A compendium of Recomendo




Better Word alternative

I do most of my writing and editing in Google Docs. Sometimes, though, I am asked to edit a manuscript in Word. In those cases, I don’t really use Word because it is bloated and clunky. Instead, I use a free Word-compatible word processor called Bean (for OS X only). It’s snappy and the “full screen” view creates a distraction-free editing experience. — MF

Effortless editing

I tend to write like I think, run on and use a lot of commas. If I drop my text into the Hemingway Editor it will highlight unnecessary words, and tell me what to fix to make my writing more concise. — CD

Great sketching pen

My friend Bob Knetzger is a toy inventor. He uses Paper Mate Flair felt-tip pens to sketch out his designs. I bought a dozen for $7 and was reminded why I liked them so much in the 1970s. The lines are smooth and you can vary the line weight by changing the angle between the pen and paper. — MF

Menu bar notepad

Tyke is a free, simple MacOS menubar app that opens a small text-only scratch pad. It converts copied text into plain text, which I like. I’ve only had it for couple of days, but I’m already using it multiple times a day. — MF

How to make your point

These succinct tips for how to write an op-ed piece are clear, 100% correct, and useful for any kind of factual writing. Compresses a whole course, or book, to 15 bullet points. — KK

Brush pens

Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pens come in a 2-pack for less than $5. They look like pens, but instead of a nib they have a brush, which allows you to draw lines of varying widths. They’re a lot of fun to use. — MF

Pretty note app

I use Evernote for work and personal note keeping, but I have to admit Bear, which is referred to as the “beautiful writing app”, is more enjoyable to use on my phone. It’s so clean and pretty and easy to format. I’ve been using it as a daily journal and for poem writing. — CD 

New favorite pen

I met one of my favorite cartoonists this week, Tom Gauld (his new book: Baking With Kafka ). He draws all of his cartoons with a Pilot Precise V5 Roller Ball Stick Pen. He gave me one of his and I love it. They are $13 for a pack of 12. Tom said the ink does not fade, even after many years. — MF

White pen

A good pen that writes reliably in opaque white is hard to find. Black or dark paper will kill an inferior white pen. Ways of failure are legion: skipping, too thin, too transparent, wavering, plugging up, etc. The best white pen is the Signo White Gel from Uni-ball. It puts down a serious, dense, even, opaque line of white immediately consistently each time. — KK 

ProductivityClaudia Dawson