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.
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- 1. Scrivener
- 2. Ulysses
- 3. IA Writer
- 4. Google Docs
- 5. Zoho
- 6. Apple Pages
- 7. ProWritingAid
- 8. Grammarly
- 9. Day One
- 10. Hemingway Editor
- 11. Ginger
- 12. Reedsy Book Editor
- 13. Evernote
- 14. Freedom
- 15. Slick Write
- 16. Abi Word
- 17. Dropbox Paper
- 18. Shaxpir
- 19. Focus Writer
- 20. OneLook
- Final Word on Best Free Writing Software
- Selection Criteria For the Best Free Writing Programs
- Why You Can Trust Us
- FAQs About the Best Free Writing Software
Price: Free trial available. Paid version is $49
Best for: Long-form free writing
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.
Price: $4.99 per month
Best for: As a Scrivener free writing alternative
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.
3. IA Writer
Best for: Free writing on a tablet, across devices and operating systems
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.
4. Google Docs
Best for: Those who need to collaborate with others on a book or project
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.
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 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
6. Apple Pages
Price: Free with Macs
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.
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
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.
Price: Free. The Premium version is $144 per year
Best for: Those who want to catch grammar mistakes and prevent plagiarism
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.
9. Day One
Price: From $2.92 per month
Best for: Journaling and free writing
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.
10. Hemingway Editor
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. 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.
Price: Free with a premium version available
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 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.
12. Reedsy Book Editor
Best for: Those who frequently need to convert file formats
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.
Price: Free with in-app purchase options
Best for: Those who like to write on 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?
Price: Free trial available. $29 per year for the paid version
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. In short, use it in conjunction with a free writing app.
15. Slick Write
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, 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.
16. Abi Word
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.
17. Dropbox Paper
Price: Free with a free Dropbox account
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 on writing and or multimedia.
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 has a built-in spell checker. In addition, you can leave comments in the margins and set goals that help you track your progress.
19. Focus Writer
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.
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.
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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