Uno for Mac

…why “reinventing the wheel”? To make it a sphere, not just a cylinder.

Features   |   History   |   Download Available on Bodega too!  |   Known Issues

Uno is a simple, yet basic text editor for the Mac. It has almost all the basic function you would expect from an editor like TextEdit but being something different. Indeed you’ll find it has fewer functions than TextEdit because it is designed to work only with text, in near the simplest way. So no images and no ‘other stuff’  that in today’s world – for some people – is equal to ‘too much’. To those I speak using and developing Uno.

Starting from a blank window you can do practically anything with your characters.  It does open Rich Text Format files (.rtf) and Unicode-formatted Plain Text files (.txt): it saves both as .rtf and exports as Plain text (Unicode).

Its main features are:

A simple, basic interface

to work with text documents and text itself: it’s a window with its title bar. A freely floating mini-toolbar (I called it ‘Quick toolbar’) has been made to allow the user to change the text color and font quickly, either when editing a selection or starting a brand new document.

Two buttons allow the user to open a new window or to save the currently edited page.

Change freely

the appearance of the text window: you can force it to stay on top of the other app windows, or you can change the background to a more relaxing light blue color or to a dimmed light grey.

There’s also an option, the so-called ‘Clean Mode’ (see below) which can automatically center the window on the screen hiding its title bar: it also sets the window on the top of all others to allow

the user to read the written text, almost without distractions, on a ‘clean’ window.

Starting from version 1.6, Uno features a semitransparent white title bar. You can set its transparency value by editing the TitleBarTransparency key into Uno’s .plist file. Enter a value between 0.1 (darker) and 0.9 (brighter) using any .plist (Property List) file editor and you’re done.

Transparent mode

allows the user to see and read windows or documents respectively behind Uno’s main window.

Actually – for obvious reasons – the window does not become fully transparent: it becomes a semi-transparent which is transparent enough to not to cover almost anything, yet still visible to allow the user to see and keep on writing on it.

To just turn off transparency, press Shift+Command+T: the normal window’s appearance can always be restored at any time by pressing Shift+Command+B.

Clean mode

allows, on Lion, to hide the standard legacy scrollbars and display a single-lined, overlay scrollbar through the window’s length.

Scrollbars’ behavior and appearance can be set through the System Preferences > General panel, within the section related to scroll settings.


Note that overlay-styled scrollbars are supported only on 10.7 and later. To exit Clean Mode, hold Shift and press Command+W.

If you want to, you can get an even cleaner Clean Mode in full black or white color mode!

It’s simple. Press Command+, and check the related option or, if you prefer to, add a preference to Uno .plist file (see below) to tell Uno what color mode you like to write with.

The background color can be changed while editing a document in Clean Mode when its background preference is set to black. Hold down Shift+Alt+Command and press C at the same time to see background color changed at every press of the keys, until you like the color. To reset custom background color, open Preferences panel and set Clean Mode color-mode back to White or Black from drop down menu.

A preference can be added to Uno .plist file to enable true full-screen when entering Clean Mode on Leopard and Snow Leopard (see below under Updates).

Split windows 

easily into two views (horizontally by default, also vertically by option) using the Window>Split>Expand menu action, or simply hold down the Command key and press < key.

Split View, being a temporary area (you can think of it as a sort of clipboard) is not able to open any existing file inside it.

On the other hand, you are fully able to save or export text you’ve edited or dropped into it by firstly selecting the text you want to save from the split area and then using the usual Command+S or Command+1 actions.

You can choose to Auto-paste within the split view only, if enabled. Supports text resuming and auto-resuming as well as synchronized scrolling between the two views.

Dark Room mode

has been designed as a real dark room for writing.


You can keep writing as usual for sure, but within a dark environment with white text and no ability to apply colors or open existing files, because light does not have to enter its secretiveness. It can be enabled through the new option in Preferences panel > Advanced by choosing Use Dark Room mode.

When your memories have been fully developed, save or export them to file. As you save, the window turns white. To keep writing in Dark Room, make another window and paste the content from previous window.

As a tip: You can get a fully black writing surface by entering Clean Mode or Full screen setting the background preference to Black.  This is black and white writing at best, folks!


can be colorful and anywhere. You can have up to seven windows floating around your thoughts to take note of every word. You can drag them around or resize; once you close a window, everything will stay as you left it the next time you’ll pick the ‘Show or Add Notes’ action under Window menu. To remove all notes from the screen choose Close All Notes from the same menu or hold Command key down and press Alt+N. To delete a note, simply delete its content and press Enter key.

Automatic text enlargement

is a new feature which allows, if enabled, to enlarge text automatically as you enter Clean Mode or Full screen mode either on UB and Intel version.

Within this mode, default Font panel and character enlargement controls are disabled.

Full Lion support 

such as Auto Save and Resume, Versions and full-screen mode (Lion version only; Universal Binary version works also on Lion without supporting Auto Save, full-screen and such).

Live count

of words and characters as you type.

Words and char. counters can be toggled on and off; to hide them hold Shift and press Command+X.

You can then set the counters to be visible again by choosing ‘Show’ in the Window>Counters submenu.

To hide counters only while typing or editing a document, choose ‘Hide while Typing’ from the Counters menu. Counters are enabled at first app startup by default.

Other nice features of Uno:

  • A ‘Resume Text’ function: it allows the user to retrieve text from the last closed or saved window.
  • Copy all text as Plain text, RTF text with formatting data and visible structure or HTML code with built-in CSS formatting data.
  • Auto-paste function to duplicate documents or to retrieve contents from clipboard automatically on any new document.
  • Auto-resume option to resume latest edited or saved text on any new document.
  • A built-in Autosave feature (Universal Binary version only).
  • And last, but not least, flexibility: Uno allows any user to enable or disable features such as Auto Save behavior, keep backup files of edited documents, etc.

Updates history ()

– v 1.6.5 (June 27, 2012): Further updates:

  • Few other ‘under the cover’ fixes and improvements.
  • Further performance improvements.
  • Fixed an issue which caused scrollbars not to be synchronized anymore (while ‘Sync Scrollbars’ option was enabled) after closing a window with other windows opened.

– v 1.6 (build 1.6.2, June 21-22, 2012): Updates and improvements:

  • Improved GUI for a cleaner typing experience.
  • Improved Autosave feature (Universal Binary version only) allowing flexible writing and flawless saving times.
  • Many ‘under the cover’ fixes and improvements.
  • Better CPU usage.
  • Updated menus.

– v 1.5.8 (May 4, 2012): Further improvements and fixes:

  • New ‘Copy All on Losing Focus’ function which, if enabled, automatically copies content from currently edited file when selecting Finder or another application.
  • Now the Duplicate action under ‘New from Selection’ action (Intel version only) has been merged with the ‘New from Current’ (either document of selection) action to avoid redundancy. If the Auto Save feature (Mac OS X 10.7+) is disabled, ‘New from Current’ allows to duplicate the whole document in case no text is selected.
  • Fixed all minor issues related to Dark Room mode, especially when selecting text to make a new file out of current selection.
  • Almost all options do not need app relaunch anymore.

– v 1.5.6 (Apr. 29, 2012): Fixed minor Auto-scrolling issues; fixed Preferences saving and an issue which could sometimes happen when text was saved in white color after Dark Room mode got disabled.

– v 1.5 (build 1.5.4, Apr. 27, 2012): Several improvements:

  • New automatic text enlargement feature when editing a document in Clean Mode and Full screen for better visibility and reading.
  • New Dark Room mode: an absolutely minimalist, plain-text-only writing environment in a nice white and black tone to help the user to concentrate better on what he’s now typing.
  • New option to set monospaced font as default on any new window.
  • Now the Duplicate action is always accessible under the ‘New from selection’ menu item, whether or not Auto Save has been disabled (Intel version only).
  • Fixed printing from a window with grey or blue background.
  • Fixed a minor issue with Auto-scrolling not stopping when ‘On’ action had been called multiple times.

– v 1.4.9 (build, Apr. 21, 2012): More improvements:

  • New option to split any new window automatically.
  • Added ability to change background color while editing a document in Clean Mode (black color-mode) by holding down Shift+Alt+Command and pressing C until the desired color is displayed.
  • Redesigned Help, slightly updated.

– v 1.4.8 (build, Apr. 18, 2012): Several improvements and enhancements:

  • New Preferences panel;
  • Now if the split view content is selected and the main view is edited, the split view content gets automatically unselected.
  • Notes sheets made always visible; deleting Notes’ content has been made more intuitive. Better Notes handling in general.
  • Solved an issue which caused all Notes to be reset after a document had been edited in Clean Mode.
  • Solved flashing-screen issue that could happen when changing from white to black Clean Mode color-mode while Uno was running.

– v 1.4.6 (Apr. 15, 2012): Several fixes and improvements:

  • Fixed an issue which caused any new window to split while being resized.
  • Fixed an issue (UB version only) which could cause the close button of a window to stay disabled when editing a document while the auto-scroll was running.
  • Added ability to display Notes on application startups: to enable this behavior add the showNotesOnStartup preference returning YES.
  • Now all Notes can be removed from screen using ‘Close All Notes’ action under Window menu or Command+Alt+N shortcut.
  • Shadowed Notes sheets on Intel version too; first Notes sheet made always visible for easy access and reference.
  • Now Clean Mode can be made even cleaner by changing its color mode to white or black: to set the color, add the cleanModeColor preference with a value of 1 (white) or 2 (black). Leave blank or delete preference to turn off color mode.
  • Now the user can set a favorite color for caret (the blinking cursor) by adding the preference caretColor with values from 1 to 7 according to Notes colors.

– v 1.4.3 (Apr. 12, 2012): Fixed repeated crashing issues, especially while closing a window after its content has been saved. Also Notes saving has been slightly improved.

– v 1.4.2 (Apr. 11, 2012): The new Notes feature allows the user to take a quick note of a word, phrase or text on up to seven colorful floating windows that can be shown by choosing the ‘Show or Add Notes’ action under Window menu. Has been fixed a minor issue related to synchronized scrolling between the two views happening when the main view could not be scrolled.

– v 1.3.9 (Apr. 5, 2012): Added synchronized scrolling option between views: to enable this feature select ‘Sync Scrollbars’ action from Window>Split menu; moreover the ‘Make transparent’ menu action is now a ‘Transparency’ toggle command (no more need to go through ‘Set to Default’ just to restore window opacity).

– v 1.3.7 (Mar. 31, 2012): Added option to split windows vertically by adding to Uno .plist file the preference:


Has been also solved an issue which could cause the Expand and Collapse menus not to be synchronized with the current position of split views’ divider.

– v 1.3.5 (Mar. 30, 2012): Added support for Resume and Auto-resume directly to split view: the user can now set the text resuming behavior to retrieve latest edited or saved text directly into split view (under the Edit>Auto-resume menu). To Universal Binary version has also been added possibility to display current time within the words counter when editing a document in full-screen Clean Mode, by adding the following preference to Uno .plist:


On every keypress the actual number of words will be displayed. If current document has more than 90,000 characters, the number of words will be displayed after it has been saved to file.

– v 1.3.3 (Mar. 26, 2012): Several improvements:

  • New ‘split window’ feature allows the user to expand or collapse a new area inside any window. To duplicate content from the main view to this second view, just select and drag text from one view to the other one while holding down your main mouse button. In order to export or save content from this temporary area, select the content inside it you want to export or save and use the usual Save or Export as Plain actions. Note that this area does not have capability of opening existing files inside it; any newly-opened file will be loaded within a new window.
  • New Auto-paste behavior the user can set in order to paste automatically into split view or both main and split views the copied content when Auto-paste is enabled.
  • New Auto-scroll feature to allow the user to read a long document by having it scrolled  line-per-line automatically every 15 seconds.
  • Now counters can fully display a number of characters or words of more than 1,000,000.
  • Solved a few issues related to Transparent Mode and full-screen on Lion, plus a display issue related to counters when the horizontal ruler was toggled.
  • A new hi-res icon.

– v 1.2.5 (Mar. 19, 2012): Minor fixes to Clean Mode, allowing Font and Color panels to correctly stay on top; added possibility to make a new document or export a document to plain text format while in Clean Mode; moreover the user can now enable true full-screen writing in UB version when entering Clean Mode by adding the following preference to Uno .plist file:


Has been also solved an issue which could cause the document’s window not to be focused or editable when entering Clean Mode.

– v 1.2.3 for Lion (Intel) and 1.2.2 Universal Binary (Mar. 11, 2012): Now the Lion user can disable all the Auto Save-related features by adding to Uno .plist file (located into User/Library/Preferences folder) the following preference:


Note: To apply changes, please quit Uno and, after the added preference has been saved to .plist file, restart UnoThis obviously applies only on Lion version.

Moreover, either in UB and Lion version, support has been added for turning on and off the OS X default autosave feature by adding the preference:


Note: The edited copy of your file will be saved every 15 seconds. 

On Leopard and Snow Leopard it’s within the ‘Autosave information’ folder located in your User/Library folder. Then, if a system or app crash occurs, the latest edited version will always be saved automatically there. On Mac OS X Lion, Uno will automatically save a temporary copy of the file within the folder you’re working on, e.g. your Desktop or Documents folder. You can safely keep turned on either the Lion Auto Save and this.

– v 1.2.2 for Lion (Intel) and 1.2.1 Universal Binary (Mar.9, 2012): Improved file opening performance in UB and Lion version. Also has been solved an issue which could cause a slow typing speed while editing documents with more than 90,000 characters.

– v 1.2.1 (Mar. 7, 2012 – Lion-only release): Improved file saving performance under Lion.

– v (Mar. 5, 2012): Added options to make a new document from a selection of text or delete the whole content of a document except the selected part. Added support for keepBackup preference in Lion version.

– v (Mar. 3, 2012 – UB-only release): Added Autosave feature to allow the user to always keep the currently opened document saved; the app will save your file every 5 sec., automatically. A specified path can be set from Autosave settings panel (File>Autosave submenu>Settings…) for new, unsaved documents. Moreover, now the user can tell Uno to keep a backup of the previous version of a file by editing its .plist file and adding:


– v (Feb. 27, 2012): In UB version, added Scrollbars submenu (under Window menu) to allow the user to hide or show scrollbars permanently or just hide them while typing. The crash bug experienced after closing or quitting the app when ‘Hide while Typing’ feature was enabled for counters has been fixed. Other minor improvements have been made to the app.

– v (Feb. 17, 2012): Added ‘Unformat and Apply to All’ feature: this new function allows the user to remove formatting from the whole text (while keeping paragraphs and lines position) and then enables the textual area in such a way to allow the user to change the whole text formatting at once using the Font panel. In this way you can set the same font, size and decoration style (color, font appearance, etc.) directly to the text without selecting any word, giving your text a uniform style. Other minor bugs have been fixed.

– v (Feb. 16, 2012): Fixed minor bugs related to saving a file when in Clean Mode.

– v (Feb. 15, 2012): Added ‘Auto-resume’ option (under Edit menu) to resume automatically the latest-edited or saved text on any new document and on application startup. Also, the print-related bug that occurred after exiting Clean Mode has been fixed.

– v 1.1.9 (Feb. 11, 2012):

  • (Universal Binary) : Added an option to automatically hide counters while typing or editing the document; just move the mouse to make them to appear again. Also the ‘Resume Text’ feature has been updated to save formatted text (with colors, links and such); to force Uno to use the old (text-only with no formatting data) content saving system, open the Uno .plist file (located in Library/Preferences) with any text editor that can open them and add the following to the bottom:

    Other little improvements have been made to the app.

  • (Lion only) : In addition to UB version improvements, an option has been added (you can find it under the new ‘View’ menu) to start any new window of the app directly in full-screen mode; this setting toggles full-screen mode also as app starts.

– v 1.1.8 (Feb. 8, 2012): Added option to copy whole text directly as HTML with built-in CSS formatting; some other little things fixed.

– v 1.1.7 (Jan. 25, 2012): Among improvements: New Auto-paste function (disabled by default). Now Uno can also remember if the counters have been left visible or not by the user; the Clean Mode was fixed and slightly modified.

– v 1.1.4 (Jan. 15, 2012): Added live words and characters count.

– v 1.1.3 (Jan. 14, 2012): Several improvements:

  • The user can now set a window to stay on top of all others.
  • New ‘Transparent’ mode: the user can now set the window to be transparent in order to make reading and copying text from another window or document below easier.
  • New light grey and  light blue optional backgrounds.
  • New ‘Clean Mode’: now the user can select this mode to make the window to stay centered on the screen, without its usual title bar, on top of any other window in order to make reading of a single document easier with less distractions.
  • New ‘Copy all as Plain’ feature, to copy all the text within the whole document – without selecting it – as plain text, on the fly.
  • New ‘Copy all as RTF data’ feature, to copy all text with RTF formatting data and structure visible.

– v 1.0.9 (Jan. 9, 2012): Now the user can export either the full text or just a selection of it directly as Plain text file. Also just the selection can be saved as RTF file. Moreover the ‘Resume Text’ feature has been improved: starting from now, if the last closed window was left empty, it allows the user to retrieve text from the last saved window.

– v 1.0.5 (Jan. 5, 2012): Now it fully supports Lion ( Resume, Autosave, Versions and full-screen), corrects a minor graphical bug related to Quick toolbar buttons and adds a ‘Resume Text’ feature which allows the user to retrieve textual content from the last closed window.

– v 1.0.3 (Dec. 30, 2011) : First release.

Download and OS requirements ()

Uno is released as freeware. It is available for Mac OS X 10.5.8 and later, both in Universal (Intel & PPC) and Lion (Intel-only) packages, both in 32/64 bit arch.

Download Universal (~490 kB) | Download Intel (~460 kB)

To see the License for Uno, pick ‘About & License’ from the Help menu of the app.

Note that the app has not been deeply tested on Mac OS X Leopard (10.5) so it could run with some issues.

Compatibility with OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion: I have not tested Uno on Mountain Lion yet. If you tested my app on the new version of Mac OS X, please report how Uno works on 10.8 by updating its entry on RoaringApps. Thank you for checking.

Known issues ():

  • Dark Room mode

If Dark Room mode is enabled, Auto-resume is disabled automatically and Auto-paste is set to paste always into split view to avoid any distraction on main view. On Intel version Mac OS X 10.7+ Auto Save gets disabled by default. It is advised to disable default OS X autosave option either in UB and Intel version to keep writing in a black window for more than 15 seconds (the period of time necessary to system-level autosave function to fire up the save timer again and get your document saved). It is also advised to disable built-in Autosave (UB version only) to keep writing in a dark environment.

  • Notes

If you experience some difficulties in saving Notes’ content, simply press the Enter key after editing. Also note that on Intel version (Mac OS X 10.7+) when the system detects a previously unsaved document and it is automatically resumed on app startup, Notes will not show up if ‘Show Notes on app startup’ preference is checked. This is default Mac OS behavior under Lion and later in order to keep user’s eyes focused on unsaved data. Once the document’s content is saved, Notes will show up again on every startup.

  • Preferences

If, for whatever reason, you’re not able to set Uno’s preference correctly and/or Uno has a ‘strange’ behavior, delete Uno’s preferences manually (usually located into your – home folder or username -/Library/Preferences) or using a software to uninstall apps like AppCleaner or such which can also remove preference files only. Once app’s .plist file is removed, re-launch Uno and re-apply one preference at a time.

Reviews and other download locations

For reviews, ratings and alternative download links, visit the Uno download page at MacUpdate, Softpedia, MajorGeeks, Bodega.


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