This is a word processor with a difference. Instead of trying to compete with Microsoft Word, Ommwriter Dana goes in the opposite direction.
Where Word has menus and toolbars and hundreds of functions – few of which are used by many people – Ommwriter strips away everything except the page and the text you’re working on.
The result is a remarkable product that really redefines Windows word processing.
When Ommwriter loads, the Windows desktop is replaced by a background that shows trees in a snowy park.
You’ll see a small, resizable box on the screen that indicates the typing area, and a set of circular buttons down the right-hand side. Roll the mouse pointer to the top of the screen and a menu slides into place.
Start typing and everything but the background – and your text – just disappears.
You can still use the Alt-Tab key combination to move between Ommwriter and any other open programs, but while you’re actually typing, the program occupies the full screen, blocking the constant stream of temptations such as checking email or watching a Youtube video.
In fact, it’s designed to make it harder to do anything that isn’t typing onto that beautiful, almost-empty screen.
Let’s be clear: if you’re looking for a standard word processor, there’s likely to be little here for you.
Although users can choose between four different fonts and four different text sizes, Ommwriter doesn’t really ‘do’ formatting.
You can’t centre text or set it to the left or right of the page, there’s no spelling checker or mail merge tool, it can’t add graphics or footnotes, a table of contents or web links.
However, it has a word count, it supports standard Windows functions such as undo, redo, cut, copy and paste, and you can move through the text one word at a time by using Ctrl and the cursor keys, but that’s about it.
You can’t even print documents out, though they can be exported as PDFs or saved as text files for formatting and printing in another program.
It’s atmospheric too, thanks to the selection of clever visual backgrounds and a choice of seven ambient soundtracks which loop so cleverly you can’t hear the joins.
Our favourite of the soundtracks were number two (a sort of watery ticky-tack loop) and soundscape number six (a large library reading room complete with the sound of pages turning, soft shoes on wooden floors and occasionally, a telephone ringing in the distance).
Despite it sounding daft, we found it surprisingly effective – though, again, if you’re looking for a standard word processor this isn’t for you.
For people who want to concentrate, block out the world and just get their thoughts down, Ommwriter Dana is perfect.