I Will be Switching to Mac in August

After I finish my WIP, I’m going to, after thirty years in the Windows world, switch to a Mac.

I won’t have any unpleasant surprises, will I?

Writing is my main computer activity. What’s your thinking on iMac 21.5 vs. iMac 27? I can afford the 27, but I will probably be using it on my roll top desk (I’ll add a keyboard tray).

I switched about 4 years ago. For me the hardest things to get used to were:

  • Scrolling direction - I have it set to “Natural” (IIRC the default) which is opposite to the way the mouse wheel scrolled on Windows. You can always change that if desired (System Preferences | Mouse)
  • Using the Command Key instead of Ctrl for keyboard shortcuts
  • Using the Option key - MacOS tends to hide other, well, “Options” under the Option key. An example from Scriv - in the compile dialog, the Cancel and Compile buttons change to Reset and Save when you hold down the Option key.
  • The menu bar being constantly across the top of the screen, regardless of how big the actual app window is. Sometimes I’ll have an app open in a tiny window at the bottom right of the screen and find myself looking for the menu only to remember “Oh right, it’s way at the top left of the screen”
  • Having to get all new software from what I was used to on Windows, even when the same program was available sometimes it wouldn’t have the same capabilities.

I think those were the biggest stumbling blocks I had. I don’t plan to ever switch back, I like Mac OS and the whole environment a lot better.

I use a 27" iMac. It’s big. It is perhaps most useful if you want to have a number of windows open at the same time, or your eyesight is not as good as it was and you need to work with larger magnifications.

I would seriously suggest that you find a piece of cardboard that you can cut to the same size as the computer, and place it in front of you so that you can get an idea of what it will be like. Don’t neglect to look at the depth of the iMac (from front of the stand to the back) – although it is slim, it takes up space, and you need to consider how the cables are going to run from the rear of the device to wherever your sockets are. It is easy to find the dimensions of the device on Apple’s web pages.

Looking at the picture of your desk, I think an iMac would be an uneasy fit, but you may not be bothered. You won’t be able to close the desk, and you may not be able to reach anything behind the iMac.

First of all, SARSENLINTELL’s description covers most of my own experience when I switched five years ago.

Secondly, I split my writing between a 12" Macbook and a 27" iMac with a 27" Thunderbolt display attached to it, and both sizes work very well. I also use a 12" iPad Pro (sometimes as extra display for the Macbook via the Duet app). It all depends on how many different windows you need to see while writing. I’m not a fan of world building and numerous characters so for me there is seldom need for more than a simple split editor. The 27" needs quite a lot more space, which is why I often use the laptop. It allows me to sit down writing anywhere.

The most important thing is to get a computer with retina screen. Don’t save money by buying something with less resolution.

I switched in 2000. The hardest thing for me was continually searching for the difficult way to do things, instead of understanding there was almost always an easier, simple, Mac way–mostly dragging stuff around and dropping it. I never did learn the Mac replacement for Control-Alt-Delete. Though in difficult times it resurfaces as a sort of motor memory.

I use a 13-inch MacBook Pro usually plugged into a 24-in HP monitor. I had two different iMacs over the years, and found being tethered to a desk and a wall outlet an inconvenience. With your setup I might consider hanging a 4K monitor on the wall on a tilt-swivel mount.

Thanks, guys.

I would seriously suggest that you find a piece of cardboard that you can cut to the same size as the computer, and place it in front of you so that you can get an idea of what it will be like.

Yes, I will do exactly that.

One possible solution for the “all new Mac software” problem — the folks at http://setapp.com offer a subscription service for Mac software. I use it and have been pleased with the selection of apps. OTOH, it’s $10 USD per month, and the selection might not suit you. It does have both Aeon Timeline for Mac and iThoughtsX, a Mac mind map app I particularly like.

Just a thought.

OTOH, the Mac comes with sufficient software preinstalled that most folks won’t need anything else. I long ago dropped Word for Pages and Excel for numbers, and various note-taking apps for not-great-but-good-enough Apple Notes. The only non-built-in apps I use these days are Scrivener, SuperDuper, and Kindle (although iBooks is better/easier for esoteric historical works gleaned from the Web) .

Another advantage of switching to the Mac is the availability of a very few applications which I believe have no real rivals on Windows but which can often be useful to writers. In this category I’d put DEVONthink Pro Office and Tinderbox, and possibly one or two others.

I’d be hard-pushed to think of examples of the opposite i.e. types of application on Windows that writers could find useful but which are not available on the Mac. It was the case that you couldn’t find a good text analyser for the Mac, although you could for Windows, but I think that that may no longer be so.

Of course, it is the case that development of a very few Mac versions of widely-used applications tends to lag the Windows versions. As is well-known, development of Microsoft Office applications for Windows tends to lead those for the Mac, although (as evidenced on these forums) very capable Mac-only word processors exist, such as Nisus Writer Pro, and of course, Apple’s own Pages.

BTW, I like the desk.

Gosh yes, that desk is beautiful!!! I would spend most of my time admiring it and not really doing any work; irrespective of my operating system! :smiling_imp: