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This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.
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12 Open Source Tools for Writers
The open-source community produces a large amount of software for different uses. Writers are no exception here. Let me highlight some of the best open-source tools to help authors be creative and productive.
Why Open-Source tools for Writers?
When we think of the software we use to write, most people think of programs written by big corporations, like Microsoft Word or Scrivener . These programs cost money and are built by large teams of programmers.
However, these companies and products could disappear and be unavailable at any time , leaving you stranded in between your work.
Moreover, the commercial/proprietary tools may have many features you do not need . Not to forget, they could also introduce changes that you never wanted .
Open-source programs are a little different. The vast majority are free . The code used to create them is freely available and provides transparency with privacy practices. And, it is here to stay with the help of the community forks, even if the developer quits.
Furthermore, the open-source options may not include as much bloat as the proprietary options . And they respect the user preferences more than anyone else.
All things considered, using open-source software has plenty of benefits. So, let us take a look at some of the best open-source tools for writers.
Bibisco is an application designed to help you write stories, mainly novels , and where it shines is in character creation.
Bibisco asks you a series of questions about each character in your story. The questions help you create a solid idea of what your character looks like, their motives, and their background. It also has a place to store images that help you create a mental picture of your characters.
It also comes with an interesting analysis feature that allows you to see at a glance what characters and locations appeared in different chapters. Likewise, it includes a decent looking text editor that has basic formatting features.
Bibisco is released under GPL. It is available for Linux, Windows, and Mac . You can explore more about it on its official website or GitHub page .
Are text editors enough to help you get a flawless writing experience?
If you want to avoid silly errors and make sure that your writing is as perfect as possible, you might want to try LanguageTool .
It is an open-source spell and grammar checker that can also work offline. It provides you with browser extensions, and add-ons for popular apps like Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Word, LibreOffice, etc., and you also get a desktop app if needed.
You can refer to our LanguageTool review if you are keen on exploring more about it.
Suggested Read 📖
If you’re looking to crunch more words quickly, you might want to use an open-source text expander tool like espanso.
It works offline , and you can create custom keywords to expand texts you use frequently. I am sure you can figure out ways to make the most out of it to speed up your writing tasks. It supports various extensions to enhance what you can do with it.
Moreover, I would suggest you refer to our article on espanso to learn how to set it up and get started.
GitBook is a service mainly used for technical writing, but I don’t see why it would not work for a fiction writer or someone else.
GitBook uses the git version control system to keep track of changes in the document you are writing. It also enables several users to collaborate on a book and import data from Canva, Figma, Google Docs, and more.
You can choose a free account or pay $8 per user monthly. You may not require the paid plans unless you have a team to collaborate with.
Not only that, but you can choose to create a public space or a private space , depending on how you want to provide access to the information you’re working on. If it’s private, only your team members or collaborators can access it (if any).
The GitBook Editor lets you edit/create pages online on the web browser without needing a separate desktop application. So, you can use it on most popular platforms such as Linux , Windows , or macOS .
5. STARC (KIT Scenarist Successor)
If you’re into screenwriting (or scriptwriting), KIT Scenarist used to be the full-fledged solution for casual and professional use that one could opt for.
However, KIT Scenarist has since been replaced by STARC , short for “Story Architect”.
STARC offers many features that include the ability to create/manage cards , get statistics about your project , and organize all your research materials to comfortably work on your script with an easy-to-use GUI (Graphical User Interface).
It is distributed under the “ Open Core ” model, with some parts of the source code being closed and distributed under a commercial license.
Ghostwriter is a personal favorite of mine. (I used to do all my writing in it). The project is now under KDE's umbrella. So, it can be an exciting option to use.
This application allows you to use the Markdown language to create documents. It is a distraction-free markdown editor by design. It can export to HTML , Word , ODT , PDF , EPUB , and more.
One nice feature that I like is that it will convert headings to chapters if you export to EPUB. It also provides different light and dark themes to help you get comfortable writing or editing.
Ghostwriter is licensed under GPL v3. It can run on Linux and Windows.
Scribus is a free and open-source desktop publishing application. While it’s not designed to help you write the next big novel, you can use Scribus for the layout or work on publishing a print-ready magazine .
It has support for powerful vector drawing tools , a huge number of file types via import/export filters, emulation of color blindness , and the rendering of markup languages like LaTeX or Lilypond .
Scribus can run on a wide variety of systems such as Linux , FreeBSD , PC-BSD , NetBSD , OpenBSD , Solaris , Windows and more. It is released under GPL.
Markdown is more than a tool, it is a formatting syntax . This means that you can write your stories in a plain text editor and then convert it to any document format, or use it to convert text to HTML.
This is great because it prevents you from being locked into one program or file format only to see it die. To use Markdown, you typically need to use a text editor that supports Markdown.
You may refer to our list of the best Markdown editors for a head start.
Ghostwriter, as mentioned above, is one such useful editor for it. Markdown is released under a custom license .
AsciiDoc is yet another document formatting syntax. AsciiDoc has support for several options, such as footnotes, tables, cross-references, embedded YouTube videos, and more.
It can be used to create notes, documentation, articles, books, e-books, slideshows, web pages, man pages, and blogs.
AsciiDoc files can be converted to HTML , PDF , EPUB , and man pages . It is released under GPL v2.
AsciiDocFX is a useful editor that supports AsciiDoc. In either case, you might refer to one of our existing guides on getting started with AsciiDoc .
Manuskript is another novel creation tool . This application focuses on outlining, and by looking at the detailed outline tool, you can see each chapter's stage and the characters involved. You can also easily rearrange chapters. It uses the snowflake method to help you build your novel.
Manuskript includes a frequency analyzer to see which words or phrases you repeat and how often. It also includes a distraction-free writing mode and is released under GPL v3.
Even though it has been in development for a while, it is still in its early stages. So, you can expect a few hiccups your way. It worked fine in my case, but you should keep that in mind and go through its GitHub page if needed.
It is available for Linux, Windows, and Mac .
LaTeX is a human-readable document preparation system. While this system was created for scientific papers, it can be used to create beautifully formatted books .
You use a series of markup cues to set the structure of your document and also add citations and cross-references. The end product can be converted into several file formats.
There are many LaTeX editors for Linux and other platforms that you can use. Just to test LaTeX, I suggest you give Lyx a spin.
LaTeX is released under the LaTeX Project Public License .
novelWriter is a markdown-like text editor specially crafted to help you write novels and work with larger projects.
You get a wide range of features to organize what you write, export them, use focus mode, enable dark theme, and many other useful things.
It supports Linux, Windows, and macOS. To explore more, head over to its GitHub page .
Honorable Mentions that have been Discontinued
Continue the discussion.
If you’re curious, you should also read how to create ebooks in Linux with Calibre .
💬 Have you ever used one of the tools on this list? What is your favorite open-source tool as a writer? Please let us know in the comments below.
Also, if you found this article interesting, please take a minute to share it with fellow writers and authors!
John Paul Wohlscheid
My name is John Paul Wohlscheid. I'm an aspiring mystery writer who loves to play with technology, especially Linux. You can catch up with me at: http://johnpaulwohlscheid.work/
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Top Five FREE and Open Source Software Tools for Creative Writing
- Focus Writer is a great software tool for creative writers because it is designed to take away the distractions you do not need – all the traditional features of word processing software that you do not need if you are writing a novel, poetry or short stories. You see no tools or windows – just your text. If you’re easily distracted when you write fiction, this might be just the thing for you: https://focuswriter.en.softonic.com/?ex=DINS-635.2
- Write Monkey also allows you to remove screen distractions and is terrific for creative writing (novels, poetry, plays, short stories) since it lets you format, annotate, classify and link as you type. https://writemonkey.com/
- LibreOffice Writer – if you are looking for a program like Word, but you don’t want to pay, this is the best alternative for creative writers. https://www.libreoffice.org/discover/writer/
- Arc Studio Pro – this one’s great if you are writing a screenplay! The basics are offered free of charge. https://www.arcstudiopro.com/
It’s still the case that one of the best writing tools for fiction writers is Scrivener , because it has features that allow you to organize your character details, chapters and so on as you write. While it isn’t free, it does allow for a one month free trial, so you can make sure it works for you. https://scrivener.app/
Interested in creative writing? Check out our creative writing summer camps , and year-round creative writing courses for children and teens. We offer creative writing retreats for adults, too – and virtual creative writing classes. All our programs are taught by creative writing professionals with extensive teaching experience. www.centauriarts.com
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Best free writing apps in 2023
Bring your words to life with the best free writing apps
- Best distraction-free
- Best with markup support
- Best free Word alternative
- Best word processor
- Best for Mac
- Best online
- How to choose
- How we test
The best free writing apps serve up more than just text tools - they also offer betters ways to manage and organize all your ideas, outlines, and projects.
Like the best free word processors , writing apps help you get your thoughts on the page without breaking the bank (or your train of thought). But we’ve also made sure they’ll make it easier to save, share, and sync all your documents and keep them safe, whether you need a desktop writing app for work, school, or play.
If you struggle to stay focused, we’ve tested some of the best free writing apps come with distraction-free layouts or gamification challenges to keep you in the zone. We’ve also reviewed those built for professional document creation, with advanced business features such as speech-to-text transcription and online collaboration tools.
Our picks cover the best apps for writing on the web, Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS - so you’re always ready whenever and wherever creativity strikes.
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.
Best distraction-free writing app
Our expert review:
Reasons to buy, reasons to avoid.
FocusWriter helps writers combat one of their biggest challenges: distractions. One of the best free writing software tools out there, it's specifically designed to let you just concentrate on your writing.
The stripped-back interface is deliciously sparse - ideal for when you just need to get your head down and write - and not dissimilar to a moderately powerful version of Notepad, featuring support for TXT, basic, RTF, and ODT files.
Even the toolbar is hidden until you actually need it. Just swoop your cursor to the top on the screen to reveal a barren menu, from basic formatting to themes and timers.
Features are light within the software, but FocusWriter isn’t made for heavy editing sessions. It’s designed to make the act of writing flow seamlessly onto the page.
Elsewhere, the writing app boasts the ability to add themes and your own background images, which can help you stay motivated.
The Daily Progress tool is a sweet extra, adding Duolingo-style gamification that lets you track your daily writing streak. For when it’s oh-so-easy to slip onto social media when you can’t find the perfect word, it’s a nice way to keep you within the app.
Available for Windows, Linux, and macOS, the writing software also comes as a portable download, no installation required. So, you can pop it on a USB stick and plug it into any computer you’re working on.
Read our full FocusWriter review
Best free writing software with markup support
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
Best free alternative to Microsoft Word
3. libreoffice writer.
Writer, the open-source, free writing software, serves almost all general writing needs.
LibreOffice is a near-perfect example of free office software - a familiar, feature-rich take on the office suite. What the veteran software package lacks in Microsoft polish (its interface is undeniably old-fashioned, for starters), it makes up for in its price-point: free. For that, you get access to six tools: Calc, Impress, Draw, Base, Math, and Writer.
Earning it a slot on our list of best free writing apps is the fact that LibreOffice Writer packs the full editing toolbox.
This isn’t just a note-taking app for staving off distractions when you’re deep in the zone; it’s for when you’re in pure writer-mode.
If you’re at all proficient with Microsoft Word, you won’t have any problems using the Writer software. Layouts and functions are almost identical, and there’s support for DOC and DOCX file types, making it efficient to switch out of the Microsoft garden.
This free writing app is ideal if you’re hunting for a tool that almost perfectly replicates the Word experience without the cost.
Read our full LibreOffice review
Best free writing app for word processing
4. microsoft word.
When it comes to word processors, Microsoft Word is probably the baseline against which all others are compared. It’s the one most of us use at school, home, and work. It’s familiar, comfortable - and it’s available free on the web and mobile devices.
That may not be the best way to write your masterpiece (unless you’ve hooked up a Bluetooth keyboard). But it’s a great way to jot down ideas on-the-go. When we tested the browser-based version we found it could be a bit slow at first, and we were typing faster than the words appeared on screen. This settles down (mostly) after a minute or so.
Microsoft’s free writing apps on Android and iPhone had no such issues. Using these was velvety smooth. We especially appreciated the option to switch between mobile view and desktop view, so we could gauge how the document would appear in full-screen.
As with Google Docs, you’ll need to sign up with a Microsoft account. And, like Google, that also lets you use free versions of PowerPoint, Excel, and the like. While Word offers one of the best free writing app experiences, there’s no denying that the paid-for upgrade is superior, offering more tools, and a true desktop app.
Read our full Microsoft Word review
Best free writing software for Mac
Author promises to make it easier to ‘think, write, and cite’. It’s a promise capably delivered, with a clean interface and bags of writing features designed to make it easy to go from first draft to final copy.
If you're an Apple user in search of the best free writing apps on macOS, this one demands your attention.
Concept Maps is one of the best features. It’s a great mind-mapping tool to visualize and lay down all your thoughts while they’re fresh in your head without constraint. You can worry about whipping them into shape later.
Students and report writers will appreciate Author’s ‘fast citing’ tools - speeding up assignment-writing by correctly adding and formatting citations, references, and contents.
A paid-for upgrade of the writing software that offers exporting options is available. However, unless you need automatic formatting on export, you can stick with the free version.
Best free writing app online
6. google docs.
Google Docs is a great free writing platform for any writer. It’s an extremely clean, quick word processor available in the browser, on desktop, and phone and tablet apps. So, you can take notes wherever inspiration strikes.
Docs is more or less Google’s spin on Microsoft Word. The interface is a bit more simple than the professional office software - although it’s no less powerful.
You’ll find heaps of writing tools, including a pretty accurate speech-to-text transcription tool (just enunciate and don’t talk too fast). Keyboard shortcuts are very well-supported.
For best results, you’ll need an internet connection, though documents can be used offline. They’ll be synced, and in our experience, that happens swiftly behind the scenes.
To take advantage of the free writing app, you’ll need a Google account, which may be a deal-breaker for some - but that also opens up the rest of the Google-stuff in the Google-sphere, such as Sheets, Slides, and . With a free account, you get 15GB of storage, which should be more than enough for word documents. A Google One subscription upgrades your storage space, amongst other things.
Additionally, Google Docs is great if you want to collaborate with one or more other writers. Just be warned to stay in Google Docs for that, because exporting the data into Word or other writing applications can result formatting errors.
Read our full Google Docs review
Best free writing app: FAQs
What's the difference between a writing app and an ai writer.
AI writers vs writing apps - what's the real difference?
Artificial intelligence is growing in a big way - and when it comes to writing, it's ChatGPT that's been snatching all the headlines of late, with its ability to generate short- and long-form content based on user prompts.
Generally, an AI writer will write your content for you, based on its current learning (although often without 'understanding' the context). A writing app simply lets you write your way, in your own voice.
Some platforms, such as Canva , have even integrated AI into its Canva Docs and Canva PDF Editor services. However. its Magic Write tool acts as a writing assistant, serving up suggestions and ideas, leaving real writers to work their magic on the content. Though usually hiding in the back-end, you can also find AI integrated in other ways across other the best PDF editor apps (and even the best free PDF editor apps, too).
As always with AI-generated content, whether it's the written word or an artwork masterpiece, human involvement is usually necessary and always desirable. Even if you're using the best AI writers out there, editing and proofreading is essential to give the content accuracy and emotional resonance.
How to choose the best free writing app for you
When deciding which free writing app is best, start by figuring out what sort of writing you want to do.
Do you need a handy tool for quick scribbles and jotting down ideas here and there, or are you using the writing software to write and edit an epic novel? Tools like FocusWriter and Write Monkey are great for getting thoughts on the page without friction.
It’s also worth considering if you need a writing app with a distraction-free design, so you can concentrate on what really matters to you. Again, FocusWriter performs admirably here, but as a result, you lose core typography and editing functions. Unlike LibreOffice, this isn’t the best Microsoft Office alternative if you need those tools. In that scenario, it may be worth considering looking at some of the best free office software , which includes MS Word-style apps, alongside other tools similar to Excel, PowerPoint, and so on.
Access is an important factor when using your writing software. A tool like Scribus needs to be downloaded to your machine. Lightweight apps like FocusWriter, however, offer a portable download that can be downloaded to a USB and carried with you.
Check what file formats your chosen writing app supports, too. While some let you create and edit the common DOC and DOCX files, others only allow TXT or RTF documents.
But most of all, it’s important to choose the best free writing app for your unique creative flow.
How we test the best free writing apps
Testing the best free writing apps and software, we assess how easy it is to get your words down on the page with the least amount of friction. Portable writing apps rank high, because they let you use the program on whatever computer or laptop you’re using.
We also look at performance for its intended audience. For distraction-free writing apps, do they really foster focus? For word processor-style software, does it offer good formatting and editing options?
Most importantly, we expect to see free writing apps that are genuinely cost-free - no-one wants to stumble across hidden fees and charges in the contracts.
- Best laptops for writers : Tested for typing
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Steve is TechRadar Pro’s B2B Editor for Creative & Hardware. He explores the apps and devices for individuals and organizations that thrive on design and innovation. A former journalist at Web User magazine, he's covered software and hardware news, reviews, features, and guides. He's previously worked on content for Microsoft, Sony, and countless SaaS & product design firms. Once upon a time, he wrote commercials and movie trailers. Relentless champion of the Oxford comma.
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26 open source creative apps to try this year
The server and mobile industries know open source well. But open source isn't just about the technology. First and foremost, open source is about sharing, and if there's one thing people love to share more than anything, it's self-expression in the form of art. Whether you consider yourself an artist or not, you can foster your own creativity with open source applications, and possibly end up with something you're proud to share with others. Here are 26 applications in seven different artistic categories to help you act on your every inspiration.
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Open source photography tools
There are lots of great open source applications for photographers, but there are two essential roles that need filling. You need a good application for finishing touches, and you need a good application for serious re-touching and, in some cases, compositing.
- Darktable is the digital equivalent of the old dark rooms of celluloid film. Using Darktable, you can perform color correction, dodge, burn, exposure adjustment, and all the things it takes to bring a photo from good to great .
- Krita isn't a photo application at all. It's a paint program for serious digital painters. But photography is often referred to as "painting with light," and it turns out that even in the digital world there's a lot of overlap between the two disciplines. Krita, for instance, has five of the most important traits of a photo editor: layer and layer effects, dynamic selection options, hundreds of filters, a wide range of color profiles, and copious retouch tools. You might not think of it as a photo editor, but give Krita a chance with some of your photos.
Open source video and animation tools
Editing still images is one thing, but editing moving photographs requires a special set of tools. There's a lot of subtlety in how video is handled, not only in the way a tool works but also what specific job the tool does. There are tools for editing, generating effects, compositing, titling, rendering, and more.
- Kdenlive and Flowblade are video editors on two different ends of the spectrum. Kdenlive is a full-featured traditional editing application, with keyboard shortcuts and effects and allowances for offline (or "proxy") editing, and everything else a professional editing environment expects. Flowblade proves that editing is actually a simple process, with a film-like workflow for users accustomed to a workbench littered with razor blades and splicing tape.
- Natron is a specialized application for visual effects (VFX) work. If you have 3D models you need to integrate into your footage, or you want to design an elaborate title sequence, Natron helps you pipe inputs and ouputs in new and interesting ways.
- The first choice of most Internet streamers is the OBS , so if you're producing live content for the web you're probably already using it. Learning how it manages cameras is an important part of getting good at what is essentially live editing.
- For animation, Synfig is a great tool for small teams. It's a digital tweener , which can keep your drawing count down. I also use it for motion graphics , and it has plenty of tools and effects to make your creations look great.
Open source audio tools
Everybody can make noise, so it's fun to sit down at a computer sometimes and try to give some of that noise a little structure. You can entertain yourself for hours just by banging on a frying pan with a wooden spoon, and piping that sound through a flanger and reverb effect. Alternately, you can fire up a soft synth and let your computer generate some sound.
- Audacity is the standard audio editor for basically the whole world. Even after you've graduated onto something more advanced, Audacity is too useful not to have around. Whether you use it for file conversion or for extensive soundwave editing, you need to have Audacity on your computer.
- Hydrogen is the drummer of the band. That's its only job: load a drumkit and play a steady beat. From traditional rock to glitched electronics, you can do anything that involves rhythm with Hydrogen.
- If you're making music on a computer, you need a synthesizer. Two of my favorites are Zynaddsubfx and Linuxsampler , the former being a modeling synthesizer and the latter being a mostly preset-based sample engine.
- While you're composing and performing, you need an application to put all the pieces together. Ardour is a full-featured audio and MIDI digital audio workstation (DAW), while Seq24 is a MIDI sequencer in the tradition of Akai MPC and Alesis MMT-8.
- Whether or not you're making your own music or just managing files so your music can play on one device or another, the simple Soundconverter application makes the job trivial and efficient. Convert 1 or 100 files to whatever format you need with just a few clicks.
Open source illustration tools
Do you find yourself doodling in the margins of your notebook during class or meetings? Replace that notebook with a computer and you're a digital artist.
- Krita and Mypaint are digital paint emulation applications. They both are doing amazing work to find that perfect balance between the benefits of the digital environment and the comfort of physical materials. Their interfaces are different, and their brush engines offer different choices for customization, so try both of them and decide which suits you best.
- Inkscape proves that anyone can draw. Get familiar with the tools it provides, and you'll be illustrating ideas formerly trapped in your own head in no time.
Open source digital arts tools
Some applications are admittedly so unique to computers that they don't quite fit into traditional categories. Here are some of the little applications you might use for unique digital and analog creations.
- Meshlab is a viewer for LiDAR scans, which are essentially 3D photographs of created with lasers and GPS.
- Dotmatrix is an intentionally minimalist drawing environment in which you can only draw by connecting dots on a grid. To some users, it may be frustratingly under-powered, but for me, it's a sublime challenge to invent abstract shapes, glyphs, and iconography.
- If you love Lego, you might love Goxel . Instead of Lego bricks, Goxel uses digital blocks called voxels (3D pixels) to construct low-polygon artwork. Digital sculpting has never been so easy.
Open source tools for writing and publishing
Computers have been used for writing and word processing since the beginning, and there are 31 good text editors to help you get words from your brain onto the screen. Sometimes, though, the words need to be in a very particular format, or in a particular layout, or at least in a certain order. These tools help with that.
- The fountain format is a method for writing screenplays. It doesn't require a special application, it just requires that you follow a few simple rules when typing your screenplay. Using converters, you can turn your fountain file into a properly formatted script.
- Many people consider PDFs un-editable, but there are actually several ways to alter a PDF. The pdftk command helps you perform many simple edits in a direct and repeatable way. I use pdftk with Makefiles to automate my Docbook builds.
- When you want to design a PDF, Scribus is the answer. With Scribus, you can achieve professional layouts for printing or digital distribution.
Open source collaboration tools
Art is only half of what's involved in creativity. The other half is figuring out what you want to do, who you want to do it with, and how it's going to get done. Open source software is built through collaboration, so it's no surprise that there are lots of great open source applications all about working together.
- Penpot is an online collaborative design space, where you can mock up visual designs, software interfaces, page layout, and whatever else you have in your head that needs to be put down on paper.
- Whether you're collaborating with someone or not, it helps to make sure you have a good idea of what you think your own idea is. Mind-mapping is a great way to get parts of an idea into one place so you can understand the best steps to take toward your end goal. Draw.io is a flowchart creation tool that can help you organize your thoughts and make plans for the future.
Build your open studio
Collaboration over the Internet is easy when you use Creative Commons assets and open source software. The next time you have an idea, try capturing in something artistic. Your art doesn't have to be complex or even good enough to share with the world, but giving yourself permission to idly play around with some software until something interesting happens can be relaxing and rewarding. In a way, that's exactly how open source software itself is created: a developer idly plays around with some code, and eventually, it leads to something we can all use to make stuff of our own. Be a part of that communal experience, build yourself an open studio, and be proud of whatever you create.
8 Best Free Open Source Writing Software For Windows
Here is a list of best free open source writing software for Windows . As all of these writing software are open source, hence you are allowed to download their source codes along with their installation files. Plus, you can also edit their source codes without any restriction.
These open source writing software help you write novels , screenplays , fiction and nonfiction stories , etc. Plus, most of these are suitable for both professionals and novice writers. As novels, screenplays, etc. have various characters, chapters/episodes, scenes, etc. In order to create , edit , and manage characters, chapters, etc., these software provide various dedicated sections. Besides this, these software also help writers to focus on writing by removing all the distractions from the interface when in full-screen mode. As these are writing software, so you also get standard text editing tools in them like Undo , Redo , Bold , Italic , Cut , Paste , etc. These freeware lets you save or export the novel, screenplays, stories, etc. as HTML , PDF , CSV , TXT , DOCX , etc. files.
My Favorite Open Source Writing Software For Windows:
Manuskript is my favorite software because it provides predefined templates for different writing projects (novels, trilogy, short stories, etc.). Plus, various dedicated sections to divide the project into small and manageable parts are also provided by it. Its Dictionary , Spell Checker , and Frequency Analyzer tools further help you in maintaining the accuracy of your content.
You can also check out lists of best free Lyrics Writing Software , Open Source Screenwriting Software , and Story Writing Software for Windows.
Manuskript is a free open source writing software for Windows. Using this software, you can write Novels , Short Stories , Trilogy , Research Papers , etc. For different types of content, it has predefined templates to help you during the writing process. Besides this, it also provides various sections to divide the whole novel writing , script writing , trilogy writing , etc. into small parts.
Let’s take a brief look at all important sections of this software:
- General : In it, you can define the information about your project (book, novel, trilogy, etc.) such as Title , Subtitle , Series , Volume , Genre , etc.
- Summary : Here, you can write the summary related to your project.
- Characters : Using it, you can define all characters and their associated information like Goal , Conflict , Motivation , Importance , etc.
- Plots : In this section, you can add all plots and turns of the story along with resolution steps.
- World : In here, you can add all important objects and their description which are important to the story.
- Editor : It is the main writing section where you can write and edit the main content of your project.
- Debug : From this section, you can view and edit all the data of all other sections.
To help you in writing and verifying the content, it provides three important tools namely Spellchecker , Frequency Analyzer , and Dictionary . After the completion of the project, you can save it locally as manuskript file and export it as a TXT file.
bibisco is a free open source book writing software for Windows. This software is designed for writers who want to write novels. Each aspect of this software revolves around novel creation like organization of ideas , creation of novel structure , focus on characters , and more. It provides various sections to help you create a novel namely Architecture , Characters , Locations , Objects , Chapters , and Analysis .
Let’s take a brief look at all important sections of this software:
- Architecture : In this section, you can define Premise (describing the novel in one sentence), Fabula (to create and sort narration of events in logical and chronological sequence), Settings (to describe place, time, and social context of the story), and Notes (to create and save ideas, notes, and cues).
- Characters : In it, you can create all the main and secondary characters and their back stories.
- Location : Here, you can describe places where the main characters are situated or any place which is used in the story.
- Objects : In here, you can define all the main objects related to the story like a magic wand , map , gun , etc.
- Chapters : It is used to create and manage multiple chapters of the novel.
- Analysis : You can use this section to analyze characters appearances , location distributions , narrative strands distribution , etc.
This software also has one more section named Export through which you can export your novels as PDF , DOCX , or as Archive File (file.bibisco2).
oStorybook is yet another free open source writing software for Windows. This software is created for creative writers , novelists , and authors, who want to keep an overview of various plots while writing. To keep an overview of the writing, this software provides multiple important categories such as characters , location , scenes , items , tags , etc. The final version of your writing piece can be saved as HTML, text, CSV, and XML files.
Let’s take a brief look at some of the important categories of this software:
- Characters : Using it, you can add , edit , or remove characters and assign them to scenes. Plus, you can also define the gender of characters.
- Strands (Plot Lines) : From here, you can define the primary plot lines and add secondary plot lines with scenes.
- Locations : In it, you can add new locations and add them to different scenes.
- Chapters : It is used to define chapters and assign scenes to them.
- Object Tree : In it, you can define the relationship between different scenes , characters , locations , and other important story elements.
In this software, you cannot only define various aspects of stories, but you can also view the story from different aspects using viewing sections. There are four viewing sections available named as Chronological View , Manage Chapters & Scenes , Book View , and Reading View . In the chronological view , you can view scenes sorted by dates and each plot in its own personal column. The Manage Chapters & Scenes View shows all chapters and assigned scenes. Options to move and rearrange scenes are also present in this view. The book view shows chapters and scenes in a sorted manner. The Reading View shows the final version of the text just like in a book.
Trelby is the next free open source writing software for Windows. It is mainly a feature rich screenwriting software that comes with a simple and distraction-free environment. The main aspect of this software is its Screenplay Editor in which you can write screenplays. Besides this, its editor also helps you maintain the correct script format , pagination , and correct spellings by enforcing these important aspects of the screenplay writing. In it, you also get various different views (draft view, WYSIWYG view, fullscreen view, etc.) to view the content as you want.
This software also comes with a Name Database that contains more than two hundred thousand names from various countries. You can use this name database to find the right name for your characters. Some other important features contained by this software are Compare (to compare scripts to know the difference between them), and Reporting (to view scene report, dialogue report, character report, etc.).
After the writing of the complete screenplay, you can save or export it in formats like PDF , TXT , HTML , RTF , XML , and Fountain format .
- Quoll Writer
Quoll Writer is another completely free open source writing software for Windows. It is designed to help you focus on your words. Using it, you can easily write novels , screenplays , stories , etc. To help you write your ideas, it provides a lot of important features which are discussed below.
Let’s take a brief look at some of the important features of this software:
- Management of characters and assets : To manage characters and assets, it provides dedicated sections like Characters , Items , Notes , etc. through which you can add, edit, and delete characters and assets.
- Annotation : It lets you annotate text , scenes , etc. to help you keep an eye on important aspects of the story.
- Full-Screen Mode : If you don’t want any type of distraction, then you can enable this mode which hides every option from its interface and show you a distraction-free writing interface.
- Problem Finder : It is a very handy feature because it highlights every detected problem with the text.
- Editor Mode : This mode helps you share your projects with other editors in a few simple clicks. Plus, inbuilt chat feature along with comments section to get feedback from other editors are also provided by it.
- Statistics : It is another important section through which you can view statistics like word count , readability , session charts , etc.
Another great feature of this software is its ability to Import/Export writing projects in various formats like DOCX , HTML , EPUB , etc. Overall, it is a really great and feature packed writing tool for professional writers.
- Plume Creator
Plume Creator is another one of free open source writing software which is mainly used as a Novel writing software . Like other novel writing software, it also helps you divide the novel into chapters , scenes , acts , etc. Additionally, Notes and Synopsis sections are also provided in it to store information associated with chapters or scenes.
To manage , store , and retrieve novel information, it also provides various dedicated sections like Chapters (to create, edit, and manage chapters), Scenes (to write and manage different scenes of the novel), Notes (to store information related to scenes and chapters), etc. A very useful fullscreen mode is also provided by it to give you a distraction-free writing environment by hiding every distraction from the screen. Its export option is also quite advanced because it lets you individually export chapters and scenes along with the whole book as HTML , ODT , TXT , CSV , and PDF file formats. Overall, it is a simple and easy to writing software for both beginners and professionals.
- KIT Scenarist
KIT Scenarist is another open source writing software for Windows. In this software, you can edit an existing screenplay file or you can write the whole screenplay from the scratch. Existing screenplays or scripts of DOCX , DOC , ODT , FDX , etc. formats can easily be imported and edited. After the completion, you can save script back in PDF , DOCX , FDX , and Fountain file formats. In order to simplify the process of writing the screenplay, this software provides three main sections namely Research, Script, and Statistics. Let’s take a look at all three sections to write screenplays:
- Research : Using it, you can specify script name , page title , synopsis of the script, etc. Plus, options to add characters , locations , and research material with referenced files , images , URL links, etc. are also available.
- Script : It is the main writing section in which you can write screenplays. Besides this, you can also add dialogues , action , transitions , etc. to the screenplay.
- Statistics : From this section, you can view various reports related to screenplay like location , character , dialogues report , etc. Also, you can view plots including story structure analysis and character activity from here.
In general, it is another good open source writing software to write screenplays and books.
Afterwriting is the next free open source writing software for Windows. It is a web-based writing software that runs in the web browser. You need to open its index.html file in a browser in order to work in it. A complete online version of this software is also available that you can access and use from its main website.
In this software, you can easily write screenplays , fictional stories , non- fictional stories , etc. It is quite a simple and straightforward software when compared to other similar software. In it, you get a simple text editor in which you can create your writing project. Plus, you also get some sample screenplay projects that you can import in your current project and edit. This software also keeps track of various key elements of the content that you can view from the script statistics like primary character , title page , duration , scenes , speaking time , etc.
In this freeware, you can also make various customizations like embolden scene headers , scene numbers , scene continuations , page break after a scene , etc. After the completion of the script or story, you can save it as a PDF or Fountain file .
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50 Free Writing Software Tools And The Best Free Writing Apps
Writers are spoiled for choice when it comes to free writing software, tools, and free writing apps.
Are you a blogger, author, content writer, or student?
You want the best creative writing tools and software that will do the job for you.
But you don’t want to pay a lot of money to be able to write more effectively. Read on to discover all the choices you have for software, programs, and apps to help you write better and more productively.
Your free writing software choices
There is no need for you to spend a penny to get some of the best free writing programs to help you write more productively and accurately.
You can choose and try so many terrific writing programs and tools today. You will find that most of them are unrestricted and will cost you nothing to use.
If you are looking for new apps and tools to improve your writing, you have come to the right place.
This page is regularly updated to bring you the biggest choice of free software and apps for writers.
It includes free writing apps for Windows, Mac, and Linux users.
You can find creative writing apps, grammar checking apps, word processors, mind maps, index cards, book writing programs, and productivity tools.
All of them will help you get on with what you do best, which is writing, of course.
There are also many lite versions of popular premium apps available that can offer you tons of fantastic features.
I have tried almost all the writing tools and apps in this article and use a lot of them every day.
Find the best free writing software and apps for you
You can find lots of free writing software online, but you want writing apps that work best for you and your writing process and style.
With online writing software, I always start with a free version to make sure a new app does what I want it to do.
Very often, a free app will do everything I need.
But yes, sometimes I opt for a premium version to get all the features if it is really a fantastic tool.
It doesn’t matter if you are an author, a blogger, or an article writer.
Choosing the best tools for your writing needs will save you time, effort, and lots of money.
Free apps and writing software for students are a huge bonus.
They will help you at school, college, or university.
For every type of writer, here are some of the very best free-to-use and freemium apps for you to make your choice.
Scan through my list of the best free writing software and apps below.
See if you can find a few new favorites to download for your laptop or to use online.
Please note that this page contains some affiliate links. I may receive a commission if you purchase a product from this page.
6 Free writing apps for accuracy
The most essential writing app you always need must be a reliable grammar corrector and a spellchecker.
There are a lot of online apps to check, correct, and improve your writing.
For every writer, the options will be different depending on your writing style and needs. There is no one best or better choice.
Some writers might only need a simple online checker for blog posts, articles, or essays.
But for a content writer or author, it is different. You are probably looking for more developed programs and options.
In my case, I always use two programs to check my writing.
I use one for grammar and spelling and another for writing style and readability. It always pays to check and double-check your writing and sentence structure before you publish it online.
Here are six of the most popular free grammar apps to get you on your way. Each one will help you improve the quality and accuracy of your writing.
Try them all to see which one or two work best for you and your style or type of writing.
1. Prowritingaid – Free and Premium
Prowritingaid is one of my favorite writing checkers. I use it every single day of the week.
You can use the free version of ProWritingAid.
It offers you a lot of functionality to help you write more accurately online using a simple Chrome extension to check your grammar and spelling.
Are you an author? Then you should consider all the editing and checking tools that are available with this app.
It is a superb writing aid for authors and writers of long-form content articles.
There are over twenty different writing analysis tools and reports in the premium version. These will give you a huge range of suggestions to improve your writing.
There are also easy to use extensions available for Chrome, Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and Scrivener too.
It is my number one go-to editing tool when I need to work intensively on very long documents such as long-form articles or book manuscripts.
You can also read my full Prowritingaid review.
2. Grammarly – Free and Premium
Without a doubt, Grammarly is the number one online grammar checker.
For a lot of writers, it’s one of the best writing apps around.
I have used Grammarly for years now.
It is one online writing tool that I always have switched on in Chrome to use with my WordPress editor.
It works with so many sites, platforms, software, and applications. So it is always on and always helping me correct my writing in real-time.
Grammarly has a desktop app. It also has a plugin for Word in Microsoft Office for PC users.
You can use it in any web browser, with WordPress, and even on your social media sites. It also works on mobile devices as well as with an iOS Grammarly Keyboard app.
There is also support for Google Docs, but this feature is still in beta.
No matter what, when, or where you are writing, Grammarly is always helping you write better and more accurately.
The browser version of Grammarly works very well for most users. But for more advanced features to help you in your writing process, there is a premium version available.
You can read more in my Grammarly review .
3. ChatGPT – Free and Premium
ChatGPT has to be on my list of free writing tools, but why is it under apps for accuracy?
Yes, it is a valuable and free tool for writers in several ways. You can use it as a writing prompt generator for inspiration and ideas for new stories or articles.
All you need to do is include keywords or phrases related to the topic you want to write about. ChatGTP will respond with various ideas and writing points to help you.
But you might not know that it can also help you correct your grammar and spelling.
All you need to do is start your prompt with, check the grammar and spelling: then paste your text.
It will rewrite your text with the corrections.
You can also ask it to do other things. Ask it to change passive to active voice , and it will rewrite your text in all active voice.
Another use is to ask it to rewrite your text in a different point of view. Just ask it to rewrite in the second person .
However, don’t rely on it 100%.
It does an excellent job most of the time, but it doesn’t always get everything right, so make sure you proofread carefully.
AI writing tools are everywhere now, so writers can’t ignore them.
The free version of ChatGPT offers plenty of options with very few limitations.
So it’s probably one of the best tools to start learning how to use AI technology to help you with your ideas and writing accuracy.
Read more about how to use ChatGPT to correct your writing .
4. Hemingway Editor – Free
I have a love-hate relationship with the Hemmingway Editor app.
The love is due to how quick and easy it is to check my readability score and grade.
The negative is that it always tells me to simplify my writing. It hates the passive voice, but that’s a good thing.
It is also a great tool for finding overused adverbs and difficult to read sentences.
It’s a simple app. But if you are looking for a free writing assistant, it is one of the handiest tools a writer can have at their fingertips.
You can choose which Hemingway mode to use – either write or edit.
The online version is very convenient for checking up to a page or so of text. It gives helpful hints to improve your writing.
It’s one of the must-have free apps for any writer.
There is a paid version, but I am not sure it offers much value.
Read more about this app in my Hemingway Editor review.
5. QuillBot – Free
QuillBot Grammar Checker is a quick and easy free tool you can use to check your manuscript.
One of the best features is that you can use one-click corrections to fix your grammar, punctuation, and spelling very quickly.
Another advantage is that it has a generous word count limit. I tested it with a text of over 2,000 words, and it quickly analyzed all of my text.
You can probably check one chapter at a time with the tool.
You can check each underlined suggestion and make a quick correction. But it also has a “Fix All Errors” button.
I’m not sure I would trust it for a long text. But it could be useful for a shorter text.
To use the checker, simply paste in your text, or you can use it as an editor and type your text.
When you finish correcting your writing, copy and paste it into your word processor.
Quillbot has other features, but these are only available with the premium version.
However, the grammar checker is totally free to use, and it is an excellent tool to check and correct your writing.
There is also a free Chrome extension you can try.
6. Grammar Lookup – Free
Grammar Lookup is another good choice for an online grammar checking app.
I used 3,000 words from one of my book manuscripts to test the app.
It started checking for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors almost immediately. It is a good app for checking short-form writing, such as blog posts and short stories.
If you’re looking for a robust grammar app with a generous word limit, this one is well worth trying.
Again, like a lot of online writing tools, it is ad-supported.
12 Free word processors
The first name writers associate with word processing is almost always Microsoft Word.
It is the default writing tool for many writers, bloggers, and authors. But it is definitely not cheap.
Depending on your country, the annual license for Office 356 can range from $60 – $100.
If you want to buy the one-time purchase version, which is called Office Home & Student, it can cost you as much as $150.
Microsoft Office is, as its name implies, software for office use. It includes Outlook, Excel and PowerPoint, and other programs. You will never use these software programs for creative writing.
Do you need to pay for all these extra programs to have a word processor to write a blog post, article, or short story?
What is the best word processor for writers? Are there free writing software tools equal to Word?
Yes. If you want to write, you can always find great word processors that cost you nothing to use. Often they come with many other options and tools that are better suited for writers.
Most of them will be suitable for your writing goals and any form of short creative writing project.
But you should note that a word processor is not the best app for writing a book. You can find better programs for authors in the next section of this article.
1. Google Docs – Free
Like Microsoft Office, Google Docs is a suite of office tools. The big difference, of course, is that Google Docs is available for free online.
If you are familiar with Word, you will have no problem at all adapting to Docs, which is the word processor component.
All the formatting options are very similar, as is the user interface.
Unlike some word processors, Docs has a word count so you can keep track of your word count goal.
I know that many writers, particularly content writers, use Google Docs because of the simplicity of sharing documents online.
Writing projects can be quickly and easily shared using Google Drive, which comes with 5 gigabytes of storage. It is usually plenty of storage space for writers. You can also use Docs offline .
If you are writing every day and working with other writers, content editors, proofreaders, or editors, Google Docs allows you to collaborate with ease.
There is no need to know what file format or program others are using.
As long as each person has a Google account, and who doesn’t, working together is very easy.
2. Apple Pages for Mac Users – Free
If you are a Mac user and all you need is a word processor, Apple Pages can handle everything you could possibly need to do.
It really is the best free writing software for Mac.
Like Word, you can start with a blank document or use the template chooser.
Word processing in the page layout document view is easy to work with. All the text formatting, fonts, and writing tools are easy to find and use.
There is a spell checker, word and page count , and track change with an add comments option.
It also auto-saves directly to your hard drive or your iCloud drive when you are online. There is also the file duplicate function. It gives you very easy version control of your revisions and edits.
It is difficult to think of a standard feature or function in Word that is not available in Pages documents.
There is one other area where Pages shines. It has a lot more control over images compared to Word.
One other big plus with Pages for authors is that you can export directly to epub. You don’t need to convert your file formats into another program.
Pages is one of the best free writing software programs for Mac users.
There is also a mobile app for iPad and iPhone. You can download it from the Mac App Store.
Related reading: Can Apple Pages Replace Microsoft Word For Mac?
3. MS Notepad and Mac TextEdit – Free
These two writing programs are already under your noses. They are installed by default on Windows and Apple computers.
They are both ideal little apps for writing blogs or short articles.
However, they are both worthy of mention because of their usefulness in converting to plain text.
Most word processors can add a lot of background code over the time you take to write a long document.
Cut and pasting, saving, deletions, forgotten tabs and spaces, and formatting changes all add up to a lot that can go wrong.
Because of all this code, there is a chance that the text might have issues when you use it online. It can be especially true if you use WordPress and also in publishing ebooks.
The quickest and easiest way to clean a document, big or small, is to copy all the text into a plain text editor such as Notepad or TextEdit. You can then convert everything to plain text.
Then you can copy back the clean text into your blog editor or word processor for ebook formatting.
4. Libre Office – Free
I used Open Office for many years. It is an open-source project and is still available.
However, many writers now favor Libre Office.
These two office suites branched from the same development stable, so they have a lot of similarities.
Learning to work with Writer, which is the word processor, is easy.
However, it uses traditional and straightforward menus, toolbars, and icons but does not have the ribbon function found in Word.
In some ways, this is a good thing because it lets you get on with the writing process instead of hunting in ribbons for buttons.
If you want a word processor, and that’s all, Writer in Libre Office won’t disappoint you.
5. Word Online – Free
Microsoft Word Online is a free web browser version of Word.
You can create, edit, and share Word documents, but it comes with relatively basic features compared to the paid desktop version.
But for students and part-time writers, it’s a handy free alternative.
One benefit is that you can use it on any device with a web browser, including computers, tablets, and smartphones.
You will need to create a Microsoft account, which is free. You also get 5GB of free storage.
Overall, it’s a worthwhile option for users who want a free and easy-to-use word processing software similar to Google Docs.
6. WPS Office – Free Edition
If you have used Microsoft Word or Google Docs, then you can work with WPS Office immediately.
Like other alternative word processors, it has all the standard features you would expect, and it works with most file types.
One of its key features is that it allows drag-and-drop paragraphs, which can, at times, be practical.
Another time-saving yet straightforward feature of WPS is tabbed documents.
While Excel has had this for years, Word never has, so working on two documents at the same time is much more efficient in WPS.
WPS also has a cloud storage service with 1G for PC and iOS.
7. SoftMaker Free Office – Free
Free Office gets a mention because it can export .epub. It is a convenient tool for self-publishers.
TextMaker is the word processor in this office suite.
But it doesn’t come with the ability to save in docx format unless you opt for the premium version.
But you can open and edit docx files.
Apart from that inconvenience, it has all the advanced features you would expect in a modern word processor.
It comes with advanced formatting options, the ability to create databases for bibliographies and footnotes, as well as track change.
8. Dropbox Paper – Free
All you need is your free Dropbox account to use Dropbox Paper .
It is a word processor, but there is so much more you can do with this app.
The design is clean and simple, but there are so many features at your fingertips.
As well as being a text editor, you can add audio, images, YouTube videos, Slideshare documents, and Trello cards.
It really is a great free writing app for you to create documents and then share them with your team or online.
9. Focus Writer – Free
FocusWriter is a simple, distraction-free writing environment.
It uses a full-screen hide-away interface that you access by moving your mouse to the edges of the screen.
It allows the program to have a familiar look and feel to it. But by getting everything out of the way, you can immerse yourself in your work.
It’s available for Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X.
10. Calmly Writer – Free
Calmly Writer has been designed to help you focus on writing.
As you start typing, all the distracting options disappear from the interface.
Calmly also includes a “focus mode” option, which highlights only the paragraph you are editing at the time.
If you are a writing minimalist, it could be a good choice for you.
It is a browser-based app, and there is a Chrome extension available.
11. Zoho Writer – Free
Zoho Writer is an online alternative to Microsoft Word.
You can sync between your PC or Mac, iPhone, Android, or iPad.
Almost everything you do in Word, you can do with this word processor. There are even collaboration tools.
You can import your existing Word documents and get to work.
There is also a plugin to link your Zoho documents to Word.
That’s not a bad deal for at all a gratis online writing tool.
12. Scribus – Free
Scribus is an open-source program for desktop publishing.
It gets a mention here because it is free writing software, but also because it is such a feature-rich cross-platform program.
Scribus is a page layout and desktop publishing program for Linux, FreeBSD, PC-BSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, Solaris, OpenIndiana, Debian GNU/Hurd, Mac OS X, OS/2 Warp 4, eComStation, Haiku, and Windows.
Scribus supports professional publishing features, such as CMYK colors, spot colors, ICC color management, and versatile PDF creation.
Perhaps it is not a choice for most authors and bloggers. But you might have a desktop publishing need one day.
4 Free book writing apps
Are you ready to start writing a book? You need to hunt a little to find good writing programs for writing books and novels.
A writing app or author software for a book is entirely different from a word processor.
The best book writing programs consist of many elements.
You need plot timelines, character builders, and event tracking. It should also include note-taking and research pinning tools.
Here are four of the best free book apps to help with writing, formatting, and publishing your books or ebooks.
There is a link to seven more free book writing programs at the end of this list.
1. Shaxpir – Free and Premium
For a dedicated book writing tool, Shaxpir gives you a lot of features in its free version.
The Manuscript Builder uses drag-and-drop tools to rearrange your manuscript. You can change the order and hierarchy of chapters and scenes. So you can find a structure that works for you.
You can set your goals and track your progress. You can also keep detailed notes about your characters, places, and events.
It also allows you to add margin comments as well as collect concept art.
There is also an in-built spellchecker.
As far as a book writing program or author app goes, Shaxpir offers you a huge range of features.
It is available for Mac and PC with offline and cloud access.
2. Scrivener – Free Trial
It is not free writing software, but I have to include Scrivener in this list of apps because there is a generous trial available.
Scrivener is one of the best book writing software tools for authors and screenwriters.
It has an outliner for chapters and scenes, a corkboard, and index cards.
There is also side-by-side viewing, word count targets, and a full-screen editor, along with print, export, and publishing tools. It has everything any writer could ever need.
There is a 30-day trial period offered by Scrivener.
But it is counted by the days that you use the software. So if you use it every second day, your trial period will last you for 60 days.
If you only write at the weekend, it will last you for a good few months.
Scrivener is available for download for both Windows and Mac. There are also iOS apps for iPhones and iPad.
To access your trial, click the Download Trial link.
3. Calibre Ebook Tool
Calibre is often called the Swiss Army Knife of ebook formatting tools.
There is so much you can do with Calibre.
But for most new authors, you will use it to convert your Word manuscript to mobi, epub, and pdf.
If you have some technical ability, you can also edit the epub or HTML files of your ebook.
It really is one of the most powerful ebook tools for authors.
It is available for download for PC, Mac, and Linux.
4. Kindle Create – Free
If you are a self-publishing author on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), Kindle Create is a must-have free writing software app for you to use.
The program has improved a lot over the last couple of years. Initially, it was a little unstable, and its primary function was to help you format a Kindle book.
But stability is much better now, and Amazon has been slowly adding new features since it merged Createspace into KDP.
Kindle Create can now format not only ebooks but paperback books as well. But this latest option is still in beta.
It is so easy to format beautiful ebooks using Kindle Create.
Do you want more free book writing software?
Are you trying to find the best apps for writing your book?
Do you want the best novel writing tool that can help you work on individual chapters and scenes?
Here are seven choices for apps and free writing programs for you that are specifically designed for writing your book.
Read our review of nine free book writing programs for authors.
7 Free apps for bloggers
Are you a content writer or blogger? You need to work with ideas, keywords, data, headlines, and images all day long.
It pays to stay one step ahead of your competition. You are continually working on improving your content, search engine optimization (SEO), and SERP rankings.
There is no way you can do all this work without having the best tools for the job at hand.
Make your life a little easier with some of these blogging apps to help you write and rank better.
Here is a choice of seven of the best blogging tools for busy content writers and bloggers. All of them will save you hours of work every day.
1. Fyrebox – Free and Premium
You’re writing lots of content for your blog.
But wouldn’t it be great if you could engage your readers a little more in your post topics?
Well, you can with Fyrebox by creating a free interactive quiz.
All you need to do is create your free account, and then you can start designing your quiz in a few minutes.
There are templates to help you get started with pre-made quizzes for you to personalize.
A quiz is a great way to keep your readers on your blog for much longer by letting them participate in your blog post subject.
2. Hubspot Blog Ideas – Free
Hubspot’s blog topic generator is an old favorite for many writers.
All you need to do is enter a few nouns, and it will produce a list of blog title ideas for you.
It is such a handy tool to have when you are looking for new writing ideas.
3. Portent’s Idea Generator – Free
Do you need a cure for writer’s block?
I adore this blog topic generator app.
Portent is an easy and clever way to find new writing ideas.
It is an app primarily designed for bloggers to find headlines and titles and not a genuine headline analyzer. But writers can use it to discover new ideas for any piece of writing.
All you have to do is input your base word or words, and then you can select a working title for a new writing prompt.
4. ShareThough Headline Analyser – Free
How engaging is your article headline?
Sharethrough must be my absolute favorite little app. Once you have a blog or article title idea, run it through this app to see how effective it will be in attracting readers’ attention.
You can edit as you go, and the app keeps a record of your variations so you can choose the best one.
The app’s blurb says: “Like the lead paragraph in a news story or thesis in an essay, your headline is your one true sentence: the single most important asset for capturing attention in the feed.”
5. Website Grader – Free
Website Grader is a quick and easy app to help you improve your blog.
Checking and optimizing your blog’s performance is essential if you want to increase your site traffic.
You should make sure that your website is easy for users to discover and easy for search engines to understand.
It is a quick app to check your page titles, headings, and meta descriptions.
It only takes a few seconds to run this performance check of your blog to see if you need to make any improvements.
You don’t even need to register or give your email address.
It is a time and money saver for all bloggers.
Just add your basic information, and the app will create the full text for your privacy terms.
All blogs should have a policy page about privacy to make sure that your site is GDPR compliant.
7. Canva – Free and Premium
Now, this is not an app for writing articles. So it might not truly belong in a list of blog writing tools and programs.
But Canva is a fantastic tool for promoting your writing.
Canva is a free online tool for creating images.
Because using Internet images you find on Google images are very often copyright protected, it is a much better idea to create your own unique images.
You can find and use stock images to upload to Canva that you can then design and transform into a unique image.
You can use Canva to make images for social media promotion, images for your blog posts, Facebook headers, and even for quick and dirty ebook covers.
While there is a paid option, the free version offers more than enough images, graphics, icons, shapes, and backgrounds for almost any image creation project.
It’s so useful; I sometimes feel a bit guilty because I use this app almost every day.
10 Free productivity apps
There are so many facets to writing. It would be great if all you had to do were to write.
But we all know that a writer’s life consists of lots of tasks and distractions.
You have to be organized to be able to write. Just collecting and collating your ideas takes a lot of time in your day. Then there is your to-do list and probably a long list of pending items.
It would be great if there was an all-in-one help for a writer’s app. But until it ever eventuates, here is a selection of some of the best productivity apps for writers.
Hopefully, some of them will help you stay organized and perhaps save a little time that you can invest in writing.
1. Trello – Free and Premium
Trello must be one of the most popular apps for writers.
There is so much you can do to organize your writing projects, notes, and to-do lists. You can collaborate and assign tasks, start discussions, and so much more.
Trello is a beautiful as well as highly functional app. It is available for Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer, iOS, and Android.
2. Evernote – Free and Premium
Evernote is a popular application for lots of writers. It is one of the most popular note-taking apps, but it is much more.
Never let an idea escape when you are not at your keyboard. You can organize your thoughts, and create checklists and to-do lists.
There is also a handy web clipper that lets you save parts of web pages to help you with your writing research.
The free version comes with more than enough storage memory to suit most writers.
3. OneLook – Free
OneLook lets you describe a concept and get back a list of words and phrases related to that concept.
Your description can be anything at all: a single word, a few words, or even a whole sentence.
Type in your description and hit Enter to see all the related words.
This little writing app is a thesaurus on steroids.
4. Free Pomodoro Timer – Free
If you are a fan of the Pomodoro technique, to improve your productivity, you will need a Pomodoro timer .
There are many apps to choose from online.
But I like this one because it’s easy to set and to read. Nothing fancy, but effective.
5. Read-O-Meter – Free
How long will it take to read your article?
Find out with Read-O-Meter , and then you can add reading time to your blog post or article.
6. Wordcounter – Free
Wordcounter ranks the most frequently used words in your text.
You can use this browser app to see what words you are repeating too often and then make changes.
All you need to do is paste your text into the box. Then this little app will go to work and list all your repetitions.
7. Quetext – Free
Quetext is an online plagiarism checker.
Many paid apps feature checking plagiarism as a premium option.
But with this browser app, you can check your documents anytime you like.
8. Otter V0ice Notes – Free and Premium
Otter is a dictation-to-text app for iOS and Android.
All you need to do is hit the record button, start speaking, and watch your words appear in the app. It even adds in punctuation.
There are many paid and premium dictation apps, but Otter offers a generous free option of 600 minutes a month.
9. Freemind – Free
If you are into mind maps to develop story ideas, here is a software download for you.
Many authors use mind map apps to help write a book by keeping their ideas connected and logical.
Freemind is open-source mind-mapping software built in Java.
It is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
It has a wide variety of features, including location-based mind mapping, collaboration tools, restore sessions, and more.
10. DiffChecker – Free
Do you sometimes get into a tangle when editing different versions of a text?
What and when did you make a change? Is it nearly impossible to remember every edit you make?
Well, with DiffChecker , it is easy to compare two versions of a text and find the differences between them.
It is a browser app, but if you want to save your revisions (Diffs), you will need to create an account to log in.
8 Quick mentions
The following free writing software and writing apps are recent additions to our list.
They are not categorized. But all of them could be worth a look to see if they are a match for what you need in an app or program.
As they are quick mentions, you will need to investigate for yourself to see if they might be worthwhile.
1. Kindle Previewer – Free
The Kindle Previewer application is a free desktop program that lets authors preview how their ebooks will appear on all Kindle devices.
It makes it easy to check your ebooks for different screen sizes, display orientations, and text font sizes.
2. Zotero – Free
Zotero is a free and easy-to-use program to help you with sources and citations.
You can collect, organize, cite, and share your research.
You can create references and bibliographies for any text editor directly with Word, LibreOffice, and Google Docs.
3. Reedsy Book Editor – Free
It is also a writing program and editor.
4. NaturalReader – Free
It’s often a good idea to read aloud when you proofread a draft text.
But with NaturalReader , you can create mp3 files from your text and then play them back to you. It makes it much easier to check your text for accuracy as you listen.
There is a generous free daily limit of 20 minutes for access to premium voices.
But if you select free voices, there is no restriction.
5. Bubbl.Us – Free
When you want to mind map your ideas, it is easier with an app.
Bubbl.Us is a good choice if you want free mind mapping. You can share your maps with others and even on social media.
6. Pixabay – Free
You’re right; this is not free writing software. But I have to include Pixabay because I use it every day to find great free images for my blog.
There are a lot of free stock image sites, but this one is my favorite because the choice of images is enormous.
7. Pixlr – Free
Again, this is not a writing app. But when you need to edit an image for your blog or ebooks, then Pixlr might do the job for you.
There is a premium version, but you will find that the free version can do most of the basic photo editing tasks you would need to do.
8. DramaQueen – Free
If you are writing scripts, this program could be what you are looking for.
With DramaQueen , you can format your script yourself or according to the official rules of the Writers’ Guild.
3 Fun free writing apps
Writers can sometimes be a serious bunch of people. But everyone needs to have a bit of fun from time to time.
To end my long list of apps for writers, here are three little apps to put a smile on your face.
Have fun, and enjoy being a writer.
1. Hipster Sound – Free
Do you have time to go to a café to relax and write?
If you don’t, you can bring the sounds of a Texas or Paris café to you with this cute little app.
Go to Hipster Sound , click play, pop in your air pods, and you will have all the ambient sounds you need to get your creative juices flowing. As an extra bonus, your coffee is on the house!
2. FlipText – Free
Okay, you are not going to use Fliptext often. But it is a fun and funny little writing tool.
¡uoıʇuǝʇʇɐ ʇɔɐɹʇʇɐ oʇ ǝɹns sı ʇı ˙uʍop ǝpısdn buıʇıɹʍ ʎɹʇ ʇou ʎɥʍ ‘uoıʇuǝʇʇɐ ʇɔɐɹʇʇɐ ןןıʍ ʇɐɥʇ buıɥʇǝɯos op oʇ ʇuɐʍ noʎ uǝɥʍ
Yes, you can write upside down. Did you have to turn your screen upside down, or did you twist your neck in pain trying to read it?
3. The Most Dangerous Writing App – Free
The Most Dangerous Writing App is a fun little writing tool with a mean side to it.
You start by setting yourself a writing time of, say, five minutes. Then you start writing. But if you stop writing for more than five seconds, you lose everything you wrote.
However, if you get through your allotted time without stopping, your reward is that you can save your work.
Yes, that’s a seriously nasty little writing app. It is a brutal yet brilliant idea.
But if you treat it like a game, it is a fun challenge and maybe a clever way to help you overcome writer’s block.
Summary of free writing software
For all writers, there are plenty of free writing software, programs, apps, and tools.
You can also find free book writing programs that work very well for any book project.
You don’t need to spend any money at all to get some of the best free writing software and apps.
There are so many open-source and free software alternatives for word processors, book writing, short story writing, and spelling and grammar correction tools.
Are you ready to write your book or get started as a content writer or blogger?
Then the writing tools in the list above will be more than enough to get you off on the right foot.
All of them are user-friendly and quick, and easy to learn how to use.
Make your choices based on what you need and want to achieve as a writer and what you think you will need to succeed.
Then head off to the coffee shop with your laptop, or pump up Hipster Sound at home and start writing.
Related reading: Choose Your Writing Apps For iPad To Write Anywhere
About The Author
Real Writers Would Never Write Anything In All Small Letters
Why Are Ing Words Weak When You Write Fiction Or Nonfiction?
Hyphens In Writing To Avoid Confusion And Ambiguity
28 thoughts on “50 free writing software tools and the best free writing apps”.
No Ywriter? Easy to set up and use. Takes around two minutes to learn from installation. More important it’s free.
I have noted yWriter in our article about free book writing software.
Thank you for this article. It’s very useful.
As an editor and writer for thirty years, I’m not at all fond of grammar and style programs. None of them work well at all for the people who need them most. Every one I’ve tied, including Grammarly, makes terrible mistakes, and if you follow the style these programs want you to follow, you’ll never be a good writer. I can tell in a page or two whether a writer has used and RELIED such a program, and it’s almost always an instant rejection.
These programs should only be used by writers who don’t really need them, except for those brain fart moments, or when a truly esoteric question of grammar pops up. As a writer, you MUST know grammar inside out, and you must know style inside out, or you won’t have a clue whether Grammarly, or any such program, be it for grammar or style, is lying to you.
At BEST, these programs produce cookie cutter style that may be technically correct, but that simply is not professional level writing. Such writing may make you a couple of dollars on a site such as Medium, and you may even sell a few copies of something on Amazon, but this is all you’ll do.
If you really want to be a professional writer, you MUST learn grammar inside and out. These programs can’t give you the grammar you need, and contrary to popular belief, it is NOT an editor’s job to correct a manuscript full of bad grammar. Ain’t gonna happen. Grammar is your job, not the job of a software program, and not the job of an editor. Period.
Nor can you leave style up to software, or to an editor. Software can’t give you professional level style, and an editor simply doesn’t have the time. An editor will correct minor mistakes here and there, overlooked brain farts, but that’s it.
If you really want to be a writer, forget such silly software. Plant your butt and learn grammar. For style, story, characterization, plot, and other such necessities, read five hundred novels and a thousand short stories, then write several novel or fifty short stories. If you have any talent at all, this will bring it out. If you lack talent, well, you need a new profession.
This era of digitization has changed the publishing industry completely and is still revamping it . The book writing software and industries are a true companion for writers and editors. They are just making our work more easy and accurate. Totally agree with your article.
I have a fixed income due to my disabilities. I plan to purchase a new computer but is Microsoft Home and Personal a very reputable writing program? Is a Dell computer highly recommended?
I write • plays • poetry • historical fiction • children’s picture books • essays • short fiction for children and adults
Thank you! :-)
Sorry, Tom. But I can’t help you with advice about buying a computer. You’d be better trying computer review sites.
Hi Derek, I hope someone is interested in my Scribis Project, a series o free online editors dedicated to those who want to work quickly moving between dictionaries, thesauri and databases of sentences selected from the great classics. Based on what you type in the editor, you will get synonyms, collocations, intermediate concepts, semantic fields, and dozens of sentences that contain analogies, similarities, emotions and images. With another tool, Scribis Matrix, you can generate word matrices from the same dictionaries and thesauri.
Why no YWriter? It does everything important that scrivener can do, but it is free.
We do feature yWriter in our listing of free book writing software. So, we haven’t missed it. https://justpublishingadvice.com/choose-your-free-book-writing-software-for-your-new-book/
PowerWritingAid and Grammarly are not free programs. You have to pay expensive monthly subscriptions.
StyleWriter will make you a better writer and does not get a mention in your reviews!
Prowritingaid and Grammarly both offer free versions. But I will investigate Stylewriter.
I use Grammarly on a daily basis and only the free version and I don’t feel I am missing out on anything. I also use the free version of pro writing aid, not as often but I’ve never encountered an instance where I have wished I had the paid version. A lot of paid apps have a really good free version of those apps too. This is a pretty perfectly crafted reply because of my free Grammarly lol
Very great article with many great Apps. Recently I discovered Neperos, it is very intuitive and gives you the possibility to style your article with multiple pictures.
I bought Prowritingaid for the Word add-in, but found one of the most important features, the ability to customise reports, doesn’t work. Contacting the Support team led to promises of an investigation followed by nothing. A reminder led to a promise the issue would be passed to a developer who,would be in touch, then nothing. If you want it work with Word, look elsewhere or you’ll pay for a non-functional product with no support!
Hi Peter, Lisa here from ProWritingAid. I’ve just been through our support inbox and can’t find any emails under the name Peter Caffrey.
So far, I am enjoying 3 out of your 10 recommendations. Your reviews seem honest and unscripted-thank you for that.
The only serious free option for desktop publishing right now is Scribus. It’s software, not web-based. I’ve used it a few times and it’s pretty decent. Of course, I also have QuarkXPress, which I prefer. Hope that helps!
It was informational and I liked it very much.
I found this article to be informative. In search of one thing, I happily stumbled upon much more. Thanks!
Generally in life you get what you pay for so you should expect limitations from anything free. If you’re serious about writing then Scrivener is what you need. Yes, you have to pay for it but it costs about the same as a couple of takeaways and once you learn how to use it you’ll wonder how you lived without it. I agree about Canva, but I wouldn’t bother with anything else on the list!
There is free Windows alternative for Scrivener named Quoll Writer. Of course, it has some limitations but is a lot easier to use and gives you all essential features writer or journalist needs. Chapters, characters, items, linking, tagging, annotating and more. It has Idea Board and stats and readability indexes. Text formatting is basic but hey, it’s software for writers not for editors. You can export your texts as .docx or .epub and format them with Sigil or Calibre. I’m using it for couple of years.
Good article, but you don’t mention StyleWriter – a powerful program to change the way y0u write. It shows you how to write and edit like a professional.
So thankful I found this site. All the info I need in one place and much simpler than what I was trying to work with. Especially great for a tech dummy like me.
Great post, informative and gives me some options to consider that I didn’t know about before. Thanks.
Great article, I love Canva, Couldn’t run my website without it! Thanks for this. I learned some things.
Thanks for this informative post. :) — Suzanne
This post is one of the best and most informative I have read in years on publishing for home-based writers. Through your post, I have discovered new resources that will make my writing life easier. Thanks!!!
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Open-source tool for writers
Organize your thoughts and snippets in a hierarchical manner. Organize them as you wish, reorganize them on the go.
Get rid of all distraction while writing. Set personal goal in word count or time before you can leave editor.
Use the snowflake method to grow your single genius idea in an coherent whole, with complex characters, intricate plots and detailed universe.
Free as in free speech
Because free is always better.
Manuskript is a perfect tool for those writer who like to organize and plan everything before writing. The snowflake method can help you grow your idea into a book, by leading you step by step and asking you questions to go deeper. While writing, keep track of notes about every characters, plot, event, place in your story. Manuskript is still in development, and in need of extensive testing.
Develop complex characters and keep track of all useful infos
Create intricate plots, linked to your characters, and use them to outline your story
Organize your ideas about the world your characters live in
Simply start writing
Manuskript 0.15.0 arrived! Quite some time has past since the last release of Manuskript and again the release will mostly fix bugs – but a lot of them and some new features arrived as well. There is also quite some progress in translations of the UI thanks to all the translators. So please enjoy the […]
Manuskript 0.14.0 is here! This is mostly a bug-fix release. So there are not many new shiny features. However this release will hopefully help reduce the issues from many users. What’s new? Stability There are multiple bugs which should be fixed by this release. If you have an issue still open on Github, you can […]
Manuskript 0.13.1 got released! Why is it called 0.13.1 instead of 0.13.0? Well, because a newer Python update broke compatibility right after I finished preparation for 0.13.0. However this shouldn’t affect most platforms without Python version 3.10.1 or newer and I applied multiple changes already to prevent crashes. So Manuskript 0.13.1 should work just fine. […]
Manuskript 0.12.0 is finally here! This is mostly a feature release which integrates a lot of long requested enhancements and is made possible by the folks who contribute to the project through opening issues, filing bug reports, adding code improvements and translating the UI into many languages. Thanks to you all. What’s new? Searching The […]
Manuskript 0.11.0 is out! This is a bug fix release and is made possible by the folks who contribute bug reports, code improvements, and language translations. Thanks goes to all of you. What’s new? This release fixes a bug that can result in data loss when copying and pasting into the Notes / References and […]
Manuskript 0.10.0 is out! This release is made possible by many people who contribute bug reports, code improvements, and language translations. Thanks goes to all of you. Special thanks to Jan Wester (@worstje) who enabled the new Windows 10 dark theme and has provided fixes for a variety of issues. What’s new? This release adds […]
Manuskript 0.9.0 is out! Development continues moving forward on github, thanks to many people contributing with: bug reports, ideas, code, and translations. Thanks to all of you. Special thanks to Youness Alaoui (@kakaroto) who added the new fullscreen features and has been really helpful lately. What’s new? This release adds fully configurable fullscreen editing features, […]
Manuskript 0.8.0 is out! This release focuses on bug fixes and language translation updates that improve the usability of Manuskript for both fiction and non-fiction writers alike. What’s new? Add support for Pandoc v2.x while maintaining v1.x support Fix plot importance changes if delete earlier plot and click other plots Remove conflicting plot resolution step […]
Manuskript 0.7.0 is out! This release contains enhancements, bug fixes, and language translation updates that improve the usability of Manuskript. What’s new? Add new focus mode (line/paragraph) Add new import formats like doxc, html, opml, Mind Map Remove broken format buttons and add format menu Fix crash if Cheatsheet filter term not found and Enter […]
Manuskript 0.6.0 is out! This release contains many enhancements and bug fixes that improve the robustness and overall usability of Manuskript. What’s new? Add Import feature to import several document formats via pandoc Add Organize menu to assist changing document structure Fix manuskript fails to run in Ubuntu 14.04 Remove hard coding of colors (improves […]
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Write a Novel with Open Source Tools
If you are looking for an open source tool to help you write your next novel, bibisco, ManusKript, and Plume Creator can help you get started.
Aspiring writers have no shortage of software that is supposed to help them along the road to a finished manuscript. Whether they are writing a short story or a multi-volume series, this software promises to organize them by providing software and revisable outlines, as well as a supposedly distraction-free full-screen mode and databases for characters, settings, objects, and drafts. On Windows and Mac, the leading software is Scrivener. However, since a Linux version of Scrivener has yet to reach general release, open source alternatives have sprung up like bibisco , Manuskript , and Plume Creator , each with its own approach to writing and outlining.
Two years ago, I gave my opinion of bibisco in my Linux Magazine blog. Revisiting bibisco, I find my opinion unchanged: It’s a well-meaning piece of software that will appeal only to the minority who outline in fine-detail before they write. In fact, in my experience, those who outline as copiously as bibisco advocates typically put so much energy into preparation that their creative energies burn out before the first word of the opening chapter (Figure 1).
You can get an idea of Bibsco’s tendency from the way it handles characters. Bibisco’s first tip states that “in order to write believable characters, you must know everything about them” – and that apparently applies not only to main characters, but to minor characters as well (Figure 2). In pursuit of this knowledge, bibisco’s Characters tab offers nine different categories of questions to answer. Some, like the character’s physical description, are obviously useful, although I doubt that anyone needs to know every single detail; as my neighbor once pointed out to me, who remembers the color of Madame Bovary’s eyes? Similarly, I doubt that you need a character’s complete backstory ahead of time, let alone “every aspect of the character’s psychology.” In the best of circumstances, much of this detail is likely to be developed in a character’s interaction with others and the plot, and setting down this detail will be a waste of time for most people.
Much the same can be said for bibisco’s analytical features. A manuscript’s word length can be useful, although beginning writers tend to be obsessed with the statistic, with no regard for literary quality. But how often are you going to need to know all the scenes in which a character appears, or the different points of view used in each scene?
By contrast, other features, like the Locations are barely fleshed out at all -- proof, if any is needed, that bibisco’s makers view the novel as primarily about character. Nothing is wrong with this view, and it is, of course, a time-honored one. But when I think of the sense of wonder that Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings derives from fabulous settings like Rivendell, Lothlórien, and Minas Tirith, I realize just how limited bibisco’s view of writing can sometimes be. Moreover, other categories, like Objects and the Timeline , are available only in the paid version.
The worst thing about these limitations is that bibisco has by far the best interface, with functions laid out in a menu across the top of the screen and options arranged in buttons or sidebars across the window. Attractive as this interface may be, its usefulness is limited thanks to bibisco’s insistence that users do things its way.
Manuskript does not attempt bibisco’s detail. Admittedly, when you start a new project, it asks for a genre, although exactly what the structural difference between a novel and, say, a trilogy is not clear. It appears to be a matter of how many levels are in a hierarchy: A novel is divided into Acts, Chapters, and Scenes, and a trilogy adds Books at the top of the hierarchy. At the start, you are asked how many of each level you want, although how you should know when you have not already started outlining is a bit of a puzzle. Nor are making choices easy, because the opening windows are only partially visible until you drag on their edges (Figure 3).
However, once you actually get down to planning, Manuskript is much less dogmatic. The interface favors one sentence summaries that can be expanded into paragraph-long summaries for every aspect of a work, but usually it offers only a brief title and an entry field with no required fields. For example, the Basic Info tab for a character contains fields titled Motivation , Goal , Conflict , and Epiphany , leaving you the choice of which to complete. If, like me, you consider the first three fields synonymous and do not see characters in terms of epiphanies, you can leave some of the fields blank. Other parts of the structure have a similar freedom, leaving you to decide, for example, what goes on the Notes tab as opposed to the Detailed info tab. Probably you will want consistency, but, on the whole Manuskript has a freedom that bibisco lacks.
One handy feature of Manuskript is its Scrivener-like storyboard, with a menu of chapters on the left and fields for each scene on the right. While scenes cannot be added from the storyboard, scenes can be deleted and shuffled, and detailed views are only a click away, all of which makes Manuskript an ideal tool for initial planning (Figure 4).
Like Manuskript, Plume Creator offers a clear and open-ended approach to outlining. Although the initial distinction between a novel and a long novel is unclear, once you are at the main window, the layout is clear enough, with a menu in the left margin and an editable table of contents to the right of that. To the far right are secondary content, such as lists of Characters , Items , and Places . If Tools is selected, you can toggle a timer, a feature that many beginners use in writing sprints. At the bottom right, the current word count is highlighted in red; this can also display the target word count. The Outliner tab allows items to be listed by draft number, providing a basic tool for version control.
Plume Creator’s open-end approach can be seen in its treatment of Characters , Items , and Place (Figure 5). Each item can have a name and an alias, as well as three characteristics that are chosen from a drop-down list. For characters, the first two drop-downs are the importance and role of the character, while the third is left blank for customizing. To the right, the character’s age can be set. Anything else must be added to the Notes field below. This arrangement is about as far from bibisco’s details, marred only by the fact that just three drop-down lists are allowed, and that the defaults for characters also appear for items and places (Figure 6).
Still, once customized, the editing windows are clear enough for the high-level planning typical of most writer’s initial outlines. If Plume Creator seems unfleshed-out compared to bibisco or Manuskript, its layout seems more realistic and flexible.
A Solution in Search of a Problem
An annoying feature of all three of these applications is that their input is strictly manual. All three have a full-screen mode with a minimum of features so that you can write without considering format, but using any of these applications at all means manual formatting, and, more often than not, a second pass through the manuscript to finalize formatting. I would far rather use my fiction template in LibreOffice that sets which style follows which. Using the template also allows me to forget about format, but does not require a second pass through the manuscript. Moreover, if I do want to make format changes afterwards, I can do so in a fraction of the time required in these novel-writing applications.
But my greatest reservation is the assumption that detailed outlines are an absolute requirement before you write. Even a well-known writer like Neil Gaiman says in his master class that the first draft is like driving in the fog, while the second draft is about creating the illusion that you knew what you were doing in the first. In other words, Gaiman does not begin knowing all the details of his story or his characters and instead discovers much of the story during the writing process. Nor, in my experience, is he alone in his work flow. If anything, he is part of an overwhelming majority.
It seems to me that the problem with all three of these applications is that using them in the way that they are intended can easily be a distraction from the actual writing. They create an illusion of progress, yet, in the end, I suspect that they result in copious notes and no manuscript or wish to produce one. All three could learn from Krita, which only soared to excellence when it started to listen to those who would actually use it.
(Bruce Byfield is two-thirds through the writing of his first novel.)
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When it comes to writing, using the right tools can free you up to focus on your content.
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Red Hat Migrates RHEL from Xorg to Wayland
If you've been wondering when Xorg will finally be a thing of the past, wonder no more, as Red Hat has made it clear.
PipeWire 1.0 Officially Released
PipeWire was created to take the place of the oft-troubled PulseAudio and has finally reached the 1.0 status as a major update with plenty of improvements and the usual bug fixes.
Rocky Linux 9.3 Available for Download
The latest version of the RHEL alternative is now available and brings back cloud and container images for ppc64le along with plenty of new features and fixes.
Ubuntu Budgie Shifts How to Tackle Wayland
Ubuntu Budgie has yet to make the switch to Wayland but with a change in approaches, they're finally on track to making it happen.
TUXEDO's New Ultraportable Linux Workstation Released
The TUXEDO Pulse 14 blends portability with power, thanks to the AMD Ryzen 7 7840HS CPU.
AlmaLinux Will No Longer Be "Just Another RHEL Clone"
With the release of AlmaLinux 9.3, the distribution will be built entirely from upstream sources.
elementary OS 8 Has a Big Surprise in Store
When elementary OS 8 finally arrives, it will not only be based on Ubuntu 24.04 but it will also default to Wayland for better performance and security.
OpenELA Releases Enterprise Linux Source Code
With Red Hat restricting the source for RHEL, it was only a matter of time before those who depended on that source struck out on their own.
StripedFly Malware Hiding in Plain Sight as a Cryptocurrency Miner
A rather deceptive piece of malware has infected 1 million Windows and Linux hosts since 2017.
Experimental Wayland Support Planned for Linux Mint 21.3
As with most Linux distributions, the migration to Wayland is in full force. While some distributions have already made the move, Linux Mint has been a bit slower to do so.
- Features for Creative Writers
- Features for Work
- Features for Higher Education
- Features for Teachers
- Features for Non-Native Speakers
- Learn Blog Grammar Guide Community Academy FAQ
- Grammar Guide
Best Free Writing Apps: Top 11 Software Writers Need
Writing isn't easy. Thankfully, there are all kinds of apps out there to make the process easier by helping you stay organized and focused. Whether you are writing for a living or just writing a grocery list, these free apps for writers will help you complete your project with ease.
2. hubspot's blog ideas generator, 4. milanote, 5. libreoffice, 7. focuswriter, 8. evernote, 10. todoist, 11. colorcinch, 1. the prowritingaid blog, try prowritingaid's editor for yourself below:, 2. writing forward, 3. 5 minute english, 4. grammar girl: quick and dirty tips, 5. daily grammar, 6. lousy writer, 7. the purdue online writing lab (owl), 9. english grammar 101, 10. grammar ninja, you can master english grammar.
Come on. You were expecting this. But our writers really do believe that ProWritingAid should be at the top of this list. ProWritingAid is an online editor, writing coach, and style guide, all rolled into one. It highlights a range of potential pitfalls in your writing that your average grammar checker misses, like overused words , transitions , vague and abstract words , and more.
The free ProWritingAid online editing tool allows you to upload your documents and access more than 20 in-depth writing reports , which will help you improve the strength and clarity of your texts quickly and easily.
You'll get an overview of your writing, with tips on how to make the most improvement in the shortest amount of time. You'll also keep learning while you write with informational videos and blog articles that pop up as part of ProWritingAid's suggestions.
Check out this review and tutorial by bestselling author, Joanna Penn:
ProWritingAid also has more software integrations than any other editing software, including MS Word , Google Docs , Scrivener , Open Office , and Chrome so that you can edit wherever you write.
Ready to try it for yourself? Click the button below to get started.
Even the best writers run into blocks sometimes. Hubspot's Blog Topic Generator can help you when it feels impossible to come up with new content.
Hubspot's Blog Topic Generator Simply input three nouns into the generator and get a week's worth of topics in seconds! Now, THAT was easy!
As writers, we don't just have to worry about the words we put on the page (or screen). Many of us have to create images for our work, whether that's a cover photo for a blog post or a graphic to promote your book on social media. Canva is an amazing, powerful free tool to help create beautiful images.
Canva's drag and drop templates can help you create everything from a Pinterest graphic to a book cover. If you're hesitant to learn Photoshop, Canva is an amazing alternative to help you create rich, high-quality graphics.
Milanote is an easy-to-use tool to organize your ideas and projects into visual boards. As a writer, visualizations can help you keep track of everything from character relationships to the order of scenes.
Milanote's flexible interface allows you to do things like:
- Write notes and to-do lists (handy for keeping yourself on track with your book writing plan)
- Upload images and files (useful for keeping visual inspiration for everything from scenery to character outfits)
- Save images, texts, and links from the web
- and even more!
LibreOffice is an amazing word processor option for people who are looking for a free alternative to Word.
LibreOffice has a number of great features, including a clean and sophisticated word processing layout and support for a vast number of file formats. You can create everything from a simple memo to a complete book using the online editor, which makes it a great choice for people looking for a word processor for all types of projects.
Do you need to create beautiful layouts for your words? If so, Scribus may be for you!
Scribus is a free, open source platform that allows you to create rich, professional layouts for everything from one-pagers to magazines. While it takes a bit of learning to get started, Scribus is both easier to use and cheaper (since it's free!) than tools like Adobe InDesign.
Distraction is Enemy #1 to many writers. Facebook never looks as enticing as when you're on a tight deadline or trying to meet a goal. If this sounds like you, FocusWriter is here to help.
FocusWriter minimizes your work into a clean, distraction-free word processor interface, so you can simply write without worrying about the clutter on your computer screen. FocusWriter isn't the best tool for going through your second or third draft, but it's great for getting through that first run so you can do the in-depth editing elsewhere later.
Evernote is an amazing "second brain" which allows you to flexibly take notes and capture ideas in a variety of areas.
You can do just about everything in Evernote, from creating to-do lists and checklists to drawing out specific notes to capturing receipts for tracking business expenses. Evernote offers up to 60 MB of space on its free plan, which is plenty if you're just using plain text notes. If you'd like to add more graphic or larger files, you can upgrade your storage for small fees.
Your life is precious, and if you’re the documenting type, you want to remember every moment, good or bad. Diaro is an advanced diary application, but it can be used for keeping a journal or simply writing notes.
Use Diaro to help you keep your thoughts and memories organized and well documented. Attach photos or locations to your entries and share with others via email and social networking sites. With Diaro, you never have to worry about others stumbling across your deepest darkest secrets, because your diary will be password protected.
The best writers are able to organize and prioritize their work. Todoist is a task management application that helps you create to-do lists and custom schedules so you can work more effectively.
With Todoist, you can create recurring tasks (e.g. "Write every day at 7 p.m.!") to help yourself set and achieve goals. Never worry about forgetting an important task again!
With Colorcinch you can instantly create, edit and turn your photos into artwork. It is the #1 photo editor & cartoonizer designed to be simple, beautiful, and free.
You can go from photo to cartoon in one click. Turn your photos into truly unique art using the cartoonizer, sketcher, and hundreds of other specialty filters and effects.
Make Writing Apps Work for You
These apps are never going to replace you as a writer, editor or designer. But they'll definitely help you become a better one. Without the right app, writing is harder than it needs to be. Simplify your life and kickstart your success with these writing apps.
Improve Your Grammar with These Sites
Whether you're a native English speaker or an English language learner, English grammar can be tricky to master. Take the examples below:
- The young boy loved cooking, his dog and going outside.
- The young boy loved cooking his dog and going outside.
Eek! With the simple omission of a properly placed comma, that sentence goes quickly from cute to macabre.
No matter how long you've been writing, you can always freshen up your grammar skills. Thankfully, there are numerous sites online that exist purely to help you write correctly. Here are 10 of our favorites.
From quick lessons on commonly misspelled words to in-depth examinations of pleonasms , the ProWritingAid blog is a great place to dive into the intricacies of the English language.
Here, you'll find articles, videos and quizzes that teach and examine common grammatical errors, with plenty of contextual examples to help you learn.
Practice always makes perfect, so once you're done perusing the blog, hop over to ProWritingAid's Editing Tool and input your work. ProWritingAid's in-depth reports will check your work and see how well you've mastered your study.
The Writing Forward blog , created by a passionate writer, offers tons of posts on creative writing, grammar and more. The "Grammar Tips" section will walk you through tons of pesky grammar rules, from whether or not you can end a sentence with a preposition to figuring out subject-verb agreement.
The blog also offers great advice about every part of the writing process from plotting to publishing, so be sure to check out the rest of the site's informative content.
What 5 Minute English lacks in style, it more than makes up for in quick, useful lessons. 5 Minute English's lessons are designed for non-native speakers, so they cover some of the trickiest language topics, such as parallel verbs and reflexive pronouns.
Visit 5 Minute English if you're looking for a fast, fun review of some of the most complex and confusing English language topics.
Winner of the 2017 "Best Education Podcast" Award, Grammar Girl (aka Mignon Fogarty) exists to help "you do things better." Like grammar, for instance.
Articles on Grammar Girl cover all sorts of topics (such as the weird history of oxymorons or the meaning of the phrase "in the doldrums") so you can visit to not only brush up on your grammar skills, but get a lesson in English language history. The articles are snappy and fun to read, so you don't feel like you're engaging with boring material.
A self-described "fun, convenient way to learn grammar," Daily Grammar is a comprehensive teaching tool for anyone needing to polish up their English grammar skills.
Daily Grammar is more a course curriculum than a blog, with over 400 free lessons and over 80 free quizzes for you to learn and then test your knowledge. You can visit the site to access topics or have them delivered to your inbox through their complimentary email service. By visiting Daily Grammar, you'll be on your way to grammar mastery in no time.
Lousy Writer's main goal is to help you become a better writer, fast. Lousy Writer focuses on how to communicate effectively by breaking down word usages and sentence construction into clear, easy-to-understand tips.
Of particular use on Lousy Writer are the cheat sheets, which help you understand tricky concepts like possessive nouns or homonyms. These cheat sheets are great refreshers on difficult topics for English language speakers and English language learners alike.
The Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab) offers over 200 free resources on writing, teaching writing, grammar and mechanics, English as a Second Language, and style guides. Sponsored by Purdue University, this website is a great resource for people looking to teach and learn.
In addition to their grammar lessons, you can find formatting guides for styles such as MLA and APA, as well as suggestions on how to avoid plagiarism in your work.
One of the best ways to learn English grammar is to hear English being spoken aloud. FluentU's library of real-world English houses videos that are timely, fun, and useful for people looking to master the English language.
While FluentU does have a subscription fee, you can access a limited free trial to see if you like the service and find it useful before deciding to commit to pay.
Are you one of those people who simply loves learning from a textbook? If so, English Grammar 101 is the site for you!
English Grammar 101 is basically a grammar textbook, only digital, so you don't have to worry about hurting your back lugging it around every day. You'll go through hundreds of in-depth lessons on everything from nouns to capitalization, with quizzes, reviews, and tests for each topic to assess your mastery.
Who says learning grammar can't be fun? With Grammar Ninja , you'll play games that help reinforce the grammar rules you've been learning.
Playing games is one of the best ways to improve your understanding and mastery of concepts, and grammar is no exception! If your eyes are going a bit crossed after studying one of the more serious lessons, pop on over to Grammar Ninja for an exciting, refreshing take on the same concepts.
No matter how tricky or frustrating it might seem, you can master English grammar! The free resources listed in this article will help you become a stronger writer in no time.
Have we missed one of your favorite sites? Tell us in the comments!
Ready to take your writing to the next level?
20 Editing Tips From Professional Writers
Whether you are writing a novel, essay, article or email, good writing is an essential part of communicating your ideas., this guide contains the 20 most important writing tips and techniques from a wide range of professional writers..
Write like a bestselling author
Love writing? ProWritingAid will help you improve the style, strength, and clarity of your stories.
Lisa Lepki is Fictionary CMO and a former ProWritingAid employee. A word nerd, she loves the technical elements of writing almost as much as the writing itself. She is the co-author of The Novel-Writing Training Plan, Creating Legends: How to craft characters readers adore... or despise!, How to Build Your Author Platform on a Shoestring and 20 Editing Tips from Professional Writers.
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Free writing software: 24 tools to help you create better content, faster
Find the best brainstorming, researching, writing, and editing tools.
As a freelance writer, I try to keep my app costs lean, so I'm a sucker for free writing tools. But with so many writing apps on the market, it's hard to tell which free options are actually valuable.
I've done some of the legwork for you by bringing together some of the best free writing apps on the internet. All of the options listed here are tools the Zapier team or I have used and enjoyed.
For this roundup, I prioritized completely free tools and freemium apps with a forever free plan that was sufficient for actual regular use. Many of the options have paid plans, but those plans are generally geared toward power users.
Researching and note-taking software
The best free writing software at a glance
Free writing tools for brainstorming and organizing your thoughts, best free writing software for expanding your ideas.
MindMeister (Web, iOS, Android)
If you like to perform mind mapping to get your thoughts on paper and connect them, MindMeister gives you a virtual space to do it. It includes templates for the traditional mind map as well as more specific layouts for frameworks like SMART goals, case studies, and content plans.
Want to learn more about mind mapping? Check out Zapier's list of the best mind mapping apps , or discover nine ways to use mind maps to jumpstart your projects.
MindMeister pricing: Free for up to 3 mind maps; from $5.99/month for premium plans , including features like unlimited mind maps, advanced exporting, and group sharing
Best free writing software for creating content outlines
Workflowy (Web, macOS, Windows, Chrome, iOS, Android)
Outlines are a writer's best friend , and Workflowy lets you go as deep or shallow as you want. This tool organizes your outline into bullet points that you can click to nest and expand however you want.
Workflowy pricing: Free for up to 250 bullets a month ; from $4.99/month for the Workflowy Pro plan with expanded features like unlimited bullets and uploads
Best free writing software for brainstorming together
When you need to write something in collaboration with others, the brainstorming process is one of the trickiest to facilitate with technology. Miro lets you plot out ideas with mind maps, Kanban boards, virtual sticky notes, and whatever strategy you use to get your thoughts down. The free plan allows for unlimited team members to brainstorm with at the same time.
If whiteboards aren't your preferred brainstorming method, explore Zapier's picks for the top brainstorming tools for more collaborative and solo apps.
You can even use Miro with Zapier (also free), so you can automate your brainstorming workflows. Here are a couple of ideas to get you started.
Create Miro widgets with new Trello cards
Add Miro cards from new rows on Google Sheets
Miro pricing: Free for 3 whiteboards with unlimited team members; from $8/user/month for plans with unlimited whiteboards and advanced collaboration features
Best free writing software for brainstorming topics
Ryan Robinson's Keyword Research Tool (Web)
Go to the Ideas tab of Ryan Robinson's Keyword Research Tool , and it'll provide ideas related to your query. Since it's a keyword tool first and foremost, these ideas are designed to be less competitive on search results, too.
If you're looking for keyword research tools specifically for their main purpose, check out Zapier's roundup of the best free keyword research tools .
Keyword Research Tool pricing: Free
Best free writing software for brainstorming ideas with AI
With the rise of AI , some writers use GPT-based apps to brainstorm ideas and build the base for an outline. ChatGPT is the best free option—and the one you know and love—or you can check out even more GPT-powered writing apps in Zapier's list of the best AI writing generators .
You can also combine GPT with Zapier to send ideas to your favorite project management tool.
ChatGPT pricing: Free; ChatGPT Plus is $20/month
Best free writing software for brainstorming out loud
Your computer's dictation software (MacOS, Windows)
If you process your thoughts best through speaking, there's a brainstorming app already on your computer. Boot up Windows 10 Speech Recognition on Windows or Apple Dictation on Mac to record your thoughts as you brainstorm out loud.
For mobile and premium dictation app options, check out Zapier's list of the best text dictation software .
Windows 10 Speech Recognition and Apple Dictation pricing: Free
Free writing tools for research and note-taking
Best free writing software for keeping everything in one place.
Notion (Web, MacOS, Windows, iOS, Android)
Notion's balance of organization and spontaneity make it a great place to hold your notes, links, social media posts, transcriptions, and any other resources you need to write that draft. Plus, depending on your writing preferences, you can then write the draft itself in Notion—all for free.
Add Zapier integrations to the mix to bring even more of your writing life together. Here are some pre-made workflows to get you started.
Save new tasks in Google Tasks in Notion databases
Add new Microsoft Outlook calendar events to Notion databases
If Notion doesn't meet your needs, try one of these Notion alternatives . Zapier also has a list of the best note-taking apps for you to browse.
Notion pricing: Free plan available; from $8/user/month for team plans
Best free writing software for finding free copies of paywalled research
Have you ever come across a search result for the perfect research article, only to discover it's behind a paywall? Unpaywall gets you across those paywalls ethically by looking for legitimate free versions of paywalled academic research. It looks at sources like journals' open-access repositories and university and government databases, so you're never infringing copyright.
Unpaywall pricing: Free
Best free writing software for transcribing interview and video content
oTranscribe simplifies the manual transcription process by placing your audio controls and a word processor on the same screen. This tool has keyboard controls and speed adjustment, so you can seamlessly transition between your audio and transcript.
If you're willing to pay a bit, here's Zapier's list of the best transcription apps and services .
oTranscribe pricing: Free
Best free writing software for collecting research from other people
Google Forms (Web, iOS, Android)
When you need original quotes or data from other people, a free survey tool or form builder will help you organize it all. Google Forms is an accessible choice for most people because it's completely free and works with the rest of Google Workspace.
Turn your form responses into Trello cards, Notion database entries, or any other nugget of info that serves you well with Google Forms' Zapier integrations .
Create Trello cards from new Google Forms responses
Share Google Forms responses in a Slack channel
Google Forms pricing: Free
Free writing tools for solo and collaborative writing
Best free writing software for collaborative writing.
Google Docs (Web, Chrome, iOS, Android)
Google Docs' straightforward interface and ease of use make it a great tool for writing solo, but this app really shines through its collaborative features . Its suggestion, sharing, and version history features put it on par with its paid alternatives at no cost to you.
You can connect Google Docs to all the other tools you use with its Zapier integration . Here are some ideas for free automations you might set up.
Create new Google Docs from text with new rows in Google Sheets
Create new Google Docs when Trint transcripts are ready
Not a fan of Google Docs or don't want to create a Google account? Find another great option in Zapier's guide to the best collaborative writing apps .
Google Docs pricing: Free
Best free writing software for messages and blurbs
Sometimes you need to write a small amount of text, such as a message or a blurb, without the pressure of accidentally hitting the Enter button too early. WordCounter acts as a combination clipboard and editor with a word count that saves your work in your browser cache for the next time you visit.
WordCounter pricing: Free
Free writing tools for editing
Best free writing software for finding the perfect word.
OneLook Reverse Dictionary and Thesaurus (Web)
OneLook Reverse Dictionary and Thesaurus offers all the synonyms you could dream of like a regular thesaurus, but it stands out in its reverse dictionary capabilities. Enter a phrase—or even a full sentence—to get words that match that meaning. This feature comes in handy when you want to write more concisely or find that word that's on the tip of your tongue.
OneLook Reverse Dictionary and Thesaurus pricing: Free
Best free writing software for finding the right word—anywhere
Power Thesaurus (Web, Chrome, iOS, Android)
As a freelance writer, I find myself needing to switch up words when I write on various platforms across the internet. Power Thesaurus gives me synonyms, antonyms, definitions, and other forms of word assistance wherever I like to write. It can do the same for you—put it to use on its website, in your browser, on your phone, in Google Docs, in Word, and in Gmail.
Power Thesaurus pricing: Free for fundamental features; starting from $2.49/month for Power Thesaurus PRO , featuring filters and a wider selection of synonyms
Best free writing software for rewording what you write
Wordtune (Web, Chrome, iOS)
When you just can't get phrasing right in your writing, you might turn to a friend or editor to help you sort it out. Wordtune acts as that person by offering suggestions to reword, expand, and shorten your content using AI. It doesn't have as robust of a free plan as some of the other options on this list, but it provides enough if you need assistance here and there.
If you want more features and are willing to pay a monthly fee, you can put AI to work in your editing process with Zapier's list of the best AI rewording and grammar-checking tools .
Wordtune pricing: Free for up to 10 rewrites, three AI prompts, and three summaries a day; from $9.99/month for advanced plans featuring more rewrites, AI prompts, and summaries
Best free writing software for clear and concise writing
Hemingway Editor (Web, macOS, Windows)
Inspired by Ernest Hemingway's concise writing style, the Hemingway Editor points out opportunities to sharpen your writing. This tool highlights passive voice, complex sentences, and adverbs that make your work harder to understand. It also supplies a readability score to estimate how accessible your writing is to a broad audience.
Hemingway Editor pricing: Free for editing in the Hemingway web app; $19.99 for the Mac or Windows desktop app
Best free writing software for creating compelling headlines
CoSchedule Headline Studio (Web, Chrome)
CoSchedule Headline Studio helps you write compelling headlines by analyzing the sentiment and word balance in your titles. Type in a headline to get a score and test different variations based on the suggestions you get. The Google Chrome extension and WordPress plugin let you analyze headlines wherever you go.
CoSchedule Headline Studio pricing: Free for basic features; from $8/month to buy "Premium Headline" credits that give you access to an SEO score, AI writing features, headline suggestions, and word banks for a certain number of headlines
Best free writing software for finding and removing cliches
Cliche Finder (Web)
Cut cliches out of your writing using Cliche Finder . After you paste your text into the textbox and click the Find Cliches button, the tool will highlight any cliches in bold, red text. It's up to you from there, but the tool is 100% free.
Cliche Finder pricing: Free
Best free writing software for finding jargon in your text
Another writing mechanism that gets in the way of clarity is jargon—terms that only people in a specific role will understand. The De-Jargonizer highlights potential jargon in your writing in orange in red for you to consider rephrasing.
Once you identify jargon in your text with the De-Jargonizer, you can get suggestions for rewriting it from Zapier's Corporate Jargon Translator , built using Zapier's free AI chatbot builder .
De-Jargonizer pricing: Free
Best free writing software for varying your wording and sentence length
Two of the best ways to amp up your writing are to switch up your words and sentence length. Expresso helps you achieve both of these goals by breaking your writing down into metrics based on word usage and sentence length, such as frequently repeated words and average sentence word count.
Expresso pricing: Free
Best free writing software for comparing your writing to AI content
GPTZero (Web, Chrome)
Due to the complexity of the AI situation, it can be tricky to truly detect AI writing with an AI content detector . But, as one writer discovered in our guide to standing out from AI , these tools work well for picking out human content that sounds like AI due to repetitive phrases and generic writing. GPTZero is a free option that judges text based on perplexity (complexity) and burstiness (sentence variation).
GPTZero pricing: Free for documents up to 5,000 words and batch uploads of up to 3 files; from $9.99/month for plans with higher word and batch limits
Free writing tools for proofreading
Best free writing software for catching spelling and grammar mistakes.
Grammarly (Web, macOS, Windows, Android iOS, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge)
Check for spelling and grammar mistakes everywhere you write with Grammarly . It looks for even the nit-pickiest details, like missing dashes and incorrect prepositions. Stick to its web editor, add it to your favorite writing tool, or add the browser extension to check your writing wherever you go.
Grammarly pricing: Free for the basic spell- and grammar-checker; from $12/month for plans with advanced features like tone, vocabulary, and rewrite suggestions
Best free writing tool for proofreading short-form content
ProWritingAid (Web, macOS, Windows, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge)
ProWritingAid's free plan can analyze less text at a time than Grammarly , but it includes a word explorer, thesaurus, and rephrasing tool on top of its grammar-checking features. These capabilities make it a better fit for writers who like to get really granular with their improvement. ProWritingAid's free plan could be a better option for you than Grammarly if your total word count usually clocks at 500 words or fewer.
ProWritingAid pricing: Free for a 500 word count limit and 10 rephrases per day; from $10/month for a Premium plan with no word count limit, unlimited rephrases, and advanced grammar improvement features like in-depth analytics of your writing
Best free writing tool for making MLA citations
This one's for the academics out there. Enter your paper's sources into EasyBib , and it'll organize them into an MLA bibliography for you. I had to give everything a once-over and make minor changes, but EasyBib helped me win my college library's bibliography contest back in the day by getting it all together.
EasyBib pricing: Free
Free writing software FAQ
Here are some questions lots of people have about writing apps and how to choose the right one.
What's a good free writing tool?
Tools like Google Docs and WordCounter are free forever and very functional. Other apps, like Grammarly or ProWritingAid, have free plans that offer basic features, with more advanced features available via a paid plan.
But there are a lot of free writing tools available that perform a wide variety of functions—everything from brainstorming to research and note-taking to writing to editing to proofreading.
What writing tool do most writers use?
There's a wide variety of writing tools out there, and which one a writer uses really comes down to preference. A lot of writers use Google Docs to write because they already use Google for so many other things—but some may prefer a tool like Notion, where they can combine writing with project management.
What makes a good writing tool?
In short, whatever helps you write! If a blank page and no distraction is what helps you actually get words down, then open a new Google Doc and go at it. If you need to organize your thoughts before you even think about writing, consider adding a brainstorming tool to the mix. Each writer's process is different, and it's all about finding tools that enable your writing, not add another roadblock to your process.
Sharpen your craft with your new toolkit
As is the case with many skills, it can be easy to focus too much on improving your writing through tools alone. You'll maximize the results you'll get from your apps with a solid foundation in writing techniques. Grab the tools that appeal to you on this page, then brush up on your core writing skills to become a killer prose machine.
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How to capitalize or change the case of your text in any app
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Copywriting vs. content writing: How to do each one well
This article was originally published in June 2015 by Jane Callahan and has also had contributions from Jessica Greene. The most recent update was in August 2023.
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Melissa King is a freelance writer who helps B2B SaaS companies spread the word about their products through engaging content. Outside of the content marketing world, she sometimes writes about video games. Check out her work at melissakingfreelance.com.
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