The Write Practice

Book Writing Software (2024): Top 10 for Writers

by Joe Bunting | 20 comments

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Writing a book is hard. I've written fifteen books and at some point during each one I had the thought, “There has to be a tool, a piece of book writing software, that would make it easier to reach my writing goals.”

Book Writing Software - Top 10 Pieces of Software for Writers

The good news is there  is  book writing software that can make the writing process and meeting your daily goals easier!

(The better news is that once you've found the right software, we have the best resources to help you finish your book, like this book idea worksheet , which will get you started on your book in just a few minutes. Get your free copy here. )

In this article, we will cover the ten best pieces of software for writing a book and look at the pros and cons of each. Click the links below to get our review on the best writing software.

Best Writing Software: Contents

  • Google Docs
  • Google Sheets OR Microsoft Excel
  • ProWritingAid
  • Publisher Rocket
  • Microsoft Word
  • Bonus: Note Taking Apps
  • Bonus: Google Drive OR Dropbox

Worst Pieces of Software for Writing a Book

Before we discuss writing software that will help you write a beautiful book, it's important to understand (and eliminate) what will hurt your writing progress. At least while you're writing a book:

  • Video Games.  Especially World of Warcraft (always, always, always!) but also Solitaire, Sudoku, Angry Birds, Star Wars Galaxy of Heroes, and Wild Rift/League of Legends.

No World of Warcraft for Writers

  • Facebook, TikTok, and Other Social Media Software.  Do I really need to say more? Fortunately there's a piece of book writing software for avoiding this very distracting software (see Freedom below). You can't write a book if you spend you writing time publishing social media posts.
  • Other Productive Software Not Directly Associated With Your Writing.  Yes, it's good to reconcile your bank account on Quickbooks or make sure you're up to date on your calendar app, but responsible, well-meaning work can easily be an excuse for a quick distraction that turns into a major distraction from writing your book.

Set aside time for your writing every day and then stay focused. If you need a game, make writing your daily word count your game. If you want more “likes” on social media, imagine how great getting five-star reviews on your book will be.

If you need to check your bank balance several times a day, think about what your bank balance will be when you stop checking it constantly, finish your book, and become a successful author. Now let's talk about some book software for authors that can help you with your book writing process.

The 10 Best Pieces of Book Writing Software

First, there is no such thing as the perfect book writing software. No amount of key features or book writing templates or editing features will write a book for you. Still, these ten book writing software options can help. Take a look at the pros and cons of each:

1. Scrivener (Word Processor)

Scrivener  is the premier book writing app made by writers  for  writers. Scrivener's “binder” view allows you to break up your book into chapters and sections and easily reorganize it with drag and drop interface.

You can also get a high-level view of your book using the corkboard and outliner modes, allowing you to view book chapters, sections, or individual scenes as index cards. Project targets let you create word count goals and then track your progress daily. Its composition mode can help you stay focused by removing all the clutter.

Scrivener Deadline Week 3

Scrivener has formatting features for publishing (e.g. on Amazon or Barnes & Noble), as well as basic features for distraction-free writing, and has templates for novels, nonfiction books, screenplays, and more.

You can read our  full Scrivener review here .

To be fair, Scrivener also has its weaknesses. Formatting is more complicated than it needs to be and collaborating isn't easy, meaning it loses its effectiveness as soon as you bring on an editor (we recommend Google Docs for collaborating).

You can sync with your iPhone/iPad, but only through Dropbox, making it not as easy as it should be. It also has something of a learning curve, especially for its advanced features. But it more than makes up for that by being so helpful in the early stages of the writing process. Again, here are the pros and cons for Scrivener.

Pros of Scrivener:

  • Easily manage a large book writing project (or screenplay) in the binder view
  • Get a high-level view of your book's structure using corkboard and outliner views
  • Manage your writing productivity with project targets and deadlines
  • iPhone and iPad app

Cons of Scrivener: 

  • Formatting can be overly complicated
  • Learning curve
  • ​Syncing with Dropbox isn't always easy
  • No Android app

We believe in Scrivener so much, we published a book about how creative writers can write more faster using it. It’s called  Scrivener Superpowers .  If you’re using Scrivener or want a tutorial to save yourself time as you learn how to use it for your creative writing, you can  get Scrivener Superpowers here . You can also learn more about how to use the software with one of these resources:

  • Scrivener Superpowers  by M.G. Herron
  • 3 Reasons I Love Scrivener
  • Microsoft Word vs. Scrivener

Cost: $59.99 for Windows, Mac

Scrivener  is the premier book writing app made by writers  for  writers. It's powerful set of tools allow you to write, organize, edit, and publish books.

  • Easily manage writing projects
  • Made by writers for writers
  • Corkboard and outliner views
  • Project targets and deadlines
  • iPhone and iPad app
  • Complicated formatting
  • Steep learning curve
  • ​Syncing isn't always easy


2. Dabble (Word Processor)

Similar to Scrivener, Dabble is a word processor that gives you the power to organize and rearrange scenes and chapters using drag and drop, manage your word count goals to keep to a deadline, and plot like a pro. (Screenshots seen here are in the optional dark mode.)

Dabble Review: Best book writing software

Dabble has a plot grid that allows you to easily see a macro view of your story. You can rearrange as needed, find plot holes easily, and make notes on each plot point as detailed as you like. 

Dabble Review: Best book writing software

Collaboration is easy. You simply add a co-author and they will be sent an invitation. They must also have a subscription or they will only be able to read the document. 

You can insert images in any scene or note, or add title images to chapters or full page images within or between chapters. You can even set cover art for the manuscript. 

Focus mode in Dabble is automatic. Simply start typing and everything else fades away. No need to worry about saving every few minutes either.

Dabble is cloud-based and automatically saves as you go. You can access your manuscripts everywhere: in your browser, on your phone, or in the desktop app. As you're writing, you can make notes and comments.

Don’t want to type? You can dictate. And when you’re done writing, there’s a Read to Me feature that reads your manuscript to you!

Cost : Subscription plans range from $10/month to $20/month; Lifetime access cost is $499; 14-day free trial 

Dabble is a word processor designed specifically for books. It gives you the power to organize and rearrange scenes and chapters using drag and drop, manage your word count goals to keep to a deadline, and plot like a pro. 

  • Easy Learning Curve
  • Streamlined collaboration
  • Cloud-based syncing
  • Built-in Dictation
  • Easy Exporting
  • Word count targets and deadlines
  • Plotting tool
  • Subscription service
  • Lifetime access cost is high
  • Only simple formatting options


3. Google Docs (Word Processing)

While Scrivener and Dabble are a great book  writing  software, once you get to editing and getting feedback, it begins to fall short. That's why Google Docs has become my go-to piece of book writing software for collaborating with editors, beta readers, and other writers.

It's free, easy to use, and requires no backups since everything is in the cloud.

Best of all are its collaboration abilities, which allow you to invite your editor to the document and then watch as they make changes, which are tracked in suggestion mode, and leave comments on your story (see screenshot below).

Google Sheets Editing: Best Book Writing Software

I also like the outline feature in the left sidebar. You can display it by clicking View > Show Outline. Then format the chapters and main sections of your manuscript as headings to make them appear in the document. You can then easily visualize and even click through your book to navigate it. This feature isn't as useful as Scrivener and Dabble's binder, but it makes navigating your book much easier.

While not the best for brainstorming, writing, or organizing your book, Google Docs, the free word processor available in Google Drive, is the single best word processor for collaborating with co-writers, beta readers, or editors.

  • Real-time collaboration with editors, beta readers, or other writers
  • Suggestion mode
  • Outline View
  • Few large-document organization features
  • No productivity features
  • Usually requires an internet connection

Google Docs

4. Google Sheets OR Microsoft Excel (Spreadsheet)

If you’d told me when I was first trying to become a writer that one of my most-used tools in my book writing software toolkit would be a spreadsheet, I would have told you I didn't major in English to have to use a spreadsheet.

But now, as I'm finishing my fifteenth book, I realize that I use spreadsheets almost daily. Spreadsheets allow you to get a sense of the elements of your book at a glance, and when you're working on a 300-page document, distilling it down to useable information becomes very necessary.

You might use spreadsheets for:

  • Character tracking
  • Breakdown of scenes
  • A Foolscap/Beat sheet

Google Sheets is perfect for this because it's free and you can quickly share your documents with your writing partners, editors, or beta readers to get feedback.

Microsoft Excel is another great option, but Excel lacks the real-time editing with other users and is overall lacking in the collaboration functions. Still, if you already have Excel, it's a great way to quickly get started plotting your book or managing your project.

Google Sheets

  • Real-time Collaboration : Work with editors, beta readers, or co-authors in real-time.
  • Speed : It's fast and responsive, which is useful for quickly developing an outline or managing a project.
  • Cost-effective : It's so cost-effective it's free!
  • Handling External Spreadsheets : Managing spreadsheets from other sources like Excel can be annoying.
  • Internet Dependency : Although there's an offline mode, the overall experience is better with an internet connection.

Microsoft Excel

  • Familiar : If you already own or have used Microsoft Office, it should be familiar to you.
  • Advanced Feature : Excel is slightly more powerful than Google Sheets (although for most writing related tasks, you will likely not need advanced features).
  • Offline Access : Unlike Google Sheets, Excel doesn't require an internet connection, which is handy for working on-the-go.
  • Cost : Unlike Google Sheets which is free, Excel comes with a cost as part of the Microsoft 365 Office Suite.
  • Collaboration : Although Excel has collaborative features, they're more streamlined in Google Sheets.

5. Vellum (Book Formatting/Word Processing)

If you want to turn your book into an eBook, it's not that hard. Scrivener, Word, Pages, they all can format eBooks and print books. But that doesn't mean they'll look good. In fact, it takes a lot of skill and effort to format a printed book that looks good on any of those word processors.

That's why I love Vellum so much.

Vellum makes beautiful books.

Vellum: Top Book Writing Software

Vellum picks up where Scrivener, Word, and Pages leave off, giving you a tool to make great looking eBooks and print books, usually in under an hour. The most important part of this is the previewer (see the image below), which lets you see how each formatting change or book edit you make will appear on Kindle, Fire, iPhone, Nook, and other eReaders.

Vellum Previewer: Best Book Writing Software

It also has stripped-down, option-based formatting, which is perfect for designing both eBooks and print books. I really love this writing app!

Vellum is a book formatting tool to quickly and easily create beautiful eBooks and print books, often within an hour. It features a book previewer which allows you to see how your book will look on various eReaders and in print, and offers a simplified, option-based formatting to format beautiful books faster.

  • Ease of Use: Easy to navigate and use, even for inexperienced writers.
  • Quick Formatting: The simplified, option-based formatting lets you create books in as little as an hour.
  • High-Quality Aesthetics: Delivers visually beautiful books.
  • Book Previewer Tool: View how your book will appear on various eReaders as you work.
  • Platform Limitation: Restricted to Mac users.
  • Style Restrictions: Limited design and styling options can be a drawback for some.
  • Cost: Higher price point compared to some other formatting software.


6. ProWritingAid (Grammar/Spell Check)

Can a grammar checker replace an editor?

Definitely not. But if you ask Alice Sudlow, our in-house editor, she'll tell you, “If you don’t have access to an editor (or if you do, but you don’t want to hire them to edit your emails or Facebook posts), software that performs grammar checks like  ProWritingAid  is an accessible, affordable alternative.”

If you struggle with grammar mistakes, sentence structure, spelling, or even writing style, ProWritingAid can help. It goes far beyond your built-in spellcheck. You should still learn grammar skills, but ProWritingAid can help you start to see the patterns and grow as a writer.

There's a free version that's very good. It can even be installed into your browser or Word processor, so you can check your grammar wherever you write.

The paid version, just $96 a year with our discount link (33 percent less than Grammarly ‘s price), gives you additional support on sentence structure, style, and vocabulary. Learn more about how writers can get the most out of ProWritingAid here .


  • Grammar and Style Correction: Gives "as-you-type" grammar corrections as well as comprehensive style analysis to help you write clearer, more engaging prose.
  • Writing Insights: You can learn a lot about your writing style with their detailed reports on readability, sentence structure, and more.
  • Integration: You can integrate it with nearly any other writing tool or word processor..
  • Subscription Cost: While more affordable than other options, there is a subscription cost for for full access.
  • Overwhelming Feedback: Not all the feedback is useful, and without knowledge of the book writing process, you may get distracted by the amount of feedback.
  • Internet Requirement: You must have an internet connection for most types of feedback.


  • Easy to Use: User-friendly design (slightly more easy to use than ProWritingAid in my opinion).
  • Spell-Check and Grammar Check: Detailed spelling and grammar check functionality.
  • Goal-Setting Feature: It can help you tailor suggestions based on writing goals.
  • Broad Integration: Works with many platforms (the Google Docs integration isn't very good though).
  • Cost: While the free plan is robust, the premium plan is more expensive compared to ProWritingAid.
  • Google Docs Integration: Lacks a fully functional integration.
  • Big Picture Feedback: Does not provide as much overarching edits and style-based feedback as ProWritingAid.

7. Publisher Rocket (Book Marketing App)

How do you know if your book will sell? Wouldn't it be nice to know if there is a market for your book  before  you start writing? How do you find the most readers on Amazon for your published book? For all of these questions, Publisher Rocket has an answer.

Read our  full Publisher Rocket review here .

best creative writing software for windows

Publisher Rocket a book marketing research tool that helps you understand what readers actually want  and  how to connect with them with your books. Here are some things you can discover in Publisher Rocket:

  • What phrases Amazon buyers are actually searching for.
  • The psychology of how readers choose to buy books.
  • How much money readers are spending on certain niches and topics.
  • How much money specific books are making per month (for example, books that might be competing with yours).

I've personally used Publisher Rocket to take mid-list books to #1 bestseller status on Amazon. It's an amazing tool, perfect for anyone working on a book.

We also like KD Spy, another Amazon research tool (check out our review here ). You can compare and contrast the two tools below:

Publisher Rocket

  • Target Popular Keywords: Helps writers find specific phrases readers are using on Amazon to discover books.
  • Market Understanding: Offers a clear view of what books are competing with yours (and how many sales they make, historically).
  • Category Identification: Find the most relevant Amazon categories for your book.
  • Cross-Platform Compatibility: Works on both PCs and Macs.
  • Learning Curve: May require some time and education to fully utilize all features.
  • Cost: One-time purchase required.
  • Amazon-Centric: Tailored for Amazon, may not be as effective for other platforms.


  • Amazon Category Research : Analyze Amazon book categories to understand competition and profitability.
  • Keyword Tools : Provides niche and seed keywords to help in market understanding.
  • Competition Snapshot : Ability to get an overview of your competitors.
  • Traffic Light System : Visual cues to understand keyword difficulty and category competitiveness.
  • Limited Keyword Data : Doesn't provide Amazon search numbers.
  • Browser Extension : Limited to browser usage, not a standalone software.
  • Basic Keyword Tools: Keyword functionalities are quite basic compared to Publisher Rocket.
  • Dependent on Amazon : Insights are tailored for Amazon, may not apply to other platforms.

8. Atticus (Book Formatting/Word Processing)

Once you've  written  your book, how do you turn it into something people can actually  read ? If you're self-publishing, you need a tool like Atticus.

Atticus is a book formatting and word processing tool that allows you to take your manuscript and quickly and easily format it for publishing, including print and eBook formats.

But Atticus is more that just a formatter. It's an all-in-one solution for writers, giving you the organization features of Scrivener, the cloud collaboration features of Google Docs,  and  the book formatting abilities of Vellum. Yes, that's just as cool as it sounds!

Atticus Home Screen

It also works on all platforms, whether you're working on Windows, Mac, Chromebook, or even Linux. While I still love and use Vellum (see below), the benefit of Atticus is that it works for everyone, not just Mac users. Learn more about Atticus in my full review.

  • All-in-One Solution : Combines writing and formatting capabilities seamlessly.
  • Multi-Platform Availability : Available on PC, Mac, Linux, and Chromebook.
  • Cost-Effective : Priced lower than some competitors like Vellum while offering similar capabilities


  • Learning Curve : While intuitive, mastering advanced features may require some time.
  • New Software : Being relatively new, it might have fewer features compared to established software, with some desired features planned for future updates.
  • Crude Formatting : Out of the box formatting options aren't as refined as Vellum and will require more tweaking.

Atticus is a complete book writing and formatting tool that merges the capabilities of an online word processor with plug-and-play book formatting features. It can function as a one-stop solution for authors, with collaboration tools between authors, editors, and book designers, to take your book from idea to finished, publishable product.


9. Freedom (Productivity App)

One question writers always ask me is, “How can I stay focused enough to finish what I write?” I have too many thoughts on that for this article, but as far as using writing software to encourage focus goes, I recommend Freedom. It's my favorite writing tool for a distraction-free writing experience.

Freedom allows you to enter focus mode, blocking your biggest distractions, including both websites and mobile apps, for a set period of time. So when you mindlessly escape your book to scroll through Facebook, you'll find the site won't load.

You can also schedule recurring sessions, so that at a scheduled time (e.g. Mondays from 6 am to 10 am), you won’t be able to access the sites on your blocklist, even if you try.

There are other apps like this that we've written about before, notably Self-Control for Mac and StayFocused for Windows. But Freedom goes further, allowing you to block sites on both your computer  and  your phone, and enabling recurring sessions.

You can learn more about  how writers can get the most out of Freedom on our review here .

Freedom is a productivity app that can help writers in stay focused by blocking distracting websites and mobile apps for a designated period or during specific schedules, like during your morning writing time.

  • Distraction Blocking : Helps you concentrate on writing by blocking distractions.
  • Scheduled Focus Sessions : Schedule your focus mode in advance for recurring undistracted writing sessions.
  • Mobile Device Syncing : Getting it working with mobile devices can be a bit challenging.
  • Bypass Possibility : It's possible to find ways around its blockers if one tries hard enough.


Cost: $29 / year for Pro version, which I use and recommend (there's also a free trial available)

10. Microsoft Word (Word Processor)

Again: no piece of book writing software is going to write your book for you. If you're looking for the next “shiny new toy” to help you write your book, it might be an excuse to avoid doing the hard work of writing.

Most of us learned how to use computers by using Microsoft Word, or a program like it. Word gets the job done. Sure, Scrivener is a little better for books, but I wrote my first book on Word and it's fine.

I wrote a long review of  the pros and cons of using Word to write books —the main problem is that as your document grows, it becomes more and more difficult to work with, whereas with Scrivener, it becomes easier—but the point is, if Word is what you have, don't let that stop you from finishing your book.

You don't need a fancy tool to plan a book in the early stages, like if you draft a character description for your protagonist, or in the editing stages, like if you want to make comments on scene details.

As Jeff Elkins said in  his review of Word , “If you aren’t already putting in the hard work to be the kind of writer you want to be, it doesn’t matter what new writing software you invest in. It is not going to help.”

Microsoft Word is the industry standard word processing software. While limited in its features for writing books, it provides a familiar platform for writers to create, share, and review their work.

  • Familiar Interface : Known and used by many, making collaboration easier.
  • Extensive Features : Provides a wide range of writing and formatting tools.
  • Cost : Requires a subscription to Microsoft 365.
  • Lack of Book Writing Features : Despite its extensive feature set, it lacks specialized tools for book writing included with applications like Scrivener or Dabble.
  • Lack of Real-Time Collaboration : While it offers some collaboration features, it falls short in real-time collaborative editing compared to some cloud-native applications like Google Docs.

Cost: $69 / year with Microsoft 365 (includes Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook, and other Microsoft software)

Note:  Another word processor we can't recommend is yWriter, which while it has a cult following and was designed by a fellow novelist, seems to be out of development and has no support for Mac/OSX.

BONUS #1: Google Drive OR Dropbox (Cloud Backup)

There's nothing worse that finishing a great writing session and going to save your work, then your computer crashes and you discover you've lost your best writing. It's enough to send any writer into the throes of grief and depression. There's a simple solution, though: save a copy of ALL your writing to the cloud using Google Drive, Dropbox, or BOTH.

Here's my process:  I have all my Scrivener book files saved on a folder on Google Drive on my computer. Then, Scrivener automatically backs up every few minutes to a Dropbox folder. That way, I know I will always have the document I need, no matter what happens. Best of all, both of these apps have free plans, making it extremely foolish NOT to use them.

Pros of Drive:

  • Universal cloud backup
  • Automatically syncs
  • Free or inexpensive

Cons of Drive:

  • Setup is a bit tricky the first time
  • Maybe you WANT to lose your writing when your computer crashes

Cost: Free with Paid options

Sign up for Google Drive here »

Sign up for Dropbox here »

BONUS #2: iOS Notes OR Evernote OR Ulysses OR Bear (Note Taking)

When I'm writing for a long time, I like to get up and go for a walk. Sometimes, I wish I could continue writing while I walk. Other times, I find myself brainstorming ideas while I'm not at my computer, typing it up on my phone, and then wanting to easily move what I wrote to my laptop without having to go through the hassle of emailing it back and forth to myself.

That's where note taking apps like Ulysses and Evernote come in.

Ulysses Book Writing Software

iOS Notes, Ulysses ,  Evernote , and  Bear  are note taking apps that allow you to sync between all your devices, so you have what you need wherever you are, ideal for jotting down ideas or thinking through your book while you're out and about.

While Scrivener recently released an iOS app which allows you to sync between devices, their process is clunky and requires you to purchase both the mobile and desktop apps. These note taking apps make the process much more seamless.

Like Scrivener, they all have a binder-like sidebar that allows you to move documents around. None of them are designed specifically for books, so they may take a little configuring to make it work for you, but once you have one set up the way you want, it's very intuitive.

And while I hate Markdown, a markup language that allows you to format your text, I actually like the paired-down formatting options Ulysses and Bear give, especially for brainstorming. Overall, I wouldn't convert from Scrivener to any of these apps, but as supplements, they work great.

Pros of Evernote:

  • Sync notes between devices
  • Write as you go
  • Capture ideas

Cons of Evernote:

  • Free plan is limited
  • Becomes clunky as you get more notes
  • Better for note taking than managing a large writing project

iOS Notes  Cost: Free with any iOS device

Get the app here »

Evernote  Cost: Free with Paid options

Ulysses Cost: $45 Note: Ulysses is only available for Mac, either in the App Store or from their website.

Bear Cost: $1.49 monthly / $14.99 yearly Note:  Bear is also only available for Mac, either in the App Store or from their website.

Bonus #3: Hemingway App (Style Checker)

Most writers think their sentences are easier to read than they are. You think you're coming across clearly, that your writing makes sense, but then someone reads it and comes away with something totally different. Hemingway App (sometimes called Hemingway Editor) helps with that.

Hemingway App Purple Prose

Hemingway App is a free website that checks readability. You can copy and paste your writing into the website's input box. Then it will grade your writing based on your used of   adverbs , passive voice , and sentences as units . Hemingway App is useful, but even the best book writing software can’t replace a good editor.

Pros of Hemingway:

  • Fast, easy style advice

Cons of Hemingway:

  • Somewhat arbitrary advice
  • Hemingway himself would fail

Cost: Free!

Try out Hemingway App here »

The 30+ Tools Every Writer Needs

30 Tools to Write, Publish, and Market Your Book

Writing is no different, and while the right software is important, it's just one of the many tools you need as a writer.

That's why we published a list of all of our favorite tools for everything related to being a writer.

You can  download our tools for writers guide for free here .

The Most Essential Book Writing Software

Imagine it's three thousand years ago.

You're sitting around a campfire with some of your family and friends, tired from the day's work. You begin to tell a story. It's one you've told before, told a hundred times. You can see faces around the fire, the children with their eyes wide, the men and women who have heard the story before but still enjoy it because it brings meaning to their lives.

Storytellers—writers—have existed since the beginning of humanity. They didn’t always have book writing software. They didn't have the printing press or the internet. They didn't always even have the alphabet to write their stories down. Instead, storytellers had their imaginations, their voices, and a rapt audience. Y

ou don’t need book writing software to write a great story. Book writing software can make the process a little faster or easier, but the truth is great stories will always exist, no matter what kind of software we have.

The only three things essential to writing a great book:

  • Your imagination
  • A desire to tell your story

That’s all you need. Do you want to write your book? If you do, then do it. Write it. Nothing is stopping you except you.  So go get writing.

What pieces of book writing software do you use?  Let us know in the comments .

The world is full of powerful software to help you write your book. In the end, though, all these tools are just that—tools. The stories you imagine and your discipline to put the words on the page are far more important.

So for this practice, set aside all the fancy software. Eliminate all the bells and whistles and open up your computer's native text editor (TextEdit for Mac or Notepad for Windows).

Take fifteen minutes to write without any distractions.

Continue your work in progress, or start a new story based on this prompt: A student discovers one of their teachers is not what they appear to be.

When you're done, share your writing practice in the Pro Practice Workshop . And if you share, be sure to leave feedback for your fellow writers!

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Joe Bunting

Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris , a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).

Want best-seller coaching? Book Joe here.

best creative writing software for windows

Work with Joe Bunting?

WSJ Bestselling author, founder of The Write Practice, and book coach with 14+ years experience. Joe Bunting specializes in working with Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, How To, Literary Fiction, Memoir, Mystery, Nonfiction, Science Fiction, and Self Help books. Sound like a good fit for you?


Glenn Lindsey

Dragon NaturallySpeaking software. Following a comprehensive beat sheet (created in a screenwriting format), I dictate into MS Word. Grammarly sits to the side. 1000-2000 words a day. Requires a larger screen (mine is a modest 24″) and some computing horsepower. Very effective.

Joe Bunting

Good one! Personally I use dictation every once in a while, but it’s not my thing. Glad it’s working for you!


I just purchased ProWriting Aid. Its editor, grammar, sentence structure and readability scales. There’s a free app but i wanted the pro. I’m excited about this. I’ve had scrivener on my computer for 2 years and still use word. Learning Scrivener is overwhelming to me.

RevDr. Robert Foster, AbC, EfG

My practice from my current WIP:

“Please, Captain, may we take his body? Merk did have family.” Harper twisted his cloak in his hands.

“Aye. Do that.” Adam walked to the door, tapping the flat of the sword against his hand as he walked, doing his best to insure the blade touched the plate as little as possible. As he passed the bar, he grabbed the waiting pitcher of ale.

Outside, he found Carter leaning against the tavern wall, staring up at the moon. Without looking over, Carter spoke. “Come to arrest me?”

Adam snorted and passed him the pitcher. “No. Not for killing that filth. You know why his bounty was so high so quickly, right?”

Carter took a sip of the ale. “He carried it with him.”

“Gods, no. He built it entirely here.” Adam leaned against the wall of the building opposite of Carter. He pulled a small pouch and rolled a cigarette. “He killed the governor’s daughter in an argument.”

Carter looked over at his friend. “I thought the Thieves’ Guild didn’t go for killing?” “They don’t. They only took him on as a favor to his previous guild.”

“Let me guess: Assassins.”

Adam pointed at Carter. “Got it first try.”

He offered the cigarette to Carter who declined with a raised hand. Putting it between his lips, he patted his pockets. Carter leaned forward and snapped his fingers, producing a flame for the cigarette. Adam drew in a bit of smoke and nodded at his friend.

“Thanks.” He exhaled a pleasant smelling ring of smoke and glanced at Carter’s empty hand. “You can do magic now?”

“No.” Carter shook his head. “This is due to a minor cantrip on a scroll.”


This was cool and pulled me right into the story. Good work!

My personal favorite is Microsoft Word. It’s easy to use and I’m comfortable with it.

Here’s my practice. I’d appreciate comments/feedback! —

Julia finally slammed into the ground at the bottom of the steps. Swallowing back a sob, she pushed up on her hands and knees and cringed at the shooting pain in her shoulder, which had taken the brunt of the fall.

“Get back here, you little brat,” Sean shouted behind her.

A gasp shuddered into her lungs and she leapt to her feet and broke into a sprint up the sidewalk. She looked over her shoulder. He was still behind her. He shoved people out of his way and kicked over a baby stroller as he charged toward her.

Julia clamped a hand over her mouth as the baby in the stroller wailed. The woman who’d been pushing the stroller righted it and hushed the baby, stroking its head.

Julia kept pumping her legs, but nausea swished in her stomach and a sharp ache started in her chest. How could Sean treat people like that?

She’d probably never know the answer.

Cutting down an alleyway, Julia darted through puddles from the recent rain and chugged quick breaths.

Sean’s yelling voice echoed behind her. “When I get my hands on you I’m going to finish what I started.”

Breathing hard, she yanked herself to a stop by the rung of a ladder and lunged onto it, taking the rungs two at a time. She was shaking. Sean had tried to hurt her once. She wouldn’t let him do it again. Not without fighting back this time.

The ladder quivered and she stopped climbing to stare down between her shoes. Sean ascended, his hands quick on the rungs, his cold blue eyes swallowing her.

A gulp of air rolled down her throat and she pulled herself up faster. She kept her eyes focused high, fixing them on the handles at the top of the ladder. Memories slid their tentacles into her mind. Images of Sean looming over her, holding her down. Her own voice pleading.

Tears welled in Julia’s eyes and she blinked them away. She just had to focus on going up. To the roof. Once she reached it, she could either go into the building through a roof entrance or she could jump to the next building. She’d make it. She had to.

Julia curled her tired, chafed fingers around the vertical handles at the top of the ladder and hauled herself up onto the roof.

Then a hand clamped around her ankle.


I personally use a combination of my notebook, Google docs, Grammarly, Hemmingway editor, and thoughts and critiques from my writing friends. Best thing about paper: it doesn’t have internet.

So true! I find that I can write faster on a computer, but I love the focus you get from writing on paper.

It helps me, sometimes, I think, to feel the words as I write them, which I don’t get when I type. It does make it more of a pain to edit, though it does make it harder to permanently delete whole sections of writing and start over from scratch.

Mary Ellen Woods

I use Scrivener to write and format my books and recommend it though the learning curve is steep if you want to take full advantage of all its features. But I would recommend the following items.

Pro Writing Aid does so much more than Grammarly. Checks for style, diction, overused words, and things I’d never even heard of before I started using it. there is a free version but the paid version which syncs with Scrivener is a less expensive subscription than Grammarly.

Excel is so limited. I’d recommend Airtable. It is far more flexible and I use it for everything from characters, to accounting, to research, tracking promotions, reviews and more. There are templates for authors. It is intuitive and will do just about anything you want. Support is excellent. Airtable is has a free version (which is all I need), sharable and collaborative.

Then there is Aeon Timeline for plotting and planning. It helps keep your story in order. It is flexible, customizable, and syncs with both Scrivener and Ulysses. It is not expensive and not a subscription, pay once and it is yours.

Rescue time has a free version that helps you track your time spent on various tasks and websites and is useful to prove to the IRS that you are indeed a full time author.

I use all these things daily in my writing. Check them out. They will probably help you too.


I would recommend using FocusWriter to block out any notifications and other programs which are running

Ami Sattinger

Thanks for the great article. I use Google Docs right now and will check into some of the resources you recommended. I am an Astrologer and am writing my first basic Astrology book. I wasn’t clear whether the free handout for novelists would be appropriate for this project, and would appreciate your feedback.


The Hemmingway App no longer free. But $19.99 isn’t much to pay.

Slayde Haynes

Wattpad (which isn’t on the list) is a very good writing site.

Katja L Kaine

Have you had a look at The Novel Factory? Full disclosure, it’s made by me and my tiny team – but it’s starting to really get traction as we get so much positive feedback about how it’s helped people make progress like never before…

Iain Wood

Another one you might like to try is It’s new and helps with the planning stages in particular. Disclaimer- I wrote it, but thought you’d like to have a look at least.


For free versions, try One Note. I’ve been using it for years.

Dean W. Woodard

I want to write a technical book that would be formatted such that it would be like a textbook and have horizontal bars that would separate topics. I need the ability to repeat essential elements of techniques repeatedly and denote them in various fashions. Any software come to mind for that?


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Best free writing app of 2024

Bring your words to life with the best free writing apps

Person writing on a laptop

Best overall

Best for markup, best word alternative, best word processor, best for mac, best online.

  • How we test

The best free writing apps serve up more than just text tools - they also offer betters ways to manage and organize all your ideas, outlines, and projects. 

1. Best overall 2. Best for markup 3. Best Word alternative 4. Best word processor 5. Best for Mac 6. Best online 7. FAQs 8. How we test

Like the best free word processors , writing apps help you get your thoughts on the page without breaking the bank (or your train of thought). But we’ve also made sure they’ll make it easier to save, share, and sync all your documents and keep them safe, whether you need a desktop writing app for work, school, or play. 

If you struggle to stay focused, we’ve tested some of the best free writing apps come with distraction-free layouts or gamification challenges to keep you in the zone. We’ve also reviewed those built for professional document creation, with advanced business features such as speech-to-text transcription and online collaboration tools. 

Our picks cover the best apps for writing on the web, Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS - so you’re always ready whenever and wherever creativity strikes. 

literature and latte Scrivener 3

Scrivener: best writing software for authors Scrivener is packed with all the features a novelist needs, helping you track plot threads, store notes on characters and locations, structure your work and (most importantly) get some serious work done. It's not a free writing app like the tools below, but it's well worth the investment if your budget will allow it.

The best free writing app of 2024 in full:

Why you can trust TechRadar We spend hours testing every product or service we review, so you can be sure you’re buying the best. Find out more about how we test.

Website screenshot for FocusWriter

1. FocusWriter

Our expert review:


Reasons to buy, reasons to avoid.

FocusWriter helps writers combat one of their biggest challenges: distractions. One of the best free writing software tools out there, it's specifically designed to let you just concentrate on your writing. 

The stripped-back interface is deliciously sparse - ideal for when you just need to get your head down and write - and not dissimilar to a moderately powerful version of Notepad, featuring support for TXT, basic, RTF, and ODT files. 

Even the toolbar is hidden until you actually need it. Just swoop your cursor to the top on the screen to reveal a barren menu, from basic formatting to themes and timers.

Features are light within the software, but FocusWriter isn’t made for heavy editing sessions. It’s designed to make the act of writing flow seamlessly onto the page. 

Elsewhere, the writing app boasts the ability to add themes and your own background images, which can help you stay motivated. 

The Daily Progress tool is a sweet extra, adding Duolingo-style gamification that lets you track your daily writing streak. For when it’s oh-so-easy to slip onto social media when you can’t find the perfect word, it’s a nice way to keep you within the app. 

Available for Windows, Linux, and macOS, the writing software also comes as a portable download, no installation required. So, you can pop it on a USB stick and plug it into any computer you’re working on. 

Read our full FocusWriter review .

  • ^ Back to the top

WriteMonkey website screenshot

2. WriteMonkey

WriteMonkey is another piece of free writing software that cuts down on the clutter to deliver uninterrupted writing sessions. 

The free word processor, cleverly described as zenware, is unbelievably pared back compared to more traditional writing apps. 

There’s very little in the way of distracting ‘screen furniture’, which means you’re better positioned to concentrate on the writing process. And absolutely nothing else. 

But don’t let that stripped-back approach fool you. As one of the best free writing apps, WriteMonkey is still rich with the sort of core features that matter to writers. 

However, most options are hidden in a context menu (so you’ll need to right-click to view it). It also only supports TXT files, which may limit those looking to read, write, or edit across multiple formats. It is, at least, a portable download, letting you take it wherever you need.

If you’ve enjoyed Markdown, the simplified text-editing language that lets you format, annotate, classify, and link as you type, then great. WriteMonkey’s inner workings will instantly chime. 

First-timers should spend a little time with this free writing software, to uncover that intuitive simplicity. 

Read our full WriteMonkey review .

LibreOffice Writer

3. LibreOffice Writer

Writer, the open-source, free writing software, serves almost all general writing needs.

LibreOffice is a near-perfect example of free office software - a familiar, feature-rich take on the office suite. What the veteran software package lacks in Microsoft polish (its interface is undeniably old-fashioned, for starters), it makes up for in its price-point: free. For that, you get access to six tools: Calc, Impress, Draw, Base, Math, and Writer. 

Earning it a slot on our list of best free writing apps is the fact that LibreOffice Writer packs the full editing toolbox. 

This isn’t just a note-taking app for staving off distractions when you’re deep in the zone; it’s for when you’re in pure writer-mode. 

If you’re at all proficient with Microsoft Word, you won’t have any problems using the Writer software. Layouts and functions are almost identical, and there’s support for DOC and DOCX file types, making it efficient to switch out of the Microsoft garden.

This free writing app is ideal if you’re hunting for a tool that almost perfectly replicates the Word experience without the cost. 

Read our full LibreOffice review .

Microsoft Word website screenshot

4. Microsoft Word

When it comes to word processors, Microsoft Word is probably the baseline against which all others are compared. It’s the one most of us use at school, home, and work. It’s familiar, comfortable - and it’s available free on the web and mobile devices. 

That may not be the best way to write your masterpiece (unless you’ve hooked up a Bluetooth keyboard). But it’s a great way to jot down ideas on-the-go. When we tested the browser-based version we found it could be a bit slow at first, and we were typing faster than the words appeared on screen. This settles down (mostly) after a minute or so. 

Microsoft’s free writing apps on Android and iPhone had no such issues. Using these was velvety smooth. We especially appreciated the option to switch between mobile view and desktop view, so we could gauge how the document would appear in full-screen. 

As with Google Docs, you’ll need to sign up with a Microsoft account. And, like Google, that also lets you use free versions of PowerPoint, Excel, and the like. While Word offers one of the best free writing app experiences, there’s no denying that the paid-for upgrade is superior, offering more tools, and a true desktop app. 

Read our full Microsoft Word review .

Author website screenshot

Author promises to make it easier to ‘think, write, and cite’. It’s a promise capably delivered, with a clean interface and bags of writing features designed to make it easy to go from first draft to final copy. 

If you're an Apple user in search of the best free writing apps on macOS, this one demands your attention. 

Concept Maps is one of the best features. It’s a great mind-mapping tool to visualize and lay down all your thoughts while they’re fresh in your head without constraint. You can worry about whipping them into shape later. 

Students and report writers will appreciate Author’s ‘fast citing’ tools - speeding up assignment-writing by correctly adding and formatting citations, references, and contents. 

A paid-for upgrade of the writing software that offers exporting options is available. However, unless you need automatic formatting on export, you can stick with the free version. 

Google Docs for G Suite

6. Google Docs

Google Docs is a great free writing platform for any writer. It’s an extremely clean, quick word processor available in the browser, on desktop, and phone and tablet apps. So, you can take notes wherever inspiration strikes. 

Docs is more or less Google’s spin on Microsoft Word. The interface is a bit more simple than the professional office software - although it’s no less powerful. 

You’ll find heaps of writing tools, including a pretty accurate speech-to-text transcription tool (just enunciate and don’t talk too fast). Keyboard shortcuts are very well-supported. 

For best results, you’ll need an internet connection, though documents can be used offline. They’ll be synced, and in our experience, that happens swiftly behind the scenes. 

To take advantage of the free writing app, you’ll need a Google account, which may be a deal-breaker for some - but that also opens up the rest of the Google-stuff in the Google-sphere, such as Sheets, Slides, and . With a free account, you get 15GB of storage, which should be more than enough for word documents. A Google One subscription upgrades your storage space, amongst other things. 

Additionally, Google Docs is great if you want to collaborate with one or more other writers. Just be warned to stay in Google Docs for that, because exporting the data into Word or other writing applications can result formatting errors.

Read our full Google Docs review .

Best free writing app: FAQs

What's the difference between a writing app and an ai writer.

AI writers vs writing apps - what's the real difference?

Artificial intelligence is growing in a big way - and when it comes to writing, it's ChatGPT that's been snatching all the headlines of late, with its ability to generate short- and long-form content based on user prompts.

Generally, an AI writer will write your content for you, based on its current learning (although often without 'understanding' the context). A writing app simply lets you write your way, in your own voice. 

Some platforms, such as Canva , have even integrated AI into its Canva Docs and Canva PDF Editor services. However. its Magic Write tool acts as a writing assistant, serving up suggestions and ideas, leaving real writers to work their magic on the content. Though usually hiding in the back-end, you can also find AI integrated in other ways across other the best PDF editor apps (and even the best free PDF editor apps, too).

As always with AI-generated content, whether it's the written word or an artwork masterpiece, human involvement is usually necessary and always desirable. Even if you're using the best AI writers out there, editing and proofreading is essential to give the content accuracy and emotional resonance.

How to choose the best free writing app for you

When deciding which free writing app is best, start by figuring out what sort of writing you want to do. 

Do you need a handy tool for quick scribbles and jotting down ideas here and there, or are you using the writing software to write and edit an epic novel? Tools like FocusWriter and Write Monkey are great for getting thoughts on the page without friction.

It’s also worth considering if you need a writing app with a distraction-free design, so you can concentrate on what really matters to you. Again, FocusWriter performs admirably here, but as a result, you lose core typography and editing functions. Unlike LibreOffice, this isn’t the best Microsoft Office alternative if you need those tools. In that scenario, it may be worth considering looking at some of the best free office software , which includes MS Word-style apps, alongside other tools similar to Excel, PowerPoint, and so on. 

Access is an important factor when using your writing software. A tool like Scribus needs to be downloaded to your machine. Lightweight apps like FocusWriter, however, offer a portable download that can be downloaded to a USB and carried with you. 

Check what file formats your chosen writing app supports, too. While some let you create and edit the common DOC and DOCX files, others only allow TXT or RTF documents.

But most of all, it’s important to choose the best free writing app for your unique creative flow. 

How we test the best free writing apps

Testing the best free writing apps and software, we assess how easy it is to get your words down on the page with the least amount of friction. Portable writing apps rank high, because they let you use the program on whatever computer or laptop you’re using. 

We also look at performance for its intended audience. For distraction-free writing apps, do they really foster focus? For word processor-style software, does it offer good formatting and editing options? 

Most importantly, we expect to see free writing apps that are genuinely cost-free - no-one wants to stumble across hidden fees and charges in the contracts. 

We've listed the best laptops for writers .

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Steve Clark

Steve is TechRadar Pro’s B2B Editor for Creative & Hardware. He explores the apps and devices for individuals and organizations that thrive on design and innovation. A former journalist at Web User magazine, he's covered software and hardware news, reviews, features, and guides. He's previously worked on content for Microsoft, Sony, and countless SaaS & product design firms. Once upon a time, he wrote commercials and movie trailers. Relentless champion of the Oxford comma.

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best creative writing software for windows

When You Write

The Best Writing Software for Authors in 2024 [Free & Paid]

Whenever I come across the question “what is the best writing software?” I tend to focus on something else other than the answer.

To be precise, I start to think contemporary writers really have it easy. A hundred years ago or earlier, this wouldn’t have been an important question.

Don’t get me wrong, I honestly think writing is still a laborious task.

But when you consider that the likes of Shakespeare, Hemmingway, and Ted Geisel, among countless others who never used writing apps to polish their work, the premise that “it’s a bit easier to write nowadays” becomes a bit more accurate.

The process of writing has evolved—we dumped the quill for a pen, then came a typewriter, and finally a computer.

Now we have all sorts of writing tools at our disposal, such as our top-rated Scrivener ,  but finding the right one for “you” can be a bit of a hassle.

That is why I decided to lift some of that burden off your shoulder and review some of the best free and paid writing software for authors available in 2024.

Let’s get started.

Our Top 3 Book Writing Software at A Glance

The best book writing software, 1. scrivener.

Best Overall

When it comes to book editing software, you need to have tools that have a writer’s soul—made for writers by inventive writers.

Scrivener isn’t your standard word processor; it isn’t your regular grammar checker either.

Scrivener—a book-writing software program developed by an aspiring writer called Keith Blount back in 2007—is a package consisting of a typewriter, ring binder, and a scrapbook in one tool.

The software tool comes with valuable features like corkboards, pre-set formatting, templates, file importing, metatags, automated document listing, and many others.

These features are perfect for novelists, scriptwriters, academics, lawyers, translators, journalists, students, and other professional writers .

Key Features:

  • Has the Cork Board and Outliner: Easy and convenient organization of notes and book sections.
  • Hit the Ground Running: The templates give the user a head start because it saves him/her the time it takes to set a genre-based workspace.
  • Goal and Progress Tracking: Scrivener’s customizable Goals and Targets are so important for tracking your progress. They are also helpful when you’re running against a deadline and want to know if you’re picking up the pace or not.
  • Weigh your Work : The Snapshots enable you to compare rewrites to original notes.
  • Made with Novelists and Fiction Writers in Mind: this software comes with specialized features for novelists and fiction writers, including the Linguistic Focus (MacOS) / Dialogue Focus (Windows).

Scrivener has separate payment plans for the three supported platforms— macOS , iOS , and Windows and they cost $49, $19.99, and $45, respectively.

What I Like About Scrivener

Scrivener has a bunch of features and capabilities that I like. It has customizable interfaces, the desktop apps work offline, offers a very generous trial period, and has specialized features for novelists and fiction writers.

What I Didn’t Like About Scrivener

I found out that Scrivener requires a separate License for each supported platform—which was a bummer. On top of that, the tool doesn’t have a plagiarism checking feature. Oh, did I forget to mention the steeper learning curve?

2. Write! App

Write! is another distraction-free text editor that offers an elegant workspace for you to create notes, to-do lists, create blog posts, novels, and texts of many different kinds.

In Writer App!, you’ll find similar features of a good word processor that have been neatly packed into a well-groomed interface.

It’s sort of like a regular word processor on steroids.

And it has some sleek looks too; Writer App has a browser-styled minimalistic interface that utilizes tabs to help you navigate— for bloggers and writers, the user interface alone is an appealing appetizer.

But the app isn’t all about the looks; here are some of the essential features and their benefits.

Key Features and Benefits

Two distraction-free writing options: To do away with distraction, you have two options:

  • Either you use the “Full-Screen Mode,” which basically blocks all the features except for the outline and document interface.
  • Or the “Focus Mode” that turns your screen into some sort of a typewriter—it only displays the sentence or paragraph with the blinker.

Sync Your Work : Write! App offers a cloud syncing feature, conveniently enabling you to access your work from any device you use. But, the sync feature comes at an extra cost of 4.95/year.

Collaborate with Your Team: Write! App allows you to publish your work directly to the web and get a share link which you can use to share and collaborate your work.

The tool costs $24.95 annually.

What I liked About Write! App

The goal-setting features, the customizable interface, and the sharing and publishing features.

What I Didn’t Like About Write! App

There are a bunch of things that I didn’t like (not necessarily related to the tool’s functionality). The tool has no trial period, no app for mac.

Novlr is less complicated than Scrivener; a shorter learning curve and simplicity offers relief to users that found Scrivener some sort of rocket science.

It has a feature that turns it into a distraction-free tool; it eliminates all the other distractive features. The tool also checks for grammar errors, gives cheerleading leading one-liners when you are about to achieve a goal, and helps track your progress and performance.

Novlr also has an ambient-dependent color setting, which feels comfortable and sometimes stimulating.

The good thing is since it’s cloud-based, you can access the tool from any device via a web browser.

Key Features and Benefits :

  • Share or Keep Your Work Safe: Novlr can automatically sync with both Google Drive and Dropbox. This way, you can easily share your draft with a co-author, book editor, or an entire project group.
  • Write Within the Language’s Rules : Novlr comes with a grammar checking feature that prevents your text’s syntax and semantics from derailing.
  • Chase Goals and Achieve and Manage Your Objectives: Helps you track your performance and customize your goals
  • Offline Writing: you don’t essentially need a working internet connection to use the app.
  • Focus Mode – remove all kinds of distractions and stay focused on writing and editing.

But all these features come at a healthy price of $100 per year.

What I Like About Novlr

I like the offline capability, the Auto-save feature, the software’s suggestions for various writing styles, and the trial period.

What I Didn’t Like About Novlr

It is relatively expensive, exports fewer file formats, and is not available as a mobile app.

4. Microsoft Word

This list wouldn’t be complete with this word-processing warhorse—Microsoft Word.

Most contemporary middle-aged writers grew up using Microsoft Word and can literally point to any of its tabs with their eyes closed.

This veteran word processor is neat and is the most underrated writing tool nowadays.

It’s just like the beautiful wife you’ve had for years, and then she becomes a 5 out of 10 just because you’ve spotted some new “Jenny” on the block.

But… do not be fooled; MS Word is still the “OG” of the writing software category.

This tool still comes equipped with core features like translation, grammar checking, web publishing, and other standout features.

Here are some of these features (a mere glimpse of what MS Word has to offer):

  • Custom Styles : Whether you want to customize headings, subheadings, or subtitles, the tool allows you to tweak your text however you like.
  • Easy to Use Custom Navigation Pane : once you’ve customized the styles, the headings and pages appear in a very intuitive sidebar called the navigation pane. You can rearrange the headings by dragging them in the navigation pane.
  • Automatic links: you can easily link a word or sentence to a place in the same document or a web page. This is convenient when you want to publish your document in digital formats—a reader can simply click on the link and jump to the desired content or page.
  • Automatic Table of Contents : MS Word lets you create a table of contents to which is also hyperlinked the headings.
  • Mailing : easily send your manuscript to an editor, straight from Word. You can either mail your document to a single recipient or multiple email accounts.
  • Track Changes : the tool also lets you track, accept, and reject changes you or anyone else makes to your document. You can set the tracking feature on or lock tracking—whatever is your cup of tea, eh?

There are a bunch of Microsoft 365 plans available—too many, almost inconveniently too many. So for conciseness sake, I’m only going to list the basic plans (for personal and family use):

  • Microsoft 365 Family – free for one month; $9.99 monthly or $99.99 yearly
  • Microsoft 365 Personal – costs $6.99 per month and $69.99 yearly
  • Office Home & Student 2019 –offers a one-time purchase priced at $149.99 (for both Mac and PC)

The pricing section doesn’t seem concise, but I had to exscind almost 75% of Microsoft 365’s catalog pricing plans.

What I Like About MS Word

The app is packed with powerful formatting options, templates for almost anything, and an easy-to-use interface.

What I Didn’t Like About MS Word

No virtual boards like some of the other dedicated writing software programs I’ve listed.

Ulysses has been in the game for a very long time. In fact, it is the software that inspired Scrivener.

And just like Scrivener (which seems to have overtaken it), it has a modern, streamlined interface and is stuffed with essential features for a modern writer. Ulysses provides document management, file syncing, style editing, and many other essential capabilities.

It is the perfect book writing tool for serious authors because it allows the writer to organize the manuscript in a clean, focused writing environment.

Improves Focus & Productivity: Ulysses comes with features that allow writers to completely focus on writing and increase their output.

It has a distraction-free interface that helps you get around in no time-such as; typewriter mode, keyboard navigation mode which enables you to operate Ulysses via keyboard only, markup-based text editor, and many other customizable features.

Offers Sufficient Organization & Management: Ulysses offers a wide range of organizational tools that helps writers organize their work from something as small as note-taking to a bulky novel. The tool has:

  • A unified library for your texts
  • Hierarchic groups which let you organize your drafts
  • Enables you to attach additional information such as images, PDFs, notes, keywords, and others.
  • Filters which allow you to narrow down your library’s content according to keywords, text occurrences, et cetera.
  • Writing Goals for tracking your daily objectives, set word or character limits, and overall progress.
  • Auto-Save & Automatic Backup feature, which automatically saves your work and keeps local backups.

Versatile Synchronization and Export functions: With Ulysses’ syncing capabilities, you write anywhere without repeatedly setting the tool . Ulysses offers full iCloud sync, macOS-iOS sync (iPhone to iPad to Mac), and you can add Dropbox folders to your text library.

Ulysses also boasts of a versatile export function; among other capabilities, you can export your document as a Markdown file or HTML code, DOC, PDF, and other file formats. You can also publish your text directly to medium and WordPress.

Ulysses costs $5.99 monthly or $49.99 yearly. It also has a 14-day trial period.

What I Liked

The tool comes with a lot of perks. Still, there were some special ones including effective document management, progress tracking tools, multiple view options, and the direct WordPress and Medium publishing feature.

What I Didn’t Like

I didn’t like its exclusivity to Apple devices. I thought that it only affects the owner’s revenues more than anything else.

6. Manuskript 

Manuskript is an open-source tool for writers including novelists, journos, and academicians.

It comes close to providing the same features as its paid counterparts. It has an Outliner for you to hierarchically organize your work, allows you to set writing goals and has a feature called the “Novel Assistant,” which helps develop a random idea into a lucid plot by using the “snowflake method.”

The tool lacks cloud collaboration and other essential elements that paid tools have.

“If it doesn’t cost you money, don’t complain sonny!”

  • Outliner: This feature lets you organize your ideas and little pieces of your story hierarchically. You can arrange and rearrange whichever way you like.
  • Avoid Unnecessary Detours: With the Distraction-free mode, you can get rid of all distractions that impede the pace of your writing process.
  • Monitor your Progress: Set personal goals
  • Novel assistant:  You can utilize the snowflake method to develop your basic ideas into a coherent plotline or a full-fledged story with characters, plots, and comprehensive settings.

What I Like About Manuskript

Firstly, it’s an open-source tool. I also like how the “Novel assistant” adds something extra to your writing, the spell checker, and language translation.

What I Don’t Like About Manuskript

The app might be a bit difficult to install for people who are not tech-savvy.

7. Livingwriter

Here’s another tool with a shorter learning curve but stacked with all the necessary features to help you write your book—from the plotting phase right up to the publishing stage.

Livingwriter has an intuitive interface that was designed to make you feel comfortable right from the start.

You can collaborate with your co-authors and share your live chapters or the entire draft with an editor. The tool lets you restrict the view, comment, and editing permissions of your editor, proofreader, or co-authors to protect your work.

  • Casually Organize and Plot Your Stories: Utilize the tool’s sidebar to arrange your chapter notes quickly.
  • Get A God’s-Eye View of Your Writing: rearrange your plot lines or your book simply by dragging and dropping notes on the app’s board.
  • Focus Mode : For a distraction-free writing experience, the right sidebar, which displays details on Chapters and Story Elements can be turned off, leaving the editor window only.
  • Set Writing Goals: Writing goals enable you to observe differences in your writing pace and see how much content you have written.

Liivngwriter offers a 14-day trial. If you’re hooked, you have to choose between two payment arrangements: either pay $9.99 monthly or choose to fork out $96 once a year.

What I Like About Livingwriter

I liked the Grammarly Integration, the free trial, and its collaboration capabilities.

What I Didn’t Like About Livingwriter

I didn’t like the fact that the tool is not available as a desktop app and wasn’t ideal for screenwriting.

Although Dabble’s interface is more streamlined and intuitive than most of its competition, it is stuffed with features similar to those that Scrivener and its closest competitors have.

Well of course I used the word “stuffed,” but Dabble still has less features than Scrivener.

The tool comes with features like a word tracker, Cloud Sync, plot grid, and Spelling and Grammar checkers, among others.

Take a look at what you’ll be getting when you have Dabble as your writing software.

  • Plot the “Bestseller Course”: One of Dabble’s most essential features is the Plot Grid.  With this feature, you can arrange plot lines and plot points in a notecard format. By dragging and dropping the notecards, you can develop basic ideas into a detailed scene chart.
  • Up your Game—Focus: Dabble let’s switch into focus mode as you type, which reduces the distractions.  You can also customize the interface manually to give you a more focused writing space.
  • Keep Track of the Mileage: Dabble has a goals module that keeps track of the daily word count. In the right module, there’s a bar graph that shows you the daily written amounts.

Dabble offers three plans: Basic, Standard, and Premium. The plans cost $5, $10, $15 respectively.

What I Like About Dabble

I like the Intuitive dashboard, the grammar checker, and the free trial

What I Didn’t Like About Dabble

There is one thing that I disliked about this tool; it isn’t ideal for writing screenplays, short stories, scripts, and other formats.

9. Google Docs

Google is the best Microsoft Word alternative—one of the most preferred writing tools out there. And just like its buddy, the word processor is supplemented by Google Sheets and Google Slides in G Suite by Google.

Unlike MS Word though, Google Docs tool is a cloud-based editor (although docs can be accessed offline). With the app, you can edit your docs offline and online (tablets, PCs, and phones).

This isn’t your sufficient Scrivener alternative though; it lacks the tools for you to seamlessly jump from one subsection of a bulky chapter to another section in another chapter. I usually use it for blog posts and other short reads.

Take a look at some of the standout features that Google Docs has to offer:

  • Add Fonts: Just like MS Word, Google Docs lets you add fonts to its library, the good thing is that you don’t need to download and install the fonts separately.
  • Enjoy the Voice to Text Feature: if you don’t feel like typing, you can utilize the voice typing feature and the app will translate your recording to text.
  • A Variety of Styles: Google Docs comes with lots of different styles for formatting your text.

Google Docs Pricing

Google Docs is free, but you can purchase Google Workspace plans for you to get more storage space and other benefits of Google’s apps.

A Few Other Notable Pieces Of Writing Software Worth Mentioning

  • Quoll Writer

What Makes the Best Book Writing Software?

Most writers I know are over 30, the average age being 40. Now, these seasoned wordsmiths have been doing all their writing using Word for a very long time.

For them to adopt a new tool to use in the writing process, the tool needs to have something extra special, an extra oomph!

They are not just going to start using a tool just because someone says it’s good (I’d expect the same attitude from you too), but some of the factors I have listed below would do a lot to convince them, and they’re the ones you should be considering before you decide which book writing software is the best for you.

How to Decide Which Book Writing Software Is Best for You?

The following are things to consider before choosing a book writing software:

Offline Functionality

Having a tool that only works online is okay, but sometimes writers take writing excursions to a remote location to get their writing juices flowing again.

They might choose an area with no internet connection and need their Scrivener working full time whilst they’re there.

Or the internet might be working just fine, but the writer might decide to go offline. Offline writing software comes in handy in such situations. 

Desktop App

Nobody expects to write or edit a whole 100k novel in a web-based text box. That would just kill the fun of writing the book.

Conveniently most good writing apps have desktop apps.

And the app ought to be available for both macOS and Windows (although I’ve listed some tools which are only available either as macOS apps or Windows apps).

Distraction-Free Writing

Focus is so important, especially when you’re writing bulky creative pieces.

But writing on a laptop or tablet computer offers plenty of distractions. With notifications flying in from everywhere, your unfinished movie staring at you, et cetera.

A good writing app needs to be able to block all these distractions from your writing environment.   

To achieve this, some apps go full screen and inhibit inessential background processes while others turn into a typewriter and only display the text being typed.

Easy or Steep Learning Curve

Although a steeper learning curve indicates the sophistication of a writing app, some tools are just complicated for no substantial reason.

If an app like Scrivener has a steeper learning, it is for a very good reason: the tool is stuffed with comprehensive features that help you from the first step to the publishing stage of your manuscript crafting process.

However, Scrivener is an exception (the steeper presents an investment into a Rambo of a book writing software), and writing tools need to be easy to master.

Tracking Your Progress

The best writing tools are equipped with features that help see how much ground you’ve covered.

They furnish you with stats to help you track your writing progress and set personal milestones.

Writing tools like the veteran MS word allow you to easily track, accept, and reject the change made to your document.

Scrivener and other tools like it have virtual boards called Cork Boards where you can organize, plan, and keep track of changes made to your draft.

Cost of Software

The overall cost of writing ought to be the least of your worries. The concern should be what you want from software.

If you are paying $49 to use Scrivener, it means you are paying for all its features.

But, are you using all of them?

If all you need the tool to do is help you outline your book and check some grammar and spelling mistakes , then you’re overpaying.

You can use a less sophisticated tool that costs less but has the basic features which you need.

But if a tool has the perfect features for your project (no major inessential elements), then pay up, buddy!

Is Free Writing Software as Good as Paid Software?

The answer—put simply—is no.

Free writing software is sufficient, but paid ones usually are more developed with better user features.

Free writing software tools feel like regular milk, but the paid have this extra edge, a thickness that feels more like condensed milk. The developers always make sure to stuff the paid ones with more indispensable features to make them way cooler than the free version.

And if a tool is completely free, then it probably generates revenue using other sources. Such tools usually bombard you with ads and lack many essential features you’d typically find in a paid tool.

So, the free ones will do the job for you, just not as efficiently as their paid counterparts.

What Software Do Most Writers Use?

The ‘word processor’ market has been flooded with a lot of software, but there is one that has stood the test of time.

The Granddaddy of word processors—Microsoft word. It’s been here for decades and still reigns as the most used writing software even though other apps do a better job.

The issue lies with trust. The tool still has millions of users (in the US only), and its popularity has never been matched anywhere else in the world.

What Writing Software Do Famous Writers Use?

1. stephen king.

The bestselling horror, supernatural fiction, suspense, crime, science-fiction, and fantasy novelist uses MS Word for manuscript and Final Draft for screenplays.

2. J.K Rowling

The Harry Potter author uses MS word. She once tweeted that she writes her very first draft using pen and paper then transfers it to Word.

3. Sabba Tahir

 The bestselling author of a YA fantasy series uses both Scrivener and MS Word. Sabba starts out in Scrivener, then after organizing the book she moves it to Word and finishes it there.

4. Jeff Goins

Jeff is a best-selling author of books, including Real Artists Don’t Starve and The Art of Work. He uses Scrivener to craft his bestsellers.

So, What’s the Best Book Writing Software?

Scrivener , without Doubt.

It is so good that new apps strive to be the perfect copies of this standard-setting tool.

Just imagine, it completely tramples the app it was accused of copying.

And I have talked about the steep learning curve about a thousand times and why the case is so…

You can’t build something this good and expect the average joe to quickly and easily master it.

Almost anyone can drive a Cadillac, but how many can get a spaceship to mars?

You get the idea.

Recommended Reading...

Best dictation software in 2024, best essay writing software: 16 apps that can help you write perfect essays, scrivener vs word: which is the better book writing software, vellum vs scrivener: which is better for writing and formatting your book.

Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.

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Logo: Literature and Latte

Typewriter. Ring-binder. Scrapbook. Everything you need to craft your first draft.

Get your thoughts onto the page and explore the connections between them.

Join the conversation. Ask a question or just get to know your fellow users.

What we’re working on, interviews with users, and general prolixity.

See the forest or the trees.

Typewriter. Ring-binder. Scrapbook. Scrivener combines all the tools you need to craft your first draft, from nascent notion to final full stop.

Rewrite. Reorder. Rejoice.

Scrivener takes tools familiar to writers everywhere and integrates them in new and exciting ways.

Scrivener Chapter 3

Start a new chapter: Scrivener 3 is now available for macOS and Windows.

Research Within Reach

No matter what you write, Scrivener brings together all of your notes, research and writing so that it's always at hand.

For writing. And writing. And writing.

Scrivener is the go-to app for writers of all kinds, used every day by best-selling novelists, screenwriters, non-fiction writers, students, academics, lawyers, journalists, translators and more. Scrivener won't tell you how to write—it simply provides everything you need to start writing and keep writing.

Scrivener on different devices

Available for

Grow your manuscript your way.

Tailor-made for long writing projects, Scrivener banishes page fright by allowing you to compose your text in any order, in sections as large or small as you like. Got a great idea but don't know where it fits? Write when inspiration strikes and find its place later. Grow your manuscript organically, idea by idea.


Image: The ultimate creative writing tool

See the forest or the trees

Whether you plan or plunge, Scrivener works your way: hammer out every last detail before typing a word, or carve out a draft and restructure later. Or mix your methods and do a bit of both. In Scrivener, everything you write is integrated into an easy-to-use project outline. So working with an overview of your manuscript is only ever a click away, and turning Chapter Four into Chapter One is as simple as drag and drop.

Image: Create method from the madness

Research within reach

Need to refer to research? In Scrivener, your background material is always at hand, and you can open it right next to your work. Write a description based on a photograph. Transcribe an interview. Take notes about a PDF file or web page. Or check for consistency by referencing an earlier chapter alongside the one in progress.

Image: Keep your research within reach

Getting it out there

Once you're ready to share your work with the world, compile everything into a single document for printing, self-publishing, or exporting to popular formats such as Word, PDF, Final Draft or plain text. You can even share using different formatting, so that you can write in your favorite font and still satisfy those submission guidelines.

Image: Getting it out there

Who uses Scrivener?

  • Autobiographers
  • Biographers
  • Children's Authors
  • Journalists
  • Screenwriters
  • Translators
I genuinely think this is the biggest software advance for writers since the word processor. Michael Marshall Smith , NYT best-selling author.
Scrivener gives you the freedom to make a mess, the confidence to know you’ll clean it up, and the semantic relationships to tie it all together in whatever way makes the most sense to you. Merlin Mann , indie writer, speaker, and broadcaster.
If there was a list of the top five greatest apps of all time in the Mac App Store, it would start with Scrivener and then there would be four other things. Andy Ihnatko , technology columnist.
As a writer's application, Scrivener is damn near perfect; it means outlines, treatments and then first drafts can be put together in the same application. Neil Cross , author and screenwriter.
Scrivener is worth every penny: quite simply, it’s the best writers tool there is. Zoe Margolis , best-selling author.
Scrivener is the biggest leap forward in writing software since the venerable days of WordPerfect, and believe me, I’ve tried them all. Antony Johnston , comics writer and novelist.
Scrivener has so many useful features, there’s almost too many to list. Mike Sussman , Writer-Producer.
I'd thought it was yet another hobby app at first but this is genuinely for working writers with real deadlines and monster workloads. Karen Traviss , #1 NYT best-selling author.

Scrivener 1.2.4 Requires iOS 12+ Release Notes

Scrivener 3.3.6 Requires macOS 10.13+ Release Notes

Scrivener Requires 64-bit Windows 10+ Minimum display resolution 1024x768px Release Notes

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16 Best Novel Writing Software for Authors

Millie Dinsdale headshot

Millie Dinsdale

novel writing software

Table of Contents

What to look for in a novel writing software, top writing software for novels, how to select the best writing software for novels.

Writing a book is challenging. Novel writing software makes it just a bit easier.

Book writing software will not write for you, but they can help with organization, tracking, ideation, planning, concentrating, editing, and proofreading.

But they all have unique features and are designed for different kinds of authors. So, how do you select the best one for you?

We’re here to help you along the way. This is a list of our top 16 favorite novel writing software options. For each tool, we have looked at the price, usability, customizability, features, and integrations.

The type of novel writing program you need will depend on what type of creative writer you are. Are you a planner, a pantser, or somewhere in between? Do you write fiction or nonfiction? Do you want a tool that can generate content or not?

Let’s look at each of these questions in more detail.

Planners vs Pantsers

Planners outline their entire novel before writing. Pantsers jump into writing with little to no plan. Plantsers are somewhere in between, planning some sections but not others.

Planners will benefit from independent outlining graphs, character plotting, world-building planning maps, and more. If you’re more of a pantser, you may want plotting features that are integrated into the writing process rather than separate from them.

Fiction vs Nonfiction

Although many of the features that fiction novel writers and nonfiction writers need are similar, there are a few differences.

Fiction writers may benefit from pronoun checkers, world-building features, dialogue suggestions, and name and place generators.

Whereas nonfiction writers may use fact and consistency checkers, timelines, tables, the ability to add diagrams, and more.

Content Generation

Content generation is a polarizing topic in the writing community. Some love it, and others would rather not use it.

Before choosing a software, it’s useful to decide whether you would like rephrasing options and help with idea generation, or if you would prefer a sleek word processor with minimal AI features.


ProWritingAid is a novel writing software that can help take your manuscript from draft to publish-ready.

The tool offers 20+ reports you can use to help your writing shine. The Repeats report keeps your writing engaging. The Readability report provides suggestions to cut vague words, replace clichés, and remove sticky sentences. Plus, there is a thesaurus, consistency checker, and much more.

In addition to this, you can also see in-tool articles, videos, and quizzes so you can learn and improve as you go.

With a Premium Pro license, you also get access to Sparks, which is an AI generative tool that provides more options than almost any other software on the market. With Sparks, you can improve fluency, summarize text, add sensory descriptions, expand from notes, make present or past tense, add dialogue, quotes, emphasis, counterarguments, and so much more.

Integrations : Windows, Mac, MS Word (Windows & Mac), Google Docs, Scrivener, Final Draft, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge.

Price : ProWritingAid has three pricing options: Free, Premium, and Premium Pro. The free version allows users to access 20+ reports with a 500-word limit. The Premium plan has an unlimited word count, and it costs just $10 a month. The Premium Pro plan comes with 50 rephrases a day and costs $12 a month.

Conclusion : ProWritingAid is a brilliant all-around writing tool for novelists that helps with the drafting, editing, and proofing stages. Try it for free today .

The Novel Factory

The Novel Factory is a novel writing software that helps writers from outlining to writing.

It has features that help with outlining, plotting, character creation, world-building, writing, and word count tracking. It also has a variety of templates in different genres to help writers plan their novels.

One of the most useful elements of the tool is the organization. Keep all your notes on characters, plots, and the world in one place, making it easy to search through later.

Integrations : Windows, Mac, Android, iPads, and iPhones.

Price : There are three plans: Basic, Standard, and Premium. The Basic plan allows you to write one novel a year and costs $75. The Premium plan is designed for writers who publish multiple books a year, and it costs $600.

Conclusion : The Novel Factory is a useful tool for writers of general fiction. However, if you are a nonfiction author, or if you need advanced world-building help, there are more suitable writing apps out there.

Scrivener is a software that helps authors write books, and many authors swear by it. It’s designed for fiction and nonfiction authors and screenwriters.

It offers features like book bibles, character management, plot tracking, formatting and exporting options, and more.

One of the most popular features on offer is the goals and tracking, which are both especially useful during NanoWriMo. You can set overall writing targets, or targets for a particular session, and there is a handy bar available to track your progress.

Integrations : MacOS, Windows, and iOS.

Price : There are two licenses available: a standard license and an educational license. Each license is for a lifetime, and they both cost under $50 each. The licenses are specific to MacOS or Windows, so if you would like both, you will need to purchase two licenses.

Conclusion : As long as you are okay with a steep learning curve and minimal learning resources, then Scrivener is a brilliant piece of software with some innovative features and an excellent price.

Fictionary is an editing software that is specifically focused on developmental (or story) editing.

The tool has 15 different insights including blurb and synopsis, story arc, word count per scene, characters, and story map.

One of the best parts of Fictionary is the onboarding. There are tutorials and articles to help you use every single feature, so you will get the most out of your purchase from day one.

Integrations : Microsoft Word, Safari, and Chrome.

Price : There are three subscriptions: StoryTeller, StoryTeller Premium, and StoryCoach. Each subscription is available to purchase on a yearly or monthly basis. The cheapest plan allows you to edit three manuscripts at a time and costs $19 a month. The most expensive plan is $396 a year and is designed for professional editors.

Conclusion : Fictionary is an excellent tool in a writer’s arsenal, especially if you are a visual learner, but it is not a stand-alone software. You will also need a tool like ProWritingAid to help you with the line editing and proofreading.

Novlr is a writing software created by writers.

The features on offer include a basic writing interface, organizational features, statistics tracking, the ability to set motivational goals, style help, and export options.

There are also free courses and guides available that help writers to improve their craft.

Integrations : Online only.

Price : There are three basic plans available: Starter, Plus, and Pro. Starter is free and gives you access to five projects. Plus costs $5 a month and gives you unlimited projects, plus the ability to comment. Pro offers some additional features that are powered by ProWritingAid, including a proofreader, thesaurus, and advanced grammar and style checks.

Conclusion : Novlr is a lightweight tool with a clean, easy-to-use interface, which is a great option for writers looking for a lighter-touch tool that gives you full autonomy.

Atticus is writing software created by Kindlepreneur. It works online and offline and helps with writing and formatting.

The writing feature is a word processor with a few novel specific features, such as chapters and covers.

The formatting feature is where Atticus really shines. There are templates and a custom theme builder you can use to format your book, and then you can publish on Amazon, Apple Books, and more.

Integrations : Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chromebook.

Price : There is only one plan available, and it is a lifetime plan. It costs $147 to format an unlimited number of e-books and books for print.

Conclusion : Atticus is one of those tools that is good already but will clearly be great in the future. It’s an affordable way to format your book, but for now, you will still need some complimentary writing tools in order to give your story the best chance.

Bibisco is a book writing software designed for authors.

It allows you to create a novel structure, use mind maps to track relationships, organize your world-building, visualize your story timeline, and analyze chapter lengths and the points of view throughout.

You can also set writing goals, include words per day and words overall, and track your progress in the app.

The tool is available in 15 languages, including English, French, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Turkish, and more.

Integrations : Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Price : There are two plans: Community and Supporters. The Community plan is free and allows you to create unlimited projects. The Supporters edition is a one-time payment that also includes mind maps, dark theme, distraction free mode, and more.

Conclusion : This is a great option for writers with a limited budget who are just getting started on their writing journey. 

Ulysses is a writing app designed specifically for Apple users. There isn’t currently a Windows integration.

It has a clean UI for distraction-free writing. The tool also offers dark mode and full-screen writing mode, so you can customize your experience.

It also has brilliant features for organization, including filters, which allow you to find content quickly. Keywords allow you to categorize work, and groups allow you to collate work, for example, different levels of draft for the same project.

Integrations : Mac, iPad, and iPhone.

Price : There are two plans: Personal and Business. The Personal plan can be shared with up to five family members, and it costs $39.99 per year. The Business plan is priced per user and offers the same features as the personal plan.

Conclusion : Although the features are useful, similar ones are available for free in other tools. But if you struggle with organization and like to keep everything in one place, it may be worth trialing.

Vellum is a book formatting desktop software available on Mac only.

It offers import capabilities, different book styles, book set creation, previews, layout and design options, e-book generation, and print generation.

The most popular features in Vellum are the eight book styles. All you need to do is select a style, and the software will change the headings, quotations, paragraph breaks, body text, headers, footers, and more.

Integrations : Mac.

Price : There are two plans: Press and Ebooks. With the Ebook plan, you can format e-books, and with the Press plan, you can format e-books and paperbacks. Both plans are one-time purchases.

Conclusion : Although it is an intuitive software, there are now other tools that offer more for less.

Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word is an often-indispensable word processor designed for everyone who writes.

It offers a sleek UI, text formatting, styles and themes, grammar, punctuation, spelling corrections, templates, and customizable page layouts and designs.

One of the most popular features is the ability to collaborate. You can track changes, which is useful for editors, add comments, compare and merge documents, view version histories, and collaborate in real time.

Integrations : iPhone, iPad, Mac, Windows, and Android.

Price : The price for Microsoft Word as a stand-alone application is $159.99. Alternatively, you can pay for Microsoft 365, which includes Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneDrive.

Conclusion : For what it is, it’s expensive, but the almost universal adoption means that it’s still a popular option. Although, we recommend you use a more advanced content editor with writing reports alongside Microsoft Word.

ChatGPT is an online chatbot that can answer questions conversationally. It was built on ChatGPT-3.5, an AI model that was developed by OpenAI.

It uses a natural language processing technology (NLP) to understand messages, make inferences, and generate replies. The program uses information that is publicly available on the internet, information from licensed third parties, and information from users and human trainers.

It has a few limitations. For example, it’s only trained on information up to September 2021, the tool generates responses that can be biased, and it does not check grammar comprehensively.

The interface is simple. You simply add a prompt and ask ChatGPT to generate content. You can then edit the prompt and regenerate responses.

Integrations : Online and Android, iPhone, and iPad apps.

Price : Free.

Conclusion : Despite its limitations, ChatGPT is a great free online tool that can generate ideas, names for people and places, and more.


LanguageTool is a paraphraser, text editor, and grammar checker.

It can fix punctuation mistakes, help with formatting, and allow you to set up your own style guide. Premium users also have access to unlimited rephrasing, while free users are limited to five per day.

Additionally, LanguageTool works in over 25 languages, including English, Spanish, French, and Italian. Although it doesn’t offer the option to translate any text.

Integrations : Chrome, Edge, Google Docs, Firefox, and more.

Price : There are three plans: Free, Premium, and Teams. The Free plan offers basic features, with the advanced features behind a paywall. The Premium plan offers four payment intervals, with the cheapest being the two-year plan, and the most expensive being the monthly. The Teams plan is priced per number of users and offers additional features like team style guide and dictionary.

Conclusion : LanguageTool’s price is on the lower end, and it offers a fair selection of features. However, the lack of a plagiarism checker, tone checker, and structural reports means that creative writers may need to carry out additional edits.

Like ProWritingAid, Grammarly is an AI writing tool that checks grammatical errors in your writing in real time. It’s designed to streamline the writing process and reduce writing errors.

It’s available for multiple different English dialects, including British English, American English, Canadian English, and Australian English.

Some of its most popular features are spell check, engagement ratings, citation generator, grammar check, synonym checker, readability score, writing style suggestions, plagiarism detection, tone adjustments, and writing assistant.

Another popular feature is the paraphraser, which allows you to reword sentences, emails, articles, academic work, and more.

Integrations : Windows, Mac, MS Word (Windows & Mac), Google Docs, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge.

Price : Grammarly offers four different subscriptions: Free, Premium, Business, and Enterprise. The Free plan is simple and corrects written mistakes. The Premium plan includes rewrites, plagiarism checks, and more. The Business and Enterprise plans are designed for teams and organizations, and they include enhanced security and customized integrations.

Conclusion : This is a generalized tool that is suitable for most types of writers. However, if you are looking for a targeted tool that offers customized writing options for creative writers, other tools may be better suited.

QuillBot is a writing tool that is designed for students and working professionals.

QuillBot offers seven features: paraphraser, grammar checker, co-writer, plagiarism checker, summarizer, translator, and citation generator. The best known of these features is paraphrase, which has a variety of modes, including standard, fluency, and creative.

The tool is available in over 20 languages, including English, Spanish, German, and French.

Integrations : Chrome, Google Docs, Microsoft Word, and more.

Price : There are two plans available: Free and Premium. The Free plan is limited and gives users an idea of what the tool can do. The Premium plan includes all the features and is available in three different payment plans: annual, semi-annual, and monthly. The annual plan costs $99.95 a year, and the monthly plan totals to $239.40 a year.

Conclusion : QuillBot is a popular tool for students and business writers, but the features aren’t optimized for creative writers.

Ginger is an AI-powered writing assistant and proofreading tool designed for all types of writers.

The tool offers basic grammar and spell-checking, which you can accept and correct in bulk, a translator, a rephraser, text-to-speech, and more.

The translator is the feature that sets Ginger apart. It allows you to translate into 50 languages, plus it can proofread text in those languages, too.

Integrations : Microsoft Office, Gmail, Chrome, Safari, Edge, desktop and mobile apps, and more.

Price : There are six plans: Free, Monthly, Quarterly, Annual, 2-year, and Teams. The monthly plan is $19.99, and the 2-year plan is $120 overall. The Teams plan is $4.99 per month per member. Each paid plan offers the same features.

Conclusion : It’s a top choice for English second language (ESL) creative writers because of the translator, but for native English speakers, it doesn’t have as many advanced features as some of the other writing tools on this list.

Google Bard

Google Bard is a conversational AI tool that is available in over 40 languages to the public in 230 countries and territories.

It has three different generative options: understand, create, and explore. Understand provides specific details and information to help users understand a topic. Create generates text based on a user’s prompt. Explore is for general requests and exploration.

The tool also offers voice commands, translation in over 100 languages, and a share feature, which allows you to continue and refine responses with others.

It can be used to ideate before planning your novel or give you fresh ideas when you hit a blocker during the writing stage.

Integrations : Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Safari, and Edgium.

Price : Free to everyone aged 18 and older.

Conclusion : It’s useful for providing information for general use, and it can be useful to spark ideas. But, as it’s artificial intelligence, it isn’t very creative, so you can’t rely on it.

As writers, we know each writer has different requirements, and there is software out there for everyone. To find the right software for you, consider the price, features, integrations, and ease of use.

Price : Novel writing software ranges in price from $0 to $500+ per month. Before falling in love with a tool, decide what your budget is.

Features : What are the top features that you do or don’t want? With thousands of tools on the market, you are bound to find one that fits your needs.

Integrations : Where do you write now, and does your new tool need to be compatible with your current tools? Integrations can speed up onboarding and reduce the learning curve of a new tool.

Ease of use: Do you prefer a tool that you can start using right away, or are you okay with a learning curve? If your chosen tool is complex, double-check it has the resources and support you need to get up to speed.

And that’s a wrap. Our top 16 favorite novel writing software and a few tips for choosing the perfect tool for you.

If you’re looking for a tool that can help you with every aspect of the novel writing process, from ideation, to drafting, to editing, to proofing, then why not give ProWritingAid a try ?

Not only do we offer a 3-day money-back guarantee for our yearly and lifetime memberships, but we also offer a free plan that will allow you to test our 20+ reports on up to 500 words of your text.

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Millie is ProWritingAid's Content Manager. A recent English Literature graduate, she loves all things books and writing. When she isn't working, Millie enjoys gardening, re-reading books by Agatha Christie, and running.

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Free writing software: 24 tools to help you create better content, faster

Find the best brainstorming, researching, writing, and editing tools.

writing-editing-apps primary img

As a freelance writer, I try to keep my app costs lean, so I'm a sucker for free writing tools. But with so many writing apps on the market, it's hard to tell which free options are actually valuable.

I've done some of the legwork for you by bringing together some of the best free writing apps on the internet. All of the options listed here are tools the Zapier team or I have used and enjoyed.

For this roundup, I prioritized completely free tools and freemium apps with a forever free plan that was sufficient for actual regular use. Many of the options have paid plans, but those plans are generally geared toward power users.

Researching and note-taking software

Writing software

Editing software

Proofreading software

The best free writing software at a glance

Free writing tools for brainstorming and organizing your thoughts, best free writing software for expanding your ideas.

MindMeister (Web, iOS, Android)

MindMeister, our pick for the best free writing software for brainstorming with a mind map

If you like to perform mind mapping to get your thoughts on paper and connect them, MindMeister gives you a virtual space to do it. It includes templates for the traditional mind map as well as more specific layouts for frameworks like SMART goals, case studies, and content plans.

Want to learn more about mind mapping? Check out Zapier's list of the best mind mapping apps , or discover nine ways to use mind maps to jumpstart your projects.

MindMeister pricing: Free for up to 3 mind maps; from $5.99/month for premium plans , including features like unlimited mind maps, advanced exporting, and group sharing

Best free writing software for creating content outlines

Workflowy (Web, macOS, Windows, Chrome, iOS, Android)

WorkFlowy, our pick for the best free writing software for creating content outlines

Outlines are a writer's best friend , and Workflowy lets you go as deep or shallow as you want. This tool organizes your outline into bullet points that you can click to nest and expand however you want.

Workflowy pricing: Free for up to 250 bullets a month ; from $4.99/month for the Workflowy Pro plan with expanded features like unlimited bullets and uploads

Best free writing software for brainstorming together

Miro, our pick for the best free writing software for brainstorming together

When you need to write something in collaboration with others, the brainstorming process is one of the trickiest to facilitate with technology. Miro lets you plot out ideas with mind maps, Kanban boards, virtual sticky notes, and whatever strategy you use to get your thoughts down. The free plan allows for unlimited team members to brainstorm with at the same time.

If whiteboards aren't your preferred brainstorming method, explore Zapier's picks for the top brainstorming tools for more collaborative and solo apps.

You can even use Miro with Zapier (also free), so you can automate your brainstorming workflows. Here are a couple of ideas to get you started.

Create Miro widgets with new Trello cards

Trello logo

Add Miro cards from new rows on Google Sheets

Google Sheets logo

Miro pricing: Free for 3 whiteboards with unlimited team members; from $8/user/month for plans with unlimited whiteboards and advanced collaboration features

Best free writing software for brainstorming topics

Ryan Robinson's Keyword Research Tool (Web)

Ryan Robinson's Keyword Research Tool, our pick for the best free writing software for brainstorming topics

Go to the Ideas tab of Ryan Robinson's Keyword Research Tool , and it'll provide ideas related to your query. Since it's a keyword tool first and foremost, these ideas are designed to be less competitive on search results, too.

If you're looking for keyword research tools specifically for their main purpose, check out Zapier's roundup of the best free keyword research tools .  

Keyword Research Tool pricing: Free

Best free writing software for brainstorming ideas with AI

ChatGPT (Web)

Example of ChatGPT, powered by the GPT-3.5 model, writing marketing copy for a newsletter: headlines, taglines, and call-to-actions.

With the rise of AI , some writers use GPT-based apps to brainstorm ideas and build the base for an outline. ChatGPT is the best free option—and the one you know and love—or you can check out even more GPT-powered writing apps in Zapier's list of the best AI writing generators . 

You can also combine GPT with Zapier to send ideas to your favorite project management tool.

ChatGPT pricing: Free; ChatGPT Plus is $20/month

Best free writing software for brainstorming out loud

Your computer's dictation software (MacOS, Windows)

Windows dictation software

If you process your thoughts best through speaking, there's a brainstorming app already on your computer. Boot up Windows 10 Speech Recognition on Windows or Apple Dictation on Mac to record your thoughts as you brainstorm out loud.

For mobile and premium dictation app options, check out Zapier's list of the best text dictation software .

Windows 10 Speech Recognition and Apple Dictation pricing: Free

Free writing tools for research and note-taking

Best free writing software for keeping everything in one place.

Notion (Web, MacOS, Windows, iOS, Android)

Notion, our pick for the best free writing software for keeping everything in one place

Notion's balance of organization and spontaneity make it a great place to hold your notes, links, social media posts, transcriptions, and any other resources you need to write that draft. Plus, depending on your writing preferences, you can then write the draft itself in Notion—all for free. 

Add Zapier integrations to the mix to bring even more of your writing life together. Here are some pre-made workflows to get you started.

Save new tasks in Google Tasks in Notion databases

Google Tasks logo

Add new Microsoft Outlook calendar events to Notion databases

Microsoft Outlook logo

If Notion doesn't meet your needs, try one of these Notion alternatives . Zapier also has a list of the best note-taking apps for you to browse.

Notion pricing: Free plan available; from $8/user/month for team plans

Best free writing software for finding free copies of paywalled research

Unpaywall (Web)

Unpaywall, our pick for the best free writing software for finding free copies of paywalled research

Have you ever come across a search result for the perfect research article, only to discover it's behind a paywall? Unpaywall gets you across those paywalls ethically by looking for legitimate free versions of paywalled academic research. It looks at sources like journals' open-access repositories and university and government databases, so you're never infringing copyright.

Unpaywall pricing: Free

Best free writing software for transcribing interview and video content

oTranscribe (Web)

oTranscribe, our pick for the best free writing software for transcribing interview and video content

oTranscribe simplifies the manual transcription process by placing your audio controls and a word processor on the same screen. This tool has keyboard controls and speed adjustment, so you can seamlessly transition between your audio and transcript.

If you're willing to pay a bit, here's Zapier's list of the best transcription apps and services .

oTranscribe pricing: Free

Best free writing software for collecting research from other people

Google Forms (Web, iOS, Android)

Google Forms, our pick for the best free writing software for collecting research from other people

When you need original quotes or data from other people, a free survey tool or form builder will help you organize it all. Google Forms is an accessible choice for most people because it's completely free and works with the rest of Google Workspace.

Turn your form responses into Trello cards, Notion database entries, or any other nugget of info that serves you well with Google Forms' Zapier integrations .

Create Trello cards from new Google Forms responses

Google Forms logo

Share Google Forms responses in a Slack channel

Slack logo

Google Forms pricing: Free

Free writing tools for solo and collaborative writing

Best free writing software for collaborative writing.

Google Docs (Web, Chrome, iOS, Android)

Google Docs, our pick for the best free writing software for collaborative writing

Google Docs' straightforward interface and ease of use make it a great tool for writing solo, but this app really shines through its collaborative features . Its suggestion, sharing, and version history features put it on par with its paid alternatives at no cost to you.

You can connect Google Docs to all the other tools you use with its Zapier integration . Here are some ideas for free automations you might set up.

Create new Google Docs from text with new rows in Google Sheets

Google Docs logo

Create new Google Docs when Trint transcripts are ready

Trint logo

Not a fan of Google Docs or don't want to create a Google account? Find another great option in Zapier's guide to the best collaborative writing apps .

Google Docs pricing: Free

Best free writing software for messages and blurbs

WordCounter (Web)

WordCounter, our pick for the best free writing software for messages and blurbs

Sometimes you need to write a small amount of text, such as a message or a blurb, without the pressure of accidentally hitting the Enter button too early. WordCounter acts as a combination clipboard and editor with a word count that saves your work in your browser cache for the next time you visit.

WordCounter pricing: Free

Free writing tools for editing

Best free writing software for finding the perfect word.

OneLook Reverse Dictionary and Thesaurus (Web)

OneLook Reverse Dictionary and Thesaurus, our pick for the best free writing software for finding the perfect word

OneLook Reverse Dictionary and Thesaurus offers all the synonyms you could dream of like a regular thesaurus, but it stands out in its reverse dictionary capabilities. Enter a phrase—or even a full sentence—to get words that match that meaning. This feature comes in handy when you want to write more concisely or find that word that's on the tip of your tongue.

OneLook Reverse Dictionary and Thesaurus pricing: Free

Best free writing software for finding the right word—anywhere

Power Thesaurus (Web, Chrome, iOS, Android)

Power Thesaurus, our pick for the best free writing software for finding the right word—anywhere

As a freelance writer, I find myself needing to switch up words when I write on various platforms across the internet. Power Thesaurus gives me synonyms, antonyms, definitions, and other forms of word assistance wherever I like to write. It can do the same for you—put it to use on its website, in your browser, on your phone, in Google Docs, in Word, and in Gmail.

Power Thesaurus pricing: Free for fundamental features; starting from $2.49/month for Power Thesaurus PRO , featuring filters and a wider selection of synonyms

Best free writing software for rewording what you write

Wordtune (Web, Chrome, iOS)

Wordtune, our pick for the best free writing software for rewording what you write

When you just can't get phrasing right in your writing, you might turn to a friend or editor to help you sort it out. Wordtune acts as that person by offering suggestions to reword, expand, and shorten your content using AI. It doesn't have as robust of a free plan as some of the other options on this list, but it provides enough if you need assistance here and there.

If you want more features and are willing to pay a monthly fee, you can put AI to work in your editing process with Zapier's list of the best AI rewording and grammar-checking tools .

Wordtune pricing: Free for up to 10 rewrites, three AI prompts, and three summaries a day; from $9.99/month for advanced plans featuring more rewrites, AI prompts, and summaries

Best free writing software for clear and concise writing

Hemingway Editor (Web, macOS, Windows)

Hemingway, our pick for the best free writing software for clear and concise writing

Inspired by Ernest Hemingway's concise writing style, the Hemingway Editor points out opportunities to sharpen your writing. This tool highlights passive voice, complex sentences, and adverbs that make your work harder to understand. It also supplies a readability score to estimate how accessible your writing is to a broad audience.

Hemingway Editor pricing: Free for editing in the Hemingway web app; $19.99 for the Mac or Windows desktop app

Best free writing software for creating compelling headlines

CoSchedule Headline Studio (Web, Chrome)

CoSchedule, our pick for the best free writing software for creating compelling headlines

CoSchedule Headline Studio helps you write compelling headlines by analyzing the sentiment and word balance in your titles. Type in a headline to get a score and test different variations based on the suggestions you get. The Google Chrome extension and WordPress plugin let you analyze headlines wherever you go.

CoSchedule Headline Studio pricing: Free for basic features; from $8/month to buy "Premium Headline" credits that give you access to an SEO score, AI writing features, headline suggestions, and word banks for a certain number of headlines

Best free writing software for finding and removing cliches

Cliche Finder (Web)

Cliche Finder, our pick for the best free writing software for finding and removing cliches

Cut cliches out of your writing using Cliche Finder . After you paste your text into the textbox and click the Find Cliches button, the tool will highlight any cliches in bold, red text. It's up to you from there, but the tool is 100% free.

Cliche Finder pricing: Free

Best free writing software for finding jargon in your text

De-Jargonizer (Web)

De-Jargonizer, our pick for the best free writing software for finding jargon in your text

Another writing mechanism that gets in the way of clarity is jargon—terms that only people in a specific role will understand. The De-Jargonizer highlights potential jargon in your writing in orange in red for you to consider rephrasing.

Once you identify jargon in your text with the De-Jargonizer, you can get suggestions for rewriting it from Zapier's Corporate Jargon Translator , built using Zapier's free AI chatbot builder .

De-Jargonizer pricing: Free

Best free writing software for varying your wording and sentence length

Expresso (Web)

Expresso, our pick for the best free writing software for varying your wording and sentence length

Two of the best ways to amp up your writing are to switch up your words and sentence length. Expresso helps you achieve both of these goals by breaking your writing down into metrics based on word usage and sentence length, such as frequently repeated words and average sentence word count.

Expresso pricing: Free

Best free writing software for comparing your writing to AI content

GPTZero (Web, Chrome)

GPTZero, our pick for the best free writing software for comparing your writing to AI content

Due to the complexity of the AI situation, it can be tricky to truly detect AI writing with an AI content detector . But, as one writer discovered in our guide to standing out from AI , these tools work well for picking out human content that sounds like AI due to repetitive phrases and generic writing. GPTZero is a free option that judges text based on perplexity (complexity) and burstiness (sentence variation).

GPTZero pricing: Free for documents up to 5,000 words and batch uploads of up to 3 files; from $9.99/month for plans with higher word and batch limits

Free writing tools for proofreading

Best free writing software for catching spelling and grammar mistakes.

Grammarly (Web, macOS, Windows, Android iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge)

Grammarly, our pick for the best free writing software for catching spelling and grammar mistakes

Check for spelling and grammar mistakes everywhere you write with Grammarly . It looks for even the nit-pickiest details, like missing dashes and incorrect prepositions. Stick to its web editor, add it to your favorite writing tool, or add the browser extension to check your writing wherever you go.

Grammarly pricing: Free for the basic spell- and grammar-checker; from $12/month for plans with advanced features like tone, vocabulary, and rewrite suggestions

Best free writing tool for proofreading short-form content

ProWritingAid (Web, macOS, Windows, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge)

ProWritingAid, our pick for the best free writing tool for proofreading short-form content

ProWritingAid's free plan can analyze less text at a time than Grammarly , but it includes a word explorer, thesaurus, and rephrasing tool on top of its grammar-checking features. These capabilities make it a better fit for writers who like to get really granular with their improvement. ProWritingAid's free plan could be a better option for you than Grammarly if your total word count usually clocks at 500 words or fewer.

ProWritingAid pricing: Free for a 500 word count limit and 10 rephrases per day; from $10/month for a Premium plan with no word count limit, unlimited rephrases, and advanced grammar improvement features like in-depth analytics of your writing

Best free writing tool for making MLA citations

EasyBib (Web)

EasyBib, our pick for the Best free writing tool for making MLA citations

This one's for the academics out there. Enter your paper's sources into EasyBib , and it'll organize them into an MLA bibliography for you. I had to give everything a once-over and make minor changes, but EasyBib helped me win my college library's bibliography contest back in the day by getting it all together.

EasyBib pricing: Free

Free writing software FAQ

Here are some questions lots of people have about writing apps and how to choose the right one.

What's a good free writing tool?

Tools like Google Docs and WordCounter are free forever and very functional. Other apps, like Grammarly or ProWritingAid, have free plans that offer basic features, with more advanced features available via a paid plan.

But there are a lot of free writing tools available that perform a wide variety of functions—everything from brainstorming to research and note-taking to writing to editing to proofreading.

What writing tool do most writers use?

There's a wide variety of writing tools out there, and which one a writer uses really comes down to preference. A lot of writers use Google Docs to write because they already use Google for so many other things—but some may prefer a tool like Notion, where they can combine writing with project management.

What makes a good writing tool?

In short, whatever helps you write! If a blank page and no distraction is what helps you actually get words down, then open a new Google Doc and go at it. If you need to organize your thoughts before you even think about writing, consider adding a brainstorming tool to the mix. Each writer's process is different, and it's all about finding tools that enable your writing, not add another roadblock to your process.

Sharpen your craft with your new toolkit

As is the case with many skills, it can be easy to focus too much on improving your writing through tools alone. You'll maximize the results you'll get from your apps with a solid foundation in writing techniques. Grab the tools that appeal to you on this page, then brush up on your core writing skills to become a killer prose machine.

Related reading:

The best journal apps

How to capitalize or change the case of your text in any app

How to write great copy: 11 copywriting tips

Copywriting vs. content writing: How to do each one well

How to write a business letter: Formatting + template

This article was originally published in June 2015 by Jane Callahan and has also had contributions from Jessica Greene. The most recent update was in August 2023.

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Melissa King

Melissa King is a freelance writer who helps B2B SaaS companies spread the word about their products through engaging content. Outside of the content marketing world, she sometimes writes about video games. Check out her work at

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6 Great Pieces Of Writing Software You Need To Try

  • by Robert Wood
  • January 20, 2016

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The New Year has arrived, and all around the world people have been making resolutions that are set to be broken by February. If you’ve sworn to visit the gym more or watch television less, then I’m afraid I can’t help you, but if you’re an author who swore that this is the year you’ll finally get serious about your magnum opus, you’re in luck.

A change in behavior is always helped by a change in venue, so in this article, I’ll be showcasing 6 pieces of writing software that could help improve your writing behavior in 2016. While traditional word processors do the basic job of letting you put words on the page, writing a book is a unique endeavor that can be made much easier with its own set of tools.

Whether this will be your first time using dedicated writing software, a chance to buckle down and write more , or you just want to try the best of what the market has to offer, this one is for you. But if I’m going to be making recommendations, first I have to clear up what a piece of great writing software can offer its user.

What do authors need from their software?

I’ve already said that word processors do the basic job of letting writers compose their stories. With that understood, every piece of writing software can be judged by how it improves on that experience. No writing software has yet invented the wheel, so your primary focus when choosing the software for you is deciding which advantages will help your writing style. Don’t be blinded by long lists of features or technical specs: software features only matter if they’re something you’re going to use.

That’s why writing software tends to offer improvements that fall into one of three groups:


Programs like Microsoft Word are designed to be used for every kind of writing task, which means they specialize in none. In contrast, writing software is designed around easier creative writing. This might mean designing the writing interface to be as simple and distraction-free as possible, or allowing you to collect all your materials in one program. It might mean helping you to place chapter markers, automatically creating a contents page, or presenting notes in a particularly helpful way.

Ease-of-use is easy to overlook, but it’s often one of the major driving forces in which writing software is attractive to authors. It’s the digital equivalent of finding somewhere quiet to work or the best way to organize your notes.

Advanced editing

Editing is a vital part of writing, but there’s a whole slew of mistakes that stand between ‘technically incorrect’ and ‘ready to publish’. Word processors will tell you if you’ve used incorrect grammar or punctuation, but writing software is capable of picking up on things like passive verbs, over-description, and recurring phrases.

Creative writing requires a keener eye than is needed for projects like essays or shopping lists, and writing software ups its game to catch the errors that will lose you readers.

Extra features

By their nature, extra features are difficult to define. They’re options like Word’s ‘Thesaurus’ which you’ll never have to use as part of the software, but which can offer extra value if they fit into your style of writing. These may include a character creator, twist generator , or custom storyboard creation. It’s here that identifying what you really want is vital – don’t judge extra features by how many are included but by how useful they sound to your way of writing.

Writing software you should try

Now that you’re thinking about the aspects of writing software that could do the most for your work, it’s time to talk about what’s on the market. Remember, though, that it’s about finding the best fit, and that might mean shopping around. If a piece of writing software has a free trial, or a free-to-use version, then it’s almost always worth seeing if it’s the right fit for you.

1. SmartEdit

SmartEdit is a way to adjust your word processor to make it more of a creative writing tool. It’s a small step, ideal for those who don’t want a big change or are worried about learning to use a new piece of software.

SmartEdit is an add-on that can be applied to Microsoft Word, adding features that mostly fall within the school of ‘Advanced Editing’. For a start, it flags repeated adverbs and phrases, keeping a count to alert author of overuse or problematic repetition. It also enhances Word’s error-checking facilities to pick up on inconsistent, rather than just incorrect, punctuation and grammar. SmartEdit doesn’t quite offer the same breadth of features as independent writing software, but the image below reveals capabilities that will stop dedicated writers in their tracks.

Smart Edit

SmartEdit will even pick up on clichés, foreign phrases and (if asked) profanity, giving you a more complete idea of your story as a whole. Many writers work page by page and find it difficult to identify or fix errors that occur over long distance, and SmartEdit is a great way to arm yourself against such issues. Small step though it is, for many authors it will be ideal.

You can find out more about SmartEdit here .

2. Scrivener

Scrivener is a name you might know ( Scrivener review ), but it has to be included on this list because it remains one of the best-loved programs for creative writing. Like any dedicated writing software, Scrivener offers advanced editing and some valuable extra features, but its true strength lies in its ease-of-use.

Where Scrivener shines is in gathering all the material an author could need in one place. Notes, images and web pages can be stored, and displayed, alongside each other, with the program recognizing that they’re all part of a single project. That means incredibly varied options for displaying and utilizing notes. For authors who are used to opening five programs to see everything they need – losing each behind the other as they try to make disparate file types work together – this has been an incredible boon.


Scrivener is the proverbial ‘one-stop-shop’ with David Hewson (author of The Garden of Evil and Solstice ) stating that:

‘the more I use it, the more I realize it can replace every other application I’ve adopted over the years for writing books.’

That’s the charm of Scrivener in a nutshell – it gives authors the freedom to optimize their digital workspace. This includes a cork board feature for visual storage, automatically saving previous drafts so they’re never permanently lost, and adding documents to multiple ‘collections’ for a more useful way of referencing files, but the main selling point is that you won’t have to open another piece of software while you’re writing.

Buy (or trial) Scrivener here .

3. WriteItNow

WriteItNow is a rising star, combining Scrivener’s ease-of-use and organizational abilities with a host of compelling extra features. One of the most attention-grabbing is their character tab, which allows incredibly detailed character building. This includes the ability to give character traits and behaviors numerical values, encouraging consistency and helping authors develop compelling character arcs. It even allows you to download name sets depending on locations and time periods, and will choose an appropriate character name based on the author’s parameters.


Similar functions are available for adding notes and tracking timelines – the ‘events graph’ feature even allows you to view different strands of the plot as they’re experienced by different characters.

The thesaurus function is extensive, and includes relevant quotes, rhymes and Encyclopedia articles to give you options as you write. Perhaps most important of all, it can export files in RTF, PDF, HTML and EPUB, as well as to Microsoft Word. That makes it easy to repurpose your work, with only a few steps between a document your friends can print out and one you can view on an eReader.

You can find out more about WriteItNow here .

It’s important to start by saying that Sigil isn’t for everyone. Its main selling point is that it allows you to work directly into .EPUB format. That means that your work appears on the page pretty much exactly as it will on an ereader such as the Kindle or Kobo.

Usually, publishing your work to an ereader requires you to write the document on one piece of software and then edit on another. Problems can arise, and it takes a lot of effort to get a particular word processor’s formatting to work on an unrelated product. With Sigil, this editing happens as you write. If it can’t be done on an ereader then Sigil won’t allow you to do it.

That’s the part that can rub people the wrong way, and some authors will feel constricted by what Sigil does and doesn’t allow. However, whether you’re using it as your main word processor or to convert an existing document, Sigil is a godsend for self-published authors who want to keep things simple.


In fact once you get to grips with it, Sigil offers a lot more freedom. It spell-checks and has facilities for image insertion and chapter breaks, containing all the necessities of writing software along with its invisible but commendable editing advantages.

Sigil is also alone on this list in being the only program that’s entirely free . While it may not be perfect, this combines with its functionality to make it a program every self-published author should check out in 2016.

You can find out more about Sigil here .

5. WriteWay

WriteWay is another up-and-comer in the writing software world, primarily because it’s continually being updated with new features. WriteWay is a post-Scrivener piece of software, using ease-of-use as a bedrock and striving to set itself apart by adding as much advanced editing and extra features as possible. Its features allow you to plan a story, organize notes, write and edit, format to a range of file types and encourage yourself to keep going by setting writing targets.


It’s not the prettiest writing software on the market but it’s trying to become the best, and it’s worth giving it a try this year to see if it works for you. Like WriteItNow, it allows users to construct databases on characters and locations, but also offers templates and suggestions to stop you getting stuck. It also allows you to format for use on the Kobo and Kindle, track your story via ‘NoteCards’, maintain research folders and track more data than a standard word processor.

Place everything in this article so far in a blender, turn it on, and five minutes later you’ll have WriteWay. That doesn’t mean that it’s the best in every category, but it does offer the best all-round coverage for authors who think that being able to do everything well beats being able to do one thing brilliantly. Happily, the demo version is available for a thirty-day free trial , so you’ve got ample time to figure out if it’s the software of your dreams.

You can find out more about WriteWay here .

6. ProWritingAid

ProWritingAid is one of the best editing programmes on the market, and it doesn’t even require a download. Useable through a well-designed and easily navigable website, ProWritingAid allows you to paste or upload your writing for interrogation by its huge battery of tests. Those who think that’s too much work can also employ it as a Word, Google Docs, Scrivener, Chrome or API add-on, adding to their editing tools while preserving their favored writing software.

Conceived in a similar vein to SmartEdit, ProWritingAid will check your work for a laundry list of possible issues. These include useful additions such as checks on ‘sentence length’, ‘clichés and redundancies’, ‘dialogue tags’ and ‘pacing’, as well as more esoteric assessments that seek out ‘corporate wording’, ‘sticky sentences’ and ‘eloquence’. If the program turns up errors you don’t know how to fix, then there’s a ‘Human Editor’ button in the top right, providing an instant means to submit your work for editing by a member of the ProWritingAid team.


It’s difficult to imagine an editing programme that gives authors more to work with than ProWritingAid. Its only drawback is that in a rush to pick out every potential issue, its reports can flag content that would be best left alone. Self-doubting or inexperienced writers might find the suggested changes take more out of their confidence than is added to their work, but those who trust their own conclusions will be in their element.

Like any complex machine, ProWritingAid requires you to learn through use and with reference to its helpful and succinct user manual. What you put in is more than rewarded though, and with its wealth of output and casual interface it’s the kind of software that you try once and use for the rest of your life. That’s an easy theory to test, since ProWritingAid offer a free service to let authors try out their product.

You can read our detailed  ProWritingAid review here.

Spoiled for choice

It can be daunting when you first consider utilizing writing software. The market is so packed that you end up more concerned about the features you’re missing than the ones you’re getting. As I mentioned at the start, the only features you need to worry about are the ones you can imagine helping your writing, but even then the answer is almost always to shop around.

Spend a couple of months downloading demos and checking out free trials. It’s likely that your choice won’t come down to a list of stats and features, but to one program that just feels right with the way you work. The only way to find that program is to breeze through ten that don’t work as well.

My final piece of advice would be to turn your search into a writing exercise. Decide to write a certain number of words per piece of software – if you love the software then it’ll be easy, and if not then you’ll write that passage quicker so you can move on. At the end of the day, writing software is just another tool that can help your writing, but it’s nothing next to the outlook you decide to take on your writing behavior.

For more on writing software, check out Why You Should Use Evernote To Write Your Next Book and browse our writing tools archive for great articles like 7 (Free) Online Writing Tools That Will Make You More Productive .

Have you tried any of the software above, or do you have your own recommendation? Let me know in the comments.

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best creative writing software for windows

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Robert Wood

Robert Wood

45 thoughts on “6 great pieces of writing software you need to try”.

best creative writing software for windows

Excellent review, Rob, a real time saver for the rest of us. Thanks for all the research.

best creative writing software for windows

No problem whatsoever, glad it’s of use.

best creative writing software for windows

Scrivener? NO. It ate 2 books, I don’t know how many chapters and had the gall to eat a scene I just wrote when I left it open and opened a browser window to check a fact, when I returned to the scene window, the entire scene had been erased. They told me it was my computer after the scene. Then it started eating other parts of book files. I kicked that updated piece of crap to the curb and bought good software that does what Scrivener does without the extra bells and whistles and doesn’t have a huge learning curve.

The old Scrivener was solid. This update version is a piece of useless garbage. I have to rewrite I don’t know how many parts of books it cannibalized and two entire books. I wouldn’t recommend it to my worst enemy. Now the program I replaced it with, WriteWay . Yeah, I would.

Thanks for sharing your experience. The more people who give recommendations, the more informed future readers can be in their shopping.

Sadly, I found out I’m not the only one this is doing this to when I complained on a writing forum. Scrivener is ignoring us and saying “It’s your computer.”

That’s a huge shame, especially as Scrivener’s draft saving feature is one of its flagship innovations. Aside from the obvious necessity of it not eating your work, how have you found WriteWay to compare to the features offered by Scrivener?

I love it. It’s faster and smoother and saves much better than scrivener. I was writing something and closed out only to realize after I hit exit, I hadn’t saved what I just wrote. I restarted and there it was in all its glory.

The learning curve was much easier, practically non existent. Every time I use Scrivener, I had to look something up especially if I didn’t use that feature a lot. Writeway? Everything is set more intuitive. I had to look one thing up and now I know where it is at. There is no frustrated hair pulling. It’s also better for cut and paste than Scrivener. If I moved my work via cut and past to, I always had to fuss with the format when I used Scrivener. No fuss with Writeway. It’s also faster. Much faster.

It makes me wonder why I bothered with Scrivener [well okay, I admit it was the half off that made me and the older version was as solid as a tank.]

Writeway offers the features I needed in Scrivener, it’s faster, it works. What more could I ask for?

Thanks very much for the review, hopefully that’ll help future shoppers avoid the pitfalls you discovered in your software experience. Intuitive design is so important with this kind of software – as you said, you don’t want to be fussing around adjusting settings; you want to write.

best creative writing software for windows

This is an interesting article but I’m very surprised that “ease-of-use” is applied to Scrivener. I’ve been using Scrivener for years and I’m considering jumping ship because their tools are so clunky and difficult to use. On several occasions I wanted to do something which should have been simple which (despite multiple tutorials and hours wasted searching forums) proved impossible to find or glitchy. I’m starting to think there are different versions of Scrivener: the one that works and is easy to use, and the one I downloaded. If OpenOffice or Word had the notecard/storyboard feature, I’d switch to that and never go back.

Thanks for your thoughts. You’re certainly not alone – while Scrivener remains an industry leader, and many people swear by it, there are definitely a significant number of users who find it unwieldy. This may be down to style of use or what different users are hoping to get from it, but hopefully this kind of discussion can help individual authors figure out if it’s right for them.

best creative writing software for windows

I’ve read previous comments and I used to work with Scrivener for a long time too, and already for a few month I changed it to yWriter and I’m really satisfied working with it. Also I think it would be great to see here such tools like EverNote (desctop for all your thoughts and ideas), Hemingway App (proofreading tool) and Unplag (free plagiarism checker). I think those tools are good for every writer.

Thanks for your recommendations – in terms of software, there are few things more helpful than authors sharing advice within the community. You can find our Evernote article via the link below.


best creative writing software for windows

Hi there I am not too worried about how to put together my novel by my main issue is that since English is not my mother tongue, my use of English is more of academic or professional language and not the day to day use and there are grammatical errors also. Which is the best software to help me structure my writing in a better way, identify grammar or sentence structuring errors.

best creative writing software for windows

I think something like ProWritingAid would probably be of most use to you, although it’s no replacement for a professional editor:


Thanks. At the moment I cannot afford editor so I have to rely on softwares. I checked and it was easy to use. Is there any better similar software that not only point out mistakes but gives more suggestions like if I have used adverbs then what could be better replacement verbs. Whether that software is more expensive than pro-writing-aid. e.g. have you tried autocrit and do you think it could do a better job?

Thanks for getting in contact. In terms of advanced functions, ProWritingAid is probably your best bet. I’ve looked into AutoCrit and while it’s certainly a viable alternative, there don’t seem to be any pronounced features that make it more suited to your needs.

Since you’re writing academically, it might be worth giving Grammarly a try, as it’s designed around general, consistent use, rather than improving documents in their entirety.

As Alex says, though, it sounds like you’ll need a human editor at some point for the type of in-depth, context-sensitive feedback you describe.

Thanks for the input

best creative writing software for windows

If you are on Windows, another one to try is WhizFolders Outliner

Thanks for the recommendation.

best creative writing software for windows

Hi Rob, I’m not a writer but, in my new position in academic I will be doing a lot of writing , i.e., articles and correspondence not sure which software to use! Thanks. Zell

I’d suggest giving Grammarly a look, as it’s designed with academic writing in mind.

best creative writing software for windows

Hello Robert. Any chance to get Storyline Creator on this list? (

The free version allows you to visualize and write a few scenes and characters as well as start 30-minute writing challenges

Thanks for the recommendation. At this point, we’d be more likely to release a new list than to update this one. When that time comes, I’ll certainly keep Storyline Creator in mind.

best creative writing software for windows

Thank you for taking the time to write this article. It has been a great help to me. All of the best to you.

My pleasure – I’m really glad it was useful.

best creative writing software for windows

Thanks for a great article. After spending several months learning as much as Icould about the purchased program, I also lost a good amount of work on one of my novels, while on the Windows version of Scrivener.

While it does do spell checking, I also wish Scrivener had a built in thesaurus. I even wrote them about including the free thesaurus that comes with LibreOffice. They do not answer emails, nor even my questions on their forums, though many forum members are very helpfull.

Also Scrivener has a bug when importing documents containg smart quotes. For example, if I import:

“Did you go to work today?”

…Scrivener will change it to:

“?Did you go to work today?”

When you have a long chapter full of dialogue, it is a hassle to have to go through it and remove all the unwanted question marks. I also contacted them about this bug, but never heard back. So I am looking to jump ship. Perhaps I will try WriteWay Pro.

Hi Dr. Steve,

Thanks for your thoughts, which will help give other readers a broader picture of the available software.

best creative writing software for windows

Hi Rob and friends,

This is really helpful and informative. I’ve been using Libre Office, but have got fed up with its shortcomings and lack of grammar checking and editing tools. I write – mainly to keep my brain active and for fun at the moment – quite long and complex, multi- character fiction. I’m looking for tools that will work on Windows 10 and help with story arcs, character-building (in the sense of keeping track of age, appearance, relationships, etc.), research on a range of subjects, and grammar/editing.

From the comments here it looks like Writeway might do most of that with maybe one or two other tools. Evernote? But I’m not clear what it’s like to actually write in or if you can just download existing text produced in Word or Libre Writer. Any comments, suggestions gratefully received.

Thanks for commenting. Most writing software allows at least some degree of transfer from Word, given how popular it is. I’ve included some links below that may help you in your search.

// //

best creative writing software for windows

Just to let you know, the pro version of WriteWay is now free!

Thanks for the info!

best creative writing software for windows

“The Demo Edition you are about to download is a fully featured WriteWay Professional Edition, except that printing and exporting functions have been disabled. You will be able to create and import your own books, or view and modify the pre-loaded sample and its corresponding character profiles, research folders, notecards, etc. ”

It is NOT free if it is a demo and has features disabled. So, if you plan on just test driving it, then don’t bother. Otherwise you’ll have to shell out $$$ to get the most valuable key freatures to work. I don’t know about you, but if I can’t print or export, why even download it?

best creative writing software for windows

Writeway Pro is indeed free, the last version being 1.9.4. If you read the following page: it confirms this. On the Registration page, it gives the License number to enable you to convert the free version to a full version.

best creative writing software for windows

Thanks for a very informative article. I’m looking for an editor that would spot missed quotation marks and deal with ellipsis and other punctuation related to dialogue.

Thank you, Jenni

My pleasure, glad it was useful. Most editors should automatically flag missing punctuation, but something like ProWritingAid or Word should allow you to tinker enough to pick up specific issues with dialogue.

best creative writing software for windows

Hi there, I own and use the Writeway Pro for my work and the owner/developer of the software posted the following below. I thought you might want to know.

“”It all started in 2002! My wife wanted a better way to write books. Since its launch in 2003, WriteWay has been helping writers of all experience levels, from basic hobbyists and aspiring authors, to multi-published New York Times bestsellers.

I found it personally fulfilling to provide a better way for writers to turn their stories into completed manuscripts.

So why free now? I have reached a point in my life where I needed to reevaluate my priorites, which are walking a beach with my wife and visiting with my grandson.

I wish you all the best in your writing endeavors, John (05/01/2017) “”

Thanks for keeping us up to date.

best creative writing software for windows

Do you have any ideas or comment about “StyleWriter”?

And would appreciate if anyone can share their ideas or thought about “StyleWriter”.

I don’t believe I’ve dived deep enough into StyleWriter to comment at this point, but I’ll look into it for a future review.

best creative writing software for windows

I want to publish a traditional book, not so much an ebook until later. Which of these programs would be best in helping me put in headers? I’m working on a collection of short stories. Each new short story has to have a different header for a title, with my name always on the adjoining page. But Microsoft Word is being incredibly difficult. I’m sick of the page breaks, I’m sick of the page breaks making big empty gaps in my writing, and I’m tired of trying to wrestle with it to get all these different headers of separate stories and my name on the pages, instead of just repeating the same header. Which one of these programs would be conducive for what I am trying to do?

Hi Jonathan,

Scrivener might be what you’re after. That said, it really does depend on personal preference. I’ve included our longer review below which should provide more information.


best creative writing software for windows

I’ve worked with different programs, trying to find the one that lets me focus on writing with the nice extras not getting in the way. Haven’t found exactly what I want yet. I have used Scrivener. One you didn’t mention is yWriter6 or yWriter5 by Soacejock Software. It’s free though I think the developer takes donations. Basic, no effort trying to be “pretty”, but pretty ingeniously laid out offering different views of work I haven’t found elsewhere. I go back and forth between the two trying to get the feel for what works best for me. One of them I had trouble exporting without something that messed up the text in Word, can’t remember which. Like I said though, haven’t found the program that “flows” for me yet.

Thanks for sharing your experience and recommendations.

best creative writing software for windows

Surprised Campfire isn’t on here – probably because it’s newer. I use it for all my story planning, and I think it’s the best software out there for that part of the writing process!

best creative writing software for windows

For your next review consider including these strong products: WriteItNow, The Novel Factory, Power Structure, and Writers Block–all on Windows and Mac. Also Stoyrist only on Mac. These are more in the class of Scrivener in terms of functionality.

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The 15 Best Novel Writing Software for Authors

POSTED ON Aug 18, 2023

P.J McNulty

Written by P.J McNulty

Do you really need novel writing software?  That answer depends on who you ask, of course…but ask any seasoned, career novelist and they’ll tell you: Efficient novel writing software is an integral part of any fiction author’s writing routine. 

At first glance, the idea of novel writing software might seem a little superfluous. Can’t you just use a standard word processor?

While it's possible to learn how to write a novel using standard software, it might not be the best approach. A novel intended for self-publishing is a complex project, requiring drafting and redrafting, as well as collaboration with others. Specialist novel writing software can make the production process much smoother. 

To make your life a little easier, we've produced a guide to the best novel writing software out there.

Here is a rundown of your main novel writing software options, along with which operating systems each works with, the associated price, and the pros and cons of each tool.

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This guide to the best novel writing software covers:

1. autocrit.

AutoCrit is an automated editing tool aimed at fiction authors.

The software works by analyzing real bestselling novels of different genres to come up with guidelines on aspects such as pacing, the number of adverbs, and if your word choices are cliche or not. 

Autocrit Novel Writing Software

On top of providing feedback on the style of your prose and its technical competence, AutoCrit acts as a word processing environment and basic grammar and spellcheck. 

How much does AutoCrit cost?

AutoCrit is available at three different price points:

  • Free . Basic access to the word processing, spellcheck, and grammar check features of AutoCrit. 
  • $30 per month . Access to the basic capabilities in the free plan plus the full suite of editing reports that are the main feature of AutoCrit.
  • $144 per year . The same access to the editing reports found in the $30 per month plan as well as access to two free courses on varied writing and improved dialogue.  

Which platforms is AutoCrit available for?

AutoCrit is available in the cloud. To use it, you need a machine capable of logging in online. There is no app to download, so no requirements in that area. 

What are the pros and cons of using AutoCrit?

So what are the advantages and disadvantages of using AutoCrit as your novel writing software?

Pros of AutoCrit:

AutoCrit takes its data from real novels. If you’re interested in comparing your work to some of the titans of the genre you write in (see our list of book genres here), AutoCrit is a good choice.

Many AutoCrit users have reported that the software’s suggestions match up well with those made by human readers. 

Cons of AutoCrit:

One common criticism of AutoCrit is that its suggestions sometimes lack context. For example, it might criticize you for repetition, even if that repetition was a stylistic choice.

Bibisco is a small novel writing software made by an Italian author. 

Its major selling point is the ability to plan your novel with different narrative strands and that it allows you to add in-depth notes and planning cards for different scenes.

Bibisco Novel Writing Software

Bibisco is attractive as the best writing software for novels. The free version offers a lot of functionality while the paid option is available on a pay-what-you-want basis. 

Bibisco is a good choice of novel writing software for authors who want to make notes on their novel without being weighed down by a complex interface. 

How much does Bibisco cost?

In terms of value for money, Bibisco is superb. It's a passion project from its creator, and that's reflected in its pricing.

The Community Edition of Bibisco is available for free . This is a fairly functional version of Bibisco, but lacks some important options, such as the ability to export to epub. 

If you want the full edition, go for the Supporter’s Edition of Bibisco. This is available on a pay-what-you-want basis . It includes features such as timelines and writing goals as well as the ability to export your novel to epub. 

Which platforms is Bibisco available for?

At this time, Bibisco is available for users of:

  • MacOS Mojave

What are the pros and cons of using Bibisco?

So what are some reasons to consider using Bibisco, as well as some signs that this novel writing software might not be the right choice for your needs?

Pros of Bibisco:

On the plus side, Bibisco has an intuitive and easy-to-understand design. This isn't one of those novel writing software options that require you to put hours and hours in to learn how it functions. It's also great to see a value-for-money passion project produced by the author community. 

Cons of Bibisco:

In terms of its drawbacks, some users of Bibisco have reported that they find writing scene by scene to be a little frustrating , at least at first. Also, compared to some of the more powerful book writing software options on this list, Bibisco doesn’t offer full editing feedback and capabilities. 

Bibisco is worth a look if you want an intuitive novel writing assistant, made by an author with the author community in mind.

3. Dramatica

Of all the apps on this list claiming to help you write a better novel, Dramatica is arguably the one with the loftiest aims.

Rather than presenting itself as a novel writing software product, Dramatica claims to have a unique philosophy on the concept of story itself. 

Dramatica Novel Writing Software

Dramatica is a tool providing an in-depth look at story structure and character motivation .

To get a feel for the lens through which Dramatica sees stories, check out how it breaks down the indie film classic Donnie Darko . 

How much does Dramatica cost?

If you want to try out Dramatica, you have both free and paid options. There are also different editions for Windows and Mac, as follows: 

  • There is a free demo of Dramatica available for both Windows and Mac.
  • The paid version of Dramatica for Mac, Dramatica Story Expert 5, costs $199.95.
  • The paid version of Dramatica for Windows, Dramatica Pro, costs $119.95. 

Which platforms is Dramatica available for?

Dramatica is available for Mac and Windows , but each platform has a different version.

Dramatica Story Expert is the version for Mac, offering a greater level of functionality than the Windows version.

Dramatica Pro is available for Windows and is similar to the Mac version but a little less powerful. 

What are the pros and cons of using Dramatica?

So what are the strongest and weakest aspects of Dramatica?

Pros of Dramatica:

While a lot of the novel writing software in this guide offer similar levels of functionality, Dramatica brings something different to the table. The way it analyzes story and character is truly unique and like nothing else out there. A lot of major fiction and screenplay writers have thrown their support and praise behind Dramatica. 

Cons of Dramatica:

If you're looking for novel writing software that helps you with structure and grammar, Dramatica might be more powerful than you need it to be. Not everyone will agree with (or want) to learn the theory and philosophy underpinning Dramatica. Those who do will find there is a learning curve involved in understanding its take on story.

Dramatica is one of the most interesting and unique products in this novel writing software guide. While it won’t be right for every aspiring novelist, if you like the sound of its philosophy of story and character, it will give you a unique insight into your writing. 

4. FastPencil/Opyrus

For years, FastPencil was a standalone writing and collaboration platform available in the cloud.

Now, it’s part of a larger self-publishing services package that has been rebranded as Opyrus.

The novel writing software is still known as FastPencil, so we will refer to it by that name for the rest of the review.

Fastpencil Novel Writing Software

How much does FastPencil cost?

FastPencil is no longer available as a standalone product. Instead, it's available as part of an Opyrus package, available at three different price points:

  • Free. Access to only basic features.
  • Personal. $45.67 annual billing or $4.95 per month. 
  • Professional. $138 annually or $14.95 per month. 

Which platforms is FastPencil available for?

If you want to use FastPencil, you simply need any computer capable of logging into the cloud. 

What are the pros and cons of using FastPencil?

So what are some advantages and disadvantages of opting for FastPencil as your choice of novel writing software?

Pros of FastPencil:

Unlike some of the other novel writing software out there, FastPencil has been going a long time. There are two decades of experience behind the product. 

Cons of FastPencil:

While FastPencil is good at what it does, it doesn't bring anything unique to the table. You can get a lot of the same functionality elsewhere at a lower price point .

Also, now that FastPencil is part of the wider Opyrus system, many authors will find that they don't need everything they are paying for. 

By all means, see if you like the way that FastPencil helps you craft a novel, but we feel the majority of authors are better off looking elsewhere for their novel writing software. 

5. FocusWriter

At this point in our guide, you’ll notice that some novel writing software options aim to offer almost every function you could think of, while others try and do one thing well. 

FocusWriter is very much an example of the latter. This isn't a tool that aims to pack itself full of bells and whistles.

Instead, FocusWriter aims to solve a common pain point for novelists – the ability to drill down into your work, get into a creative flow state, and make progress on your word count target.

FocusWriter does this by offering a very minimalist writing environment, with some degree of customization . You can set timers and goals to help you write.

Focuswriter Novel Writing Software

Ultimately, FocusWriter doesn’t offer everything you need to produce a novel. However, for times when you’re distracted, it might just help to improve focus . 

How much does FocusWriter cost?

FocusWriter is available for free on every platform, but if you’re a fan of the tool, you have the option to leave a tip and support its creator. 

Which platforms is FocusWriter available for?

At this time, FocusWriter is compatible with:

What are the pros and cons of using FocusWriter?

So what are the best and worst things about using FocusWriter as your novel writing software?

Pros of FocusWriter:

FocusWriter is a great choice if you’re finding it hard to make progress with your writing. You can create a minimalist, distraction-free environment that is customized to your needs. 

Cons of FocusWriter:

The major downside to using FocusWriter is it doesn’t offer the functionality you need to produce a novel. It will help you break through periods of writer’s block , but you’ll need different novel writing software for planning, editing, and exporting your work.

FocusWriter is a great choice to get you out of a sticky situation where you're struggling with your word count. For every other stage of the novel writing process, it probably isn't the smartest choice. 

6. Milanote

Milanote is a tool that allows you to gather together ideas and inspiration and store them in mood boards and mindmaps. 

Milanote Novel Writing Software

One specific application of Milanote featured on its website is its use as a novel planning tool. You can create book outlines , make character information cards, and more. 

There’s no denying that Milanote is a stylish-looking novel writing software option. But how much will it set you back, and is it right for your next book?

How much does Milanote cost?

You can try out Milanote for free, but the paid option has a lot more functionality.

  • Free – Store 100 notes, images, and links without the ability to search.
  • $12.50 per month or $119.98 annually – Allows for unlimited notes, images, and links and full search functionality.

Which platforms is Milanote available for?

If you want to give Milanote a go for yourself, you can get it for:

What are the pros and cons of using Milanote?

So which kind of novelist might find Milanote a good choice of novel writing software?

Pros of Milanote:

Milanote is very stylish and easy to use. If you are prone to moments of inspiration on the move and want to ensure they aren't lost, Milanote is a great way to capture them and use them as creative fuel for a novel. 

Cons of Milanote:

Perhaps the major drawback to Milanote is its cost. You need to be comfortable with paying for a research and planning tool, albeit a really good one.

Ultimately, if you're looking for an all-in-one novel writing software, Milanote isn't it. If you are comfortable using a separate tool for research and planning, consider checking out Milanote. 

7. Novellus

Novellus is an affordable solution for novelists that offers some advantages over a standard Word Processor app.

Unlike a standard word processor document that quickly becomes cluttered and unwieldy, Novellus allows you to better organize a lengthy project into different scenes and sections. 

Novellus Novel Writing Software

Novellus also offers some functionality as a proofreading aid. While this will never take the place of a human editor, it will help you send your editor cleaner text to work with.

How much does Novellus cost?

Novellus is available for a one-off cost of $29.99 . This is an advantage if you don’t like signing up to a subscription plan. 

Which platforms is Novellus available for?

At this time, Novellus is available only for MacOS . 

What are the pros and cons of using Novellus?

How should you weigh up if Novellus is the right novel writing software for you?

Pros of Novellus:

Novellus is preferable to using a standard word processor. Its functionality will make planning and keeping track of your novel far easier. 

Cons of Novellus:

Unless you have MacOS, you won’t be able to use this novel writing software. Also, for a slightly higher investment, you can purchase a more powerful solution.

Although Novellus isn’t the best choice for the majority of self-published authors, if you’re using MacOS and want an affordable upgrade over a standard word processor, Novellus may work well for you. 

Novlr is a stylish, specialist writing tool intended just for novelists. 

Novlr Novel Writing Software

When you use Novlr, you enjoy better planning and organization capabilities than those offered by a standard word processor.

There is also upcoming support for features such as the ability to connect with designers and editors directly through Novlr. In addition, Novlr is now writer-owned!

How much does Novlr cost?

Novlr has multiple price options, including:

  • Starter – FREE
  • Plus – $5 a month or $48 a year
  • Pro – $18 a month or $168 a year

You can even pay $499 for lifetime membership and co-ownership of this novel writing software!

Which platforms is Novlr available for?

Novlr is available on any device capable of logging into the cloud, which makes it one of the best writing apps for Android or iOS.

What are the pros and cons of using Novlr?

So, why should or shouldn’t you choose Novlr as your novel writing software?

Pros of Novlr:

Novlr is a stylish novel writing software that will help you create a comfortable virtual writing environment . It also offers productivity and tracking advantages over more standardized solutions. Plus, you can even invest in being a co-owner of the software!

Cons of Novlr:

There aren't many downsides to Novlr if you like using it! Overall, Novlr is an attractive place to write your next novel.

9. Scrivener

Scrivener has a cult following among the writing community. It’s a novel writing software option famed for both its power and complexity.

If you ask around about Scrivener, many writers will admit that they find it a bit intimidating to learn. What many writers don't know is that the latest version of Scrivener is a lot easier to use than earlier editions.

Scrivener Novel Writing Software

In terms of planning, writing, and even exporting your novel, Scrivener offers a level of power not found elsewhere. 

If you’re willing to learn how to use it, Scrivener is the only novel writing software you’ll ever need. 

How much does Scrivener cost?

Scrivener has one of the best free trials in the whole industry, and is available at an affordable price point to buy as a one-off software:

  • 30-day free trial , even use on non-consecutive days
  • $49 macOS standard license
  • $49 Windows standard license
  • $19.99 for the iOS version of Scrivener 

Which platforms is Scrivener available for?

At this time, Scrivener is available for:

What are the pros and cons of using Scrivener?

So how can you decide if Scrivener is the best choice of novel writing software for your book?

Pros of Scrivener:

In terms of sheer functionality, Scrivener is unmatched. It does anything and everything you could dream of when writing a novel. It’s also available at a one-off price point , so you avoid being tied into an expensive monthly or annual subscription. 

Cons of Scrivener:

The major downside to using Scrivener is its learning curve . However, since the release of Scrivener 3, the software is a lot easier to learn and use than older versions were. 

10. Storyist

If you’re looking to produce a novel or screenplay, and you happen to use Apple products, Storyist is one option available to you.

Storyist Novel Writing Software

As well as full word processing capabilities, Storyist has outlining and story development functions that you won't find in Microsoft Word. You can also easily create and track info on your characters to avoid any errors or gaps. 

How much does Storyist cost?

Storyist is available at two price points, depending on if you choose the mobile or desktop version:

  • Storyist for iOS $19.00

Which platforms is Storyist available for?

If you’re a Windows or Linux user, Storyist isn’t available to you. 

It’s currently only available for:

What are the pros and cons of using Storyist?

Should you use Storyist to write your next novel?

Pros of Storyist:

Storyist is a good choice for screenwriters. Its functionality is also useful for novelists, but it seems that screenwriting is Storyist’s prime concern.

As a one-off purchase, it’s more affordable than the majority of subscription novel writing software options. 

Cons of Storyist:

Most novelists will find software intended for novelists only, rather than screenwriters and novelists, to be a better fit. Windows users are out of luck here.

11. The Novel Factory

The Novel Factory is available as both a downloadable app and a cloud login platform.

It aims to give novelists a specialist environment to work on their book, full of features not found in standard writing applications. 

The Novel Factory Novel Writing Software

Some of the features created with novelists in mind include the ability to store information on and track your characters, access detailed notes about the different locations your novel takes place in, manage version control for different drafts, and to set targets and writing goals .

How much does The Novel Factory cost?

To get started with The Novel Factory, you have three options:

  • Basic – One novel and 50MB of storage for $75 a year
  • Standard – Unlimited novels and 500MB of storage for $198 a year
  • Premium – Unlimited novels and 5GB of storage for $600 a year

Which platforms is The Novel Factory available for?

The Novel Factory can currently be used in two ways:

  • Downloaded app. Available only for Windows.
  • Cloud login. Available for any device capable of logging into the Cloud. 

What are the pros and cons of using The Novel Factory?

So what are the good and bad points of using The Novel Factory as your novel writing software?

Pros of The Novel Factory:

The Novel Factory is very simple and easy to use. There’s no chance you’ll be confused by its interface. It also offers better functionality in terms of tracking your characters and locations than a standard word processor. 

Cons of The Novel Factory:

If you opt for the online version, you need to have an active internet connection to work on your novel. This is a drawback if you want to work on a plane or disconnect to focus better. The Novel Factory can also be very expensive depending on the amount of space you are looking for.

If you want a very easy-to-use novel writing software, and are comfortable with having to be online to use it, give The Novel Factory's free trial a spin to see if it's a good fit for your writing style. 

12. Ulysses

Broadly speaking, specialist novel writing software usually falls into one of two categories – fully-featured and complicated, or minimalist and easy to use.

Ulysses is an example of the minimalist school of thought. But how can it help novelists?

Ulysses Novel Writing Software

Ulysses is known for its minimalist writing interface and how it syncs between desktop and mobile. It also supports writing markups, and allows you to publish directly from the app to blogs. 

How much does Ulysses cost?

Ulysses is available at three price points:

  • Free trial. 
  • Monthly subscription for $5.99
  • Annual subscription for $39.99

Which platforms is Ulysses available for?

Like many writing tools, Ulysses is only available for Apple users. You can get it for:

  • MacOS 

What are the pros and cons of using Ulysses?

So what are the major pros and cons of using Ulysses as your novel writing software?

Pros of Ulysses:

Ulysses is a stylish, focused place to write. It’s easy to access your notes and images and use them for inspiration while you work. 

Cons of Ulysses:

As is often the case, Windows users aren't able to enjoy Ulysses. Also, while Ulysses supports markup and publishing directly to WordPress or Ghost, these are features more suited to blogging than novel writing. 

Ulysses is a great writing app for Apple users who blog , but novelists might want to seek another solution. 

13. WriteItNow

Unlike some of the other tools featured in this guide, WriteItNow is intended just for novelists.

Writeitnow Novel Writing Software

Some of the functionality offered by WriteItNow includes support for chapters and scenes, the inclusion of research and background notes, the option to view your novel as a storyboard, and the setting of writing targets and goals to help you stay on schedule. 

How much does WriteItNow cost?

So how much does it cost to get started with WriteItNow?

  • Free trial. Fully-featured but doesn't allow for saving. 
  • $59.95. One-off purchase price

Which platforms is WriteItNow available for?

At this time, WriteItNow is available for:

What are the pros and cons of using WriteItNow?

Here are some things to consider before choosing WriteItNow as your novel writing software:

Pros of WriteItNow:

WriteItNow offers some great features that will make writing your next novel far easier than using a standard writing app. It's also available at an affordable price point that doesn't tie you into a subscription.

Cons of WriteItNow:

If you’re looking for a mobile novel writing software, or one which supports Cloud functionality, WriteItNow isn’t the right option for you.

14. Writer’s Blocks

Do you struggle to plan and organize your thoughts? If so, Writer’s Blocks is intended for writers just like you!

Writer's Blocks is aimed at both screenwriters and novelists. In addition to full word processing capabilities, the software organizes your writing into blocks. These can be color-coded, dragged and dropped, and rearranged. 

Writer'S Blocks Novel Writing Software

While the organizational abilities of Writer's Blocks are useful, it doesn't offer the level of functionality seen in some other options on this list. 

How much does Writer’s Blocks cost?

Writer's Blocks costs $149 as a one-off payment.

Which platforms is Writer’s Blocks available for?

Writer’s Blocks is only available for Windows . 

What are the pros and cons of using Writer’s Blocks?

What do you need to know about using Writer’s Blocks?

Pros of Writer's Blocks:

If you struggle with organizing your writing and planning , Writer’s Blocks makes life a lot easier in comparison to most word processors. 

Cons of Writer's Blocks:

In our opinion, Writer’s Blocks offers a lower level of functionality than some other software. It also costs more . 

Unless you’ve tried out Writer’s Blocks and prefer the way it works, we’d suggest looking at Scrivener or WriteItNow instead of this. 

15. yWriter 

yWriter has gained an appreciative fanbase in the author community. It was made by an author who also happens to be a programmer. 

Ywriter Novel Writing Software

yWriter also has a long history of being updated and offering improvements.

Best of all? yWriter is free. It offers a lot of power and functionality for a free tool. Because it was made by a novelist with novelists in mind, it allows you to track info related to your characters, settings , and even objects. 

It’s a great choice for detail-rich novels. 

How much does yWriter cost?

yWriter is free across all versions and platforms. 

Which platforms is yWriter available for?

yWriter’s primary platform is Windows, but you can find it on:

  • Full version available for Windows 
  • Mac Alpha version (the creator of yWriter suggests using Scrivener for Mac instead of yWriter

What are the pros and cons of using yWriter?

Is yWriter the right choice of software for your novel?

Pros of yWriter:

If you’re a novelist working on Windows, you can’t do better than yWriter as a free tool . It offers a lot of the functionality of paid tools without the need to spend a single cent. 

Cons of yWriter:

If you work on a Mac or iOS device , yWriter isn't the best choice for you. Consider software such as Scrivener instead or one of the specialist Mac-only novel writing apps found in this guide. 

Final verdict: What is the best novel writing software?

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Thank you for checking out our guide to specialist novel writing software available for authors.

At this point, you know you have a lot of options! But which one is the best writing software for novels?

Ultimately, there’s no substitute for trying out software for yourself and seeing if you enjoy the experience of using it. 

The best writing software for novels is an entirely personal choice, and will come down to the following factors:

  • Functionality. Which features are available in one software but not another? Which features do you need, and which are you unlikely to make use of when working on a novel?
  • Price. How much are you willing to invest? Would you prefer a one-off payment cost or a monthly or annual subscription?
  • Compatibility. Is the novel writing software you're considering compatible with your operating system? Is it still being updated and likely to remain compatible in the future?

If you’re looking for somewhere to start, we suggest taking advantage of the free trial edition of Scrivener.

As Scrivener offers almost everything out there in terms of functionality, by using it, you’ll soon get a feel for the features you do and don’t need. 

By the time your 30 days of Scrivener are over, you can make the choice to either stick with the full version or opt for something a little less complex.

If you’ve used any of the novel writing software in this guide, please feel free to leave a comment!

Now that you're equipped with the right tools to start writing your book, it's a good time to also think about what happens after you have your manuscript. Book writing software will help you make sure your book is polished and ready to publish.

What is your favorite novel writing software?

best creative writing software for windows

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Novel Factory

It will come as little surprise that we think the Novel Factory is the best writing software. That’s because we’ve spent the last ten years trying to work out what makes novel writing software great, and then building it.

Nonetheless, we are aware that writers’ needs vary, and that there are apps out there that are more established or have a different focus or a development team with different areas of expertise.

So we have genuinely done our best in this review to give an honest rundown of some of the best novel writing software options, analysing their strengths and weaknesses. But we’ll start with the one we know best.

The main strengths of Novel Factory are its intuitive, clean design and the wealth and detail of the novel writing resources.

As well as providing a word processor, features for creating plots and managing subplots, and areas for keeping notes on characters, locations and items – the software integrates what some have described as ‘an MA in writing’.

As well as the Roadmap, which is a step-by-step guide to writing a novel, it includes detailed character development questionnaires, world building guides and plot templates based on popular genres.

So it’s not just the car, but the engine and map as well.

The software has a section for setting your writing targets, and then automatically updates colour-coded graphs so you can track your progress towards them.

It also autosaves your manuscript and has version history, so you can access previous drafts of your writing.

And as the data is centrally stored, it’s easy for writers to collaborate on a single novel, always able to access the latest changes.

If we have to focus on the weaknesses of the Novel Factory, then we have to admit it’s not the cheapest option out there. Writers on a tight budget may not be able to stretch to $7.50 per month. We hate the idea of anyone being priced out, so we do run promos a few times a year which bring the price down, and we offer educational discounts and occasionally free licences on a hardship basis (get in touch with us for more info).

Is the Novel Factory the best novel writing software for me?

The Novel Factory is perfect for new writers, who want to learn their craft while writing their first novel.

It’s great for planners, who want to use established structures to make their story skeleton bullet-proof and develop complex characters with desires, flaws and internal conflicts.

It’s the right fit if you want somewhere to keep track of all supporting data, as well as writing the novel itself, and if you want options to work Online and Offline, as it suits you.

It’s good for visual learners, who appreciate being able to add a lot of images, who like to see how different aspects of the novel link together and who like everything clearly categorised and aesthetically appealing.

It’s less useful for writers who want something more freeform, or something where they can set up and rearrange the categories themselves. And discovery writers may prefer something a bit more streamlined and simple, as they may not need the additional sections for supporting data.

Click here to find out more about the features included in the Novel Factory 3.0, or click here for a free 30 day trial .

Scrivener Novel Writing Software

No novel writing software list would be complete without Scrivener – the Goliath of the writing software world.

Scrivener was one of the first apps to appear on the market, and is by far the most well-known program today.

The main strengths of Scrivener are its flexibility and richness of features. It has had a long time to mature, and take into account feedback from its huge community, so it is packed full of features, from index cards to name generators. It offers goal tracking, word counts and places to keep your notes.

Plus, because the community is so huge, you can take advantage of freely shared resources, such as character and plot templates.

Scrivener is very reasonably priced at £47, and is available for Mac, PC and even IOS (though the licences for each of these are sold separately), though there isn’t a web-based version.

The widely accepted main weakness of Scrivener is the other side of the coin of its strength – it’s complexity.

The ‘steep learning curve’ is cited by many as a real issue, and while there are dozens of courses to help you get to grips with the intricacies of the program, people who are trying to write a novel are usually already struggling to find enough time just to write their manuscript. And it’s quite a big ask to require someone to invest dozens of hours learning a program before they’re even sure it’s the right one for them.

Is Scrivener the best creative writing software for me?

Scrivener is a great app, with tons of fantastic features, and there’s a reason it’s used by so many writers.

As they state on their website, they, ‘won’t tell you how to write’, so this it’s best suited to an experienced novelist who has time to learn the features and work out how to use them to plan and write their novel.

It offers a lot of flexibility and customisation so, you can use the tools in lots of different ways, to suit your style.

But for a newer novelist, who is just learning their craft and might want a little more guidance, it can be a bit overwhelming, while not offering guidance on how to actually write a novel.

And having so many choices can also lead to decision paralysis, or not really knowing the best way to proceed, so it probably won’t suit people who are less comfortable with advanced technology and customisation.

Click here to find out more about Scrivener and get a free trial.

best creative writing software for windows

YWriter is another veteran piece of software which is widely respected and loved.

YWriter contains all the key features you’d expect from novel writing software, including clearly defined places to keep track of your characters , locations, scenes, chapters and somewhere to write your novel.

A big strength is that it allows you to link everything together and handily cross-reference, and it has lots of tools to keep track of your word counts and progress.

The main weakness of yWriter is that it’s not clear where to start when you first open it, and the word processor takes a while to find. Also, some sections of the interface are a bit primitive, requiring you to enter code syntax, rather than offering a proper graphic user interface where you can simply, click, drag and drop.

The characters, locations and tools tabs are all fairly straightforward, but the interface is all table-based, which can get a bit monotonous. While you can add images to characters, locations and items, they’re not displayed in the main interface for quick reference.

Like Scrivener, it doesn’t give you any guidance on how to actually write a novel.

Is yWriter the best free novel writing software for me?

While yWriter isn’t the most intuitive software to use, or the most fully featured, it has one major advantage which, for many writers, will rocket it above all the competitors.

That is that it is completely free.

For a free product, yWriter is quite phenomenal and it is extremely generous of the developer to give away such a great app with no charge at all. Of course, you can donate to help support future development, but even the suggested donations are only up to $24.95 as a one off.

So if you are looking for dedicated software to keep track of the key aspects of your novel but you’re on a tight budget, then yWriter is a fantastic option.

Click here to find out more about yWriter.

Fictionary Novel Editing Software

Fictionary is an online creative writing software that approaches the process from a different point of view. Instead of starting with an idea and helping the writer grow it into a full novel, Fictionary has a stronger focus on improving your manuscript after you’ve written it.

The main strength of Fictionary is its analytical capabilities once you import your manuscript. It can help you get an overarching view of your story arc.

It has an attractive interface and a sidebar with lots of useful prompts to help you think about various aspects of each scene.

The ‘Plot’ section of the sidebar gives useful prompts to encourage you to consider the type, role and goals of each scene.

Likewise, the ‘settings’ section offers useful prompts to help you think not only about the practical details of your setting, but also how it impacts the story.

The main weakness of Fictionary is that the data is only as good as what you enter, and the analysis relies a lot on your own understanding of story and character.

It offers a lot of numerical analysis and helps you identify tangible things such as chapters or scenes which are excessively long, or which contain excessive numbers of characters, but whether those things are actually an issue or not depends a lot on context and your own choices, and at the end of the day, the quality of a novel can’t be boiled down to statistics.

Also, everything is viewed by scenes, so you can’t get much of an overview of your plot, apart from the quite limited Story Arc.

Also, like Novlr, it doesn’t have much support for plot structure development or developing your characters, which isn’t that surprising, since its focus is on after you’ve written the novel. You can enter your characters, but the data is limited to name and whether that character is POV. You can’t add any further information, or images. You can add information about locations to each scene, but there’s no database of locations that stands alone.

It’s also the most expensive option on our list, at $20 per month or $200 per year.

Is Fictionary the best novel editing software for me?

Fictionary is useful if you’ve already written a manuscript and you want to analyse it to find out where the inconsistencies or weak areas are.

It’s great if you love obsessing over data, and it can help you think about aspects of scenes to make them stronger and more compelling.

It’s not very useful for new novelists who want to learn how to write their first novel, or for planners who are looking for tools to structure, outline and develop characters before writing their novel.

Click here to find out more about Fictionary and get a free trial.

Atticus Novel Writing Software

Atticus is a newcomer to the market, created by established self-publishing marketing guru, Dave Chesson.

The key unique strength of Atticus is its formatting and publishing functions. As a self-published author, Dave rightly recognised that there were few options on the market that allowed you to easily ready your manuscript for self-publishing – and even fewer if you weren’t on a Mac.

Atticus allows you to easily select between various formatting styles, and export your novel to a ready-to-go ebook format for all the major self-publishing platforms.

In conjunction with that, Atticus includes dedicated spaces for front matter and back matter, and it allows you to set writing goals, and even select which days of the week you plan to write, which is a nice touch.

It works in a browser, and you can also download apps for Windows and Mac, making it one of the most cross-platform options out there.

It’s got a slick, attractive, highly intuitive interface. It even features a cute cartoon dog – what’s not to like?

The weakness of Atticus compared to other novel writing software, is that it doesn’t offer any areas for keeping track of characters or locations, managing your plot. Of course if you don’t need those features, then that’s not a problem at all.

It also doesn’t get into the business of teaching you how to write a novel, so if you’re a beginner looking for more craft guidance, you’ll need to find that info somewhere else.

It doesn’t offer any free trial, which could be quite off-putting to some people, and the price isn’t that cheap, at $147, though that is a one-off cost. Asking people to pay that much without having been able to poke at the software first demands quite a lot of trust, though there is a no-quibble 30 day money back guarantee.

Is Atticus the best novel formatting software for me?

Atticus is almost certainly the best option for actively self-publishing authors who have a reasonable budget available and prefer to just get on with writing their novels without doing a lot of additional work creating character profiles, locations sheets or planning documents.

It offers a clean interface for writing, and easy formatting and publishing to all the major platforms, something very few of the other options offer.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for more comprehensive novel writing software which includes features and functions to help you keep track of characters, manage your plot and subplots and give novel writing advice, then Atticus is not that sort of one-stop-shop.

Click here to check out Atticus.

Write It Now

WriteItNow Novel Writing Software

Write it Now is a desktop based novel writing software app available for both Windows and Mac, with a wide range of features, but quite a cluttered, dated interface.

The main strength of Write It Now is the wide range of features it includes.

As well as having sections to keep your characters, locations, events, props, notes and research, it has some cool tools which are rare in other programs, such as character relationship charts.

There are some prompts and guidance with regards to characters, such as including their birth and death date, and their relationship to other characters, but ‘personality’ is limited to sliders on different personality traits, such as ‘health’ or ‘aggression’.

Another strength is that it includes places for front and back matter, and offers a wide range of export options.

By far the biggest weakness of the software is its interface. Balance, style and consistency are lacking and it’s cluttered with fussy icons. And while at the top level the sections are quite intuitive, many of the buttons within the sections are quite confusing and it’s unclear what the intent behind them is, even after you’ve clicked them.

Finally, it doesn’t appear to offer many overview options, so apart from the tree list on the left hand side, you can’t view all of your characters at a glance. There also doesn’t seem to be a way to get an overview of your plot structure.

Is Write It Now the best novel planning software for me?

Write It Now is good for writers who are comfortable with technology and like to have lots of detailed features and functions, and who want to be able to drill down into lots of detail, and customise the software to suit themselves. And who aren’t that fussed about aesthetics.

It’s also a good option for users who prefer Desktop software, as many of the novel writing apps out there now are solely web-based.

It’s not good for people who value an aesthetically pleasing, intuitive interface. It’s also not good for people who want to keep things simple.

It doesn’t include any guidance on how to write a novel, so it’s less useful for new novel writers.

Click here to check out Write It Now.


Focus Writer Novel Writing App

FocusWriter is a super-simple, free app to help writers focus and avoid distractions.

It’s biggest strength is exactly what it says – its focus. Its main objective is to minimise distractions, so you can get on with writing your novel.

It also has some customisation options, so you can change the background image to something you like and it’s available in multiple languages.

Its weakness is that it doesn’t offer anything else.

There is nowhere to keep track of any supporting information, such as that of characters, locations, items, research or notes. Of course, it doesn’t intend to offer those things, but if you want them – that’s a problem.

There’s no support on how to write a novel, and despite its simplicity, the interface still manages to look slightly dated.

Is FocusWriter the best novel writing software for me?

FocusWriter is perfect for authors who just want to get on and write a manuscript and not faff around with lots of planning and research. So it’s far better suited to discovery writers, rather than planners.

People who like to have a completely clear desk, and who find clutter impacts on their train of thought, will find FocusWriter the perfect solution.

If you’re looking for a more fully featured program, which will help keep track of supporting information, as well as the manuscript itself, then this is not the app for you.

Likewise, if you’re a new writer who wants a program that integrates guidance, templates and novel writing advice, then this is not a good option.

Click here to download FocusWriter.

Bibisco Novel Writing Software

Bibisco is a desktop based app with a clean, uncluttered layout and a good range of features.

It’s main strengths are the simplicity of its interface and the fact it has sections for all the major aspects of novel writing.

It’s nicely laid out, with the option to add images to things such as characters and locations. It has graphs to visualise things such as chapter lengths and character and object distribution. Another great feature is the character relationships tool.

It includes quite a few character development prompts, though how you fill them in is a little confusing at first, and it’s not possible to easily see all the information at a glance, you have to keep clicking to drill down, and then clicking to go back up to the top level again.

Another nice touch is the popup help boxes that appear as you move through the app, giving you extra hints and tips without making you grind to a halt to complete a lengthy tutorial.

The biggest weaknesses of the software are the fact that it has no free trial, and the lack of clear flow of overarching structure to the software.

This is one of the only programs that doesn’t offer a free trial. The price is very low (only $18, though you can pay more if you feel inclined to), so you could just take a punt on it, but it seems a big ask to require people to fork out before they’ve ever had a chance to take it for a test drive and see if it suits them.

The other issue is that it’s not always clear the best way to use the software. For many this is fine, as they’ll use it how they please – but if you’re looking for something that will guide you through the novel writing process, you’ll be disappointed.

Is Bibisco the best novel writing software for me?

If you’re looking for a low-cost desktop app to keep track of key information relating to your novel, then Bibisco is a great choice. It has a nice clean interface, contains all the key sections you could require with a few nice extras, and is very modestly priced.

However, if you’re a discovery writer who just wants to get writing, it’s unlikely to suit you, as the emphasis is on supporting data, rather than the manuscript. It actually takes a while to find the word processor.

And if you’re a planner looking for a way to shuffle around plot points and get a bird’s eye view of your structure, Bibisco doesn’t provide that.

It also isn’t designed for new writers who are looking for guidance on how to actually write their novel, as it doesn’t contain that sort of information.

Click here to find out more about Bibisco.

Wavemaler Novel Writing Software

Wavemaker is a smart novel writing app which contains a range of useful features for novelists.

Like yWriter, it is a labour of love by a single developer who wanted to create software for his own writing, and like yWriter it is also available for free, with a gentle encouragement for you to donate money so he can spend more time on it.

It’s a progressive web app, which means it runs in a browser, but continues to work if you go offline, syncing as soon as it gets a connection back.

Our favourite Wavemaker strengths are its range of elegant planning features and its beautiful interface.

Wavemaker contains several different ways to plan your novel and gather your notes, each slightly different to take into account different ways of processing information, but allowing you to drag and drop items, and link ideas and notes in different ways.

It includes tagging, which can be very useful for cross-referencing and sorting, and it has a sidebar so you can view some of your notes while writing your manuscript.

It is very clean and pleasing to look at, and using the tools is very intuitive.

The main weakness of Wavemaker is that while it is a great selection of tools, they don’t integrate in any coherent way. You can’t enter info in one and then view it in one of the other sections to get a different perspective. There’s no flow, where you start in one section, then when that’s complete, move to the next. Then again, the freeform way will work better for many people.

Also, the tools mostly stop at the top level functionality, so they do what they say, but there’s not a lot more below the surface.

It doesn’t have any novel writing teaching resources, so people who are looking to write their first novel will need to find that information somewhere else, and there’s little in the way of prompts, to show you how to develop characters or settings, or structure a plot.

Is Wavemaker the best free novel writing software for me?

Wavemaker is great if you want a flexible, intuitive and aesthetically pleasing toolbox for working out the plot of your novel.

It will also be good for discovery writers who want a clean interface which works online and offline.

It’s less useful for new writers who are looking for writing craft guidance, or for those who like to see how all their data links together across the different sections.

Click here to check out Wavemaker.

Novlr Novel Writing Software

Novlr is a web-based novel writing app with a beautiful interface, a bunch of great features and plenty of resources to help teach you how to write a novel.

One of the biggest strengths of Novlr is how attractive and pleasing it is to look at, with its slick layout. For some people, this may be considered unimportant compared to the features available, but for many of us a clear, uncluttered interface helps our thoughts flow more clearly.

It also offers spelling and grammar suggestions, in the same way Word does, which not many novel writing apps do.

It autosaves and creates a version history, which gives great peace of mind.

It includes word count info and even motivational messages when you achieve your goals.

One of its weaknesses is the price – it is among the higher priced apps at $100 per year.

Another potential weakness (though could be a strength, depending on your point of view), is that it doesn’t have any features relating to characters, plotting or locations. The focus of Novlr is solely on the manuscript, so any related research or development you want to do has to be done elsewhere.

Is Novlr the right story writing software for me?

Novlr is perfect for discovery writers (also known as pantsers), with its beautiful, clean interface, proofreading tools and version history.

It’s also good for new writers as, like the Novel Factory, it has an integrated course to help you write your novel.

It’s not so useful for writers who are looking for a more all round software, which will give them somewhere to keep track of their cast of characters, offer plotting tools and world building resources.

Click here to find out more about Novlr and get a free trial.

In summary – what is the best novel writing software for you? Our top three recommendations, for planners, pantsers, and those on a budget.

As we’ve seen, if you’re looking for novel writing software, you’re spoiled for choice. You can find software that will take care of all your supporting novel data, such as characters and locations, or you can find absolute minimalist apps to help you avoid distractions.

There is software that teaches you how to write a novel, and there’s software that gives you imaginative ways to view your data, such as index cards, mind maps and relationship charts.

Some of the software is perfect for discovery writers, while others are a dream come true for planners. You may also want to consider using Papertyper, a free AI essay writer tool that can help you organize your thoughts and ideas. This is also worth your attention.

Some are aesthetically pleasing and calming to look at and use, while others prioritise highly customisable detail.

The right software for you will depend on your personal preferences and priorities, but here’s a summary of our top three favourites, for the most diverse requirements:

Here are our top recommendations:

  • Best all round novel writing software: The Novel Factory
  • Best minimalist writing software: FocusWriter
  • Best free novel writing software: Wavemaker

Whatever your needs, we hope you find the tool that’s a perfect partner for your novel writing future!

Unlock your writing potential

If you liked this article by the Novel Factory, then why not try the Novel Factory app for writers?

It includes:

  • Plot Templates
  • Character Questionnaires
  • Writing Guides
  • Drag & Drop Plotting Tools
  • World Building resources
  • Much, much more

best creative writing software for windows


15 BEST Writing Apps & Software for Windows PC (2024)

Alyssa Walker

Writing Apps are applications that help you to manage and boost writing stories, emails, ideas, social media posts, articles, and more. These programs have a user-friendly interface that helps you to manage your files. Following is a handpicked list of Top Writing Software, with their popular features and website links. The list contains both open source (free) and commercial (paid) software. Read more…


Grammarly is a widely used writing enhancement tool. It offers numerous writing styles, suggestions for grammar, vocabulary, and syntax. It offers a useful knowledge base for grammar learning.

Best Text Writing Apps & Software

1) Grammarly

Grammarly is a widely used writing enhancement tool. It offers numerous writing styles, suggestions for grammar, vocabulary, and syntax. You can use this tool via the website, as a browser extension or as an app that you download to your computer.


  • It helps enhance your writing skills by highlighting grammatical mistakes and areas of improvement.
  • Works with every type of website with ease.
  • Detect contextual mistakes.
  • Genre-specific suggestion abilities.
  • It offers a useful knowledge base for grammar learning.
  • Helps writer to boost their writing style.
  • Make text corrections across different websites and platforms.

Supported Platform: Web and browser extension.

Visit Grammarly >>

Free Forever

2) Prowritingaid

Prowritingaid is a tool that offers world-class grammar and style checking facility. It helps you to edit documents faster. This software includes more than 1000s of style to improve your writing.


  • It enables you to fix the writing style issue.
  • Prowritingaid shows spelling and grammar mistakes.
  • It has word explorer facilities to find the right word.
  • It is one of the best writing apps for Windows that offers a consistent report to reduce mistakes.

Supported Platform: Mac, Web, and Windows.

Visit Prowritingaid >>

14-Day Free Trial

Surfer is an easy to use writing app that helps you to generate a whole content strategy in a few clicks. It allows you to develop data-driven content.


  • Helps you to craft content marketing strategy through generating guidelines and insights for a single article.
  • One-click content guidelines to make search engine results by storm.
  • Help you identify content gaps and structural defects.
  • Generate a content strategy according to your business needs.

Visit Surfer >>

30-Day Money-back Guarantee

4) Final Draft

Final Draft is a writing app that enables you to write and format screenplays for televisions. It enables you to collaborate with other people in real time.

Final Draft

  • Allows you to store various versions of lines.
  • It auto-fills commonly used locations and names.
  • You can insert images on title pages.
  • It enables you to write screenplays without using the keyboard.
  • Eliminate distractions using night mode.

Visit Final Draft >>

30-Day Free Trial

5) Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word is a writing app that helps you to transform documents into web pages. It offers a real-time translation facility with just one tap. This program enables you to read and edit documents attached to the email.

Microsoft Word

  • Provides templates for resumes and forms.
  • You can read documents, PDF, letters, and scripts on your mobile device.
  • It enables you to save a document as a PDF file.
  • Share your file with others with a few taps.
  • Support editing with rich formatting.
  • Manage permission for documents
  • You can comment in the documents.

Supported Platform: Android, Mac, iOS, and Windows.

Visit Microsoft Word

Frase is software for speech recognition. This application allows you to talk, and your words will appear on the screen. It helps you to make documents without using a keyboard.


  • It allows you to control your PC by voice with accuracy and speed.
  • This tool is faster than typing text with a keyboard.
  • It can be used by students, enterprise users, and professionals.

Supported Platform: Windows, iOS, and Mac.

Visit Frase >>

5-Day Trial for $1

7) Scrivener

Scrivener is an ideal creative writing apps. It provides a management system for documents, metadata, and notes. This application helps you to organize and research the document for easy access.


  • It highlights the phrases that you need to work.
  • You can add comments and annotations.
  • This software allows you to indent block quota.
  • Make heading large and bold.
  • You can import plain text files, and Word documents, PDF documents, and more.

Visit Scrivener >>

30-Days Free Trial

8) Calmlywriter

Calmlywriter is free writing software. The design of this program is minimal. This online application is design to help you to focus on your writing skills. It has a “focus mode” option that can highlight the paragraph you are writing.


  • You can get the support of full-screen mode.
  • It is simple to use.
  • You can on or off typewriter sound.
  • Supports syntax to format headers, bold, italics, as well as bullets.
  • It allows you to use keyboard shortcuts.
  • Spell check via a browser.
  • It provides a word counter.
  • You can export to PDF file.


9) JotterPad – Writer, Screenplay, Novel

JotterPad is an Android application that is designed especially for writers. It is one of the best writing apps which has a plain text editor helping you to write books, poems, novels, essays, etc. The tool enables you to focus on converting your thoughts into a plain text file.


  • You can quickly search for phrases.
  • Supports Markdown (Text to HTML conversion tool).
  • It allows you to count words.
  • This tool helps you to control the version of the document.
  • Write or edit the text in the cloud.
  • Print or publish your work to PDF.
  • It has a built-in dictionary to search for words.

Supported Platform: Android.


10) Google Doc

Google Doc is an online application that helps you to format text and paragraphs. It is one of the best writing app that contains numerous fonts and images. This tool offers templates for writing documents. You can use the application to create and make changes in files anywhere anytime.

Google Doc

  • You can access it from a Phone tablet or computer.
  • You can make changes in the document in real-time.
  • Supports chat and comment in the file.
  • Convert Google Doc file to Word file or vice versa.
  • You can search quotes, text, and images in the Google Doc Android app.
  • Supports a wide range of add-ons.

Supported Platform: Web, iOS, and Android, and Mac.


11) Ginger software

Ginger is one of the oldest writing enhancement tool. It will help you to correct text as you type, picking up many common grammatical errors like punctuation, sentence structuring, subject-verb agreement, writing style, and wording. Apart from the usual grammar, the checker offers a set of unique little features in it like text reader, translator, trainer, etc.

Ginger software

  • Ginger software is well efficient Grammarly checker tool to detect misspelled words.
  • It is one of the best free Grammarly alternative app which helps you to correct all errors at once and also allows you to undo all changes with just one click.
  • This program allows you to do the switching between US and UK English languages.
  • Ginger punctuation checker helps you to check punctuation mistakes in your content.
  • You can add your words to the personal dictionary to consider them as errors in the future.
  • Identify document errors and correct them.
  • Fast and effective spelling and grammar check.
  • Help improve users’ English writing skills.

Supported Platform: Windows, iOS, Mac, and browser extension.


12) Readable

Readable is a word processor that helps you to test readability, grammar, and spelling of your text. It is one of the best writing app which supports integration with API into your content management software. You can paste your text into this tool, and it will give you instant analysis. It also recommends improvement.


  • Provides readability score in a spreadsheet.
  • It can analyze the quality of the text.
  • This tool can check the density of the keyword.
  • The application gives readability alerts.
  • It provides team management facility.
  • Readable allows you to share text, file scores, and websites.

Supported Platform: Web.


13) iA Writer

iA Writer is a text editor that gives users a clean, simple, and distraction-free writing experience. This tool can be used devices like smartphones, tablets, and more.

iA Writer

  • Supports keyboard shortcuts.
  • It can highlight the current sentence and word you are typing.
  • You can connect to cloud services like Google Drive and Dropbox.
  • It has easy to use writing interface.

Supported Platform: Mac and Windows.


14) Writing Challenge

Writing challenge is a tool that provides an easy way to improve writing. You can write stories step by step. It helps you speed up your writing by adjusting the timer.

Writing Challenge

  • This tool helps you to generate creative ideas.
  • It provides many combinations to start your stories.
  • This software offers an option to suggest in your story.

Supported Platform: Android, Mac, and iOS.


15) Ulysses (for Mac)

Ulysses is a tool that helps you to manage you’re your projects. It is one of the best free writing software which enables you to work anywhere, anytime. This tool helps you to transform the text into a PDF file. You can export text file HTML for use on the web.


  • This software offers a clean and distraction-free environment.
  • It helps you to enhance plaintext.
  • Ulysses has a hierarchic group that enables you to organize your writing project.
  • Collaboration, for example, with your colleague using Dropbox.
  • Export text file to Markdown, HTML, or rich text.
  • Publish stories to Medium and WordPress.
  • Provides live preview to see how your output will look like.
  • It has numerous styles and themes.

Supported Platform: Mac and iOS.


Why use writing apps?

Writing apps are used because:

  • They help you to make writing easier.
  • It offers numerous writing styles, suggestions for grammar, vocabulary, syntax.
  • Applications identify document errors and correct them.

What are the general features of writing apps?

The best writing software have the following features:

  • Writing apps solve grammatical errors like punctuation, sentence structuring, subject-verb agreement, writing style, and wording.
  • It helps you to make writing easier.

Writing Apps are applications that help you to manage and boost writing stories, emails, ideas, social media posts, articles, and more.

Here are some of the Best Writing Apps & Software:

  • Prowritingaid
  • Final Draft
  • Microsoft Word
  • Calmlywriter
  • 11 Best FREE Grammarly Alternatives (2024 Premium Apps)
  • Grammarly vs Ginger – Which is Better?
  • 21 BEST Word Processing Software (2024)
  • Grammarly vs ProWritingAid: Which to choose?
  • 13 BEST Plagiarism Checker Software (Free & Paid)
  • 18 Best FREE Grammar Checker Software (2024)
  • 10+ BEST Privacy Policy Generators for your Website (2024)
  • 9 BEST Sentence Rephraser Tools (2024 Update)

Become a Writer Today

32 Best Free Writing Software: Budget-Friendly Writing Options

Discover our guide with the best free writing software, ideal for writers, students, and creatives on a budget. Delve into the realm of the written word without costly fees.

Writing is a fulfilling pursuit. It’s an excellent opportunity to explore your creative side, dive deep into your chosen ideas, and entertain your readers while educating them about an interesting topic. There’s one downside: the writing process can also be costly. 

Many writing apps come with expensive subscriptions or purchase fees, which can put new writers completely off starting. But fear not! I’ve done the research and found the very best free writing software available on the market today. 

It’s only fair that writers on a budget have the same freedom to express their ideas and follow their passions, so check out our list and start writing today! For help with your writing, check out our guide on how to write a story outline .

1. Windows Notepad

2. hemingway editor, 3. apple pages, 4. apple books for authors, 5. dropbox paper, 9. libreoffice writer, 10. wordcounter , 11. coschedule headline studio, 12. focuswriter, 14. workflowy, 15. google docs, 16. slick write, 17. grammarly, 18. prowritingaid, 19. writemonkey, 20. cliché finder, 21. de-jargonizer, 22. reedsy book editor, 23. expresso, 24. easybib, 25. zoho writer, 26. evernote, 27. mindmeister, 29. chatgpt, 30. unpaywall, 31. otranscribe, 32. google forms, final word on best free writing software, selection criteria for the best free writing programs, why you can trust us, how can i choose the best free writing software program to meet my needs, is it safe for me to use free writing programs, best word processor for windows.

Price: Free Operating system: Windows

Windows Notepad

Windows Notepad is a simple text editor and writing software that comes free with all Windows operating systems. It’s a staple writer and editor that has been a part of the Windows package for years, allowing Windows users to jot down notes, create lists, or write documents quickly. The simplicity of the free writing app is one of the main reasons why this app has remained popular over the years.

  • Manage large projects easily with a high-level overview
  • Mobile apps for iPhone and iPad are available
  • Publishing, template, and productivity features are available
  • Has a steep learning curve
  • No application for Android devices
  • Formatting can be hard

Price: Free Operating system: Mac and Windows

Hemingway Editor

If you want to make your work easier to read, the Hemingway Editor is one of the most effective options. While the program has many features that make it deserving of a spot on this list, the most impressive is the readability score. To learn more about the different editing tools on the market, check out our Hemingway App review .

  • Completely free
  • Provides advice on a wide variety of writing issues
  • Can help you keep your writing concise
  • The program is an editor, not a writing software program
  • Sometimes highlights adverbs that add value to your work
  • Doesn’t always provide context behind some suggestions

Best Word Processor for Mac

Price: Free with Macs Operating system: Mac, iOS

Apple Pages

If you use a Mac, then there is a good chance you have heard about Apple Pages . It’s one of the best writing programs for Mac users, and it works smoothly. Similar to Microsoft Word on Windows, you start with a blank document. Then, you can include a template to make the process easier. In addition, Apple Pages comes with numerous features, including spell check, word count, and track changes. To learn more about the different editing tools on the market, check out our post on the best grammar tools

  • Straightforward and easy to use
  • Automatically saves your work to your iCloud Drive
  • Include customizable features such as spell checkers and word counts
  • Grammar checker is not the best
  • Only available for Mac users
  • File type cannot be opened on all applications

Price: Free Operating system: Mac, iOS

Apple Books for Authors

Apple Books for Authors is an Apple-exclusive platform that allows authors to write and publish their work with ease. The writing app is free with all Apple products and works with Apple Pages. Writers can create their work with Pages, format it to EPUB for publication and publish it straight to Apple Books. All you need is an Apple phone or Macbook and an iTunes Connect account to get your debut novel on the virtual eBook shelves.

Price: Free with a Dropbox account Operating system:  Mac, Windows, Linux

Dropbox Paper

If you have a free Dropbox account, you can use Dropbox Paper . It is a simple word processor, but the application can do much more. In addition to editing documents, you can include YouTube videos, audio files, images, and slideshows. It’s a great writing app if you need to work with others on writing and multimedia. 

  • Free to use with Dropbox
  • Can handle images and videos
  • Strong collaborative capabilities
  • Program can be a bit slow
  • Requires Dropbox to use
  • Can be difficult to learn

Best Free Word Alternative

Price: Free Operating system: Mac, Windows


If you have issues with writer’s block, you may want to give OneLook a try. This is a straightforward program to use. All you have to do is give a brief description, which can be as short as a single word. Then, you can see all related words, helping you develop ideas for your writing. Plus, it’s completely free to use, which is great for new writers on a budget.

  • Can help you overcome writer’s block
  • Gives you access to a thesaurus for ideas as well as single words
  • Not all suggestions directly related
  • Program is limited and old

Price: Free Operating system: Mac, Windows, Linux

Abi Word

If you are looking for a simple word processor to help you with your next writing project, consider AbiWord . It’s a simple, bare-bones word processor that includes the basics, including a grammar checker. It is also compatible with a wide variety of file types.

  • Free to download and use
  • Very simple and straightforward
  • Compatible with multiple file types
  • Software program looks outdated
  • Can be a bit slow
  • You will need another program if you want to print


If you are looking for a program to help you write books, you may want to try Shaxpir . It is available for Mac and PC and has a built-in spell checker. In addition, you can leave comments in the margins and set goals that help you track your progress. Shaxpir has a limited free version available, as well as a premium subscription. Shaxpir 4: Everyone is free and includes everything you need to build and export manuscripts, track goals and more.

  • Manuscript Builder allows you to rearrange your manuscript
  • Program can handle multiple chapters and scenes
  • Compatible with Mac and PC
  • The program can be a bit difficult to use
  • The margins can be hard to read
  • Gets a bit slow if your book gets too long

LibreOffice Writer

LibreOffice is a versatile and free office suite that has become very popular with government offices, businesses, and other corporate organizations. LibreOffice includes a word processor, Writer, that functions similarly to MS Word. Writer comes with various templates to create all kinds of documents. Although the interface is rather bland, it works as a simple text editor and can be used for simple and complex documents alike. 


WordCounter does exactly what it says – it counts words and characters. The online editor is designed to help writers improve their work choice and writing style, as well as check for plagiarism. There’s also a built-in grammar checker that can spot an error in your text. It’s a great all-in-one option for when you might be writing an essay or paper where you need to stick to a strict word limit.

CoSchedule Headline Studio

CoSchedule’s Headline Studio is a free writing software that creates headlines for all your marketing campaigns and content. The free version allows you to view feedback and analytics on your chosen headline for YouTube videos, Emails, blogs, TikTiks, Instagram posts and podcast episodes. 

The personalized insights give you recommendations for writing engaging titles and captions that align with your content. Using AI technology, the Headline Studio can generate dozens of headlines within seconds, helping you break out of writer’s block with a few simple clicks. 

Best Distraction-Free Writing App

Price: Free Operating system: Windows, Linux


FocusWriter is a simple program that can help you stop distractions from getting in the way of your work. The screen will look and feel familiar, but you can immerse yourself in your work by minimizing distractions that are elsewhere on the screen. The program is compatible with various operating systems and allows you to focus on the task.

  • Distraction-free writing
  • Easy to control
  • Compatible with Mac OS, Windows, and Linux
  • You won’t see your writing template
  • You can’t see your previous versions
  • You can’t share your content

Price: Free Operating system: iOS, Android, Mac and Windows


Notion is a fantastic writing app for those needing to focus on a writing project. The free version of Notion has some great features, allowing up to ten guests to collaborate on a project, and it can also integrate with chat tools like Slack. 

Notion has a simple and distraction-free interface where users can design their task boards and adjust the layout to their specific needs. It’s also a great software for brainstorming ideas, detailing plot points and creating character profiles. Check out our Grammarly Vs Notion comparison guide.

Price: Free Operating system: Mac, Linux


Workflowy is a minimalistic app best suited for note-taking, brainstorming, short-form writing and organizing ideas or tasks. Workflowy has a unique design with only one page that is used infinitely. The rolling page creates a natural rhythm of task completion and idea generation; it’s a great technique for getting creative ideas on the page and working through project tasks. Think of it like a brain dump page that you can use to get things done. 

There’s a useful search tool so that you can search for specific words or tags within your list. It’s also possible to share your page with others to view and edit, which is ideal for collaborative writing tasks. Check out our Workflowy review .

Best App with Markup Support

Google Docs

Even though there are better options than Google Docs for writing, it’s free and works everywhere with internet access. It’s easy to figure out and automatically backs up all your information to your Google Drive (provided there is enough space.) I like using Google Docs on a tablet as I can pick up writing sessions from where I left off on the go. Check out our guide looking at Grammarly vs Google Docs .

  • Free and ubiquitous
  • Ideal for collaboration
  • Supports document revisions
  • It does not come with an advanced grammar checker
  • Does not work well offline
  • Not a program designed specifically for writers

Slick Write

There are a lot of tools that will help you improve your readability, but Slick Write goes the extra mile. It will do a deep dive, analyzing every aspect of your texts and checking for repeated words, misplaced conjunctions, and sentences that are far too long. A convenient settings page allows you to customize this application to meet your needs.

  • Contains a wide variety of analytics that you can control
  • Can handle a lot of issues that most editors overlook
  • Comes with a lot of advertisements
  • The program is very slow if you want to analyze longer works
  • The suggestions sometimes don’t take content into account

Best Editing Software


Seasoned writers use Grammarly to edit their drafts. This popular free writing program can catch a wide variety of grammar issues. The free version alone can catch punctuation, spelling, and run-on sentences while giving suggestions that can help you keep your writing concise. If you want more editing software options, check out our post looking at the best Grammarly alternatives .

  • Free version is compatible with a wide variety of other programs
  • Suggestions come with clear explanations
  • Useful for all types of free writing projects
  • Free version is limited
  • Premium version is more expensive than most other programs
  • Plagiarism checker can be overzealous

Price: Free version available Operating system:  


When it’s time to edit your writing, enter ProWritingAid . It’s a grammar program and spell checker that can catch many problems you might overlook. A grammar checker will never replace an editor, but this affordable program can help you replace some of what you would get from a professional editor. ProWritingAid’s free online proofreading tool is excellent for writers looking for a budget-friendly writing app that will enhance their content. Check out our ProWritingAid review .

  • Fast and easy to use
  • Provides suggestions for grammar and sentence style
  • Premium version less expensive than other grammar checkers
  • Does not always take context into account with its suggestions
  • Premium version is not as intuitive as the free version
  • Less suitable for writing drafts

Price: Free Operating system: Windows, OSX, LINUX


WriteMonkey is a distraction-free text editing software. The immersive full-screen mode is excellent for zoning in and completing long editing projects. There are many useful features like the customizable text options, the built-in writing timer and typing sounds with typewriter scrolling. 

This writing software emulates the simplicity of typing on a typewriter but allows you to write, edit and complete documents. It also has a spell check, thesaurus and all major languages available within the software.

Cliché Finder

Cliché Finder is an outstanding free software that eliminates cliché phrases from all kinds of text. Simply add your writing to the online text box, and it will highlight any clichés present. This nifty software can help you identify phrases, expressions and words that feel flat so that you can elevate your writing to make it shine. 

It also has a built-in spell checker, so you can spot any mistakes you might have missed. Overall, this editing software is a great tool for freshening up your work during the final proofreading stages.


De-Jargonizer is most suitable for editing essays, research papers or technical articles that might use complex language. When writing about complex or technical topics, it can be challenging to write your piece in a way that makes sense to a wider audience.

Using software like De-Jargonizer can help you simplify your wording and demystify jargon. It has a simple interface that scans your writing and gives it a score of suitability for a general audience while highlighting words that should be changed.

Reedsy Book Editor

Reedsy Book Editor is a completely free writing and editing software program that makes it easy for you to coordinate with others. It has several great features, but one of the most important is the “notes” option. You can create notes, edit them, and stick them into your document, allowing you to manage different chunks of your work independently.

  • Allows you to collaborate with others easily
  • Can handle a long list of file formats and styles
  • Lacks many of the advanced features of other options
  • Takes a while to learn how to use
  • Does not create professional, finished products like other programs

Price: Free Operating system: Mac, Windows, iOS, Android


Expresso is an online text editor that focuses on simplicity and effectiveness. It’s an online tool that dissects your writing to improve the flow, word variety and impact. Expresso values privacy, so you can be assured that no texts will be saved. 

One benefit of this software is that you can enhance your understanding of English grammar and language while editing your writing. Expresso takes a formal approach by highlighting metrics like synonyms, weak verbs, nominalizations and clustered nouns. 


EasyBib’s free editor is available on all browsers. The intuitive interface is a huge selling point for this software, as the editing suggestions are easy to navigate and correct. There’s also a plagiarism check built into the software, but you’ll need to create a premium account to use this. 

Use this software to scan your essays or articles and track your word count while editing it down to one succinct document. You’ll also receive a detailed score highlighting fluency, readability, and grammar. Check out our Grammarly vs EasyBib comparison guide.

Best Brainstorming Software

Price: Free Operating system:  

Zoho Writer

If you are looking for a free word processor that doesn’t necessarily give you access to professional writing and publishing features, you might want to use Zoho Writer . This is the complete package for those who need to write many documents. 

However, it isn’t necessarily meant for book writing. Nevertheless, many people love Zoho because it bears the familiarity of Microsoft Word with some other advanced features. For more, read our Zoho Writer review .

  • Provides access to a wide array of group management and writing tools
  • Has a short learning curve with the familiarity of Microsoft Word
  • Is completely free
  • Not a professional writing tool
  • The grammar and spell checker leaves a lot to be desired
  • Cannot publish for you

Best Research and Note-Taking Software

Price: Free Operating system:  Mac, Windows, iOS, Android


When you work on a project, taking breaks occasionally is critical. Maybe you like to go to the gym. Perhaps you want to go for a walk. What happens if inspiration strikes you and you need to write something down quickly?

Evernote can help you do that. It’s an ideal program for those who like to write on different devices because you can sync your work across all of them, allowing you to work from just about anywhere. In addition, you don’t have to worry about emailing your work to yourself. As well as being the ideal on-the-go note-taking app, it’s free! Ideal for writers looking for an app to jot down ideas wherever they are. Read our guide: What is Evernote?

  • You can write while on the go
  • Sync your notes across multiple devices
  • The free version is very limited
  • Can get clunky if you work on longer assignments


MindMeister helps visualize writing projects and research by displaying concepts and ideas in a colorful mind map. Writers can use it to outline projects and collaborate with others, making it a perfect fit for group writing assignments.

The interactive map allows writers to structure content, connect related concepts, plan plotlines and explore new ideas. It’s a perfect match for writers involved in business writing, fiction writing or marketing campaigns. Check out our MindMeister review .


Miro is an aesthetically pleasing workspace ideal for teams or individuals working on a project. Writers can use it to visualize concepts, display research, build storylines, and develop character profiles. The real-time collaboration feature allows writers to work together seamlessly. It’s a comprehensive software that will enhance your workflow, streamline ideas and get your creativity flowing. Check out our Miro review .


ChatGPT has taken the world by storm. It’s an AI-powered chatbot that can create articles and blog posts and generate ideas. However, it’s also an excellent research tool. By prompting the chatbot to research and provide statistics or facts, you can receive results within seconds, saving valuable writing time. It’s an excellent tool for writers working on complex writing projects like a non-fiction book or a research paper. 

You can also ask the chatbot for suggestions to improve your writing, ideas to continue your storyline and more. The capabilities of this AI software are endless. Check out our ChatGPT review .


Unpaywall streamlines the research process for writing tasks like essays and research papers. With over 48 million scholarly articles and research papers available, writing your next essay has never been easier. It’s free to use without any subscription fees or hidden payments. Whether you’re writing academically or creating an informative document, this helpful software will allow you to quickly source accurate and high-quality data sources.


oTranscribe is a simple software that transcribes audio files or YouTube videos into a written text file. When conducting research for an academic paper, software like oTranscribe can save you many hours of listening and writing time. Simply upload your audio or video file, and oTranscribe will convert it into a plain text file or Google Doc. It’s ideal for when you might need to conduct interviews or surveys to gather data for your research paper or if you’ve been recording ideas about a new book and you need to get the thoughts on paper. The interface is simple and distraction-free, allowing writers to focus on the task at hand.

Google Forms

Google Forms is a versatile survey and interview tool that writers can use to gather information for an essay, research paper or non-fiction book. Gathering data can be challenging without the right tools, so utilizing software like Google Forms makes the process much easier. 

There are many helpful features like online sharing and drop-down menus with answer options, including multiple-choice, long text, short text or Yes/No. Share the form by printing and handing it out to research participants or share it online to gain a broader audience.

I use Ulysses the most for writing today, as it’s easy to use and works across all my devices. I also recommend Google Docs to writers and Scrivener. Ultimately, these are just a few free writing programs available. To find the best app for you, you’ll need to think about the type of writing you do, your technological prowess, and how you think the program might benefit you. Make sure you think about the benefits and drawbacks of each option before you decide.

Many great writing programs are out there, and narrowing the list down to just a few choices is difficult. The criteria we used to pick our top free writing programs include:

  • Features: The most important factor we considered is the features available. We took a deep dive into the numerous features of the program to ensure they were useful to a wide range of writers with various writing styles. 
  • Ease of Use: Then, we analyzed how easy the program was to use. While one program might have the best features, learning might take longer. 
  • Value for the Money: While this list includes the top free writing programs, nearly every program can purchase premium features. 

Of course, you must make your own decisions, as the best writing programs for one person might not necessarily be the best for your needs. However, some of the reasons why you should trust my reviews include:

  • Experienced Writer: I am a very experienced writer myself. I know what writers like, what they don’t like, and which features will make you a better writer.
  • Personal Use: I have used all of the programs on my list. While I will look at what other people think about the program, I also rely on my personal experiences.
  • Attention to Detail: When I put together my reviews, I am as specific as possible. My goal is to highlight a wide variety of specific points as I go down the list of programs. 

FAQs About the Best Free Writing Software

First, you need to think about the cost. How much are you willing to spend, and what are you getting for your money? Then, you need to consider how easy the program is to use. Can you learn the program quickly? Finally, you should take a look at a few reviews and ratings.

If you rely on a software program to help you write, you need to think about cybersecurity. For example, you might put some confidential information on your writing programs, and you need to use a program that will protect your information and value your safety.

best creative writing software for windows

Meet Rachael, the editor at Become a Writer Today. With years of experience in the field, she is passionate about language and dedicated to producing high-quality content that engages and informs readers. When she's not editing or writing, you can find her exploring the great outdoors, finding inspiration for her next project.

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13 Best Free Writing Software in 2024

February 23, 2024

by Washija Kazim

free writing software

In this post

1., 4. evernote, 5., 6. grammarly business, 7. google workspace, 9., 11. scalenut, 12. scrivener, 13. writesonic, faqs on free writing software.

Writing can be hard. Or easy and fun. Or fun and hard.

Putting words on paper might seem straightforward, but putting them all together in the best sequence? That’s another story – probably one you don’t feel like writing.  

Jokes aside, writing fulfills us, so we keep doing it. From writing a seven-part book series to jotting down a to-do list, writing is a part of being human. 

Over the years, writing has changed its forms many times. One of the biggest shifts was going digital. Novels, short stories, scripts, textbooks, research papers, and magazine articles: we can find everything online. 

And while nothing can replace the satisfaction of scribbling in your favorite notebook, writing software solutions can assist your process in ways traditional methods can’t. The best part? It’s free!

Whether you’re looking for creative artificial intelligence (AI) writing tools or a simple note-taking platform , this list of free writing software surely has something useful for your needs.

What are the best writing software solutions in 2024?

  • Grammarly Business
  • Google Workspace

* These free writing software solutions have been arranged alphabetically.

Best free writing software

Writing software enhances the writing process with insights and suggestions. Some platforms assist with research, grammar, and tone checking, making it perfect for all kinds of drafts, including online articles, scripts, and books. 

The list below contains real user reviews. For context, the vendors that offer a free trial are also considered free . To be included on this list, a solution must:

  • Create AI-generated text to assist in some portion of the writing process.
  • Suggest insights on improving the work.
  • Present relevant resources intended to educate the writer.
  • Correct grammatical errors.
  • Create editable, text-based documents.
  • Allow users to store multiple notes.
  • Offer collaborative note-taking and note-sharing tools.

* This data was pulled from G2 in February 2024, and the product list is ranked alphabetically. Some reviews may have been edited for clarity. combines the power of AI and search engine optimization (SEO) data to generate copy. It’s perfect for bloggers, copywriters, and content marketers aspiring to rank high on Google.

The software offers a variety of free tools for title generation, paraphrasing, rewriting, and rewording. It comes with a free 7-day trial that offers 60 credits with access to all features.

What users like best:

“I recently started using, among several similar products, and I love them all! I think this is the only one with a readability improvement feature, and I really like it. It makes reading and understanding the text much easier and has helped me improve my writing. The other features are great too, but this is the feature that makes it stand out to me.”

- Review , Kristen D.

What users dislike:

“One potential downside of using an AI Content Detector is that it may not always be completely accurate. While the tool is designed to identify characteristics commonly found in machine-generated content, it’s possible that it may flag content as being potentially machine-generated even if it’s actually written by a human. This could lead to unnecessary revisions or changes to the content, which could be time-consuming and frustrating for the user.”

- Review , Dadash V.

Marketers turn to Anyword to write copy that converts. With text personalization and robust predictive analytics, you can validate the potential of every message you create for your customers. In fact, Anyword has increased conversion rates by 30% for several clients. 

There’s a 7-day free trial available for new users, after which their access automatically converts to a free plan. 

“It does not distort the tone or messaging of what is already written. It just takes a draft and makes it more engaging and easy to read. It also helps that it offers multiple versions so users can pick which one best suits what they're looking for and then they can edit it even more. It can simultaneously process large volumes of texts such as long-read blog articles.”

- Anyword Review , Seun O

“It lacks several templates, such as meta descriptions, headlines, social media posts, conclusions, and templates for rewriting/rephrasing. These are the features that I would like to see added in the near future.”

- Anyword Review , Habib K.

Use to generate content that’s more engaging and targeted and watch as it brings in faster and better results. The tool is perfect for sales and marketing teams trying to drive copy that closes more deals. From digital ads to social media posts, you can write any form of content with this writing tool.

The free version allows unlimited writing projects with 90+ copywriting tools. You can also register for a free demo to understand how to make the most of your plan.

What users like best: 

“The most important thing I like about is free credits. It helps me know about and AI generation. Also, the results are very satisfying, with many types of AI-generation word content for Facebook descriptions and YouTube title generation. The part I like the most is the landing page hero text; it greatly helps me.”

- Review , Kumaran R.

“What I find is missing from this product is the ability to pull data from an existing website. I'm not interested in plagiarizing! I just mean facts or data listed on an informational website. I would like to pull specific information and then write commentary around it. Also, the grammar is bad (run-on sentences, switching from first to third person, etc.) I always need to run it through a grammar check software after. I would also love to see a feature like a script writer for creating video scripts.”

- Review , Kate A.

Evernote has the ability to meet all your writing needs on a single platform. Whether you’re scanning documents, taking extensive notes, or jotting down a list, Evernote manages it all. 

You can get this free writing app for iOS, Android, Web, Windows, macOS, and Linux; it even has an offline mode. If you wish to upgrade to the paid professional plan, it comes with a free 30-day trial. 

“I have been using Evernote for a very long time, and I think the thing I like the most about it is that it just does such a good job of being both functional and fun. The user experience is clear and clean, I can search based on all kinds of tags, and there are many robust options for those times when I need more formatting than just basic headers and text.”

- Evernote Review , Sara C.

“One thing I don't like is the way notes are managed. When you’re a beginner with few notes, it works very well, but for more advanced users with a lot of information, this management is very short.”

- Evernote Review , Jesus M.

With , optimizing your content for search engines is a matter of minutes, not hours. This all-inclusive free writing software provides everything from content briefs to analytics post publishing so you can make popular content. 

You can begin with a five-day (pretty much) free trial at only $1 and cancel your plan anytime you want.

“ is easy to use and gives you everything you need to create excellent content. I love how easy it’s to research competitors, find reference sources to use for blog posts, and create outlines and briefs. Most of all, their team is always looking to improve the product and takes customer feedback seriously.”

- Review , Chris F.

“Too many updates and changes to the user interface. There should be a ‘use the old layout’ option. I'm used to getting what I need from the layout. It would be cool if you could connect SEMrush or Ahrefs to get the traffic data.”

- Review , Marc P.

Grammarly Business offers advanced AI-powered features and a distraction-free writing experience. It improves word choices, refines sentence tone, enhances content clarity, and fixes grammatical errors.

The free forever plan is available for all platforms and is accessible through your browser or the app for desktops. You can also download it for Mac, iPhone, and other mobile devices. 

“Grammarly Business is the best to write content error-free. It has a  grammar checker and a spell check feature that easily identifies errors. We can install Grammarly Extension in our Chromium or Chrome Browser, which can help all websites where we want to write the correct content. Even G2 uses this service to allow customers to write error-free reviews.”

- Grammarly Business Review , Devang S.

“Sometimes, Grammarly may suggest corrections that are not necessary or even incorrect. This can frustrate users who rely on the software to catch errors.”

- Grammarly Business Review , Husnain M.

Google Workspace is powered by Google AI to create, connect, and collaborate. And when it comes to free word processors, Google Docs is the go-to answer for millions of users. With a premade template gallery, you can create all kinds of content, including project proposals, meeting notes, and newsletters.

Perfect for individuals or teams, users can sign up for Google Docs for free and get unlimited access to all features, including real-time collaboration and auto-save. 

“One of the things I appreciate is how easy it is to collaborate with other people in real time. Google Docs, for example, allows several people to edit the same document simultaneously, which is very useful for teamwork. In addition, having all the tools integrated into a single platform, such as Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Calendar, makes work much more efficient and organized.”

- Google Workspace Review , Luã Fhelyp G.

“One area that could be improved is integrating Google Workspace and other third-party applications. While many integrations are available, they’re not always seamless and can require manual work. Enhancing the integration capabilities would make connecting with other tools easier for my work.”

- Google Workspace Review , Alejandro D.

Jasper encourages collaboration and the pursuit of creative writing ideas over word count. The software works for more than 29 languages and comes with a Chrome extension. Designed to match your brand voice and style guide, Jasper also optimizes your copy for SEO.

The starter plan is free forever for up to five users. Jasper also offers a one-hour AI masterclass tutorial to communicate best practices for using this tool. 

“Jasper is a great AI that will create helpful written content. Jasper is everything I have come to expect over the many years of using this AI. You can be sure pricing will be around the same as other competitors, if not less expensive. I use the highest tier, saving time and money as I learn how to use the platform.”

- Jasper Review , Justin D.

“It makes our content creation easy and fun to use. The mental fatigue and self-talk about what I wrote not being good enough are no longer factors. I can start with an idea, Jasper runs with it, I tweak around the edges to clarify the message/point/CTA, and what would take me hours or days to do, is completed way faster and much better than what I have previously created.”

- Jasper Review , Jonathan F. learns from your writing style and makes it more competitive to work best for your audience. It provides an intelligent text editor, an SEO assistant, and integrations that ensure your writing is free from grammatical errors. 

New users can get a seven-day free trial to get started with this tool and enjoy unlimited access to all the features.

“I've used this tool to create countless pieces of content. It's really easy to use and is a great way to create high-quality content quickly. I've used it to create blog posts, ad copy, and Facebook posts. I love how it's written with a conversational tone that feels natural. And it's never written a line that my audience would find boring. I can literally create any type of content in seconds with I've gotten content out the door in less than five minutes, which is great!”

- Review , Pallav B.

“Sometimes the input contents are not recognized correctly, and Peppertype returns the same input as output but takes the credits. They should not take the credit if they’re not rewriting anything.”

- Review , Md Farhanul I.

Rytr uses AI technology to create the best versions of written content. From social media captions and video ideas to business pitches and product descriptions, Rytr helps make the most compelling copy for your projects.

The free forever plan supports more than 30 languages and has an inbuilt plagiarism checker for a seamless experience. 

“I've been using Rytr for a few months now, and I absolutely love it. It's incredibly intuitive and easy to use, and the quality of the content it generates is top-notch. I've tried other AI writing and editing tools before, but none compares to the speed, accuracy, and convenience that Rytr offers. It's definitely the best AI writing tool out there!”

- Rytr Review , Abdi A.

“While AI writing can undoubtedly create exceptional quality content, its programming restricts it from offering truly creative or original ideas. Additionally, Rytr needs an internet connection to work optimally. If I’m in a region with slow or unreliable internet, it might be difficult for me to benefit from it.”

- Rytr Review , Chibuike U.

Scalenut helps marketers build their brands through AI-generated content, content planning, and keyword research. This free writing program offers a customizable user interface for multiple file formats. 

Try out Scalenut for free with a 7-day trial that comes with AI templates, an SEO editor, and search engine research page analysis functionalities. 

“One of the standout features of Scalenut is its user-friendly interface. The platform is easy to navigate, and the reports generated by its tools are well-organized and straightforward. This makes it a great option for businesses that may not have much SEO experience.

The platform offers tools for keyword research, content optimization, competitor analysis, backlink tracking, and more. After trying it for the first time, I realized it works great!”

- Scalenut Review , Teofil K.

“Customization. While Scalenut is designed to be easy to use, it may not offer the same level of customization or flexibility as other AI platforms. This may limit the ability of businesses to tailor the platform to their specific needs or integrate it with existing systems and workflows.”

- Scalenut Review , Yashel M.

Scrivener is the go-to free script writing software for thousands of users, including self-published authors, screenwriters, non-fiction writers, and academics. With integrated research, outline, and writing support, creative writing becomes effortless. 

Also known for being one of the best book writing software tools, Scrivener supports footnotes, various text styles, and easy organization with its drag-and-drop function. Download the mobile app for iOS or the desktop version for Windows and macOS and get a free trial for 30 days (subject to use).

“When I'm writing, I need to keep things as organized as possible, and Scrivener makes that not only possible but easy and efficient with its organizational tools. It allows me to create multiple folders, manage my writing and outlines, and research characters how I want. It's ideal for working on a long project like a novel.”

- Scrivener Review , Alex T.

“I wish using cloud services to sync your writing was a little more intuitive. If you have two devices open working on the same document, it's possible to save over changes without being able to get them back.”

- Scrivener Review , Sydney R.

Writesonic is a complete solution for AI writing, copywriting, and paraphrasing. It works for long-form content like blog posts and website content and short copy like ads and emails. Writesonic’s platform supports over 25 languages and it’s the perfect addition for writers, entrepreneurs, e-commerce companies, and marketing teams.

New users can sign up for a free trial with their Google or Apple IDs or create a new account using their business email. 

“The options it offers with different tools. You can do literally whatever you need for your blog or social media ads. I like that it’s consistent with bullet points, subheadings, and everything else that really needs to be done.”

- Writesonic Review , Simon P.

“The tool sometimes generates content that is not entirely accurate or relevant to the intended use case and may require manual editing or rewriting. Additionally, sometimes I faced technical issues with the platform's interface and functionality. While generating articles using the AI tools, I noticed that the same sentences are used repeatedly.”

- Writesonic Review , Santosh E.


1. How do I choose from several free writing software?

Choosing the right free writing software depends on your specific needs and preferences. Here are some factors to consider when making your decision:

  • Assess your writing needs and prioritize essential features.
  • Choose user-friendly software that fits your workflow.
  • Ensure compatibility with your devices and file formats.
  • Opt for cloud synchronization for easy access and backup.
  • Consider reviews and recommendations from other writers.

2. What are the challenges of using free writing software over paid options?

Choosing free writing software comes with some challenges when compared to paid options:

  • Free software offers fewer tools and options.
  • Storage space and export choices are restricted.
  • Intrusive ads can disrupt your workflow.
  • Updates are sporadic, leaving you with outdated features.
  • Integration with other software is often lacking or non-existent.

Some of these capabilities may be available in free versions, but they will most certainly be restricted compared to their expensive equivalents.

3. Is free writing software compatible with different devices and operating systems such as Mac and Windows?

Many free writing software options are compatible with desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. While most options are cross-platform and can be used on multiple operating systems, they may have restrictions or limitations on certain platforms. Make sure to check compatibility before choosing a particular software.

Metaphors be with you.

If the complexity of the written language and the search for metaphors keep you up at night, turning to free writing software is the right call. 

Say goodbye to struggling with active-passive voice or the incorrect use of adverbs. AI writing assistants not only conduct spell checks and proofreading for your drafts but also generate content ideas from plain text. Whether you’re working on a script, sales copy, or a newsletter, writing software has features that get your words on the page.

Of course, many writing software solutions specialize in different kinds of writing as well. Check out the best free script writing software in 2024 to choose the perfect tool for drafting a screenplay. 

AI writing assistant software

Find the write track

Let your creativity flow with the best AI writing assistants and create content that connects.

Washija Kazim photo

Washija Kazim is a Sr. Content Marketing Specialist at G2 focused on the IT management and Fintech persona. With a professional degree in business administration, she has written for industries like SaaS, ad tech, and e-commerce. She specializes in subjects like business logic, impact analysis, process mining and modeling, data lifecycle management, software deployment, digital banking, and cryptocurrency. In her spare time, she can be found buried nose-deep in a book, lost in her favorite cinematic world, or planning her next trip to the mountains.

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How-To Geek

The best free adobe creative suite alternatives for windows.

Unleash your creativity without breaking the bank.

Quick Links

  • GIMP—The Best Free Alternatives for Photoshop
  • Inkscape—The Best Free Alternative for Illustrator
  • Scribus—The Best Free Alternative for InDesign
  • DaVinci Resolve—The Best Free Alternative for Premiere Pro
  • Blender—The Best Free Alternative for After Effects
  • Audacity—The Best Free Alternative for Audition
  • Darktable—The Best Free Alternative for Lightroom

The Adobe apps are powerful, but most of us don't need many of their features. So, is there a way to pay less for the features that we do use? Well, I'll do you one better, and introduce you to completely free alternatives to the most popular Adobe apps, offering all the basic features and some advanced ones.

1 GIMP—The Best Free Alternatives for Photoshop

GIMP is the most popular free alternative to Photoshop. It's an open-source image manipulation program offering extensive photo editing and graphic designing features. Here's how GIMP compares to Photoshop's most popular features:

You can install GIMP from the Microsoft Store .

2 Inkscape—The Best Free Alternative for Illustrator

Inkscape is a leading free alternative to Illustrator. This open-source vector graphics editor includes comprehensive tools for creating scalable vector artwork. Here's how Inkscape compares to Illustrator's most popular features:

You can install Inkscape from the Microsoft Store .

3 Scribus—The Best Free Alternative for InDesign

Scribus is a popular free and open-source alternative to InDesign. The interface might look a bit dated, but it supports multiple professional publishing features such as CMYK color, separations, ICC color management, and versatile PDF creation. Here's how Scribus compares to InDesign's most popular features:

You can get the download link for Scribus from their official website .

4 DaVinci Resolve—The Best Free Alternative for Premiere Pro

DaVinci Resolve has a free version and a paid version. I'm talking about the free version here. However, the paid version is also worth considering as it's a one-time payment, making it more affordable in the long run since you're not locked into a subscription plan.

DaVinci Resolve (free version) is an outstanding alternative to Premiere Pro, especially known for its color grading and non-linear video editing capabilities. Here's how DaVinci Resolve compares to Premiere Pro's most popular features.

You can download the free version of DaVinci Resolve from their official website .

5 Blender—The Best Free Alternative for After Effects

Blender is a powerful free alternative to After Effects for 3D animation and visual effects. It supports the entire 3D pipeline—modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing, and motion tracking. Here's how Blender compares to After Effects' most popular features:

You can install Blender from the Microsoft Store .

6 Audacity—The Best Free Alternative for Audition

Audacity is a highly capable free alternative to Audition. It is perfect for multitrack audio editing and recording. Here's how Audacity compares to Audition's most popular features:

You can install Audacity from the Microsoft Store .

7 Darktable—The Best Free Alternative for Lightroom

Darktable is an advanced free alternative to Lightroom, aimed at photographers working with raw images. Here’s how Darktable compares to Lightroom's most popular features:

You can download Darktable from their official website .

Adobe offers a collection of powerful apps with incredible features, but the cost can be problematic for many users. Thankfully, these free alternatives offer almost all the basic and some advanced features to empower the creative within you. Also, depending on the scope, many of these tools can be used for professional workloads.


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Best Writing Apps in 2024

Showing 128 writing apps that match your search.

Chapters lets you manage multiple notebooks, each fully searchable and with its own settings. Keep a personal journal, a photo diary, notes about that project at work, and a travel journal in a single app.

Platforms: iPhone, iPad, Mac

Best for: Note-taking and Journal


Base price:

Premium price:

★★★ Performance

★★★ Features

★★ Accessibility

Also rated 4.0 ★ on the App Store

Polish & improve your novel. Identify word and phrase over-use. Monitor adverbs and clichés, crutch words and phrases. Improve sentence structure and punctuation.

Platforms: Windows, PC

Best for: Editing, Proofreading, Book, and Story


★★★★ Performance

Written? Kitten!

The Internet's best write-reward system! Write one hundred words, get an image of a kitten!

Platforms: Online

Best for: Drafting, Book, Story, Essay, Journal, Poetry, Blog, and Free


★★★★★ Performance

★★★★★ Features

★★★★★ Accessibility

★★★★★ Value

Learn more about Reedsy Studio .

Apple’s App of the Year with over 15 million downloads and 200,000 5-star ratings globally, Day One has reinvented journaling, letting you record your life as you live it. Securely save audio, video, photos, notes, and more wherever you are, whenever you want.

Platforms: iPad, Mac, iPhone, Android

Best for: Note-taking, Journal, and Free


★★★★ Features

★★★ Accessibility

Also rated 4.8 ★ on the App Store

Mellel is a word processor designed from the ground up to be the ultimate writing tool for academics, technical writers, scholars and students. Mellel is strong, stable and reliable, and is the ideal companion for working on documents that are long and complex, short and simple, or anything in between.

Platforms: Mac, iPhone, iPad

Best for: Outlining, Drafting, and Essay


Also rated 3.2 ★ on the App Store

Don't let your word processor drag your process down. Ironically enough, traditional word processors weren’t designed for writers. Dabble’s book-writing software was developed for writers, by a writer.

Platforms: Mac, Windows, Chrome, PC

Best for: Drafting, Book, and Story


Zoho Writer

Zoho Writer is a fully-featured word processor on the cloud, designed for collaborative work that gives you everything you need to create powerful documents. With a clean UI, intuitive interface and document modes, it introduces you to a new way of writing.

Platforms: Android, Windows, PC, iPad, iPhone

Best for: Drafting, Book, Essay, Journal, Poetry, Story, Blog, and Free


Also rated 3.4 ★ on Google Play

Prompts for Writing

Open to write and follow the prompt suggestions, it's that easy. Good for poetry writing, journal writing, storytelling, narration, cinema, and more. All using a patented artificial intelligence technology.

Platforms: iPhone, iPad

Best for: Brainstorming, Story, Book, and Poetry


Also rated 4.6 ★ on the App Store

Google Docs

Build your best ideas together, in Google Docs. Create, edit, and collaborate with others on documents from your Android phone or tablet with the Google Docs app.

Platforms: Online, Chrome, iPhone, iPad, Android


Also rated 4.0 ★ on TechRadar

Story Planner

Story Planner is an easy-to-use and yet powerful tool for plotting novels, screenplays, and any fiction story. It works great for writers, screenwriters, producers, directors, RPG masters … All kinds of storytellers!

Best for: Outlining, Drafting, Story, and Book


Also rated 4.7 ★ on the App Store

Manuskript is a perfect tool for those writer who like to organize and plan everything before writing. The snowflake method can help you grow your idea into a book, by leading you step by step and asking you questions to go deeper.

Platforms: Mac, Windows, PC

Best for: Outlining, Story, Book, and Free


★★★★ Accessibility

Get organized. Stay creative. Milanote is an easy-to-use tool to organize your ideas and projects into visual boards.

Platforms: iPhone, iPad, PC, Windows, Mac, Android, Chrome, Online

Best for: Note-taking, Outlining, Book, Story, Journal, and Free


Also rated 3.0 ★ on PC Magazine

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  1. Creative Writing Software

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  2. Best novel writing software for Windows 10 [2020 Guide]

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  3. 10 Best Free Writing Apps for Windows 2024: Boost Your Productivity Now!

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  4. Best Free Writing Apps: Top 11 Software Writers Need

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  5. SmartEdit Writer Free Writing Software for Windows Includes Editing Capabilities

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  6. The Best 50 Free Writing Software And Free Writing Apps

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  1. 5 Tips For Creative Writing

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  3. How to Download and Install Scrble Lite For Windows

  4. The Best Creative Writing Book for Improving Writing Skills

  5. Reviewing YOUR Freelance Writing Portfolios/Websites!

  6. The Best Writing Software For Authors (Scribble in Under 10 Min)


  1. Book Writing Software (2024): Top 10 for Writers

    Best Book Writing Software: Word vs. Scrivener - […] this post, we're going to look closely at two of the best pieces of book writing software: Microsoft Word… Best Book Writing Software: How to Plan a Novel Using Excel - The Write Practice - […] just as important. Before I wrote my first novel, if you'd told me that an important part ...

  2. The Best Novel Writing Software of 2024 (+ 5 Free Programs)

    FastPencil (word processor and exporter) — free. Bibisco (story planning and word processor) — free. Evernote (word processor and organizational tool) — free. FocusWriter (writing productivity tool) — free. Freedom (site blocker and time management tool) — $6.99/month.

  3. The Best Writing Apps for 2024

    The Best Windows Mini PCs for 2024; ... Final Draft is the best writing software for anyone in the screenwriting business. ... Novelize is for creative writers who specifically don't want ...

  4. Best free writing app of 2024

    Best with internet connection. Google Docs is a great free writing platform for any writer. It's an extremely clean, quick word processor available in the browser, on desktop, and phone and ...

  5. The Best Writing Software for Authors in 2024 [Free & Paid]

    9. Google Docs. Google is the best Microsoft Word alternative—one of the most preferred writing tools out there. And just like its buddy, the word processor is supplemented by Google Sheets and Google Slides in G Suite by Google.

  6. The 23 Best Writing Tools of 2024: A Guide for Writers

    5. Milanote. Cost: Free for basic plan or $12.50/month for premium. Milanote is an easy-to-use creative writing app to organize your research, ideas, characters and outline in one place. The vast majority of novelist-oriented writing software is organized around the idea of a linear document.

  7. The Best Book Writing Software of 2024: Scrivener, yWriter ...

    Campfire Write. Price: Starting at $1.50 per month. Another option for science fiction and fantasy writers is Campfire Write. Created with these genres in mind, this web-based book writing software lets you map your story by Elements (characters, locations, maps, species, cultures, philosophies, etc.), which can be purchased individually, as ...

  8. 13 Book Writing Software That Actually Make a Difference

    While paid book writing software options allow for additional features and support, you can still write an incredible book with the various free ones out there. 1. Google Docs / Sheets. SOFTWARE NAME: Google Docs / Sheets. BEST FOR: Writing Collaboration, Editing, Outlining. TYPE: Word Processor.

  9. Scrivener

    Scrivener is the go-to app for writers of all kinds, used every day by best-selling novelists, screenwriters, non-fiction writers, students, academics, lawyers, journalists, translators and more. Scrivener won't tell you how to write—it simply provides everything you need to start writing and keep writing. Available for.

  10. Best Book Writing Software: Top 15 Programs for Writers

    7. Microsoft Word. Microsoft Word remains the default word processor used by most writers today. It's a simple word processor, but it's still a useful book writing software, especially if it's an option you already have access to. One benefit of MS Word is that the user interface is very easy to use.

  11. 16 Best Novel Writing Software For Authors

    Scrivener. Scrivener is a software that helps authors write books, and many authors swear by it. It's designed for fiction and nonfiction authors and screenwriters. It offers features like book bibles, character management, plot tracking, formatting and exporting options, and more.

  12. Book Writing Software (2024): 15 Tools to Write & Edit

    The best writing software for new and experienced authors in 2024. Free & paid options to help you write, edit, format, and publish your book or novel. ... Price: $49 for Mac or Windows (but they have student discounts) and $19.99 for the iOS version . 10. FastPencil.

  13. Free writing software: 24 tools to help you create content

    ChatGPT is the best free option—and the one you know and love—or you can check out even more GPT-powered writing apps in Zapier's list of the best AI writing generators . You can also combine GPT with Zapier to send ideas to your favorite project management tool. ChatGPT pricing: Free; ChatGPT Plus is $20/month.

  14. 6 Great Pieces Of Writing Software You Need To Try

    Small step though it is, for many authors it will be ideal. You can find out more about SmartEdit here. 2. Scrivener. Scrivener is a name you might know ( Scrivener review ), but it has to be included on this list because it remains one of the best-loved programs for creative writing.

  15. 46 Writing Apps in Windows in 2024

    Hemingway makes your writing bold and clear. It's like a spellchecker, but for style. It makes sure that your reader will focus on your message, not your prose. Platforms: Windows, PC, Mac. Best for: Editing, Proofreading, Book, Essay, Story, Blog, and Free.

  16. 15 Best Novel Writing Software For Authors

    2. Bibisco. Bibisco is a small novel writing software made by an Italian author. Its major selling point is the ability to plan your novel with different narrative strands and that it allows you to add in-depth notes and planning cards for different scenes. Bibisco is attractive as the best writing software for novels.

  17. The Best Novel Writing Software in 2024 (Reviewed by a Novelist)

    The right software for you will depend on your personal preferences and priorities, but here's a summary of our top three favourites, for the most diverse requirements: Here are our top recommendations: Best all round novel writing software: The Novel Factory. Best minimalist writing software: FocusWriter.

  18. 15 BEST Writing Apps & Software for Windows PC (2024)

    9) JotterPad - Writer, Screenplay, Novel. JotterPad is an Android application that is designed especially for writers. It is one of the best writing apps which has a plain text editor helping you to write books, poems, novels, essays, etc. The tool enables you to focus on converting your thoughts into a plain text file.

  19. 32 Best Free Writing Software (2024)

    3. Apple Pages. Price: Free with Macs. Operating system: Mac, iOS. Apple Pages is an excellent free writing app for Mac users. If you use a Mac, then there is a good chance you have heard about Apple Pages. It's one of the best writing programs for Mac users, and it works smoothly.

  20. 13 Best Free Writing Software in 2024

    12. Scrivener. Scrivener is the go-to free script writing software for thousands of users, including self-published authors, screenwriters, non-fiction writers, and academics. With integrated research, outline, and writing support, creative writing becomes effortless.

  21. 48 Writing Apps in PC in 2024

    Welcome to our directory of creative writing apps! Simply filter your search by platform and category to find the perfect writing app to get you across the finish line of your novel. ... Create professional print books and eBooks easily with the all-in-one book writing software. Platforms: Mac, Windows, Chrome, PC ... Windows, PC Best for ...

  22. Top 14 Best Writing Apps For Windows & Mac OS [2024 Review]

    Read this Comprehensive Review & Comparison of the top Writing Apps including Features & Pricing to Help you select the Best Free Creative Writing Tool. ... and enhances the quality of your short-form blogs then Grammarly is the best writing app on Windows, Mac, and Web that you can try. ... love our creative content on QA, Dev, Software Tools ...

  23. The Best Free Adobe Creative Suite Alternatives for Windows

    The Best Free Adobe Creative Suite Alternatives for Windows. By Dibakar Ghosh ... He constantly explores new software and operating systems to optimize his workflow and boost his productivity. He began his writing career in 2016 with WordPress tutorials, eventually expanding to covering B2B SaaS products, where he honed his skills in Digital ...

  24. The Ultimate List of 128 Writing Apps in 2024

    Welcome to our directory of creative writing apps! Simply filter your search by platform and category to find the perfect writing app to get you across the finish line of your novel. ... drag your process down. Ironically enough, traditional word processors weren't designed for writers. Dabble's book-writing software was developed for ...