21 of Best Writing Apps and Software for 2021

This regularly updated list features the best writing apps and software for authors, bloggers and freelancers.

I use many of these writing apps regularly. Others, come recommended by writers and authors. Everything here will help you become a better, smarter and more productive writer provided you put writing first.

Remember, while today's writing software is useful and powerful, don't let a shiny app distract you. That means spending time in the chair and writing your articles, books or stories!

When you're done, you can tinker with the best writing apps as a reward.

Apps We Recommend

ProductAvailabilityUse ForFree Trial Learn More



Grammarly
Browser, web and desktop appsGrammar checking, self-editing, plagiarism reportsYesLearn More
Prowritingaid logo


ProWritingAid
Desktop appGrammar checking, self-editing, plagiarism reportsYesLearn More
Scrivener



Scrivener
Desktop & iOS appLong form writing projects$45Learn More


Living Writer
Web and mobileStory outlines, novels14-daysLearn More

1. Grammarly

Use for: Checking your work for grammar mistakes

Best Writing Apps
Grammarly graphical user interface

I use this application to check my blog posts and book chapters for typos and spelling mistakes. The premium version of Grammarly has powerful features that also help you to improve your writing skills.

It provides several editing recommendations such as avoiding passive voice, using shorter sentences,  alternative word suggestions for using a broader vocabulary, and so on.  Many of these features are also invaluable when you need to trim your word count.

You can find out why I like this premium grammar checker in my 2021 Grammarly review.

It costs $29.99 per month.

2. LivingWriter

Use for: planning and writing stories

LivingWriter is a new writing app for writing stories or a book. Rather than using a word processor, Living Writer is accessible via your web browser. It helps writers arrange their plots and stories using boards much like Scrivener. Living Writer contains a series of outline templates for popular story structures like the Hero's Journey.

It's a great choice for short stories and novels. LivingWriting now includes apps for Android and iOS and a new offline desktop mode. You can take out a 14-day free trial without using a credit card.

Best Writing Apps
ProWritingAid real-time report

ProWritingAid is another proofreading and grammar checker writing app that will help you improve your writing and refine the art of self-editing.

It works similarly to Grammarly, but it's more affordable. If you're unsure about this writing software and how it compares to the apps above, I recently published a detailed review and video comparison.

It costs $50 for one year.

4. Scrivener

 

Use for: Writing books and longer-form works

Best Writing Apps
Scrivener is not your typical word-processor

I can’t recommend Scrivener enough as a writing app for longer-form works.

I use this book writing software to write feature articles for newspapers, long-form content, reports, books and more. In the past, I used Scrivener for blogging. These days, I use it mostly for long-form writing.

Scrivener goes far beyond a regular word processor such as Microsoft Word.

Scrivener makes it easier for writers as well as students to organise their ideas and manage more complicated writing projects, using both the desktop and mobile writing app. It's also available on iPad.

Scrivener also has plenty of keyboard shortcuts to speed up the writing process.

It costs $45.

5. Dragon Anywhere

Use for: Dictation

Dragon Anywhere

I use dictation writing software to write 1,000s of words per hour when up against a deadline, something I just couldn’t pull off with a word processor.

Dictation is not like typing, but it's a skill worth learning.

For exploring this writing app to write faster and converting speech to text, check out my guide to how I use the writing app Dragon Naturally Speaking.

If you're on a budget, you can try dictation by using the inbuilt software in Windows or Mac for your work.

It costs $300

6. Write! Pro

 

Use for: Writing and Note-taking

 

Best Writing Apps
Scrivener is not your typical word-processor

Write! Pro bills itself as a digital workspace for writing and note-taking.

It works on Mac, Windows or Linux as an app on your computer. Write! Pro backups up your work to the cloud for safety and anywhere access.

It's a distraction-free writing app much like Byword or IA Writer and comes with a focus mode and white and dark themes. However, Write! Pro includes more fonts and editing features than those apps.

For example, the app enables writers to set daily goals around word-count and arrange both short and long-form writing using a file and folder structure as well as tabs, kind of like Scrivener.

Writers can also share their work with readers and editors from inside of the app. It also supports Markdown.

It costs $21.49.

7. Rev

 

Use for: Transcriptions and dictation

 

Best Writing Apps: Rev
Try Rev for more accuracy, at a higher cost

Rev is another useful dictation app for writers.

Using the iPhone or Android app, you can dictate a draft into your phone and then upload to Rev for transcription by a human at $1 a minute.

Alternatively, if you interview someone for writing better non-fiction articles, you can save time by transcribing these interviews. It's more accurate than using a dictaphone but at a cost.

It costs $1.25 per minute of transcribed audio.

8. Vellum

 

Use for: Preparing a book to self-publish

 

Best Writing Apps: Vellum
I self-publish my books with Vellum

I… love Vellum.

One of the trickiest parts of self-publishing is creating a book that looks good. Or at least it was.

With Vellum, you can create beautiful looking e-books and print books in minutes. I prepare all my books for self-publishing with Vellum, and it's a delight to use.

It costs USD199 to created unlimited ebooks.

9. Ginger Software

 

Use for:  Checking your work for grammar mistakes

 

Best Writing Apps: Ginger Software
Ginger grammar checker

Ginger software is an affordable alternative to Grammarly.

I recommend the Ginger software writers who don’t consider English their primary language. It enables you to translate documents written in Spanish, French, German and more into English and check for grammar errors.

10. IA Writer

 

Use for: Writing articles and blog posts

 

Best Writing Apps: IA Writer
An elegant, easy-to-use word processor

IA Writer is my favourite distraction-free writing app for short blog posts and articles. While Scrivener is great for managing large writing projects, this writing app is perfect for smaller ones.

This writing app for iPad, iPhone and Mac helps writers overcome distractions through a feature called the Focus Mode.

The writing app also has a full-screen mode that highlights the line you are currently typing and fades out everything else on the document.

This is one of the most ingenious features I have come across for focusing your mind on the current point, which is rather useful especially in creative writing projects.

I use IA Writer on my laptop, desktop and mobile. It's an elegant, easy-to-use word processor and it syncs my writing across all of my devices.

Other minimalist writing app alternatives include Byword and WriteRoom.

11. A Plain Text Editor

 

Use for: Writing whatever, wherever

 

Best Writing Apps: Plain Text Editor
Budget friendly writing software

That's right, if you're a writer on a budget, you don't need to spend any money buying expensive writing software or apps.

Instead, you can use the text editor that comes free with your operating system.

Just open up Notepad on Windows or TextEdit on a Mac. I like plain text editors for writing something short quickly and easily, without thinking much about it.

12. Dynalist

Use for: Outlines

 

Best Writing Apps: Dynalist
My Dynalist dashboard

I use Dynalist to create bullet-point outlines of articles and book chapters before I dictate them.

It's the fastest outlining app I've tried apart from mind-mapping software.

It also enables sharing and collaboration, which is useful if you want to commission an article and give it to another writer to create.

If you're the type of writer who likes to outline their work in advance, this app is useful. It also supports Markdown and can be used as a to-do list tool.

It costs $7.99 per month, but the free version is probably good enough for most writers.

13. Ulysses

Use for: Writing articles and blog posts

 

Best Writing Apps: Ulysses
Ulysses is a more feature-rich alternative writing app to IA Writer or even Write! Pro.

For instance, it has features such as Markup-Based Text Editor, keyboard shortcuts so that writers can be faster, a library to organise notes and documents, set writing goals, publish directly to WordPress and Medium, and so on.

It includes mobile and tablet writing apps. Arguably, it's not quite as distraction-free as IA Writer, but it helps you organise both small writing projects (like a blog post) and large ones (like a book).

14. Final Draft

 

Use for: Screen-writing

 

Best Writing Apps: Final Draft
Powerful writing software for screenwriters

Final Draft is the default app of choice for screenwriters.

I've experimented with Final Draft and it strikes me as an example of powerful writing software with a bigger learning curve than your typical word processor.

Although I don't write screenplays I was in a creative writing group a few years ago, and a few screenwriters in it used this app.

15. Day One

 

Use for: Journal writing

 

Best Writing Apps: Day One
A snapshot of how I use the Day One writing app

I'm a big believer in the power of journal writing for finding new ideas and conquering issues like writer's block.

I use the writing app Day One every morning to write a short entry about what I'm struggling with and areas to focus on.

It syncs across all of my devices and supports pictures and markdown too.

16. Evernote

 

Use for: Writing articles and blog posts

 

Best Writing Apps: Evernote
I use Evernote for writing outlines

I use Evernote to record ideas for blog posts and book chapters during the day.

Jotting down n notes immediately when ideas come to you is a fantastic way of capturing random moments of inspiration as well as overcoming writer’s block. So this is certainly a  note-taking app worth exploring.

I also save articles and writing prompts I like into Evernote as part of my personal swipe file using the mobile app.

This writing app also has several other features worth exploring such as dictation mode which will easily allow you to transcribe your voice notes as text, integrations, team collaboration and more.

You can read about how I take charge of Evernote in this guide. Bear is a popular alternative to Evernote.

17. Hemingway App

 

Use for: Self-editing

 

Best Writing Apps: Hemingway App
An app that will improve your writing and self-editing skills. 

“If I started to write elaborately, or like someone introducing or presenting something, I found that I could cut that scrollwork or ornament out and throw it away and start with the first true simple declarative sentence I had written.”

Ernest Hemingway

That's easier said than done.

So they created a writing app with him in mind!

The good news is writers can use Hemingway Editor to improve their writing and self-editing skills. Paste your text into the application and it will provide suggestions for removing unnecessary words here and there such as adverbs or tautology.

It also suggests reframing specific sentences from passive voice to active voice and much more. Hemingway is useful when you wish to reduce your word count without leaving out any essential points from your article.

It's also free.

18. Ayo

 

Use for: Outlining your non-fiction articles and chapters

 

Best Writing Apps: Ayoa
A mindmap

I use Ayoa to create mind maps for articles and book chapters. This writing app enables me to finish articles faster.

I recommend outlining as a way of working for non-fiction writers who want to increase their daily word-count.

This approach works particularly well if you then dictate your mindmaps as articles.

iMindMap is the most advanced mind mapping app available today but cheap alternatives include MindNode and MindMeister.

19. Blurt

 

Use for: Non-fiction, creating a daily writing habit

 

Best Writing Apps: Blurt
This app has a clean and distraction-free interface

Blurt is an interesting new app with the aim of helping writers work a little every day.

It's useful for writing journal entries, blog posts, a newsletter, a book and an essay via a web-browser.

Once logged in, pick a project type and then set a target word-count for a writing project as well as the days you'll work on it.

The clean and distraction-free interface is a little Medium, assuming you don't find writing in a browser distracting. It also enables you to prevent self-editing while writing the first draft by blurring out previous sentences.

Once a project is complete, you can share writings directly from Blurt to Medium, copy them from Blurt or export as Markdown.

If you're interested in Blurt, you can take out a free 14-day trial before paying USD4.99 a month.

20. Airstory

 

Use for: Non-fiction, research, newsletters, curated content

 

Best Writing Apps: Airstory
The Airstory clipper in action

I purchased Airstory as part of an AppSumo detail a year ago. It's changed a bit since then.

Today, Airstory offers a free web-clipper for Chrome or Firefox.

When you come across an interesting piece of research, clip it into your Airstory library and tag it.

Later, when writing a newsletter or article in Google Docs, drag that clipping with a citation into your document. It's a little like Evernote although faster and streamlined.

Airstory is a useful app for non-fiction writers who like to capture and cite reading materials online. It's also a good writing app if you curate content for a newsletter.

21. The Novel Factory

Use for: Fiction, learning how to write

 

Best Writing Apps: The Novel Factory
Offers a step-by-step tutorial to writing your first novel

The Novel Factory is writing software for fiction writers.

It works on the web and via a desktop app for Windows. You can try it for free before a once-payment of £24.99.

It offers a step-by-step tutorial to writing your first novel taking you through scene, character, themes and so on.

I don't write fiction much these days so I haven't tested The Novel Factory extensively. It reminded me a little of the Scrivener fiction template.

A Final Word On The Best Writing Apps

There are thousands of writing apps, some of which are free, some of which are expensive, and all of which look promising.

I’ve spent a lot of time testing and using these writing apps and blogging apps. I dumped the apps that added no value to this site, and I paid for ones that helped me grow an audience and write better articles and stories.

As you can see there are many blogging and writing apps, and each will solve specific problems for you, but your craft should always come first.

Pick an app from this list if it solves a problem for you and then get back to what counts. Filling the blank page and building lasting relationships with your readers.

Why You Can Trust Us

I’ve written and published dozens of articles for newspapers, magazines and online publications including, Forbes and Lifehacker. I'm also a best-selling non-fiction author, a trained journalist and a copywriter. I regularly use and test the latest writing apps for my work. I also ask other freelance writers to share their impressions about these apps. 

Our Testing Criteria

I update this roundup regularly to bear in mind new features for each of the writing apps listed. I write articles and book chapters in them. I also bear in mind the ideal audience for each app, the cost and ease of use.

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