Turn Microsoft Word Into a Distraction-Free Writing Space

Last Updated May 26, 2010 5:18 AM EDT

Ever miss the days when a word processor was just green text on a black screen? You can enjoy that kind of distraction-free goodness once again with Writespace, a Word add-on that enables plain, fullscreen text editing.

By "plain" I mean the aforementioned black screen with green text (or white, amber, or nearly any other color). That's it: no toolbars, no menus, just you and the blank page.

Why would you want such a thing? Simple: so you can focus on creating copy, without constantly bopping over to Outook to check your e-mail or Firefox to read Business Hacks. (Hmm, on second thought...)

I'll admit that the blank-screen approach to processing words seems weird at first -- especially if you never used, say, WordPerfect 5.1. (Damn kids.) But after a few minutes I think you'll agree it's a great way to write, as it virtually eliminates all the usual computer-based distractions.

If this sounds a bit familiar, you might be thinking of similar tools like Dark Room (Windows) and WriteRoom (Mac). However, those are standalone apps; Writespace runs right inside Word (2003 and 2007), meaning you can save your documents directly without having to copy and paste. You also get access to functions like Find and Spell-check.

Before you start using Writespace (which can be activated from Word's View menu), make sure to familiarize yourself with its handful of keyboard shortcuts -- particularly Esc, which takes you back to Word proper (with your new masterpiece, natch) when you're done. Scroll down a bit on the Writespace download page to find all the shortcuts. [via Download Squad]

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