32 Best Free Writing Software: Budget-Friendly Writing Options

Discover our guide with the best free writing software, ideal for writers, students, and creatives on a budget. Delve into the realm of the written word without costly fees.

Writing is a fulfilling pursuit. It’s 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. There’s one downside: the writing process can also be costly. 

Many writing apps come with expensive subscriptions or purchase fees, which can put new writers completely off starting. But fear not! I’ve done the research and found the very best free writing software available on the market today. 

It’s only fair that writers on a budget have the same freedom to express their ideas and follow their passions, so check out our list and start writing today! For help with your writing, check out our guide on how to write a story outline.

Quick Summary: Our Top Picks For Writing Apps
IMAGE PRODUCT  
Grammarly logo small
Grammarly
  • Best in-class grammar checker
  • Best in-class plagiarism checker
  • Includes GrammarlyGO
  • 20% discount available
Claim My Discount →
LivingWriter
  • Accessible via a web browser
  • Contains dozens of story templates
  • $8 per month
TRY NOW →
Prowritingaid logo
ProWritingAid
  • Affordable
  • Suitable for non-fiction and fiction writers
  • Has a 20% discount
Claim My Discount →
Scrivener logo
Scrivener
  • Ideal for managing big writing projects
  • Available on desktop and tablet
  • Popular with best-selling novelists
BUY NOW →
Koala Writer
Koala Writer
  • Generates 1000s of words quickly
  • Easy to use
  • Includes real-time search results and citations
  • Works with Google Docs, Sheets and WordPress
TRY NOW →

 

Best Word Processor for Windows

1. Windows Notepad

Price: Free
Operating system: Windows

Windows Notepad
Windows Notepad is a straightforward text editor

Windows Notepad is a simple text editor and writing software that comes free with all Windows operating systems. It’s a staple writer and editor that has been a part of the Windows package for years, allowing Windows users to jot down notes, create lists, or write documents quickly. The simplicity of the free writing app is one of the main reasons why this app has remained popular over the years.

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. Hemingway Editor

Price: Free
Operating system: Mac and Windows

Hemingway Editor
Hemingway Editor is a good tool for revising sentences and improving the flow of your writing

If you want to make your work easier to read, the Hemingway Editor is one of the most effective options. 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.

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

Best Word Processor for Mac

3. Apple Pages

Price: Free with Macs
Operating system: Mac, iOS

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’s 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 to make the process easier. In addition, Apple Pages comes with numerous features, including spell check, word count, and track changes. To learn more about the different editing tools on the market, check out our post on the best grammar tools

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

4. Apple Books for Authors

Price: Free
Operating system: Mac, iOS

Apple Books for Authors
Apple Books for Authors allows writers to write, prepare, and publish their work on Apple Books

Apple Books for Authors is an Apple-exclusive platform that allows authors to write and publish their work with ease. The writing app is free with all Apple products and works with Apple Pages. Writers can create their work with Pages, format it to EPUB for publication and publish it straight to Apple Books. All you need is an Apple phone or Macbook and an iTunes Connect account to get your debut novel on the virtual eBook shelves.

5. Dropbox Paper

Price: Free with a Dropbox account
Operating system: Mac, Windows, Linux

Dropbox Paper
Dropbox has strong collaborative capabilities

If you have a free Dropbox account, you can use Dropbox Paper. It is a simple word processor, but the application can do 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 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

Best Free Word Alternative

6. OneLook

Price: Free
Operating system: Mac, Windows

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 for your writing. Plus, it’s completely free to use, which is great for new writers on a budget.

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

7. AbiWord

Price: Free
Operating system: Mac, Windows, Linux

Abi Word
AbiWord is free to download and use

If you are looking for a simple word processor to help you with your next writing project, consider AbiWord. 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

8. Shaxpir

Price: Free
Operating system: Mac, Windows

Shaxpir
Shaxpir is a program that can handle multiple chapters and scenes

If you are looking for a program to help you write books, you may want to try 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. Shaxpir has a limited free version available, as well as a premium subscription. Shaxpir 4: Everyone is free and includes everything you need to build and export manuscripts, track goals and more.

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

9. LibreOffice Writer

Price: Free
Operating system: Mac, Windows, Linux

LibreOffice Writer
LibreOffice Writer is an open-source document suite

LibreOffice is a versatile and free office suite that has become very popular with government offices, businesses, and other corporate organizations. LibreOffice includes a word processor, Writer, that functions similarly to MS Word. Writer comes with various templates to create all kinds of documents. Although the interface is rather bland, it works as a simple text editor and can be used for simple and complex documents alike. 

10. WordCounter 

Price: Free
Operating system: Mac, Windows

WordCounter
WordCounter is a simple word-counting software

WordCounter does exactly what it says – it counts words and characters. The online editor is designed to help writers improve their work choice and writing style, as well as check for plagiarism. There’s also a built-in grammar checker that can spot an error in your text. It’s a great all-in-one option for when you might be writing an essay or paper where you need to stick to a strict word limit.

11. CoSchedule Headline Studio

Price: Free
Operating system: Mac, Windows

CoSchedule Headline Studio
CoSchedule Headline Studio can help create content for social media and blogs

CoSchedule’s Headline Studio is a free writing software that creates headlines for all your marketing campaigns and content. The free version allows you to view feedback and analytics on your chosen headline for YouTube videos, Emails, blogs, TikTiks, Instagram posts and podcast episodes. 

The personalized insights give you recommendations for writing engaging titles and captions that align with your content. Using AI technology, the Headline Studio can generate dozens of headlines within seconds, helping you break out of writer’s block with a few simple clicks. 

Best Distraction-Free Writing App

12. FocusWriter

Price: Free
Operating system: Windows, Linux

FocusWriter
FocusWriter is easy to control

FocusWriter 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 distractions that are elsewhere on the screen. The program is compatible with various operating systems and allows you to focus on the task.

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

13. Notion

Price: Free
Operating system: iOS, Android, Mac and Windows

Notion
Notion is an intuitive software ideal for collaborative writing projects

Notion is a fantastic writing app for those needing to focus on a writing project. The free version of Notion has some great features, allowing up to ten guests to collaborate on a project, and it can also integrate with chat tools like Slack. 

Notion has a simple and distraction-free interface where users can design their task boards and adjust the layout to their specific needs. It’s also a great software for brainstorming ideas, detailing plot points and creating character profiles. Check out our Grammarly Vs Notion comparison guide.

14. Workflowy

Price: Free
Operating system: Mac, Linux

Workflowy
Workflowy is a simple note-taking and organization software

Workflowy is a minimalistic app best suited for note-taking, brainstorming, short-form writing and organizing ideas or tasks. Workflowy has a unique design with only one page that is used infinitely. The rolling page creates a natural rhythm of task completion and idea generation; it’s a great technique for getting creative ideas on the page and working through project tasks. Think of it like a brain dump page that you can use to get things done. 

There’s a useful search tool so that you can search for specific words or tags within your list. It’s also possible to share your page with others to view and edit, which is ideal for collaborative writing tasks. Check out our Workflowy review.

Best App with Markup Support

15. Google Docs

Price: Free
Operating system: Mac, Windows, Linux

Google Docs
Google Docs allows writers to write from anywhere and collaborate on projects

Even though there are better options than Google Docs for writing, it’s free and works everywhere with internet access. It’s 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 writing sessions from where I left off on the go. Check out our guide looking at Grammarly vs Google Docs.

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

16. Slick Write

Price: Free
Operating system: Mac, Windows

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

Best Editing Software

17. Grammarly

Price: Free
Operating system: Mac, Windows, Linux

Grammarly
Grammarly is suitable for editing writing drafts

Seasoned writers 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 giving suggestions that can help you keep your writing concise. If you want more editing software options, 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

18. ProWritingAid

Price: Free version available
Operating system: 

ProWritingAid
ProWritingAid is a popular grammar editor

When it’s time to edit your writing, enter ProWritingAid. It’s a grammar program and spell checker that can catch many problems you might overlook. 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. ProWritingAid’s free online proofreading tool is excellent for writers looking for a budget-friendly writing app that will enhance their content. Check out our ProWritingAid review.

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

19. WriteMonkey

Price: Free
Operating system: Windows, OSX, LINUX

WriteMonkey
WriteMonkey is a stripped-back text editing software

WriteMonkey is a distraction-free text editing software. The immersive full-screen mode is excellent for zoning in and completing long editing projects. There are many useful features like the customizable text options, the built-in writing timer and typing sounds with typewriter scrolling. 

This writing software emulates the simplicity of typing on a typewriter but allows you to write, edit and complete documents. It also has a spell check, thesaurus and all major languages available within the software.

20. Cliché Finder

Price: Free
Operating system: Mac, Windows, Linux

Cliché Finder
Cliché Finder is a valuable tool that elevates writing and removes redundancies

Cliché Finder is an outstanding free software that eliminates cliché phrases from all kinds of text. Simply add your writing to the online text box, and it will highlight any clichés present. This nifty software can help you identify phrases, expressions and words that feel flat so that you can elevate your writing to make it shine. 

It also has a built-in spell checker, so you can spot any mistakes you might have missed. Overall, this editing software is a great tool for freshening up your work during the final proofreading stages.

21. De-Jargonizer

Price: Free
Operating system: Mac, Windows, Linux

De-Jargonizer
De-Jargonizer scans your writing and scores its readability

De-Jargonizer is most suitable for editing essays, research papers or technical articles that might use complex language. When writing about complex or technical topics, it can be challenging to write your piece in a way that makes sense to a wider audience.

Using software like De-Jargonizer can help you simplify your wording and demystify jargon. It has a simple interface that scans your writing and gives it a score of suitability for a general audience while highlighting words that should be changed.

22. Reedsy Book Editor

Price: Free
Operating system: Mac, Windows, Linux

Reedsy Book Editor
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

23. Expresso

Price: Free
Operating system: Mac, Windows, iOS, Android

Expresso
Expresso is a quick and simple text editing software

Expresso is an online text editor that focuses on simplicity and effectiveness. It’s an online tool that dissects your writing to improve the flow, word variety and impact. Expresso values privacy, so you can be assured that no texts will be saved. 

One benefit of this software is that you can enhance your understanding of English grammar and language while editing your writing. Expresso takes a formal approach by highlighting metrics like synonyms, weak verbs, nominalizations and clustered nouns. 

24. EasyBib

Price: Free
Operating system: Mac, Windows, iOS, Android

EasyBib
EasyBib is an intuitive editing software and plagiarism checker

EasyBib’s free editor is available on all browsers. The intuitive interface is a huge selling point for this software, as the editing suggestions are easy to navigate and correct. There’s also a plagiarism check built into the software, but you’ll need to create a premium account to use this. 

Use this software to scan your essays or articles and track your word count while editing it down to one succinct document. You’ll also receive a detailed score highlighting fluency, readability, and grammar. Check out our Grammarly vs EasyBib comparison guide.

Best Brainstorming Software

25. Zoho Writer

Price: Free
Operating system: 

Zoho Writer
Zoho Writer is a free word processor

If you are looking for a free word processor that 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 Writer 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

Best Research and Note-Taking Software

26. Evernote

Price: Free
Operating system: Mac, Windows, iOS, Android

Evernote
Evernote can sync your writing across multiple devices

When you work on a project, taking breaks occasionally is critical. Maybe you like to go to the gym. Perhaps you want to go for a walk. 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. As well as being the ideal on-the-go note-taking app, it’s free! Ideal for writers looking for an app to jot down ideas wherever they are. 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

27. MindMeister

Price: Free
Operating system: Mac, Windows, iOS, Android

MindMeister
MindMeister is a powerful mind-mapping and research software

MindMeister helps visualize writing projects and research by displaying concepts and ideas in a colorful mind map. Writers can use it to outline projects and collaborate with others, making it a perfect fit for group writing assignments.

The interactive map allows writers to structure content, connect related concepts, plan plotlines and explore new ideas. It’s a perfect match for writers involved in business writing, fiction writing or marketing campaigns. Check out our MindMeister review.

28. Miro

Price: Free
Operating system: Mac, Windows

Miro
Miro is a collaborative virtual workspace

Miro is an aesthetically pleasing workspace ideal for teams or individuals working on a project. Writers can use it to visualize concepts, display research, build storylines, and develop character profiles. The real-time collaboration feature allows writers to work together seamlessly. It’s a comprehensive software that will enhance your workflow, streamline ideas and get your creativity flowing. Check out our Miro review.

29. ChatGPT

Price: Free
Operating system: Mac, Windows, Linux

ChatGPT
ChatGPT is a powerful AI writing software

ChatGPT has taken the world by storm. It’s an AI-powered chatbot that can create articles and blog posts and generate ideas. However, it’s also an excellent research tool. By prompting the chatbot to research and provide statistics or facts, you can receive results within seconds, saving valuable writing time. It’s an excellent tool for writers working on complex writing projects like a non-fiction book or a research paper. 

You can also ask the chatbot for suggestions to improve your writing, ideas to continue your storyline and more. The capabilities of this AI software are endless. Check out our ChatGPT review.

30. Unpaywall

Price: Free
Operating system: Mac, Windows, Linux

Unpaywall
Unpaywall has a database of over 48 million free scholarly articles

Unpaywall streamlines the research process for writing tasks like essays and research papers. With over 48 million scholarly articles and research papers available, writing your next essay has never been easier. It’s free to use without any subscription fees or hidden payments. Whether you’re writing academically or creating an informative document, this helpful software will allow you to quickly source accurate and high-quality data sources.

31. oTranscribe

Price: Free
Operating system: Mac, Windows

oTranscribe
oTranscribe transcribes audio files into written text

oTranscribe is a simple software that transcribes audio files or YouTube videos into a written text file. When conducting research for an academic paper, software like oTranscribe can save you many hours of listening and writing time. Simply upload your audio or video file, and oTranscribe will convert it into a plain text file or Google Doc. It’s ideal for when you might need to conduct interviews or surveys to gather data for your research paper or if you’ve been recording ideas about a new book and you need to get the thoughts on paper. The interface is simple and distraction-free, allowing writers to focus on the task at hand.

32. Google Forms

Price: Free
Operating system: Mac, Windows

Google Forms
Google Forms is a free data collection tool

Google Forms is a versatile survey and interview tool that writers can use to gather information for an essay, research paper or non-fiction book. Gathering data can be challenging without the right tools, so utilizing software like Google Forms makes the process much easier. 

There are many helpful features like online sharing and drop-down menus with answer options, including multiple-choice, long text, short text or Yes/No. Share the form by printing and handing it out to research participants or share it online to gain a broader audience.

Final Word on Best Free Writing Software

I use Ulysses the most for writing today, as it’s easy to use and works across all my devices. I also recommend Google Docs to writers and Scrivener. Ultimately, these are just a few free writing programs available. To find the best app for you, you’ll need to think about the type of writing you do, your technological prowess, 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

Many great writing programs are out there, and narrowing the list down to just a few choices is difficult. 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, learning might take longer. 
  • Value for the Money: While this list includes the top free writing programs, nearly every program can purchase premium features. 

Why You Can Trust Us

Of course, you must make your own decisions, as the best writing programs for one person might not necessarily be the best 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 which features will make you a better writer.
  • Personal Use: I have used all of the programs on my list. 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 consider 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.

Author

  • Meet Rachael, the editor at Become a Writer Today. With years of experience in the field, she is passionate about language and dedicated to producing high-quality content that engages and informs readers. When she's not editing or writing, you can find her exploring the great outdoors, finding inspiration for her next project.