Book Writing Software (2023): Top 10 Pieces of Software for Writers
by Joe Bunting | 20 comments
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.”
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
- 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.
- 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 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: $49 for Windows, Mac
2. Google Docs (Word Processing)
While Scrivener is the best book writing software, once you get to editing and getting feedback, it begins to fall short. That's why Google Docs has become my second go-to piece of book writing software.
It's free, very 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).
- Real-time collaboration with editors, beta readers , or other writers
- Suggestion mode
Cons of Google Docs:
- No large-document organization features
- No productivity features
- Offline mode withstanding, usually requires an internet connection
3. 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 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.
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 your 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!
Pros of Dabble:
- Cloud-based with automatic save across all your devices
- Dictation built in
- Images can be added pretty much anywhere
- Exporting to Word or Text files is easy
- Manage your productivity with word count targets and deadlines
- Get a high-level overview of your book with Dabble’s unique plotting tool
Cons of Dabble:
- Subscription-based service means not all features are available on all plans (though you can get lifetime access to all features for a one-time payment)
- Lifetime access cost is high
- Formatting is basic
Cost: Subscription plans range from $10/month to $20/month; Lifetime access cost is $499; 14-day free trial
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 is a bit behind in the collaboration functions.
Pros of Google Sheets:
Cons of Google Sheets:
- Managing spreadsheets from other sources (e.g. Excel) can be clunky and time-consuming
- Offline mode notwithstanding, usually requires an internet connection
Cost for Google Sheets: Free!
If you have Excel already and love it, great. Cost for Microsoft Word: $69 / year (includes Word, Powerpoint, Outlook, and other Microsoft software)
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 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.
It also has stripped-down, option-based formatting, which is perfect for designing both eBooks and print books. I really love this writing app!
Pros of Vellum:
- Easy and intuitive
- Format a manuscript for print and ebook in less than an hour
- Beautiful styling
Cons of Vellum:
- Limited styles
- Relatively expensive
Cost: $199 for eBook generation; $249 for paperback formatting
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 $60 a year (less than half of what Grammarly costs), gives you additional support on sentence structure, style, and vocabulary. Learn more about how writers can get the most out of ProWritingAid here . Pros of ProWritingAid:
- Quickly copyedit your book
- Better suggestions for creative writers than other grammar checkers
- Less expensive than some grammar checkers
Cons of ProWritingAid:
- Sometimes gives suggestions that are incorrect or out of context
- Interface is slightly less intuitive
Cost: Free! (Premium version is $60/year)
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 .
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).
Pros of Publisher Rocket:
- Find out how much other books in your genre make
- Get metrics on how to become a #1 Bestseller
- Excellent learning resources and support
Cons of Publisher Rocket:
- Limited to book marketing
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!
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. Pros of Atticus:
- All-in-one platform to write, edit, and format books
- Works for every platform
- Web based only (requires an internet connection)
- Expensive for a word processor (but not for book formatting)
- A little buggy currently
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 .
Pros of Freedom:
- Focus on your writing without distraction
- Schedule focus mode in advance
Cons of Freedom:
- Getting it working with mobile devices can be difficult
- You can figure out ways around its blockers if you try hard
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.”
Pros of Word:
- Ubiquitous: most people are familiar/own with Word
- Universal file types
Cons of Word:
- Not designed to organize and manage large writing projects, like books
- Can become slow to load as book grows
- No real-time collaboration like Google Docs
Cost: $69 / year from Amazon (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.
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 helps with that.
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
Try out Hemingway App here »
All the Book Writing Software
The 30+ tools every writer needs.
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 practice box below. And if you share, be sure to leave feedback for your fellow writers in the comments !
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.
Join over 450,000 readers who are saying YES to practice. You’ll also get a free copy of our eBook 14 Prompts :
Book Writing Tips & Guides Creativity & Inspiration Tips Writing Prompts Grammar & Vocab Resources Best Book Writing Software ProWritingAid Review Writing Teacher Resources Publisher Rocket Review Scrivener Review
Are You Ready to Become a Writer?
Enter your email to get our free 10-step guide to becoming a writer.
You've got it! Just us where to send your guide.
You've got it just us where to send your book..
Enter your first name and email to get our free book, 14 Prompts.
Book Writing Software to Help You Create, Organize, and Edit Your Manuscript
Writing a book is no cakewalk. I ought to know—I’ve done it nearly 200 times.
But plenty of quality tools help make this challenge easier.
The right book writing software can help you:
- Organize your writing
- Gain self-confidence
- Write more crisply
Software writing programs you may want to check out:
(Full disclosure: If you buy any of these, I get a small commission at no cost to you. But these tools have helped enough writers to where I would recommend them even if I didn’t get a dime!)
- 15 Book Writing Software Programs That Can Make Your Life Easier
Scrivener is the ultimate book-organization tool.
It allows you to view your notes, research, outline , and writing all in one place, and you can print your whole manuscript with the click of your mouse.
There’s a bit of a learning curve, but Scrivener comes with tutorials, and many other such aids are easily found online.
It may look overwhelming at first (I’m still learning it myself), but it’s worth the time and effort.
Just give yourself time to get familiar with the basics.
- Virtual corkboard feature for note cards organization
- Drag & drop outliner
- Works with Windows, Mac, iPad, and iPhone
- Easily applicable within Microsoft Word and many other programs
- Steep learning curve*
*I benefited from great teaching programs like Learn Scrivener Fast , plus Scrivener itself comes with a built-in tutorial.
Price: $49 for Mac and $40 for PC
Click here to buy Scrivener .
2. google docs.
Google Docs is a great collaborative tool. My team and I are literally a thousand miles from each other, and we use this program virtually every day.
It’s a free, standard word processor that allows multiple people to work on the same document simultaneously. I’m working on this document in Google Docs right now.
Just as with Track Changes in Word, an agent or editor or accountability partner can help fine-tune your work-in-progress in Suggestion Mode. You accept or reject the suggestions, and you can both comment in the margin.
- Easily share your work-in-progress via email or a link
- Access from any device
- Performance slows when tracking changes on documents of 80 or more pages
- Unable to toggle between Tracked Changes and Final Version without accepting all the changes
Click here to start using Google Docs .
Freedom allows you to temporarily block apps, websites, and social media across all your devices so you can focus on writing (don’t worry, people can still reach you in an emergency).
You can even schedule the app to work automatically when you need it most — when you’re writing.
If you’re like me, you’ll be glad for the freedom from online distractions where “just a few seconds” turns into hours of unproductive net surfing. Freedom can help you focus and increase your productivity.
And it works on all devices.
Cost: $6.99 per month, $29 per year, or a $129 lifetime fee.
Want to block distractions while you write?
Click here to get Freedom .
ProWritingAid offers grammar, style, and writing suggestions as you write—for you to accept — or reject — at the click of a button.
It integrates with the apps and programs you use most, like:
- Google Docs
- Google Chrome
- Microsoft Word
- Detailed explanations
- Built-in Thesaurus
- Context-focused grammar checker
- Free version
- You need a premium account to access its best features
Price: $50 for 1 year, $75 for 2 years, $100 for 3 years, or $175 for life
I recommend trying the free version first.
Click here to get more info on ProWritingAid .
Similar to ProWritingAid , Grammarly can help fine-tune your writing.
It automatically checks spelling and grammar, whether you’re writing a book or an email.
The premium version also:
- Checks sentence structure
- Monitors word choice
- Guards against plagiarism
- Examines style
- And much more
- Google Chrome plugin for easy use on the web
- No Scrivener integration
- Doesn’t work on mobile devices
Cost: $29.95 per month, $59.95 per quarter, or $139.95 per year.
Try the free version first.
Click here to get Grammarly .
6. Novel Factory
A creative writing software that guides you through the novel writing process.
Novel Factory prompts you to:
- Write your story’s premise
- Develop characters
- Follow the Hero’s Journey outline
- A built-in word processor
- A split screen view
Novel Factory is designed for Windows and is currently unavailable for Mac.
Click here to start using Novel Factory .
7. hemingway editor.
Focuses less on grammar and spelling and more on writing style.
- Sentences to be edited, whether lengthy and complex, passive, or unnecessary
- Overused words
- Easy to understand and use
- Suggests alternatives to overused words
- Allows text formatting
- Teaches much more concise, straightforward writing
- Suggests edits and offers tips to improve overall writing style
- Ranks your writing by grade level
- Eliminates most adverbs
- Doesn’t take voice or style into account
Cost: Free if used on the Hemingway Editor website (you can then copy/paste into your document), $19.99 to purchase your own version.
Click here to start using Hemingway Editor .
A note taking app that allows you to:
- Sync with other devices
- Share notes with anyone who has access to your account
- Save screenshots, web articles, and PDFs in one place
- Search easily within the program
- Customize templates
- Scan and save documents
- Integrate with other programs (like Google Docs)
Cost: Basic Evernote free, Premium $7.99/month, Business $14.99/month
Click here to start using Evernote .
Designed by a writer for writers , yWriter is a word processor that helps organize your novel into scenes and chapters.
- Tracks words per chapter and total word count
- Allows for the breakdown of scenes, note-taking, character description, and scene details and goals under separate tabs within each chapter
YWriter currently runs only within Windows.
Click here to start using yWriter .
A simple word processing software for Mac users.
- A distraction-free interface
- Saves all your writing in one spot
- Easily sync documents with other devices
- Split-screen view
- Auto-save and backup
- Allows you to set and track writing goals
- Allows you to publish directly to WordPress and Medium
Con: does not assist in developing characters or plot .
Cost: App download free, subscription $4.99/month or $39.99/year
Click here to start using Ulysses .
Allows your to professionally format books for publication.
Available for Mac users only, the software is free, but you must purchase a package before exporting a file for publication.
- Allows you to design and format a book
- A variety of styles
- Easy import capabilities
- Editing within the app
- Allows preview of print or e-books
- Easy export
- Allows unlimited exports, depending on program purchased
- Not word processor
- More expensive than similar tools
- Available only for Mac
Cost: $199.99 for publishing unlimited e-books, $249.99 for publishing unlimited e-books and paperbacks
Click here to start using Vellum .
12. focus writer.
A bare-bones word processor.
In full-screen mode, toolbars disappear until you scroll over them.
- Simple, customizable design
- Allows you to track writing goals (by time or word count)
- Available for text only
- No spell check
Click here to start using FocusWriter .
Hailed as “Evernote for creatives,” a visual story-telling tool for Mac users.
It enables you to:
- Organize notes all in one place
- Use as a whiteboard or storyboard
- Upload images
- Save images, text, and weblinks
- Upload images and text from your phone
- Flexible drag and drop
- Allows team collaboration
- Limited export options: PDF, PNG image, Word file, or plain text
- Available only on Mac and the web
Cost: Basic version free, premium version $9.99/month
Click here to start using Milanote .
Offers tools for self-publishing.
- Write within the platform or upload a manuscript
- Format your book
- Publish in e-book and print (ISBN and retail barcode included)
- Distribute and sell your book worldwide
- Manage sales and royalties
- Cannot use offline
- Expensive beyond writing, designing, and formatting
Cost: Free, with additional paid publishing packages
Click here to start using FastPencil .
…an all in one project management tool for your novel.
It acts as a word processor, organizer, and a creativity guide all at the same time.
For Outliners, bibisco allows creativity in your organization. You can interview your characters, create a timeline of events, and track your chapters in one place.
It works for Mac, Windows, and Linux.
- Creative tools to flesh out characters, places, items, and events in your story world
- Free version without many restrictions
- Easy to use, almost no learning curve
- Simple design
- Great organizational tool for Outliners
- 30-day money-back return policy
- Paid version says “pay what you want,” but the minimum is 15 euro, which will be a little more in US dollars
- Open-source software still receiving updates (be sure to save often, even with the autosave feature)
- No mobile app
bibisco has a free version and a premium version that starts at 15 euro for a one-time purchase.
Click here to start using bibisco .
Are You Making This #1 Amateur Writing Mistake?
Faith-Based Words and Phrases
What You and I Can Learn From Patricia Raybon
Looking to publish? Meet your dream editor on Reedsy.
Find the perfect editor for your next book
1 million authors trust the professionals on Reedsy, come meet them.
Last updated on Feb 07, 2023
The Best Novel Writing Software of 2023 (+ 5 Free Programs)
So, you’ve just started writing a novel — which means you’re figuring things out as you go. You probably have a flock of Google Docs to wrangle, you’re always scribbling on napkins, and you have no idea where anything is. Know what you need? Some good ol’ fashioned (well, more like new-fashioned) novel writing software.
Luckily for you, we’ve come up with this list of the best, most affordable pieces of novel writing software in 2023. All of these will help you stay organized and inspire you to keep writing until the very last page! You can jump to each review using the ToC on your left, but here's a quick rundown of these writing programs and how much they cost:
- Reedsy Book Editor (word processor, formatting, and conversion) — free
- 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
- Scrivener (story planning and word processor) — $44.99
- Milanote (story planning and organizational tool) — $12.50/month
- Novlr (word processor and grammar/style editor) — $10/month
- WriteItNow (chapter planning and word processor) — $59.95
- AutoCrit (advanced editing program) — $10/month
- Ulysses (story planning and word processor) — $5.99/month
If you want to cut straight to the chase and find out which is the right writing app for you, we recommend taking this quick 30-second quiz.
Which writing app is right for you?
Find out here! Takes 30 seconds
Otherwise, let's head for the reviews! In the spirit of thriftiness, we're starting with your free options.
Reedsy Book Editor
💰 Price tag: Free software ✅ Features: Format as you write, track changes, export files that are ready for instant distribution, choose between “classic” and “romance” themes
Though modesty should forbid us from crowing about the Reedsy Book Editor ( RBE ), we've seen first-hand how this writing app has totally changed how many authors write and publish their novels. While some writers like programs brimming with bells and whistles (tools to research, structure, and outline your book) and others prefer software that's free from those distractions, the Reedsy Book Editor offers a happy medium between these poles.
Definitely more than a blank piece of paper, the RBE's functions are super user-friendly and geared toward a single goal: creating a beautiful book. This is a production tool that typesets as you write , turning your manuscript into a fully-formatted book or ebook that can compete with traditionally published, professionally formatted books.
In "Writing Mode," you can insert chapter breaks, scene breaks, images, and endnotes. It comes with a spell-checker that offers an automatic proof as you write — and a goal reminder system that you can toggle on if you find that you're falling behind on your writing schedule! You can view previous versions of your manuscript, in case you removed a passage you now want to re-add. When you've completed your book on the RBE (congratulations!), you can export a distribution-ready EPUB or PDF file.
Learn more about using the Reedsy Book Editor 📖
💰 Price tag: Free software ✅ Features: Easily navigable dashboard, drag-and-drop chapters, collaborative editing, multiple layout preview options, publication setup
FastPencil is essentially Google Docs for the professional (or aspiring) author. This online platform cannot be downloaded and is therefore only usable if you have WiFi. However, its nonexistent price tag more-or-less makes up for the inconvenience of not being able to work on planes, outdoors, etc.
FastPencil’s simple, streamlined interface allows users to set up a writing project, invite collaborators, and communicate entirely through the app if they wish. Two people can also upload mutually accessible “Assets” for reference during the writing process, and devise “Tasks” for each other to complete. Remember PalmPilots and other personal digital assistants? FastPencil is like a 21st-century, writing-oriented version of that.
Once your book is done, you can preview it with distinct layout templates for different genres — such as “Business,” “Memoir,” and “Dragon” (designed for YA fiction). These templates are pretty basic, but they'll give you a solid idea of what your published book will look like.
Finally, you can export your manuscript under “Publication Setup.”
Looking for the perfect playlist to get you in the writing mood? Tell us about your book, and we'll give you a made-for-you writing playlist.
Tell us about your book, and we'll give you a writing playlist
It'll only take a minute!
💰 Price tag: Free software (Community Edition) ✅ Features: Overview screen for story “architecture,” separate section to construct characters, scene-by-scene word processing, distribution analysis for each story element
If you find most desktop writing programs unwieldy and overwhelming, then the minimalist interface of Bibisco might just solve all your problems. This is especially true if you're a plotter rather than a pantser , as Bibisco is that rare breed of free story planning software, with plenty of virtual outlines and notecards to help you out.
With the free “Community” version of Bibisco, you can navigate among six different screens to organize and expand upon the elements of your novel. The architecture screen (above) is perhaps the most unique part of this software, with notecards for your premise, setting, and fabula. Here you can create narrative threads and articulate how they connect to one another, then flesh them out using your “scene” notecards.
Indeed, the name of Bibisco's game is breaking down your work into bite-sized, manageable pieces. Of course, this approach may make it difficult to envision your manuscript as a whole , especially as you can only write scene-by-scene — a feature which may frustrate users who are accustomed to writing in one long, all-inclusive document.
Still, Bibisco is a good choice for any author who's tired of busy interfaces and wants to prioritize productivity. And if that sounds like you, don't miss out on this next piece of book writing software ...
💰 Price tag: free “basic” plan, $9.99/month for “premium,” $14.99/month for “business" ✅ Features: writing templates, web clipper function for easily storing research, the ability to sync across multiple devices
If only the process of writing a book involved just sitting down and going . Although sure, to an extent, this may be true. But most of us need to find the right way to capture and organize our ideas before our fingers start flying over the keyboard — or risk running out of steam. Evernote is great for the writer who needs to declutter a space (or their mind) before they can make real headway on a project.
Some of their great organizational features include their writing templates — some of which are user-created, and others are created by Evernote themselves. If you spot a chapter outline, a storyboard template, or character development profile you enjoy, you can save it and come back to it each time. The web clipper function is also popular amongst writers — especially for genres like sci-fi or historical — as you can use the clipper to save pertinent facts or articles you come across online, and save them right into your Evernote folders.
At its core, Evernote excels as a brainstorming tool. This is why its syncing ability is also key — if you're out and about, you can drop ideas into your Evernote app and continue working on them at a later point.
💰 Price tag: Free software (you can tip, though!) ✅ Features: A beautiful blank page for you to write your novel
FocusWriter isn’t novel-specific software per se, but it will help you rocket-boost your productivity. And of course, it's completely, permanently free — no limited-time trial, no payment with a warranty, no “premium upgrade” — so you may as well try it out!
This software is exactly what it sounds like: it helps you laser-focus your efforts onto writing , and nothing else. You can still format your manuscript and check your word count and daily writing goals via offscreen tools, but the default state is simply a blank page. You can also use full-screen mode so the only thing you see is the page in front of you — just like writing IRL.
For authors who struggle to concentrate on their work more than anything else, FocusWriter is a dream come true. You might also consider combining it with app-blocking software, like the next entry on this list, to achieve maximum productivity.
And that rounds off our section on free writing software! Now let's get into your options for paid programs.
💰 Price tag: $6.99/month or $20/year, free 7-session trial ✅ Features: Website and app blocking, advance block scheduling, customizable block lists and whitelisting, optional “Locked Mode,” session history, syncing across devices
Writers who procrastinate uncontrollably, get ready for a game-changer: Freedom. This is by far our favorite time management software due to the crisp user interface, the thoughtfully designed features, and the crucial fact that it works — unlike that fickle mistress, human willpower.
Freedom allows you to block specific apps, sites, or the entire Web for any amount of time. You can schedule your blocks in advance and sync across all your devices, so you can't have a last-minute, Netflix-based change of heart. And if you're prone to mid-work moments of weakness, simply put Freedom in Locked Mode! This completely prevents you from disabling it until that time is up.
Yes, Freedom might be a difficult adjustment for someone unaccustomed to any kind of discipline, self-imposed or otherwise — but hey, we're writers. We all need a little tough love sometimes to get us going. In that sense, there's no novel writing software more effective than Freedom.
💰 Price tag: $44.99 license fee, free 30-day trial ✅ Features: Corkboard planner with virtual index cards, planning templates, integrated outlining system, customizable full-screen interface, split-screen function, import and export capabilities
Scrivener is one of the most storied (no pun intended) programs in use today. It markets itself as a “typewriter, ring-binder, and scrapbook all in one,” and comprises tons of helpful features . But perhaps Scrivener’s greatest benefit is the freedom it enables: with so many sections that you can arrange to your heart’s desire, the program lets you write however works best for you.
With Scrivener, you can do as much or as little planning as you want, so you don’t feel pressured to stay within certain constraints. You can shuffle your notes, outlines, and even chapters around wherever you need. It also has one of the most generous trial periods on offer — you can use it free for 30 days, but they don’t have to be consecutive. (When you do decide to pull the trigger, make sure to apply a discount !)
The only potential catch with Scrivener is that some authors might find it a little too liberating. It doesn’t provide much novel-specific instruction, as some other programs do. But it’s still an excellent organizational tool with a great interface. Whether or not you choose Scrivener just depends on how much guidance you feel you need.
💰 Price tag: $12.50/month or $119.88/year, free “basic” plan ✅ Features: Easy drag-and-drop interface, flexible notes board, "moodboard" for inspiration, web clipper to save research and inspiration from the Internet
As all authors know, writing isn't always linear, because thinking itself isn't linear. Too often, straight-laced writing apps can't match up to the messy, chaotic, and wonderful way in which writers brainstorm and develop their stories — especially when they're just starting to take shape.
That's where this software comes in! Milanote is a super-versatile app that allows you to organize your research, ideas, characters and outline in one single place. Its visual workspace lets you clearly connect your thoughts, create mind maps, and develop moodboards. And for those who really struggle to get started, Milanote's amazingly detailed templates (see above) could be just what you need to hit the ground running.
In other words, Milanote is ideal for the initial planning stages of your novel. Not to mention it's incredibly easy-to-use, so authors can concentrate on the important stuff — their writing — rather than trying to figure out all the complexities of the app.
💰 Price tag: $10/month or $100/year, free two-week trial ✅ Features: Flexible word processing, mechanical and stylistic notes, goal-setting and progress tracking, learning courses
When it comes to writing apps that really push you to improve, Novlr is pretty darn effective. A relative newcomer to the novel writing software scene, Novlr has been climbing the ranks since 2017, with constant improvements being made based on user feedback.
In terms of actual writing, Novlr features a clean word processor which users can customize as they please. For example, there's “Evening” mode for those who prefer a darker color scheme, and “Focus Mode” to help with concentration. Making even the smallest formatting change, such as font size, will automatically update the entire text — convenient for writers who like to keep their aesthetics fresh.
Then when it's time to edit, the Proof Reader function at the bottom of the screen offers suggestions re: punctuation, adverb use, passive voice, and more. And for authors hoping to boost their productivity as well as their prose, a quick trip to the Dashboard reveals tons of useful features: a place to set your writing goals, an analytics tab for progress, and so on.
The one thing Novlr noticeably lacks is templates for story elements like plot, characters, etc. This may be a dealbreaker for writers who require (or simply prefer) that kind of structural guidance. But for seasoned writers looking for a sophisticated, web-based writing tool — and who don't mind paying for access to it — Novlr could be just the program for you.
Or you can check out the Reedsy Book Editor — a sophisticated, web-based tool that's 100% FREE (and not just for two weeks, either).
💰 Price tag: $59.95 license fee, free demo (doesn’t save your work) ✅ Features: Chapter outlines, element sheets, editing tools including readability score and repetition finder, prompts and other tools for story inspiration
WriteItNow ’s no-frills design facilitates that all-too-elusive endeavor for authors: to simply write . Its interface is pretty basic, with a planning toolbar and a sidebar to keep track of the actual writing. But don’t let its minimalism deceive you: WriteItNow also offers a variety of unique resources, especially for editing your manuscript.
After you’ve written a chapter or two with WriteItNow, not only can you check things like spelling and word count, you can also run editorial “Critiques” via the Editor Tools tab. The program will point out any repetitive phrases, unnecessary “padding” words, and even clichés you might have used — helping you polish your writing in the same way a professional copy editor might.
Another one-of-a-kind feature in WriteItNow is the “Create Idea” function. You can select a character and type of idea — in a maneuver reminiscent of choosing personality traits on The Sims — and the program will spit out creative prompts for you to integrate!
This program may seem a bit on the pricey side, but the license fee does cover both Mac and PC. In any case, WriteItNow absolutely lives up to its name in terms of helping writers get their work done. (And as every veteran writer knows, you can’t put a price on that.)
For book formatting software, check out this post on Vellum .
💰 Price tag: $10/month for the “basic” plan, $30/month for “professional,” $80/month for “elite,” or $1 for a two-week trial ✅ Features: “Professional” plan entails genre filtering, an array of editing options for pacing, dialogue, “strong writing,” word choice, repetition, and direct comparisons to bestselling works
While other pieces of novel-writing software help you organize, develop, and even self-edit your story, they don’t include the in-depth editorial functions that AutoCrit does. This is the program to use if you already have a decent draft ready to edit. (Or if you’re a micromanaging kind of writer who likes to edit meticulously as you go.)
AutoCrit tests your work for all the factors above, and even individual elements within those factors. So for example, after selecting “word choice” as your focus area, AutoCrit allows you to narrow it down even more. Do you want to check for generic-sounding descriptions? Improve your sentence starters? Work on personal phrases? You can achieve all that and more with AutoCrit.
The program also boasts an appealing modern interface, and decent prices considering the range of editing possibilities. Some writers might be reluctant to shell out for an editing program — but those writers probably don't know how hard it is to self-edit . When you think of it that way, AutoCrit is an amazing service: it helps you edit your manuscript with the perspective of a professional, all by yourself.
💰 Price tag: $5.99/month or $49.99/year ($4.17/month) ✅ Features: Typewriter mode, themeable editor, distraction-free interface, ability to set writing goals, ability to sync between multiple devices.
Ulysses is lauded for its sleek, clean, "distraction-free" interface. Some reviewers claim that this writing app gives you just the right amount of customization options in terms of appearance — without offering so many different options that it tempts you away from the actual goal of writing.
It does, of course, offer up a number of different functions that will appeal to authors. For instance, you can set daily writing goals , and even keep tabs on your progress so you can see when there are dips or spikes in your productivity. You can also organize your file into various groupings — for instance, you can just have one group called 'Works in Progress,' or you can set multiple subgroups like 'Characters Names' within 'Fantasy Novel Ideas' within 'Works in Progress,' etc., etc.
At the end of the day, Ulysses is something of a digital typewriter. You will find various features that may help you along the way, but the software is built such that when you arrive to it, you get to work right away.
No novel writing software is actually magic — that is, none of it is going to write your book for you. But with the right tools to lend you some focus, structure, and a dash of inspiration, you might just be able to get ‘er done all by yourself. 🙌
[updated: 08/10/2020 UTC]
Iain Wood says:
06/03/2019 – 14:51
You missed out wavemaker.. Https://wavemaker.co.uk
Comments are currently closed.
Recommended posts from the Reedsy Blog
When to Use Semicolons: 4 Rules and Examples
Confused about when to use a semicolon and how it's different from other punctuations? Here's a breakdown, with plenty of examples.
Alright vs All Right: What is the Difference? [+ Examples]
Wondering what the difference is between alright and all right? Or which spelling is correct? This posts breaks it down using plenty of examples.
How to Set Effective Writing Goals (That Will Help You Grow)
How can you set writing goals that are realistic, useful, and lead you “confidently in the direction of your dreams”? This post can help you set writing resolutions tailored to your individual needs.
Ensure vs Insure: How to Make Sure You Get It Right
Explaining the difference between ensure, insure, and assure with sample sentences and a memory trick to keep them apart.
What is an Oxford Comma and When Should You Use it? [+Examples]
Everything you need to know about the Oxford comma, from the grammar, to the controversy, to the consequences of mistaken punctuation. With examples.
Title Capitalization Rules: Learn Which Words To Capitalize
Whether you're using a style guide like AP, APA, MLA, or Chicago, or just want to make sure you're capitalizing your titles properly, this post explains all the rules so you know which words to capitalize or not.
Join a community of over 1 million authors
Reedsy is more than just a blog. Become a member today to discover how we can help you publish a beautiful book.
1 million authors trust the professionals on Reedsy, come meet them.
Enter your email or get started with a social account:
Which writing app is best for you?
Take our 1 minute quiz to find out.
- Features for Creative Writers
- Features for Work
- Features for Higher Education
- Features for Teachers
- Features for Non-Native Speakers
- Learn Blog Grammar Guide Events Community Academy FAQ
- Grammar Guide
Best Book Writing Software: Top 15 Programs for Writers
If you’d been born a few centuries ago, you might have written books using little more than a quill, an inkwell, and a scroll of parchment.
You can still write your book with a quill if you want to—but these days you have a lot more options at your fingertips. There are digital apps you can use that will help you organize your writing projects, catch grammar mistakes, collaborate with others, and so much more.
With so many different options to choose from, it can be hard to figure out which software is right for you.
So, what’s the best writing software to help you write your book?
In this article, we’ve compiled a list of the best book writing software options that every writer should know about.
1. ProWritingAid (Best Writing Software for Books)
2. scrivener, 3. google docs, 4. novelpad, 5. reedsy book editor, 6. squibler, 7. microsoft word, 8. grammarly, 9. hemingway, 10. the novel factory, 11. ulysses, 12. atticus, 14. publisher rocket, 15. fictionary, benefits of book writing software, why prowritingaid is loved by book writers, conclusion on the best book writing software.
ProWritingAid is the best book writing software currently available to writers.
It’s a popular writing aid that helps you transform your work in progress into publication-ready prose.
At the most basic level, the software acts as a second set of eyes to catch mistakes you might not spot on your own, such as typos and grammar errors.
On a more advanced level, it also makes style suggestions to help you improve weaknesses like passive voice, the overuse of adverbs, and repetitive sentence starts.
What makes ProWritingAid stand out from the crowd is the depth and quality of analysis it offers. There are over 20 different writing reports that show you the strengths and weaknesses of your book.
Here are just a few examples of the reports you get with ProWritingAid:
- The Clichés and Redundancies Report highlights overused phrases in your prose, so you can choose more unique ways to express ideas
- The Pacing Check monitors the balance between fast-paced sections, such as dialogue and character action, versus slow-paced sections, such as introspection and backstory
- The Dialogue Tags Check analyzes your dialogue tags, such as “She said” and “He whispered,” to make sure they’re necessary and effective
ProWritingAid also includes a built-in plagiarism checker that will tell you if any passages in your book overlap with existing written work.
The free version lets you try out all the basic features, but you’ll need the Premium version to unlock the advanced analysis reports. If you’re working on a full-length book, it’s worth the investment.
Cost: Free, or around $70/year for the Premium version
- Analyzes your book in more detail than any other grammar checker on the market
- Integrates with web browsers (such as Chrome and Firefox) and desktop apps (such as Microsoft Word and Scrivener)
- Lets you scan up to 100,000 words at a time
- Requires a subscription to scan more than 500 words (the free trial limit)
Scrivener is a book writing software specifically designed for writing long-form projects, such as novels, textbooks, and screenplays.
It’s great for organizing large writing projects because it lets you arrange your manuscript in a “binder,” where you can easily rearrange scenes or chapters by dragging and dropping them.
You can see a bird’s-eye view of your book using the corkboard mode, which looks like a physical corkboard full of index cards. You can also toggle to the outline mode, which formats your chapter summaries as an outline.
You can then set targets for your project, such as the word counts you want to hit by certain deadlines. This feature makes it easy to track your progress.
And you can turn on focus mode, which displays only the text you’re currently working on, so you can write without distraction.
There’s a steep learning curve to use all of Scrivener’s advanced features, but many writers love this app, and there are plenty of tutorials online for how to make Scrivener work for you.
- Lets you organize a large project with ease
- Gives you a bird’s-eye view of your book
- Helps you track your progress with targets and deadlines
- Has a steep learning curve for new users
- Lacks real-time collaboration options
- Requires a one-time payment
Writing can be a solitary task, but the process of writing an entire book requires a lot of collaboration. Authors might need to collect feedback from beta readers, view suggestions from editors, and more.
Google Docs is the best free writing software for collaboration. It allows others to leave comments, suggestions, and even emoji reactions on your book.
Multiple people can edit the same document simultaneously in Google Docs, allowing for real-time collaboration.
Google Docs also automatically uploads your work to the cloud, so you don’t run the risk of losing any of your files. Best of all, it’s free.
One downside is that Google Docs isn’t a perfect book writing software because it is hard to organize a large project using it. We recommend creating a new Doc for each chapter or section of your book, so you don’t have to scroll for minutes on end to get from one section of your book to another.
Another downside is that Google Docs works best when you have an internet connection. It might not be the best tool if you prefer to work offline or on the move.
- Allows real-time collaboration with beta readers, editors, and more
- Automatically saves your work to the cloud
- Free to use
- Lacks organizational options for large writing projects
- Requires an internet connection for full functionality
NovelPad, first launched in 2020, is one of the newest book writing software tools on our list. It’s a novel writing software designed by and for novelists.
Like Scrivener, NovelPad is a word processing tool that lets you rearrange scenes and story beats by dragging and dropping them. In addition to being a word processor, it also comes with many other book writing tools.
One useful feature is character tracking, which lets you jump to all sections where a specific character’s name appears. That way, you can make sure that characters act consistently throughout the book.
Another useful feature is its adaptive progress tracker. NovelPad lets you set different daily word count goals depending on how much time you can spend writing, and it will even readjust your daily goals to account for how much you’ve already written.
You can also color code your scenes, so you can easily see which ones you’re drafting, revising, copyediting, etc.
Best of all, the user interface is extremely intuitive, so this writing program isn’t as hard to learn as Scrivener.
One downside is that there’s no desktop app version of NovelPad, so you can only use it in a web browser. As a result, the offline mode doesn’t always work well.
Cost: $8/month or $60/year
- Easy to use and navigate
- Offers character boards and scene boards specifically designed for novels
- Lacks an app option and can only be used in-browser
- Not tailored for writing nonfiction books
- Requires a subscription
The Reedsy Book Editor is a free book writing software that also handles formatting for publication while you write.
This online editor is one of the few writing programs that lets you see what the published version of your book will look like while you’re still writing it. It has fantastic editing features compared to most other free writing software tools.
Once you’ve finished your final draft, you can export your book as an EPUB or PDF file, in a format that looks beautiful and clean.
It’s a free alternative to expensive writing programs like Atticus, which format your book for a large fee.
Another advantage is that, similar to Google Docs, the Reedsy Book Editor allows multiple people to work on a document at the same time. If you’re working with a co-writer, this free website might be a great option.
- Allows real-time collaboration
- Formats your book for publication
- Lacks the advanced features you can get with more expensive writing software
Squibler is a book writing software that helps you streamline your creative process. It’s designed to make the writing process easier, so you can hit your writing goals.
It lets you set to-do lists to increase productivity, and is specifically tailored to help you with project management.
It’s also a very versatile writing software. You can use Squibler for writing a book, crafting a screenplay, or just for writing practice.
If you’re struggling with writer’s block and don’t know what to work on next, you can use Squibler’s Plot Generator, which will give you writing prompts. These machine-generated prompts are a handy tool to help you get the creative juices going.
- Helps with project management
- Lets you set to-do lists and goals
- Gives you fun prompts to spark creativity
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. Whatever you see on the screen is the same as what your book will look like when you print it out, so you can make formatting adjustments along the way.
Since most people are already familiar with MS Word, it’s still an industry standard in many contexts. For example, if you send your book to a copyeditor, there’s a good chance they’ll send it back as a MS Word document.
The Track Changes feature makes it easy to edit other people’s stories while giving them the choice to accept or reject those changes.
The downside of MS Word is that it’s not designed to handle extremely large projects, like books. It takes time to scroll from Chapter One to Chapter Ten, and it’s even harder to move a scene from one part of the book to another.
Cost: around $100/year for the entire Microsoft Office suite depending on the site you buy from (includes Excel, PowerPoint, etc.)
- Creates simple, ubiquitous document formats like .doc and .docx
- Can be slow to load large files
Grammarly is a grammar checker that focuses primarily on catching errors, such as typos, grammatical mistakes, and misused punctuation. It also offers style suggestions related to wordy sentences, repetitive words, incorrect comma usage, and other similar fixes.
Some of Grammarly’s top features include its plagiarism detector, its spell check, and its grammar check. It also offers a readability score, which gives you a score from 1 to 100 based on readability factors like word length and sentence length.
The main downside of Grammarly is that it works better with short-form content than long-form content. If you try to scan more than 10,000 words, it slows down significantly. It also doesn’t integrate with popular book writing apps, such as Scrivener and Final Draft.
The free version can catch grammar and spelling mistakes, but you’ll need to pay for the Premium version in order to use the rest of the tool.
Cost: Free, or $30/month, $60/quarter, or $144/year for the Premium version
- Catches mistakes and typos well
- Quickly scans short emails and blog posts
- Offers fewer reports and less in-depth analysis than ProWritingAid
- Only lets you scan 10,000–20,000 words at a time without a significant reduction in speed
- Requires an expensive subscription
Read our ProWritingAid vs Grammarly comparison article here.
The Hemingway app is a free writing software that focuses on checking readability. It gives your writing a readability score, so you know how well you're communicating.
It highlights sentences that are dense or overly complex, so you can find ways to shorten them. It also highlights passive voice, overused adverbs, and any other weaknesses that might make your work harder to read.
The downside is that not all of Hemingway’s suggestions are useful. They’re all automatically generated based on fairly simple criteria, so it can be a bit hit-or-miss.
Still, since it’s free software, there’s no downside to running your book through the Hemingway app to see if it offers any useful suggestions.
- Gives your writing a readability score
- Suggests ways to make your work more digestible for readers
- Sometimes gives arbitrary or unhelpful advice
The Novel Factory is a great book writing software for fiction writers.
In addition to being a word processor, it can also help you with the creative process when you’re coming up with ideas.
It includes several interesting writing tools that you can’t find elsewhere.
For example, it comes with a Plot Manager, which includes plot templates for popular genres.
The Novel Factory also helps you develop your characters, with prompts to flesh out your character’s archetype, motivation, and more.
Overall, the Novel Factory is a great book writing software for creative writers who want some help with the ideation process.
Cost: $75/year for the basic version, $198/year for the standard version, or $600/year for the Premium version
- Offers plot templates and a detailed Plot Manager
- Helps with character development, worldbuilding, and other creative elements
Ulysses is a note taking app that lets you sync between all your devices.
Let’s say you come up with some brilliant ideas for your book while you’re commuting home from work, so you type out your ideas on your phone.
Once you get home, you can’t wait to incorporate those ideas into your project—but first, you have to go through the hassle of switching all your notes from your phone to your laptop.
Syncing all your notes can be a real drag, especially if you like to think about your book while you’re on the go.
Ulysses also has a binder-like sidebar that lets you move documents around easily. It’s no replacement for Scrivener, since it’s not designed specifically for writing books. But if you just need a way to take notes and keep track of ideas with minimal stress, it’s a great option.
Common alternatives to Ulysses include Evernote and Bear.
Cost: $5.99/month or $39.99/year
- Syncs notes between all your devices
- Lets you easily take notes on the go
- Only available for Mac
- Not designed specifically for writing books
Atticus is a book formatting tool that helps you turn your manuscript into a publication-ready file.
It includes easy-to-use templates you can customize to suit your preferences. With these templates, you can export your book in beautiful formats for both print and eBook.
In addition to formatting your books, Atticus also functions as a word processor, so you can start writing directly in the program if you want to. It even lets you track word count goals as you go, just like Scrivener and NovelPad.
If you’re self-publishing and you’re not planning to hire someone to format your manuscript, a book writing software like Atticus is a must-have so you can make sure your manuscript is ready for publication.
- Formats manuscripts for print and eBook
- Works for every platform (Mac, Windows, Linux, Chrome)
- Requires an internet connection
- Requires an expensive one-time payment
Vellum helps you create a beautifully formatted eBook. Like Atticus, it’s well-known for having gorgeous aesthetics.
Many of the word processors on our list can format eBooks, including Scrivener and Microsoft Word, but most of them don’t produce such beautiful books. Vellum, in particular, focuses on how your book looks.
With the previewer, you can see exactly how your eBooks will appear on Kindle, iPhone, Nook, and other eReaders.
Cost: $199 for eBook generation, $249 for paperback formatting
- Easy to learn and navigate
- Offers beautiful and unique aesthetics
Publisher Rocket serves a different function from all the other programs in our list.
Instead of helping you write your book, it helps you figure out what kind of book to write—or how to market the book you’re writing, once it’s done.
Essentially, Publisher Rocket is a book marketing research tool that gives you a breakdown of what readers are looking for.
For example, Publisher Rocket can tell you how much money readers are spending on certain niches, such as historical romance. It can also tell you what phrases Amazon buyers are searching for right now, so you can see topics that are trending with readers.
One useful feature is that it can tell you how much money specific books are making per month, so if you know of books that are similar to yours, it can give you a sense of how well your manuscript will perform in the market.
Best of all, it can give you advice for how to market your book to the right audience, which can significantly improve sales.
- Helps you market your book
- Gives you a sense of how well your book can sell
- Has a steep learning curve
Fictionary is for fiction writers looking to improve the plot, characters and setting of their stories.
The AI-powered software makes story editing faster by analyzing your manuscript from start to finish and creating powerful visuals of your plotline, scenes, and POVs.
Their structured approach to story editing takes writers through 38 story elements, including how to write conflict, tension, hooks, backstory, emotional impact, and more.
Cost: $19/month or $169/year
- Packed full of practical, actionable information
- Generates impressive visualizations of your writing
- Makes editing more systematic and less daunting
- Works best with a completed first draft
- Longer learning curve due to so many elements
If you already have the tools you need to write a book, you might be reluctant to learn how to use new ones. So, why bother investing in book writing software? Here are some key benefits:
- Help you stay focused on your project
- Allow you to work more quickly and efficiently
- Give you organizational tools to manage your ideas
- Make it easier to share your material with others
- Correct weaknesses in your prose
- Improve the quality of your overall book
If you find the right book writing software for you, you’ll be able to finish a stronger manuscript in a shorter span of time. It’s well worth the investment!
ProWritingAid offers higher quality analysis than any other software on the market.
It’s particularly well-suited for creative writers because it goes beyond looking for basic mistakes and actually improves writing style. Other grammar checkers can transform bad writing into good writing, but ProWritingAid’s style suggestions can transform good writing into great writing.
The more you use ProWritingAid, the more you’ll be able to spot the patterns in your writing. It’s a book writing software that can help you actually improve your writing skills over time.
It’s also extremely easy to integrate ProWritingAid into your current writing process, whether you prefer to write in Scrivener, Google Docs, Microsoft Word, or any other popular word processor.
You can check ProWritingAid’s suggestions, make your edits, and save the file directly in your favorite writing app.
If you want writing software that will holistically improve your book, ProWritingAid is one of the best places to start.
There you have it—our top 15 picks for the best writing software options on the market today. You can use these tools to draft your book, edit your prose, format your manuscript, and more.
It’s important to remember that every writer is unique, so a piece of writing software that works well for others might not be the best option for you. Ultimately, the only way to figure out your favorite book writing software is to try some out for yourself.
Most of the book writing software options on our list have free trials you can use to help figure out if that app works for you or not. For example, you can use ProWritingAid right now, no credit card required.
Let us know what your favorite book writing software is. Happy writing!
Be confident about grammar
Check every email, essay, or story for grammar mistakes. Fix them before you press send.
Hannah Yang is a speculative fiction writer who writes about all things strange and surreal. Her work has appeared in Analog Science Fiction, Apex Magazine, The Dark, and elsewhere, and two of her stories have been finalists for the Locus Award. Her favorite hobbies include watercolor painting, playing guitar, and rock climbing. You can follow her work on hannahyang.com, or subscribe to her newsletter for publication updates.
Get started with ProWritingAid
Drop us a line or let's stay in touch via :
Best Free Writing Software: 20 Top Options
Are you looking for the best free writing software? If so, take a look at a few of our recommendations below, and get your writing off to a great start!
Writing is a fulfilling pursuit. It is 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. But, the writing process can also be challenging, filled with confusing moments, writer’s block, and tedious clerical work.
Enter free writing. It describes capturing ideas that come into your head without worrying about typos and grammar mistakes. It’s an excellent skill for new writers and teaches you how to write faster and without self-censorship. If you are looking for the best free writing software available, take a look at a few key options below. Some of these are ideal for writing, while others will help you focus on a free writing project. The best free writing program is Scrivener, although it has a learning curve. I also love using Ulysses but it’s Mac only. IA Writer is a delight for free writing on a tablet. Otherwise use Google Docs.
3. ia writer, 4. google docs, 6. apple pages, 7. prowritingaid, 8. grammarly, 10. hemingway editor, 12. reedsy book editor, 13. evernote, 14. freedom, 15. slick write, 16. abi word, 17. dropbox paper, 18. shaxpir, 19. focus writer, 20. onelook, final word on best free writing software, selection criteria for the best free writing programs, why you can trust us, faqs about the best free writing software.
Price: Free trial available. Paid version is $49 Best for: Long-form free writing
Scrivener is one of the most popular writing programs available because it was made by writers for writers. The program breaks your work into chapters (which you control), making it easier for you to drag and drop segments of your work, organizing it in a manner that makes sense to you. You can turn on a distraction-free typewriter mode during free writing sessions and even set session word counts. To learn more, read our Scrivener review .
- 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: $4.99 per month Best for: As a Scrivener free writing alternative
Ulysses is a minimalistic writing app that supports Markdown. I use it regularly for free writing sessions. I can hide the menu bar and user interface and focus on the words in front of me. You can export free writing drafts into another format, including blog posts and Word documents. It’s a good choice if you find free writing in Scrivener overwhelming. Mac and iOS only, it works nicely on a tablet. For more, read our Ulysses App review .
- Easy to use
- Excels for long-form free writing projects
- Subscription model may put off some
Price: $49.99 Best for: Free writing on a tablet, across devices and operating systems
IA Writer is a popular free writing app. Like Ulysses, it also supports Markdown, and is minimalistic and distraction-free. You can easily export drafts from IA Writer to the web or other formats. It works particularly well on a tablet. It’s available on Windows, Mac, Android and iOS. For more, read our IA Writer review .
- Widely supported
- Fantastic user interface
- Works great for free writing on a tablet
- Comparitvely pricey
Price: Free Best for: Those who need to collaborate with others on a book or project
Even though there are better options than Google Docs for writing, it’s free, and it works everywhere with internet access. It is 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 a free writing session from where I left off.
- 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
Price: Free Best for: Those looking for a strong word processor for group writing projects
If you are looking for a free word processor but 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 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
Price: Free with Macs Best For: Those looking for a simple word processor on a Mac product
If you use a Mac, then there is a good chance you have heard about Apple Pages . It is 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 if you want to make the process easier. In addition, apple Pages comes with numerous features, including spell check, word count, and track changes.
- 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. The Premium version is $60 per year Best for: Those who do not have access to a professional editor and need help with grammar and spelling
Free writing involves writing at length without worrying about typos and other issues. When it’s time to edit, enter ProWritingAid . It’s a grammar program and spell checker that can catch many of the problems you might overlook. Now, 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.
- 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. The Premium version is $144 per year Best for: Those who want to catch grammar mistakes and prevent plagiarism
Seasoned writers also 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 also giving you suggestions that can help you keep your writing concise. If you want to see more options for editing software, 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: From $2.92 per month Best for: Journaling and free writing
Journaling and free writing go hand in hand. If you want to get more from journaling, then it’s best to use a dedicated app like Day One . You can write about whatever you want, time-stamp your entries, sync them across devices and also encrypt everything.
It’s available on the Mac Store with an annual subscription discount available. Day One enables you to free write about your day. It also provides writing prompts as inspiration. I free write using this app on my iPad, laptop and desktop. For more, read our Day One app review .
- Easy to use and write with
- Ideal for journaling and free writing
- Supports multimedia content
- Less suitable for free writing sessions unrelated to journaling
Price: Free Best for: Those looking for a free editor
If you want to make your work easier to read, the Hemingway Editor is one of the most effective options available. 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 .
To learn more about the different editing tools on the market, check out our post on the best grammar tools .
- 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
Price: Free with a premium version available Best for: Those looking for a grammar checker and vocabulary enhancer
Ginger Grammar is a popular grammar checker that features a free chrome extension. It bears similarities to many other grammar checkers but excels because of its ability to interpret words in context. The contextual correction means that this grammar tool is more accurate than many other tools on the market. For more, read our Grammarly vs Ginger comparison .
- Free version available that includes a lot of features
- Can handle other languages
- Provides a helpful vocabulary enhancement tool
- Not as intuitive as many other grammar checkers
- The sentence rephrasing tool can use some improvement
- The AI features of the program are not great
Price: Free Best for: Those who frequently need to convert file formats
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 with in-app purchase options Best for: Those who like to write on multiple devices
When you work on a project, taking breaks from time to time is critical. Maybe you like to go to the gym. Perhaps you want to go for a walk. Regardless, 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 anymore. 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
Price: Free trial available. $29 per year for the paid version Best for: Those who get distracted easily and have difficulty meeting their deadlines
Everyone has missed a deadline. It is a part of being a writer. However, if you regularly miss your deadlines, this program might help you. Freedom gives you access to a focus mode. It will block your biggest distractions, stop you from navigating to certain websites, and keep specific applications from opening for a certain amount of time. In short, use it in conjunction with a free writing app.
- Stay on track and meet your deadlines
- Works on computers and phones
- Schedule your writing times in advance
- Not a true writing application
- It can be difficult to use on mobile devices
- It can’t actually stop you from getting distracted if you want to do something else
Price: Free Best for: Those looking for in-depth stylistic analysis
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
Price: Free Best for: Those looking for simplicity
If you are looking for a simple word processor that can help you out, you may want to consider Abi Word . 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
Price: Free with a free Dropbox account Best for: Those who want to include multimedia in a group
If you have a free Dropbox account, you can use Dropbox Paper . On the surface, it is a simple word processor, but the application can do so 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 or 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
Price: Free Best for: Novelists
If you are looking for a program to help you write books, you may want to 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.
- 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
Price: Free Best for: Those who get distracted easily
Focus Writer 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 descriptions that are elsewhere on the screen. The program is compatible with various operating systems and allows you to focus on the task at hand.
- 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 Best for: Those who struggle with Writer’s Block
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 that you can use in your writing.
- 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
Today, I use Ulysses the most for free writing as it’s easy to use and works across all my devices. I also recommend Google Docs to writers and Scrivener.
In the end, these are just a few of the many free writing programs available. You need to think about the type of writing you do, what your technological prowess is like, and how you think the program might benefit you. Make sure you think about the benefits and drawbacks of each option before you decide.
There are lots of great writing programs out there, and it is difficult to narrow down the list to just a few choices. 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, it might take longer to learn.
- Value for the Money: While this is a list of the top free writing programs, nearly every program has the option to purchase premium features.
Once we assessed these individual factors, we put together our list of the top free writing programs available.
Of course, you need to make your own decisions, as the best writing programs for one person might not necessarily be the best writing programs 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 what features will make you a better writer.
- Personal Use: I have used all of the programs on my list on my own. 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.
How can I choose the best free writing software program to meet my needs?
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 think about 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
Is it safe for me to use free writing programs?
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.
Is it worth it to upgrade from a free writing program to a premium writing program?
There are some situations where springing for a premium program is worth it, particularly if you find yourself using premium features a lot. Start with a free trial, and try out as many premium features as possible. If you enjoy those premium features, consider upgrading to the full version
Join over 15,000 writers today
Get a FREE book of writing prompts and learn how to make more money from your writing.
Success! Now check your email to claim your prompts.
There was an error submitting your subscription. Please try again.
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.
View all posts
Writing tools, screenwriting software, novel writing software, book writing software, writing training, medical writing certification courses, grant writing classes, technical writing certifications, grant writing certification programs, hr training, human resources (hr) certifications online, how to get hr certification, entry-level hr certifications, hr management certifications, hr analyst certifications, hr generalist certifications, hr business partner certifications, people analytics certification course, human resources (hr) degrees, human resources (hr) training courses, dei training, diversity and inclusion certifications, diversity and inclusion training programs, best sensitivity training programs, best discrimination training programs, knowledge management certifications, product training, product management certifications, product owner certifications, product management training courses, scrum master certifications, go-to-market (gtm) strategy examples, the customer onboarding process, saas marketing strategy examples, the customer acquisition cost, saas metrics for saas business growth, customer lifecycle marketing strategies, product strategy, types of customer satisfaction metrics, value based pricing examples, 9 best novel writing software in 2023: reviews and pricing.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
If you have ever written a novel, you’ll know it isn’t a straightforward task. It isn’t just about writing, rather you have to deal with a lot of related and even unrelated things. You need to organize your ideas and thoughts in the form of notes and outlines, you’ll need a stable internet connection, and you need a comfortable and cozy working environment.
One important part of the novel writing process is novel writing software. A decent, reliable novel writing software will help you with a lot of things including smooth novel outline, note-taking, collaboration, distraction-free writing, novel section management, storage and backup, formatting, and more.
Gone are the days when the typewriter was the only tool that an author needed. Times have changed, and you need to change and upgrade yourself too.
Check out the following list of the best novel writing software in 2023 with reviews and pricing details and pick the one that’s right for you.
Squibler is the world’s best writing platform that simplifies the writing process for novel writers. It is an easy-to-use writing app that comes with a simple yet effective text editor and word processor. It doesn’t just help you in writing, but it has ready-to-use templates and plot generator with over 500 story ideas for novel writers.
Squibler offers some of the best features and tools for novel writers:
- An easy-to-use and intuitive dashboard, text editor, and interface
- A drag-and-drop user interface for arranging and organizing chapters, sections, and notes
- First line generator tool for novel writers with more than 500 first line suggestions and ideas
- Story prompt generator and plot generator for novel writers of all genres
- A note-taking feature that helps you organize and manage your ideas
- More than 30 plot outlines for writers
- Distraction-free writing mode to write your novel with complete focus and attention
- An on-screen sidebar gives you quick access to all the essential elements and different novel sections
- Arrange different sections of your novel by dragging and dropping on the board
- Built-in grammar checking and editing tool to improve your novel and its readability in real-time
- Auto-save feature with version control that lets you access older versions of your novel
- Import feature that lets you import your novel from other another app
- Integrates and sync with Google Drive and Dropbox allowing you to save your work on the cloud
- Get your novel in publish-ready format for Kindle
- It works online and on Mac, Windows, iPad, and other devices. Your work is synced in real-time across all devices where you use Squibler.
Squibler only costs $9.99 per month. You can try it for 14 days and check all the amazing features. Click here to start your free 14 days trial now.
Squibler is a cost-effective all-in-one novel writing software that comes loaded with all the features that you want to see in a top book writing software.
AutoCrit is an editing tool for novel writers that help you improve readability without getting help from a professional editor or proofreader. It compares your manuscript with the best-seller novels and books in your genre and gives you recommendations on how to improve dialogue, word selection, repetition, etc.
The main features include:
- Easy-to-use word processor
- Up to 30 editing reports to improve your novel
- Built-in editing and grammar checking tool
- Specific guidance related to your genre
- Progress tracker and goal setting
- Online storage space
- Readability analysis
AutoCrit has a free forever plan that gives you access to limited features. The premium plan is priced at $30 per month (or $297/year).
AutoCrit helps you write better and improve readability. It isn’t a feature-rich novel writing tool and it only covers one area (editing and readability).
Scrivener is a decent novel writing software that simplifies writing and organizing your novel, its chapters, and your ideas. It works on both mobile and desktop making it easier for you to access your manuscript from multiple devices.
Here is an overview of the core Scrivener features:
- A word processor designed specifically for writers
- Distraction-free writing mode
- Corkboard for managing your ideas and novel elements
- Outliner tool and templates to choose from
- Set up writing goals and monitor progress
- Autosave feature
Scrivener for desktop is priced at $49 (either Mac or Windows) and the iOS app is priced at $19.99. There isn’t any online version available.
Scrivener is a nice novel writing software, but it doesn’t work on Android devices and doesn’t have any online version. You’ll have to keep your device with you all the time.
Ulysses is a writing app for Mac, iPad, and iPhone for novel writers. If you are a proud Apple user and need a novel writing app that works on all Apple devices, Ulysses is the writing software for you. It has a lot of handy features that help you write better novels.
Here is what this novel writing software offers you with:
- Clean and simple user-interface
- Set and track writing goals
- Autosave and backup feature
- Supports multiple file formats
- Sync your data in real-time
- Create and manage your library with a single tap or click
- Organize your novel with a group feature
- Integrates with Dropbox and iCloud.
Ulysses is priced at $5.99 per month or $49.99 per year. It offers a free trial letting you explore it before you decide to pay.
Ulysses is a novel writing software for Apple devices with no online version. The features are good but lack some of the much-needed ones like corkboard and collaboration.
ProWritingAid is a grammar, style, and readability checking software that helps you edit the content of your novel and make it reader-friendly. It improves your writing to a great extent with its amazing and helpful features.
Here is what ProWritingAid offers you:
- Simple user-interface with powerful features
- Over 20 detailed writing reports for improvement
- Auto-suggestion feature that highlights grammar and style issues as you write
- Find and fix style issues automatically with a single click
- Use the most appropriate words by selecting the best synonym from the list
- It integrates with several leading tools and apps e.g. Microsoft Word, Medium, Gmail, and others
- It has a browser extension, Microsoft Word add-on, desktop app, and an online version.
ProWritingAid has flexible pricing. You can pay monthly ($20 per month) or a one-time payment of $224.25. You get 25% off if you switch to yearly payment ($59.25 per year).
ProWritingAid is a handy cross-device novel writing tool that lets you write better and quickly hassle-free. You can improve your writing style, grammar, and readability with ProWritingAid. However, the interface is a bit slow and there is no library of documents either.
Grammarly works like ProWritingAid by improving your writing. It fixes grammatical, style, tone, pronunciation, and readability errors in your manuscript. Grammarly has a writing assistant that automatically finds errors as you type and suggests how to fix them.
The leading Grammarly features include:
- AI-powered writing tool
- It detects a lot of grammatical and non-grammatical writing errors
- Write directly in Grammarly interface or copy text from the word processor
- Simple and easy-to-use interface
- It has a tone detector that helps you set the right tone for your novel
- It checks your manuscript for clarity, engagement, correctness, and delivery
- Built-in plagiarism detector
- A library of your documents to help you manage your novel chapters and sections
- Integrates with leading tools like Google Docs, Microsoft Word, Facebook, Slack, Outlook, Gmail, and more
- It has browser extensions, web version, desktop software, and mobile apps for both iOS and Android.
Grammarly has a free for life plan with basic features. As a novel writer, you’ll have to switch to the premium plan that costs $11.66 per month and has all the necessary features you need.
Grammarly is a powerful novel editing and writing software that offers you a lot of features that help you improve your writing. Its tone detector is a very helpful feature.
yWriter is a word processor designed and developed by Simon Haynes who is a full-time novelist. He developed this novel writing software to help the novelist break their novel into sections and chapters, and to make it easier for them to organize and manage their novel.
Here is what yWriter has to offer you with:
- A simple user-interface that doesn’t need any training
- Organize your novel and work on multiple novels simultaneously
- Add scenes, chapters, items, characters, etc. in your novel and organize them easily
- Progress tracker with the word count for each file in your project
- Storyboard view of your work
- Drag-and-drop chapters, scenes, and characters for arrangement and re-ordering
- Autosave and automatic backup
- Autonumbering of the chapters
- It has desktop software for Mac, Windows, and Linux and mobile app for iOS and Android
- Automatic software updates.
yWriter is free to use. However, registering your account donates $11.95 or $24.95 to the developer. It isn’t compulsory though.
yWriter offers you multiple features to organize and manage your novel, sections, scenes, and chapters. The features are, however, basic and don’t offer something out of the box.
8. Hemingway Editor
Hemingway Editor is editing software that anyone can use. It is a desktop software for both Windows and Mac and it also has a free online version. You can use it to improve the readability of your novel.
Hemingway Editor Features
Here is an overview of what Hemingway Editor offers you:
- Extremely easy-to-use text editor
- Highlights errors in different colors for easy identification
- It identifies adverbs issues in the text and suggests how to fix them
- Highlights passive voice
- Highlights sentences that are hard to read and very hard to read
- It also suggests simple synonyms to complex words to improve readability
- Gives a readability score to your novel
- You can format the text easily with its editor
Hemingway Editor Pricing
The online app is free to use. However, the desktop software is priced at $19.99. It is available for Windows and Mac and you have to buy separate licenses.
Hemingway Editor is a nice novel writing software that will fix most of the major readability-related issues. However, you won’t be able to write your novel in its editor. You’ll have to copy-paste chunks of text in the editor, fix them, and then move them back to your original word processor (e.g. Google Docs or Microsoft Word).
Evernote is an all-purpose note-taking app. It isn’t a tool specifically for novel writers but since it is such a useful tool, you can use it as your novel writing software. If you work in a team or working with multiple authors on one or more novels, Evernote will turn out to be the best app.
The leading Evernote features are:
- An easy-to-use tool for notetaking
- Take notes and share them with anyone you like
- Organize websites, URLs, articles, files, PDFs, etc. in your Evernote account
- Support for voice search
- Create a to-do list to keep track of daily writing tasks
- Organize and manage your notes easily
- Comes with ready-to-use templates
- It has a web version, desktop app, mobile app, and browser extension
- Integrates with leading tools and apps e.g. Gmail, Outlook, Slack, Google Drive, and more.
It has a free plan that comes with the basic note-taking feature. You can switch to the premium plan ($7.99 per month) to unlock more features.
Evernote is a handy note-taking app that will help you keep your ideas organized. You can manage and organize different sections of your novel with Evernote too.
Choose the Best Novel Writing Software
Tools and software are essential for novel writing. They simplify the writing process, automate repetitive tasks, improve readability, help in editing, and boost your productivity. The software discussed above might have overlapping features, but they help you achieve different things.
Dealing with multiple software turns out to be a separate problem so you have to carefully handpick the one that’s the best and meets your requirements. I’d recommend Squibler as it is an all-in-one novel writing software that’s specifically developed for writers. It doesn’t just focus on one aspect of the writing process (notetaking, outlining, editing, etc.) rather it covers everything. It is an end-to-end novel writing solution. Give it a try and see how it works for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here’s a list of some of the most common questions about novel writing software:
What is the best software for writing a novel?
The best novel writing software does a lot of the heavy lifting for you including helping you outline, write and publish your novel. If you’re looking for something that helps you write and create a book then I suggest a tool like Squibler or Scrivener.
What is novel writing software?
Novel writing software helps writers to organize their novel and to write a novel. They can provide you with tools to help you outline, structure your novel, create an index for research purposes or add subtitles and chapters.
Do you need novel writing software?
You need novel writing software when you have a novel to write and you need help with outlining, structuring or adding subtitles. There are many different types of software available so it’s best that you read the reviews for each product before making your decision.
What is the difference between novel writing software?
The number one difference between novel writing software products is their interface: what they look like when you first log in and how they behave after that. Some people prefer Scrivener and some people prefer Squibler because there are slight differences in features such as formatting text, cross-referencing research sources etc. In any case, I suggest reading through all the options carefully before deciding on which type of tool will work best for your particular needs.
Published in Writing Software
Join 5000+ Technical Writers
Get our #1 industry rated weekly technical writing reads newsletter.
The Best Book Writing Software in 2023 [You Already Have It]
Think about your favorite authors—the ones whose books deeply affected your life. Do you know what all of them had in common?
None of them used special book writing software to write their book.
Yet, this is where many beginning and amateur writers start. They spend so much time searching for the “perfect” book writing software (among other tools) that will magically make their writing better.
Let me spare you time and money: software is not a relevant consideration for writing a great book and being a successful author.
In fact, most writing software adds complexity without any value (Exhibit A: Scrivener ).
That’s not to say writing software will never be relevant. It could happen. But after testing and trying all of them, I have yet to find software that helps write a book.
I’ve been writing professionally for 15 years and wrote four New York Times Best Sellers with basic software. The same is true for almost every other professional writer I know. If you’re stuck on finding the “perfect” software, something else is holding you back.
What’s Really Going On
We all know this person: he decided to start golfing (or CrossFit, or MMA, or yoga or knitting, doesn’t matter), and then spent weeks researching the perfect gear. Then he spent way too much money on it, showed it off to all his friends, took a few cool Instagram pics…and then never actually used the equipment.
People who obsess over tools are usually scared of the work.
For most people who obsess over writing software, it’s a way of hiding from the actual writing. It’s understandable— writing a book can bring up a lot of fears . I say this not as a judgment, but as a person who has done this exact thing many, many times in other areas of my life. After all, it’s fun to shop for equipment and to fantasize about success. And taking pictures is such an easy way to get the attention benefit of hard work without having to suffer through the actual hard work.
But the ONLY way to actually accomplish anything is through doing the hard work…and that is scary.
Again, I say that without judgment. I have been the author afraid to write a book and using a distraction to avoid this fear many times. And I have seen many authors afraid to write a book, for any number of reasons (that usually boils down to the fear it will make them look stupid), so they install a writing assistant but never write a page.
I wrote an in-depth blog post that details the 6 book writing fears and how to beat them . But again, knowing you are afraid, and connecting that fear to your endless search for something to distract you, is not an easy thing to do.
If you are looking for the best book writing software, I would highly recommend you ask yourself this question: is this search necessary, or am I distracting myself from my fear?
Now—all of this being said, there are very valid reasons to want to find and use good tools to help you make the writing process easier. For example, you may want a writing program that better enables you to write chapter by chapter, has file management, or lets you set daily goals.
To that end, here is my evaluation of some of the more common tools.
The Best Writing Programs for Writers
1. word processors & text editors.
Every word processor is essentially the same. You should use the one you like best.
I like Google Docs because it’s simple to use and makes real-time collaboration very easy. Files are stored in Google Drive and require an internet connection to access if you’re not using Google Drive’s offline storage option and install the Chrome Extension Google Docs Offline .
You might like Microsoft Word or Pages best. That’s totally fine.
Many writers have begun using Obsidian . A free tool available for Mac, Windows, and Linux that stores your writing as markdown files on your local computer (so you can easily access them without an internet connection).
It’s not for everyone though. The real power of Obsidian comes from its key feature to find connections and relationships between ideas (called bidirectional linking), which can be very useful when you’re trying to weave together a coherent narrative between chapters or across a series of books.
It’s not the greatest for editorial collaboration though. You can share your files with an editor or publisher but they can’t leave comments the way they can in Google Docs. Obsidian is better suited for when you’re writing your rough draft of your book before transferring it into Google Docs or Microsoft Word.
It’s a powerful tool with a lot of advanced features that have a pretty steep learning curve, so don’t let yourself get distracted if you use it. Focus on what matters most: getting words down on paper.
I can promise you though, there is no “right” choice here. The key is familiarity and comfort. Writing a book is hard work—you don’t want clunky software slowing you down, so go with what you know and with what feels right to you.
Every word processor will check your spelling and grammar for basic mistakes. What spell check won’t help you do is make your writing short, simple, and direct .
If you would like help with that, check out Grammarly , a free writing assistant that integrates with Google Docs and Microsoft Word that’s easy to use with a great user experience. If you have a Mac, you can download the desktop app. It integrates with the most common tools writers use.
There are paid plans available, but the free version is enough for writing a book.
I tried Grammarly for a while and found it clunky, but many excellent writers I know love it. Test it and see if you’d like.
3. Hemingway Editor
An alternative writing assistant is Hemingway Editor/Hemingway App .
You can copy + paste your writing into their online editor (Hemingway Editor) or purchase the premium version ($19.99) as a desktop app (Hemingway App).
Some writers love Hemingway Editor, some don’t. I kinda like it, but don’t use it. It’s helpful for sentence structure and common problem areas: passive voice , excessive adverbs, and poor word choice.
One unique feature of this software is that it assigns a readability grade level as you write.
This doesn’t necessarily reflect your target audience, but the grade level needed to understand your prose. Hemingway’s work, while written for adults, scored as 5th grade. Seems bad? Wrong. That’s great. The more simple and direct your writing, the better it is.
If, like most people, you struggle with overwriting, this might be a tool you like.
4. Distraction-Free Software
Honestly, I think distraction-free programs are pretty dumb.
If you block websites on your computer while you write, you can always pick up your phone and check Instagram. Options like Freedom that sync across your devices have a monthly fee.
That said, if you know you’re prone to distraction and want something that helps you get into focus mode, a program like WasteNoTime or FocalFilter might be worth a try. If it helps you stay focused and write, by all means, use it!
Now Just Go Write
It’s what you need to do, instead of spending time worrying about what is the best writing software to use.
Read This Next
How to Choose the Best Book Ghostwriting Package for Your Book
How to Choose the Best Ghostwriting Company for Your Nonfiction Book
How to Choose a Ghostwriter for a Finance Book
What Is the Best Software for Writing a Book?
Looking for a tool to help put together your book? These are the top choices for authors.
There are plenty of apps that can make writing a book easier, but the best ones are tailored to writers. Get to know the most efficient book writing software around today. You’re bound to find a great fit for your literary needs.
This is a desktop and mobile app for writers that mean business. You get a 30-day free trial, after which you pay a fee to keep using its very handy tools.
Scrivener really is one of the best writing software at your disposal. When you start a new project, there are three fiction templates: Novel , Novel (with parts) , and Short Story . But there are also scriptwriting, non-fiction, and useful miscellaneous options.
The project editor lets you break down your manuscript into as many sections as you need. You can write every scene right there on Scrivener, plan your characters and fictional world, prepare your front matter for different versions of your book, and more.
And all this is in addition to a huge range of word processing tools, from tables and bibliographies to word count targets and statistics reports.
Download: Scrivener for Windows | macOS | iOS (Free, premium version available)
There are many Scrivener alternatives for writers , but if you prefer professional online apps, Atticus is the way to go.
It’s a great software for writing a book, also available on desktop but only through the web app. Keep in mind that there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee instead of a free trial.
As for how it works, your first step is uploading or starting a new book. Once in the editor, you get lots of user-friendly tools for writing and formatting your manuscript. For example, Atticus automatically creates your front and back matter, while you add chapters, details, images, and the text itself.
As you write your story, you can see a print or digital preview based on different devices. Other features include a timer, goals, default and custom layouts, publisher info, and the ability to export the file as an EPUB, PDF, or DOCX.
So, what’s the industry standard software for writing a book? Sophisticated apps like Scrivener and Atticus are the first to come to mind, but simpler services are just as capable of producing quality books.
Dabble is a good example. It’s a browser-based service with a free trial that lasts 14 days before the subscription kicks in. But there are discount opportunities like $20 off if you write 1000 words.
In terms of functionality, your dashboard is simple and free of distractions. It offers similar tools to the previous apps, such as formatting themes, a breakdown of your manuscript and story notes, and settings for goals, stats, and images.
You also get spell, style, and grammar checkers, a thesaurus, and a read-aloud tool with multiple voice options. Exporting is limited to a Word and text file format, but you can create a shareable link, too.
4. Reedsy Book Editor
All kinds of apps can support writers, and some don’t cost a thing. If free project management tools for Windows exist, so do great software for writing a book.
One such great option is Reedsy’s Book Editor, designed by experts in the publishing industry. You get an online workspace to plan, structure, and write your book. You can also set goals, check your spelling and grammar, see a report of your progress, pin notes, and more for free.
Export options include EPUB, MOBI, and PDF files. The formatting templates are only three, and you can’t create a custom layout. Besides minor flaws like that, this app is worth your time.
Another fantastic free option to consider is Novlr. It’s designed to make reaching your writing goals easier, whether it’s to boost your productivity or publish a novel.
The app asks you about this from the get-go. When starting a new project, you’re also offered templates for different types of prose and poetry.
The interface is quite simple but useful. It offers just enough tools to write each part of your book, plan its contents and layout, track your progress, export the document in Word, PDF, or ODT form, and even create an ebook with custom cover art.
One downside is that, even with the Pro package, Novlr is missing perks that other book writing software have. However, it remains among the best free services you’ll come across today.
6. Microsoft Word
As far as word processors go, Microsoft Word is the most popular, and for good reason. It’s especially valuable to creative writers, available online and as a desktop app. There’s also a one-month free trial to test its offerings.
It may not be the cheapest package or one dedicated to book writing like most options on this list, but there are templates for writing a novel and plenty of tools to develop your manuscript.
You can write, edit, and get your book ready for publication, all in one place. Other features are perfect for writers like dictation, endnote and bibliography tools, an array of formatting options, and the ability to use add-ons.
If you like the app but can’t afford the subscription, try ways to get Microsoft Word for free . Some methods won’t provide the same range of tools useful to writers, but you’ll still have a reliable space to jot down ideas when inspiration strikes.
Download: Microsoft Word (Free, subscription available)
7. Google Docs
The best free alternative to Word for creative writing is Google Docs. It’s not quite as powerful, but it’s more than capable of helping you produce a book.
When using Google Docs as a book writing software , you can look forward to a clean and user-friendly space to write and edit, handy tools for designing your manuscript, and several options for sharing and downloading.
It’s a good idea to use specialized tools when setting up the book for print or digital publication, but Docs can handle the writing process up to that point.
If you want another platform like Dabble that’s complex but affordable, try Squibler. On the one hand, its functions are a bit slow and glitchy. On the other, you get good writing and planning tools.
Squibler works best with projects you start on the app—uploads tend to need editing. Available templates range from short stories to novels and screenplays of different genres.
In addition to standard word processing features, you can choose between DOCX, PDF, MOBI, and TXT formats when downloading your work.
Squibler isn’t perfect, but it’s got plenty to offer your writing projects, once you learn the app’s ins and outs.
What makes the best software to use for writing a book boils down to being able to put a story and manuscript together as easily as possible. And yWriter is another reason why you shouldn’t go straight to the flashy and expensive services for that.
This free app looks old-school and has a small learning curve because of its multiple features. But, like Squibler, you just need to get to know how it works to fully benefit from it.
With yWriter, you can plan every single part of your book, including chapters, scenes, characters, locations, and items. You can customize and connect different elements in great detail.
There are even tools for creating a storyboard, writing your synopsis, and finding predefined or custom problem words authors should avoid. Ultimately, yWriter is more powerful than it seems.
Download: yWriter for Windows | macOS | Android (Free)
If you like the sound of yWriter, give Bibisco a go, too. The purpose is the same: construct a narrative in loads of detail straight from your computer.
But Bibisco’s interface is simpler to use as you gradually build your book with a premise, chapters, characters, and more. The software tracks your project’s progress based on set goals and even offers tips on how to write different parts of the story.
Unfortunately, not everything is free. A 30-day trial lets you use notes, character relations, objects, and a timeline, for example. These premium features are then hidden behind a fee.
Download: Bibisco for Windows | macOS | Linux (Free, premium version available)
Find the Best Book Writing Software for All Occasions
The web and desktop apps above are the writing community’s top choices, thanks to each platform’s excellent tools for authors. But one software may not suit all writers, so look for the option that fits your needs most.
Are you a professional writer with money to spare looking to publish a quality book? Scrivener or Atticus is best. Are you new to the craft and just want to practice? Novlr or yWriter are great choices.
Clearly, software for writing books come in many forms. Just filter through them with your specific requirements in mind.
Best free writing app (2023)
Bring your words to life with the best free writing app for Windows, Mac, iPhone, and Android
- Best free writing app
The best free writing app helps you focus on your writing - wherever you are, and wherever inspiration strikes.
Whether it’s essays, work documents, or your latest novel, free writing apps - like the best free word processors - let you organize your thoughts on the page without breaking the bank. But the best free writing software and apps make it even easier to save, share, and sync documents online.
Some of the best choices offer distraction-free interfaces and gamification-style challenges to keep you in the zone. Others focus on professional document creation for work. You’ll even find advanced features like the best speech-to-text transcription and best online collaboration tools .
Our picks cover the best free writing apps and software on the web and across Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS free of charge. Optional subscription upgrades are also available for some tools, unlocking extra features, but they’re not essential.
To help you find the right tool, we've tested the best free writing app for all types of writers, whether you’re at a desk or writing on the go. Tools that let you just focus on the art of writing, without worrying about costs or distracting features you’re never going to use. Just you, your keyboard, and your creativity.
We’ve also rounded up the best note-taking apps to make sure you can keep on writing wherever you are.
- Best laptops for writers : Stay creative on the go
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 2023
1. google docs.
Our expert review:
Reasons to buy, reasons to avoid.
Google Docs is the perfect companion 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 consumer-friendly 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.
Read our full Google Docs review
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 .
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 .
4. 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 .
5. 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 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 for $28.99. Unless you need automatic formatting on export, you can stick with the free version.
Best free writing app: FAQs
How to choose the best free writing app for you.
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.
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.
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 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.
- Best free text to speech software : Speak your mind
Are you a pro? Subscribe to our newsletter
Sign up to the TechRadar Pro newsletter to get all the top news, opinion, features and guidance your business needs to succeed!
Steve is Techradar Pro’s B2B Editor for Creative. He explores the creative apps space where individuals and organizations 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.
Microsoft OneDrive went down after a spate of DDoS attacks
Google lays out its vision of securing AI
Microsoft launches new Porsche edition Xbox Series X - which you can't buy
By Darcy French June 02, 2023
By Nate Drake May 30, 2023
By Barclay Ballard May 29, 2023
By Kara Phillips May 29, 2023
By Aleksha McLoughlin May 29, 2023
By Barclay Ballard May 26, 2023
By Mirza Bahic May 25, 2023
By Bryan M Wolfe May 23, 2023
To write letters on computers, individuals must use word processing applications, such as Microsoft Word or Apache OpenOffice Writer. Although Microsoft Word is the most widely-used word processor, Word documents are cross-compatible with m...
Creative arts include drama or theater, music, film, creative writing, graphic design, photography and visual arts. Creative arts are studied at various levels in education. Many colleges and universities offer degree programs in creative a...
Are you feeling stuck in a creative rut? Are you looking for ways to jump-start your writing process? One of the best ways to get your creative juices flowing is to start with a blank writing page.
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
15 Book Writing Software Programs That Can Make Your Life Easier · Scrivener · 2. Google Docs · Freedom · ProWritingAid · 5. Grammarly · 6. Novel
ProWritingAid is the most famous online document editor. Although it's not a core book writing software, it can surely help creative writers as
The Best Novel Writing Software of 2023 (+ 5 Free Programs) · Reedsy Book Editor (word processor, formatting, and conversion) — free · FastPencil
Google Docs is the best free writing software for collaboration. It allows others to leave comments, suggestions, and even emoji reactions on
Best Free Writing Software: 20 Top Options · Scrivener is one of the most popular writing programs available because it was made by writers for
Squibler is the world's best writing platform that simplifies the writing process for novel writers. It is an easy-to-use writing app that comes with a simple
The Best Writing Programs for Writers · 1. Word Processors & Text Editors · 2. Grammarly · 3. Hemingway Editor · 4. Distraction-Free Software.
The finest writing platform in the world, Squibler, makes it easier for novelists to write. It is an easy-to-use writing software that includes
As far as word processors go, Microsoft Word is the most popular, and for good reason. It's especially valuable to creative writers, available
But the best free writing software and apps make it even easier to save, share, ... Best laptops for writers: Stay creative on the go.