It gives helpful hints to improve your writing. Related reading: Full Hemingway Editor Review. Microsoft Office is as its name implies, is writing software for office use. It includes Outlook, Excel and Powerpoint and other programs. You will never use these for writing. Do you really need to pay for all these extra programs just to have a word processor to write an article, short story or even a novel? Most of them are more suitable for your writing goals and for any form of creative writing project.
Like Microsoft Office, Google Docs is a suite of office tools. The big difference is, of course, is that Google Docs is available for free online. Unlike some free word processors, Docs does have 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 for free. This is normally 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. If all you need is a word processor, Apple Pages can handle everything you could possibly need to do.
The word processing in page layout document view is easy to work with, and all the text formatting, fonts and writing tools are easy to find and use.
It also autosaves saves directly to your hard drive, or to 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 common feature or function in Word that is not available in Pages documents.
There is one other area where Pages really shines. It has a lot more control over images compared to Word.
The Best Writing App for Mac, iPad, and iPhone — The Sweet Setup
One other big plus with Pages for authors is that you can export directly to epub. Pages is a terrific free writing software option for all Mac, iPad and iPhone users. You can download it from the Mac App Store. These two writing software programs are already under your noses.
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They are installed by default on Windows and Apple computers. However, they are both worthy of a 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 or inconsistencies all up add to a lot that can go wrong.
Because of all this code, there is the chance that the text might have issues when you use it online. This can be especially true if you use WordPress and also in publishing in ebooks. The quickest and easiest way to clean a document, big or small, is to copy all the text into a basic text editor such as Notepad or TextEdit and then convert everything to plain text. Then you can copy back the clean text into your blog editor or word processor for ebook formatting. I used Open Office for many years.
It is an open source project and is still available. However, Libre Office is now favoured by many writers. In fact, these two free 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 simple and traditional 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 simplicity, AbiWord is well worth trying. The best way to describe AbiWord is uncluttered. This is ideal if you are looking to write distraction free. Similar to other alternative word processors it has all the standard features you would expect and works with most file types.
One of its key features is that it allows drag and drop paragraphs, which can at times be practical. 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. Free Office gets a mention because it can export.
This is a very handy tool for self-publishers. 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. If you want a web app for clean no-fuss writing, iA Writer might be just what you are looking for. The NYT says it creates a clean, simple and distraction-free writing environment for when you really need to focus on your words.
Best Apps for Screenplay Writing
Zoho Writer is a free online alternative to Microsoft Word. Almost everything you do in Word, you can do with this word processor. There are even collaboration tools. Scribus is an open source program for desktop publishing. It gets a mention here because it is free, but also because it is such a feature-rich cross-platform program.
Perhaps it is not a choice for most authors and bloggers. But you might have a desktop publishing need one day. Are you about to start writing a book? You need to hunt a little to find good book writing apps for books and novels. While not a free writing tool, I have to include Scrivener in this list because there is a generous free trial available. With an outliner, chapters and scenes, corkboard and index cards, 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.
I love the focus of it; the lack of superfluous widgets and features. I love that I can manage all of my writing projects from one place. Ulysses has already changed my workflow and has helped me work more efficiently. My Ulysses content includes everything from one-line ideas and concepts, to sketch notes for new stories, to 50,word draft fiction pieces.
I love how I can just throw anything in there.
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I love that I can type here in Markdown, the simplest of markup languages, and that from there I can export to any number of beautiful looking document types. Do you want to put Ulysses to the test? Download it right now from the App Store! All subscription plans contain a free trial. It is fully functional and syncs to all your Macs, iPads and iPhones. Do you sometimes struggle with distractions?
Ulysses Helps You Focus on What You Want to Say Many writers praise the way Ulysses encourages immersion with the text, and testify how using it has considerably increased their productivity. Are you tired of dealing with files and folders? Do you get your best ideas while away from your desk? Byword is similar, helping you stay focused on your writing by offering a pleasant, distraction-free environment.
The app offers additional preferences, and also adds the ability to publish directly to a number of blogging platforms. Still not sure if you need to spend money on a pro writing app? Here are a number of free ways to write your blogpost, novel or document. Rather than learning a new app, you can save time and money by using the word processor you already own, and are already familiar with.
Personally, I did this for several years before discovering Ulysses, and found the experience pretty good. These apps tend to have less distractions than a word processor, and contain all the editing features you need. You can generally extend their functionality with plugins, to add exactly the writing features that you need, for example:. Manuscripts is a serious writing tool that allows you to plan, edit and share your work.
It includes templates, an outliner, writing goals, and publishing features. It has features particularly suited to writing academic papers. Typora is a minimalistic writing app based on Markdown. Despite it being in beta, it is quite stable and full-featured. It supports themes, an outline panel, diagrams and mathematical formulas and tables. Manuskript Mac, Linux and Windows is a free and open-source writing tool for writers with features similar to Scrivener.
Amazon Storywriter is a free online screenwriting tool. It allows you to share drafts with trusted readers, auto-format your screenplay as you type, and can be used offline. Wordcradle is a free online novel writing tool. It allows you to write stories, create characters, brainstorm, and set deadlines.
ApolloPad is a full-featured online writing environment that is free to use while in beta. Like Scrivener, it is designed for long-form writing, and includes a cork board, inline notes including to-dos , project timelines, and outlines. True Novelist beta allows you to organize your writing in research in a way that makes sense to you. It features a drag-and-drop outline of the sections of your novel, and detailed statistics and word count goals.
Typely is a free online proofreading tool that works well. Hemmingway is an online editor that highlights where your writing can be improved. Yellow highlights are too lengthy, red ones are too complicated. Purple words could be replaced with a shorter one, and weak phrases are highlighted blue.
10 Best Writing Apps for Mac You Can Use
Finally, phrases in the dreaded passive voice are highlighted green. A readability guide is displayed in the left column. Gingko is a new kind of writing tool that lets you shape your ideas with lists, outlines and cards. It is free as long as you create no more than cards each month. Storyline Creator is a writing tool for authors of short stories and novels. It helps you keep track of your plot and characters. The basic version is free, and has plenty of features, but there are also two paid plans if you want more.
Grammarly is an accurate and popular grammar checker, and we use it here at SoftwareHow. Thanks, Adrian. Excellent rundown. What a great read without overwhelming, which could easily be with so many choices. Thanks Adrian. Hello and thank you so much for your article. I have been looking high and low on how to write articles and paste them in WordPress without all the formatting problems. Do you know if I can do this with any of the above?
I recommend them all, and use Ulysses myself. I use Ulysses all the time for my web site but I am not sure that it would work for a book. Hi Kerry, thanks for your question. Storyist will do the job. You like it, but there will be a learning curve. Quite a few people use it to write books, including David Sparks , the Mac Power Users guy, and David Hewson , who wrote a book about how to do it. Please let us know how you get on. Have completed a manuscript in Pages, very happy with using and after a few early hiccups got good at it.
The problem I have now is with my chosen editor, who only uses Word. I know how to convert Pages to Word, which I have done and forwarded to the editor. When it arrives on her PC the format has changed somewhat and is a little confusing that end. We have learnt to work around that little issue. Is getting Word for Mac my only solution. Not even the online version does track changes properly. Thanks for all this. I am still a bit confused though. I have Scrivener and use it. I like it. Does Bear offer me anything other than a minimmalist environment?
Bear syncs with other devices as I understand it, does Scrivener? Hi David, you may be happier to stick with Scrivener. Bear offers you a simple place to take notes, but not much more. So far I have been using word-processing but looking for a better tool for longer and more complex novels. I am certainly not going for a subscription licensing app, so just downloaded Scrivener, and will give it a serious try. Check it out. Is it an editor as well, or just a grammar checker? Your email address will not be published.
What You Need to Know Up-Front about Writing Apps Before you get to the point of trying to choose one of these apps, here are a few things you should know first. Writing Is Made Up of Five Different Tasks Writing tasks can be quite different: fiction or non-fiction, prose or poetry, long-form or short-form, writing for print or the web, writing professionally, for pleasure, or for your studies.
Here they are: Prewriting , which includes choosing a topic, brainstorming and research, and planning what to write. This step is all about gathering, storing and arranging your thoughts. Your main concern here is to keep writing without getting distracted or second guessing yourself.
Revision moves your first draft towards the final version by adding or removing content, and rearranging the structure. Editing is fine-tuning your writing. Check for correct grammar, spelling and punctuation, as well as clarity and repetition. If you use a professional editor, they may want to use a separate app that can track the changes they make or suggest. Publishing to paper or the web. Some writing apps can publish to a number of web platforms, and create ebooks and fully-formatted PDFs.
Writers Should Separate Style from Content The problem with using a word processor is that many of the features are a distraction. Who Should Get This So, you have something to write. How We Tested and Picked Writing apps are quite different, each with its own strengths and target audiences. What Writing Tools Are Included? Price Many writing apps are free or very reasonably priced. Get Ulysses Free 7-day Trial However, if you prefer not to use subscription-based software, or you prefer not to use Markdown, or you write long-form content, then have a serious look at our other winner, Scrivener 3.
Alternatives to Scrivener Scrivener is not the only Mac app suitable for long-form writing. Minimalist Apps for Writers A range of other writing apps focus on being friction-free rather than full-featured. Free Alternatives for Writers Still not sure if you need to spend money on a pro writing app? Use the Word Processor You Already Have Rather than learning a new app, you can save time and money by using the word processor you already own, and are already familiar with. You can generally extend their functionality with plugins, to add exactly the writing features that you need, for example: improved Markdown formatting with syntax highlighting, shortcut keys, and a preview pane.
Free Software for Writers A number of free Mac apps designed for writers are worth considering. Free Web Apps for Writers There are also a number of free web apps designed for writers.
Find software for every budget, from premium suites to free alternatives
Free Utilities for Writers There are also a number of free online utilities for writers. Martin on April 30, at am. JP on May 3, at pm. Gillian on May 25, at am.