ⌘+u to underline it
  • Standard OSX shortcuts: ⌘+s to save the current file, ⌘+o to open a new file, ⌘+n to create a new one, etc.

What’s New in Version 1.1

  • auto refreshing markdown preview ; improved stability and file saving
  • typing sound option
  • French language localization


We switched the app to sandboxed model which might cause a crash after app updating. To fix it, you’ll need to remove the folder ~/Library/Containers/com.cognitivebits.cleanwriter. You can do it in Finder (Library is hidden by default), or by pasting this to your (then press Enter to run it): rm -rf ~/Library/Containers/com.cognitivebits.cleanwriter

Advanced Clean Writer Pro Tricks

Default settings and preferences not enough? We have goodies in store for you: with just a bit of Terminal magic, you are ready cu further customize Clean Writer to your liking. All you need is to open up Terminal app and type a few lines:

Command line command

If you are an advanced Mac user, know your way around the and you want to invoke Clean Writer from the command line, here’s a tip:

  1. edit the .bash_profile file in your home folder . For instance by typing pico ~/.bash_profile
  2. at the end of the file (if it already exists) paste the following: function cwp() { touch $@; open -a "/Applications/" $@; }
  3. save the file (if you opened it with pico, by pressing Ctrl+O (that’s ^o) to save, then Ctrl+X (that’s ^x) to exit)

That’s it. Close the Terminal tab, open a new one. You can now edit a file in the current folder from within Terminal, by typing cwp my_file.txt ; if you only type cwp there will be a warning but Clean Writer will still open up

Custom colors

set a different foreground or background color:

  • defaults write com.cognitivebits.cleanwriter CurrentTheme 5 (to enable custom theme mode)
  • defaults write com.cognitivebits.cleanwriter ForegroundColor FF0000 (web-format hex string RRGGBB; FF0000 is red, FFFFFF is white, etc)
  • defaults write com.cognitivebits.cleanwriter BackgroundColor DDDDDD (web-format hex string RRGGBB; 00FF00 is green, 000000 is black, etc)

Custom focused paragraphs transparencies

defaults write com.cognitivebits.cleanwriter UnfocusedParagraphsFade 0.1

Change app’s settings from the command line

  • defaults read com.cognitivebits.cleanwriter will list existing settings. Use defaults write command to change those settings. For instance:
    1. Change predefined paragraph first line indent: defaults write com.cognitivebits.cleanwriter FirstLineHeadingIndent 3
    2. Change color theme: defaults write com.cognitivebits.cleanwriter CurrentTheme 1
    3. Hide counters: defaults write com.cognitivebits.cleanwriter HideCounters 1
    4. Hide counters: defaults write com.cognitivebits.cleanwriter HideHelpButton 1
    5. Hide scrollbar: defaults write com.cognitivebits.cleanwriter HideScrollbar 1

Change Markdown CSS

An advanced hack for which you’ll need the system’s Administrator account.

  1. Open CWP, right click on its icon in the dock, Show in Finder
  2. Close CWP
  3. On the that appeared in the Finder, right click->Show Package Contents. Navigate to the Resources subfolder.
  4. right click on style.css, Open With .. (TextEdit, for instance), make any changes you like.
  5. when you’ll want to save, it won’t let you at first. Chose Duplicate, then save it somewhere else(Desktop) as style.css.
  6. drag style.css from the desktop to the same Resources subfolder you opened it from. Finder will ask you to enter your administrator credentials in order to overwrite it.