Computers are marvelous, multifunction tools that let us engage in a variety of activities—email, YouTube watching, music listening, Web browsing, and more—whenever the mood strikes. On the other hand, that same freedom can be a tremendous distraction when it’s time to get some writing done. That’s where an app like OmmWriter Dana II proves useful. The distraction-free tool creates a calm, peace-filled writing environment using audio-visual techniques. Dana II lacks many features found in Microsoft Word , Apple iWork , or the rival FocusWriter, but its streamlined interface and simplicity make it a worthy download for those who need to put their thoughts onto the digital page without all of the extra (and potentially distracting) bells and whistles. OmmWriter Dana II has a suggested price of $4.11.
Putting Fingers to Keys
OmmWriter Dana II achieves its distraction-free goal in part by operating exclusively in full-screen mode—either you’re in the app or out of the app. You can’t reduce its size to dabble in other things. That alone motivated me to focus on the writing task at hand, as I couldn’t peek at an email client or other possible attention-grabbing apps. Dana II has another neat trick: it automatically blacks out the second display in dual monitor setups. Very nice. This is a feature that FocusWriter lacks, which is unfortunate. The blackout really helps keep you focused on the task at hand.
That work-ready feeling was bolstered by the incredibly clean interface and soft, ambient background music that also created a calming environment. It’s surpasses FocusWriter in this regard, an app with a far less elegant interface. The writing area is small by default, but you can expand the space by dragging Dana II’s borders. Once you’re satisfied with the text box size, you begin writing as you would in any other app, but without the options of headers, footers, and other features you’d associate with word processing apps.
A column of vertically aligned option bubbles resides to the right of the text area. You can use them to change the font, text size, visual theme, background music, keyboard sound effects, and initiate the “Save As” options. So, yes, you can tweak Dana II and your documents to some degree, but it’s best to write elsewhere should you need to apply major formatting like bullet points, hyperlinks, and footers. You can save content in the .OMM and .TXT formats using the “Save” bubble, but if you want to save as .PDF, you must do so from the toolbar.
Dana II isn’t trying to be Microsoft Word, Apple Pages, or GIMP; it’s a very basic, distraction-free environment that works well. Unless you need to send your work to the printer, that is. Dana II doesn’t support printers (a shame), but you can save your work as a PDF file and then print that. OmmWriter is all about the writing experience. FocusWriter has more features (spell check, superscript, tabbed interface), but doesn’t match OmmWriter’s “block-out-the-world” experience.
The Final Act
OmmWriter Dana II may be a love-it-or-hate-it application. It isn’t designed to replace a full-fledged word processing application, so if you want to paginate or annotate, you’ll need to find an alternative like FocusWriter. But if you want to create a relaxed environment where you can write freely without falling to the call of the LOLcats, Dana II is your app.
|OS Compatibility||Windows Vista, Windows XP, Mac OS, Windows 7, Windows 8|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc