The Best Free Writing Software: What Are the 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!

The writing process can be 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 on an interesting topic. But, on the other hand, the writing process can also be difficult and challenging, filled with confusing moments, writer’s block, and boring clerical work. Fortunately, there is a way to maximize your writing experience without spending a cent.

If you are looking for the best free writing software available, take a look at a few key options below!

Selection Criteria: How We Chose Our Free Writing Programs

The best free writing software

There are a lot 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:

  • The Features Available: The most important factor we considered is the features available. We took a deep dive into the numerous features of the program to make sure they were useful to a wide range of writers with various writing styles. 
  • The Ease of Use: Then, we analyzed how easy the program was to use. While one program might have the best features available, it might still take longer to learn. 
  • The 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 Should Rely on My Reviews

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 try to be as specific as possible. My goal is to highlight a wide variety of specific points as I go down the list of programs. 

These are just a few of the many reasons you should trust my advice if you are looking for the best free writing software programs available.

1. ProWritingAid

Price: Free. The Premium version is $60 per year

ProwritingAid grammar checker
A grammar checker will never replace an editor, but ProWritingAid is an affordable program

Best For: Those who do not have access to a professional editor and need help with grammar and spelling.

ProWritingAid is one of the first programs you need to consider if you are looking for a strong writing program. It’s a grammar program and spell checker that can catch many of the issues you might overlook. Now, a grammar checker will never replace an editor, but this is an affordable program that can help you replace some of what you would get from a professional editor. 

Pros
  • Fast and easy to use
  • Provides suggestions for not only grammar but also sentence style
  • Premium version is 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
  • Might not be worth it if you have an editor

2. Scrivener

Price: Free trial available. Paid version is $49

Scrivener
Scrivener have the publishing, template, and productivity features available

Best for: Those looking to write long-form writing.

Scrivener is one of the most popular writing programs available because it was made by writers for writers. The program breaks your work up 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. 

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

3. Hemingway Editor

Price: Free

Hemingway Editor
Hemingway Editor can help you keep your writing concise

Best For: Those looking for a free editor.

If you want to make your work easier to read, the Hemingway Editor is one of the most effective options available. While the program has many features that make it deserving of a spot on this list, the most impressive is the Readability score.

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 necessarily a writing software program
  • Sometimes highlights adverbs that add value to your work
  • Doesn’t always clearly explain why certain words or phrases need to be changed

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

4. Google Docs

Price: Free

Google Docs
Google Docs can designate people to leave comments, track changes, or edit the document completely

Best For: Those who need to collaborate with others on a book or project.

Even though there are certainly better options than Google Docs for pure writing, it is difficult to find a better program for collaboration. The program is free, very easy to figure out, and automatically backs up all of your information to your Google Drive (provided there is enough space.)

Pros
  • Completely free
  • You can designate people to leave comments, track changes, or edit the document completely
  • No more tracking individual versions, as Google Docs tracks your changes in real-time
Cons
  • It does not come with an advanced grammar checker
  • Does not work well offline
  • Not a program designed specifically for writers 

5. Grammarly

Price: Free. Premium version is $144 per year

Grammarly desktop app
The Grammarly desktop app is powerful and fast

Best For: Those who want to catch grammar mistakes and prevent plagiarism.

If you are a seasoned writer, there is a good chance that you have heard about Grammarly. This is a popular free writing program that 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.

Pros
  • The free version is compatible with a wide variety of other programs
  • Suggestions come with clear explanations
  • Useful for all types of writing, including short stories, content marketing, and business emails
Cons
  • Free version is very limited
  • Premium version is more expensive than most other programs
  • Plagiarism checker can be a bit overzealous, highlighting segments that are only a few words long

If you want to see more options for editing software, check out our post looking at the best Grammarly alternatives.

6. Ginger

Price: Free with a premium version available

Ginger proofreader
Ginger provides a helpful vocabulary enhancement tool

Best For: Those looking for a grammar checker and vocabulary enhancer.

Ginger Grammar is a popular grammar checker that features a free chrome extension. It bears similarities to many other grammar checkers, but it 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.

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 

7. Reedsy Book Editor

Price: Free

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

Best For: Those who frequently need to convert from one file format to another.

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 independently manage different chunks of your work.

Pros
  • Completely 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
  • Can take a while to learn how to use
  • Does not create professional, finished products like other programs

Evernote

Price: Free with in-app purchase options

Evernote
Evernote can sync your work across multiple devices

Best For: Those who like to write on multiple devices.

When you work on a project, it is critical to take breaks from time to time. Maybe you like to go to the gym. Perhaps you want to go on 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.

Pros
  • You can write while on the go
  • Sync your work across multiple devices
  • Never have to worry about emailing your work to yourself
Cons
  • The free version is very limited
  • Can get clunky if you work on longer assignments
  • Can take a while to make certain files look good on certain platforms

9. Zoho

Price: Free

Zoho Notes - Note-Taking App for Writers
Zoho is completely free

Best For: Those looking for a strong word processor for group writing projects.

If you are looking for a free word processor but doesn’t necessarily give you access to professional writing and publishing features, you might want to use Zoho writer. This is the complete package for those who need to write lots of 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.

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

10. Freedom

Price: Free trial available. $29 per year for the paid version

The Best Free Writing Software: Freedom
Freedom can schedule your writing times in advance

Best For: Those who get distracted easily and have difficulty meeting their deadlines.

Everyone has missed a deadline. It is a part of being a writer; however, if you regularly miss your deadlines, this program might help you. Freedom gives you access to a focus mode. It will block your biggest distractions, stop you from navigating to certain websites, and keep specific applications from opening for a certain amount of time. 

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

11. Slick Write

Price: Free

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

Best For: Those looking for in-depth stylistic analysis.

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

12. Apple Pages

Price: Free with Macs

Apple Pages
Apple Pages is straightforward and easy to use

Best For: Those looking for a simple word processor on a Mac product.

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

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

13. Abi Word

Price: Free

Abi Word
Abi Word is free to download and use

Best For: Those looking for simplicity.

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

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 

14. Dropbox Paper

Price: Free with a free Dropbox account

Dropbox paper
Dropbox has strong collaborative capabilities

Best for: Those who want to include multimedia in a group.

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

15. Shaxpir

Price: Free

Shaxpir
Shaxpir is a program can handle multiple chapters and scenes

Best For: Novelists.

If you are looking for a program to help you write books, you may want to Shaxpir. It is available for Mac and PC and comes with 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 

16. Fyrebox

Price: Free

Fyrebox
Fyrebox is easy to create a quiz

Best For: Those looking to interact with their audiences.

If you are a blog writer, you may want to check out Fyrebox. It’s a program that allows you to create an interactive quiz. You simply need to create a free account, and you can get to work designing a quiz in just a few minutes. There are also templates that can make the process easier for you. 

Pros
  • Completely free
  • Easy to create a quiz
  • Templates are available
Cons
  • All it can really do is make quizzes
  • Templates are pretty limited
  • Might not be suitable for those writing longer works

17. Focus Writer

Price: Free

Focus Writer
Focus Writer is easy to control

Best for: Those who get distracted easily.

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

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 

18. Trello

Price: Free with a premium version available

Trello Graphical user interface, application
Trello is compatible with a wide variety of operating systems 

Best For: Those with a wide variety of writing projects.

One of the most popular apps for writers is Trello. This program can help you organize your projects, stay up-to-date on your to-do lists, and delegate tasks to others. It is available for Android, iOS, Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and more. It is the perfect writing application to help you stay organized.

Pros
  • Free program for up to 10 boards
  • A versatile tool that can help you stay organized
  • Compatible with a wide variety of operating systems 
Cons
  • Has a lot of features with a steep learning curve 
  • Premium version can be a bit costly
  • Easy to get lost with multiple boards

19. OneLook

Price: Free

The Best Free Writing Software: OneLook
OneLook can help you overcome writer’s block

Best For: Those who struggle with Writer’s Block.

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

Pros
  • Totally 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 will be directly related
  • Program can be a bit limited
  • Tempting to become over-reliant on the tool

Final Word on Best Free Writing Software

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.

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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