Best Free Writing Software: 20 Top Options

Are you looking for the best free writing software? If so, take a look at a few of our recommendations below, and get your writing off to a great start!

Writing is a fulfilling pursuit. It is an excellent opportunity to explore your creative side, dive deep into your chosen ideas, and entertain your readers while educating them about an interesting topic. But, the writing process can also be challenging, filled with confusing moments, writer’s block, and tedious clerical work.

Enter free writing. It describes capturing ideas that come into your head without worrying about typos and grammar mistakes. It’s an excellent skill for new writers and teaches you how to write faster and without self-censorship. If you are looking for the best free writing software available, take a look at a few key options below. Some of these are ideal for writing, while others will help you focus on a free writing project. The best free writing program is Scrivener, although it has a learning curve. I also love using Ulysses but it’s Mac only. IA Writer is a delight for free writing on a tablet. Otherwise use Google Docs.

Quick Summary: Our Top Picks For Writing Apps
IMAGE PRODUCT
Grammarly
  • It provides several editing recommendations
  • Uses shorter sentences
  • Has a 20% discount
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LivingWriter
  • Accessible via a web browser
  • Contains a series of outline templates
  • $8 per month
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ProWritingAid
  • Affordable
  • Suitable for non-fiction and fiction writers
  • Has a 20% discount
Claim My Discount →
Scrivener
  • Also available on iPad
  • It's popular with best-selling novelists
  • Has an ability to track keywords and theme
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1. Scrivener

Price: Free trial available. Paid version is $49
Best for: Long-form free writing

Scrivener
Scrivener is ideal for long-form journalism

Scrivener is one of the most popular writing programs available because it was made by writers for writers. The program breaks your work into chapters (which you control), making it easier for you to drag and drop segments of your work, organizing it in a manner that makes sense to you. You can turn on a distraction-free typewriter mode during free writing sessions and even set session word counts. To learn more, read our Scrivener review

Pros
  • Manage large projects easily with a high-level overview
  • Mobile apps for iPhone and iPad are available
  • Publishing, template, and productivity features are available
Cons
  • Has a steep learning curve
  • No application for Android devices
  • Formatting can be hard

2. Ulysses

Price: $4.99 per month
Best for: As a Scrivener free writing alternative

Ulysses writing app
The Ulysses Markdown writing app is ideal for writers and bloggers

Ulysses is a minimalistic writing app that supports Markdown. I use it regularly for free writing sessions. I can hide the menu bar and user interface and focus on the words in front of me. You can export free writing drafts into another format, including blog posts and Word documents. It’s a good choice if you find free writing in Scrivener overwhelming. Mac and iOS only, it works nicely on a tablet. For more, read our Ulysses App review.

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Excels for long-form free writing projects
Cons
  • Mac only
  • Subscription model may put off some

3. IA Writer

Price: $49.99
Best for: Free writing on a tablet, across devices and operating systems

IA writer
IA Writer is a pleasing free writing app

IA Writer is a popular free writing app. Like Ulysses, it also supports Markdown, and is minimalistic and distraction-free. You can easily export drafts from IA Writer to the web or other formats. It works particularly well on a tablet. It’s available on Windows, Mac, Android and iOS. For more, read our IA Writer review.

Pros
  • Widely supported
  • Fantastic user interface
  • Works great for free writing on a tablet
Cons
  • Mac only
  • Comparitvely pricey

4. Google Docs

Price: Free
Best for: Those who need to collaborate with others on a book or project

Word count in Google Docs
Google Docs is good if you want to free write anywhere and collaborate

Even though there are better options than Google Docs for writing, it’s free, and it works everywhere with internet access. It is easy to figure out and automatically backs up all your information to your Google Drive (provided there is enough space.) I like using Google Docs on a tablet as I can pick up a free writing session from where I left off.

Pros
  • Free and ubiquitous
  • Ideal for collaboration
  • Supports document revisions
Cons
  • It does not come with an advanced grammar checker
  • Does not work well offline
  • Not a program designed specifically for writers

5. Zoho

Price: Free
Best for: Those looking for a strong word processor for group writing projects

Zoho
Zoho is a free word processor

If you are looking for a free word processor but doesn’t necessarily give you access to professional writing and publishing features, you might want to use Zoho writer. This is the complete package for those who need to write many documents. However, it isn’t necessarily meant for book writing. Nevertheless, many people love Zoho because it bears the familiarity of Microsoft Word with some other advanced features. For more, read our Zoho review

Pros
  • Provides access to a wide array of group management and writing tools
  • Has a short learning curve with the familiarity of Microsoft Word
  • Is completely free
Cons
  • Not a professional writing tool
  • The grammar and spell checker leaves a lot to be desired
  • Cannot publish for you

6. Apple Pages

Price: Free with Macs
Best For: Those looking for a simple word processor on a Mac product

Apple Pages
Apple Pages is an excellent free writing app for Mac users

If you use a Mac, then there is a good chance you have heard about Apple Pages. It is one of the best writing programs for Mac users, and it works smoothly. Similar to Microsoft Word on Windows, you start with a blank document. Then, you can include a template if you want to make the process easier. In addition, apple Pages comes with numerous features, including spell check, word count, and track changes. 

Pros
  • Straightforward and easy to use
  • Automatically saves your work to your iCloud Drive
  • Include customizable features such as spell checkers and word counts
Cons
  • Grammar checker is not the best
  • Only available for Mac users
  • File type cannot be opened on all applications

7. ProWritingAid

Price: Free. The Premium version is $60 per year
Best for: Those who do not have access to a professional editor and need help with grammar and spelling

ProwritingAid grammar checker
ProWritingAid is a popular grammar editor

Free writing involves writing at length without worrying about typos and other issues. When it’s time to edit, enter ProWritingAid. It’s a grammar program and spell checker that can catch many of the problems you might overlook. Now, a grammar checker will never replace an editor, but this affordable program can help you replace some of what you would get from a professional editor.

Pros
  • Fast and easy to use
  • Provides suggestions for grammar and sentence style
  • Premium version less expensive than other grammar checkers
Cons
  • Does not always take context into account with its suggestions
  • Premium version is not as intuitive as the free version
  • Less suitable for writing drafts

8. Grammarly

Price: Free. Premium version is $144 per year
Best for: Those who want to catch grammar mistakes and prevent plagiarism

Grammarly desktop app
Grammarly is suitable for editing free writing drafts

Seasoned writers also use Grammarly to edit their drafts. This popular free writing program can catch a wide variety of grammar issues. The free version alone can catch punctuation, spelling, and run-on sentences while also giving you suggestions that can help you keep your writing concise. If you want to see more options for editing software, check out our post looking at the best Grammarly alternatives.

Pros
  • Free version is compatible with a wide variety of other programs
  • Suggestions come with clear explanations
  • Useful for all types of free writing projects
Cons
  • Free version is limited
  • Premium version is more expensive than most other programs
  • Plagiarism checker can be overzealous

9. Day One

Price: From $2.92 per month
Best for: Journaling and free writing

Day One writing software
Day One enables you to free write about your day

Journaling and free writing go hand in hand. If you want to get more from journaling, then it’s best to use a dedicated app like Day One. You can write about whatever you want, time-stamp your entries, sync them across devices and also encrypt everything.

It’s available on the Mac Store with an annual subscription discount available. Day One enables you to free write about your day. It also provides writing prompts as inspiration. I free write using this app on my iPad, laptop and desktop. For more, read our Day One app review.

Pros
  • Easy to use and write with
  • Secure
  • Ideal for journaling and free writing
  • Supports multimedia content
Cons
  • Mac only
  • Less suitable for free writing sessions unrelated to journaling

10. Hemingway Editor

Price: Free
Best for: Those looking for a free editor

Hemmingway App
Hemingway Editor is a good tool for revising sentences

If you want to make your work easier to read, the Hemingway Editor is one of the most effective options available. While the program has many features that make it deserving of a spot on this list, the most impressive is the Readability score. To learn more about the different editing tools on the market, check out our Hemingway App review.

To learn more about the different editing tools on the market, check out our post on the best grammar tools.

Pros
  • Completely free
  • Provides advice on a wide variety of writing issues
  • Can help you keep your writing concise
Cons
  • The program is an editor, not a writing software program
  • Sometimes highlights adverbs that add value to your work
  • Doesn’t always provide context behind some suggestions

11. Ginger

Price: Free with a premium version available
Best for: Those looking for a grammar checker and vocabulary enhancer

The Ginger grammar checker
Ginger provides a helpful vocabulary enhancement tool

Ginger Grammar is a popular grammar checker that features a free chrome extension. It bears similarities to many other grammar checkers but excels because of its ability to interpret words in context. The contextual correction means that this grammar tool is more accurate than many other tools on the market. For more, read our Grammarly vs Ginger comparison.

Pros
  • Free version available that includes a lot of features
  • Can handle other languages
  • Provides a helpful vocabulary enhancement tool
Cons
  • Not as intuitive as many other grammar checkers
  • The sentence rephrasing tool can use some improvement
  • The AI features of the program are not great

12. Reedsy Book Editor

Price: Free
Best for: Those who frequently need to convert file formats

Reedsy
Reedsy can handle a long list of file formats and styles

Reedsy Book Editor is a completely free writing and editing software program that makes it easy for you to coordinate with others. It has several great features, but one of the most important is the “notes” option. You can create notes, edit them, and stick them into your document, allowing you to manage different chunks of your work independently.

Pros
  • Free
  • Allows you to collaborate with others easily
  • Can handle a long list of file formats and styles
Cons
  • Lacks many of the advanced features of other options
  • Takes a while to learn how to use
  • Does not create professional, finished products like other programs

13. Evernote

Price: Free with in-app purchase options
Best for: Those who like to write on multiple devices

Evernote
Evernote can sync your writing across multiple devices

When you work on a project, taking breaks from time to time is critical. Maybe you like to go to the gym. Perhaps you want to go for a walk. Regardless, what happens if inspiration strikes you and you need to write something down quickly?

Evernote can help you do that. It’s an ideal program for those who like to write on different devices because you can sync your work across all of them, allowing you to work from just about anywhere. In addition, you don’t have to worry about emailing your work to yourself anymore. Read our guide: What is Evernote?

Pros
  • You can write while on the go
  • Sync your notes across multiple devices
Cons
  • The free version is very limited
  • Can get clunky if you work on longer assignments

14. Freedom

Price: Free trial available. $29 per year for the paid version
Best for: Those who get distracted easily and have difficulty meeting their deadlines

Freedom graphical user interface
Freedom can schedule your writing times in advance

Everyone has missed a deadline. It is a part of being a writer. However, if you regularly miss your deadlines, this program might help you. Freedom gives you access to a focus mode. It will block your biggest distractions, stop you from navigating to certain websites, and keep specific applications from opening for a certain amount of time. In short, use it in conjunction with a free writing app.

Pros
  • Stay on track and meet your deadlines
  • Works on computers and phones
  • Schedule your writing times in advance
Cons
  • Not a true writing application
  • It can be difficult to use on mobile devices
  • It can’t actually stop you from getting distracted if you want to do something else

15. Slick Write

Price: Free
Best for: Those looking for in-depth stylistic analysis

Slick Write
Slick Write contains a wide variety of analytics that you can control

There are a lot of tools that will help you improve your readability, but Slick Write goes the extra mile. It will do a deep dive, analyzing every aspect of your texts, and checking for repeated words, misplaced conjunctions, and sentences that are far too long. A convenient settings page allows you to customize this application to meet your needs. 

Pros
  • Completely free
  • Contains a wide variety of analytics that you can control
  • Can handle a lot of issues that most editors overlook
Cons
  • Comes with a lot of advertisements
  • The program is very slow if you want to analyze longer works
  • The suggestions sometimes don’t take content into account

16. Abi Word

Price: Free
Best for: Those looking for simplicity

Abi Word
Abi Word is free to download and use

If you are looking for a simple word processor that can help you out, you may want to consider Abi Word. It’s a simple, bare-bones word processor that includes the basics, including a grammar checker. It is also compatible with a wide variety of file types.

Pros
  • Free to download and use
  • Very simple and straightforward
  • Compatible with multiple file types
Cons
  • Software program looks outdated
  • Can be a bit slow
  • You will need another program if you want to print

17. Dropbox Paper

Price: Free with a free Dropbox account
Best for: Those who want to include multimedia in a group

Dropbox Paper
Dropbox has strong collaborative capabilities

If you have a free Dropbox account, you can use Dropbox Paper. On the surface, it is a simple word processor, but the application can do so much more. In addition to editing documents, you can include YouTube videos, audio files, images, and slideshows. It’s a great writing app if you need to work with others on writing and or multimedia. 

Pros
  • Free to use with Dropbox
  • Can handle images and videos
  • Strong collaborative capabilities
Cons
  • Program can be a bit slow
  • Requires Dropbox to use
  • Can be difficult to learn

18. Shaxpir

Price: Free
Best for: Novelists

Shaxpir
Shaxpir is a program can handle multiple chapters and scenes

If you are looking for a program to help you write books, you may want to Shaxpir. It is available for Mac and PC and has a built-in spell checker. In addition, you can leave comments in the margins and set goals that help you track your progress. 

Pros
  • Manuscript Builder allows you to rearrange your manuscript
  • Program can handle multiple chapters and scenes
  • Compatible with Mac and PC
Cons
  • The program can be a bit difficult to use
  • The margins can be hard to read
  • Gets a bit slow if your book gets too long

19. Focus Writer

Price: Free
Best for: Those who get distracted easily

Focus Writer
Focus Writer is easy to control

Focus Writer is a simple program that can help you stop distractions from getting in the way of your work. The screen will look and feel familiar, but you can immerse yourself in your work by minimizing descriptions that are elsewhere on the screen. The program is compatible with various operating systems and allows you to focus on the task at hand.

Pros
  • Distraction-free writing
  • Easy to control
  • Compatible with Mac OS, Windows, and Linux
Cons
  • You won’t see your writing template
  • You can’t see your previous versions
  • You can’t share your content

20. OneLook

Price: Free
Best for: Those who struggle with Writer’s Block

OneLook
OneLook can help you overcome writer’s block

If you have issues with writer’s block, you may want to give OneLook a try. This is a straightforward program to use. All you have to do is give a brief description, which can be as short as a single word. Then, you can see all related words, helping you develop ideas that you can use in your writing. 

Pros
  • Free
  • Can help you overcome writer’s block
  • Gives you access to a thesaurus for ideas as well as single words
Cons
  • Not all suggestions directly related
  • Program is limited and old

Final Word on Best Free Writing Software

Today, I use Ulysses the most for free writing as it’s easy to use and works across all my devices. I also recommend Google Docs to writers and Scrivener.

In the end, these are just a few of the many free writing programs available. You need to think about the type of writing you do, what your technological prowess is like, and how you think the program might benefit you. Make sure you think about the benefits and drawbacks of each option before you decide.

Selection Criteria For the Best Free Writing Programs

There are lots of great writing programs out there, and it is difficult to narrow down the list to just a few choices. The criteria we used to pick our top free writing programs include:

  • Features: The most important factor we considered is the features available. We took a deep dive into the numerous features of the program to ensure they were useful to a wide range of writers with various writing styles. 
  • Ease of Use: Then, we analyzed how easy the program was to use. While one program might have the best features, it might take longer to learn. 
  • Value for the Money: While this is a list of the top free writing programs, nearly every program has the option to purchase premium features. 

Once we assessed these individual factors, we put together our list of the top free writing programs available. 

Why You Can Trust Us

Of course, you need to make your own decisions, as the best writing programs for one person might not necessarily be the best writing programs for your needs. However, some of the reasons why you should trust my reviews include:

  • Experienced Writer: I am a very experienced writer myself. I know what writers like, what they don’t like, and what features will make you a better writer.
  • Personal Use: I have used all of the programs on my list on my own. While I will look at what other people think about the program, I also rely on my personal experiences.
  • Attention to Detail: When I put together my reviews, I am as specific as possible. My goal is to highlight a wide variety of specific points as I go down the list of programs. 

FAQs About the Best Free Writing Software

How can I choose the best free writing software program to meet my needs?

First, you need to think about the cost. How much are you willing to spend, and what are you getting for your money? Then, you need to think about how easy the program is to use. Can you learn the program quickly? Finally, you should take a look at a few reviews and ratings

Is it safe for me to use free writing programs?

If you rely on a software program to help you write, you need to think about cybersecurity. For example, you might put some confidential information on your writing programs, and you need to use a program that will protect your information and value your safety.

Is it worth it to upgrade from a free writing program to a premium writing program?

There are some situations where springing for a premium program is worth it, particularly if you find yourself using premium features a lot. Start with a free trial, and try out as many premium features as possible. If you enjoy those premium features, consider upgrading to the full version

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