The Best Manuscript Editing Software: 7 Top Options

A winning manuscript gets easier to create with the best manuscript editing software, so check out these five programs.

Creating a manuscript requires many hours of work and dedication. While nothing can replace the human mind and a human editor, grammar checker and manuscript editing software can help you work on that manuscript, polish it and prepare it for publication.

Yet often, manuscript editing software comes with a price tag, so you want to know that you're choosing the right one. Here are some of the top options as you shop for an editing tool, along with the pros and cons of each.

The right choice will depend on the type of work you are writing, so dig through this list and find one that fits your needs.

1. ProWritingAid

Pricing: From free to $70 a year

Manuscript editing software
This web editor and plugin detects grammar mistakes and spelling errors while you write

ProWritingAid tops this list because it is a popular choice for non-fiction and fiction writers alike. This web editor and plugin detect grammar mistakes and spelling errors while you write.

It will also help you analyze your writing style to keep things consistent while you work on self-editing.

With ProWritingAid, you not only get the help of a grammar checker, as the program provides help with sentence structure to let you create a readable copy. It has a free version and a paid version that costs $70 a year.

Read our ProWritingAid review

Who Is It For?

ProWritingAid works for any style of writing if you are self-editing. However, its inability to work without the internet means it won't be the right choice for those fiction writers who choose to write offline.

Pros
  • Offers an affordable option, even with the paid version
  • Works well for self-publishing
  • Provides advice about sentence length and sentence structure
  • Contains thesaurus, dictionary, and cliche dictionary
  • Works with Google Docs, Mac, Microsoft Word, and Chrome
Cons
  • Will miss some mistakes with the grammar checker
  • Requires Internet connection
  • Does not replace a proofreader for error-free copy
Ideal for Fiction Writers
ProWritingAid
$79

ProWritingAid is a powerful, accurate grammar checker and style editor. It's suitable for fiction writers and doesn't require a monthly subscription.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

2. Grammarly

Pricing: From free to $139.95 a year

Manuscript editing software
Grammarly works as both a grammar checker and proofreader

If you need a grammar checker to check typos and word choice, then Grammarly is one of the best. It works as both a grammar checker and proofreader.

Simply copy and paste your text into an online dashboard or use the Microsoft Word or Chrome browser extension to check your work while you are writing, and see all of your errors highlighted with suggestions for improvement.

Grammarly has both a free version and paid version. Though many writers find the free version to be quite effective, the paid version is one of the best available and costs $139.95 a year.

Read our Grammarly Review

Who It Is For

The functionality of Grammarly means it works for any type of writer, including academic writers, bloggers and business writers.

Pros
  • Offers an easy-to-use system that finds many errors and writing style problems
  • Has a robust grammar checking software that rivers professional editors
  • Gives an effective free version
  • Has a synonym suggestion feature with the paid version
  • Offered as a browser extension or web-based editor
Cons
  • Does not give reasons for grammar errors, which confuses some writers
  • Cannot replace a human editor
  • Will miss some errors or make incorrect suggestions occasionally
Best Grammar Checker
Grammarly
$30

Grammarly is a top spelling, grammar and plagiarism checker. It'll help you find and fix errors fast, and it works everywhere. The free trial is useful too.

Become a Writer Today is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

3. AutoCrit

Pricing: From free to $80 a month

Manuscript editing software
This app lets authors compare their works to other popular writers

AutoCrit will analyze a manuscript to help you find areas where you can improve. It will analyze features like dialog and the momentum and pace of the story. It also lets authors compare their works to other popular writers. 

This comparison helps writers find common writing style mistakes and redundancies in a writer’s work. For example, if a writer tends to start a sentence with the same word repeatedly, it will highlight that so the writer can fix it. It has a Free Forever plan, a Professional plan for $30 a month, and an Elite plan for $80 a month.

Who Is It For?

AutoCrit is designed entirely for fiction writers, as it compares written work and sentence structure to that of other well-known fiction writers. This includes writers of short stories and fiction books.

Pros
  • Helps writers avoid cliches and redundancies
  • Compares writing style to other fiction writers
  • Improves readability of fiction work
  • Fits tight budgets
  • Offers 14-day money-back guarantee on all paid plans
Cons
  • Has a weak passive voice checker highlights all helping verbs, including past participle
  • May flag active voice constructions as passive
  • Does not work with MS Word
  • Does not have a Firefox or Chrome extension
  • Requires writer to upload text into online dashboard

4. Hemingway App

Pricing: From free to $19.99 per month

Manuscript editing software
The Hemingway App scores your writing based on readability and helps you find areas that you can improve

The Hemingway App is a style checker. It scores your writing based on readability and helps you find areas that you can improve. The program highlights areas of your text that are hard to read or instances of passive voice, both of which hurt the overall readability.

Hemingway App is completely free to use if you use the browser-based version. Writers who want to use a desktop app need to purchase it, but it is just $19.99 for that option.

Who It Is For

Any writer who wants to improve their writing skills and create strong writing can benefit from Hemingway App.

Pros
  • Assists writers in tightening up their writing
  • Suggests passive voice changes or reducing the number of adverbs
  • Gives writers a free version online and affordable desktop app for offline use
  • Shows color-coded highlights that help writers spot potential problems
Cons
  • Does not offer a spell checker or grammar checker
  • Works as part of the proofreading process, but does not replace another grammar checker
  • Requires internet to use the free version

5. SmartEdit

Pricing: Ranges from $67 to $77 for a single license

Manuscript editing software
With this app, writers can reduce wordiness and create cleaner, easier-to-read fiction

SmartEdit helps writers edit their short stories and novels. It runs 20 checks on your content to highlight redundancies, misspelled words, over-use of adverbs, and misused words.

With SmartEdit, writers can reduce wordiness and create cleaner, easier-to-read fiction. This program costs $67 for a single license and $77 for SmartEdit for Word.

Who It Is For

SmartEdit is for fiction writers. It is designed specifically for short story writers and novelists

Pros
  • Designed specifically for novelists
  • Analyzes the entire document as a whole
  • Does not require the writer to break up the novel into small chunks
  • Works well with MS Word
Cons
  • Is not compatible with word processors other than MS Word
  • Does not have an add-on for WordPress or CHrome
  • Does not work with iOS, so mac users cannot use it
  • Lacks a free version

6. LivingWriter

Pricing: From $8 per month

Living Writer writing app
You can use the outlines successful authors have employed infamous stories and movies right in LivingWriter

LivingWriter is an intuitive manuscript editing app for authors and novelists. Its drag and drop feature allows reordering chapters and stories without copying and pasting.

You can use the outlines of successful authors who employed infamous stories and movies in LivingWriter. In addition to light mode, this writing software offers a dark mode, which is good for your eyes if you like to edit manuscripts at night.

The handy AutoSuggest feature recommends story elements based, for example, on the character name or location.

LivingWriter integrates with National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), a fiction book writing challenge that takes place every November.

Who It Is For

It's a good choice for novelists, storytellers and fiction writers who are comfortable writing online.

Read our Living Writer review

Living Writer
$8 per month

Living Writer contains time-saving templates for authors and novelists. iOS and Android apps available


We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
Pros
  • Contains story writing templates
  • Good for managing big manuscripts
  • Less complicated than Scrivener
  • Free trial available
Cons
  • No inline commenting or offline mode
  • $8 monthly subscription may put off new storytellers
Living Writer
$8 per month

Living Writer contains time-saving templates for authors and novelists. iOS and Android apps available


We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

7. Scrivener

Price: $45

Scrivener compile

Scrivener ($45) is a complete package for long-form writing, including manuscripts. It’s packed with tools that allow you to organize a book, take quick notes, and create glossaries for characters, locations and so on. Scrivener is available on Mac, Windows and iOS.

Beginners can easily start with manuscript templates a novel, screenplay, or essays. You can also use it for academic works. The biggest downside is that Scrivener has a learning curve. It also takes time to get full use out of all of its many tools.

Who It Is For

It's a good choice for anyone working on a long-form project or manuscript on Mac or Windows due to the price and feature-set.

Read our Scrivener review

Pros
  • Useful templates
  • Useful for screenwriting, books essays and more
Cons
  • Not great for online projects
  • Learning curve
  • No Markdown support

our Testing Criteria

We selected these manuscript editing software apps based on their ability to help writers edit a draft. We focused on ease of use, price, and useful features. Our choices are best suited to writers who work digitally.

In some cases, we reviewed the individual apps (e.g. ProWritingAid) extensively and we've provided links to these reviews. I've also written and published several books using some of these apps.

A Final Word on Manuscript Editing Software

Manuscript editing software will not replace a human editor, but it can be a valuable tool as you proofread a document. it can catch mistakes and redundancies that you overlooked in editing. Add one to your writing toolbox for strong writing.

Scrivener should cover most of your needs and is affordable. Living Writer is easier to use. And Grammarly or ProWritingAid are booth excellent complementary grammar checkers.

FAQs About Manuscript Editing Software

What is the best editing software for mac?

ProwritingAid has a Mac-compatible desktop app. As a robust editing option, it is one of the top choices for Mac users.

What is the best editing software for writers?

Grammarly and ProWritingAid are among the top editing software options for writers, but your choice will depend on the type of writing you do. 

Resources

Check out our guide to the:

The Best Writing Apps and Software

The Best Writing Apps for Android

The Best Writing Apps for iPad

The Best Grammar Checkers

The Best Note-taking Apps

The Best Writing Tools

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Author

  • Nicole Harms has been writing professionally since 2006. She specializes in education content and real estate writing but enjoys a wide gamut of topics. Her goal is to connect with the reader in an engaging, but informative way. Her work has been featured on USA Today, and she ghostwrites for many high-profile companies. As a former teacher, she is passionate about both research and grammar, giving her clients the quality they demand in today's online marketing world.

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