This list contains writing software that is both free and highly expensive. Pick the one that best suits you, your wallet, and your writing needs. Alongside each link (name of software) there is a list that shows you which system(s) the software (Windows, Mac, Linux) is compatible with. There is also a brief description.
*Disclaimer: This is a list of writing software I compiled for your benefit. If you would like to add this to your own website please link back to me.
*Disclaimer II: I do not own most of this software. This list is made using information from the creators’ websites including product descriptions.
Authors Planning and Writing Applications
Liquid Story Binder XE (System Requirements: Windows Cost: $45.95 USD) Liquid Story Binder XE is a uniquely designed word processor for professional and aspiring authors, poets, and novelists. Writing software for those who require the editing ability of a commercial text editor as well as a document tracking system. It is for those who want the freedom to create, outline and revise but are tired of losing track of their work
PageFour (System Requirements: Windows Cost: $39.00 USD) PageFour is a dedicated writing environment for creative writers. Where other word processors were built with the business user in mind, PageFour was designed to meet the needs of novelists and creative writers. It does not improve your prose or make you a better writer, only you can do that, but PageFour does make your job just that little bit easier.
Scrivener (System Requirements: Windows/Mac Cost: $40.00-$45.00 USD) Writing a novel, research paper, script or any long-form text involves more than hammering away at the keys until you’re done. Collecting research, ordering fragmented ideas, shuffling index cards in search of that elusive structure—most writing software is fired up only after much of the hard work is over. Enter Scrivener: a word processor and project management tool that stays with you from that first, unformed idea all the way through to the final draft. Outline and structure your ideas, take notes, view research alongside your writing and compose the constituent pieces of your text in isolation or in context. Scrivener won’t tell you how to write—it just makes all the tools you have scattered around your desk available in one application.
yWriter (System Requirements: Windows, Mac, Linux Cost: FREE) yWriter is a word processor which breaks your novel into chapters and scenes, helping you keep track of your work while leaving your mind free to create. It will not write your novel for you, suggest plot ideas or perform creative tasks of any kind. yWriter was designed by an author, not a salesman!
If you’re just embarking on your first novel a program like yWriter may seem like overkill. I mean, all you have to do is type everything into a word processor! Sure, but wait until you hit 20,000 words, with missing scenes and chapters, notes all over your desk, characters and locations and plot points you’ve just added and which need to be referenced earlier … it becomes a real struggle. Now imagine that same novel at 40,000 or 80,000 words! No wonder most first-time writers give up.
(Although yWriter was designed for novels, enterprising users have created their own translation files to customise the program to work with plays, non-fiction and even sermons.)
Tomboy Notes (System Requirement: Windows, Mac, Linux Cost: FREE) The key to Tomboy’s usefulness lies in the ability to relate notes and ideas together. Using a WikiWiki-like linking system, organizing ideas is as simple as typing a name. Branching an idea off is easy as pressing the Link button. And links between your ideas won’t break, even when renaming and reorganizing them.
WriteWay (System Requirements: Windows Cost: $35 USD) You’re serious about writing a novel. Now, get the tools you need to take your story ideas from initial concept and characters through completed manuscript — all in one powerful, easy-to-use product!
Dark Room (System Requirements: Windows Cost: FREE) Dark Room is a full screen, distraction free, writing environment. Unlike standard word processors that focus on features, Dark Room is just about you and your text. Basically, Dark Room is a clone of the original WriteRoom that is an OS X (tiger) exclusive application. It is a child of necessity, as there were no viable alternatives in Windows to produce the same behavior. Sure, you can kind of emulate the behavior by jumping through a bunch of hoops in Word/Writer, but it isn’t the same. Also, you can do something similar in emacs, but who wants to learn a bunch of obscure keyboard shortcuts? The goal of the project is to capture the essence of WriteRoom, while keeping it simple and just as free.
FocusWriter (System Requirements: Windows, Mac, Linux Cost: FREE) FocusWriter is a simple, distraction-free writing environment. It utilizes a hide-away interface that you access by moving your mouse to the edges of the screen, allowing the program to have a familiar look and feel to it while still getting out of the way so that you can immerse yourself in your work.
MomentumWriter (System Requirements: Windows Cost: FREE) Momentum Writer is the ultimate tool for distraction-free writing. Like a mechanical typewriter, users are prevented from editing previously written text. There are no specific formatting options, no scrolling, deleting, or revisions. Momentum Writer doesn’t even allow you to use the backspace key. Momentum Writer forces you to write, to move forward, to add new words. It halts the temptation to linger, revise, and correct.
OmmWriter (System Requirements: Windows, Mac Cost: FREE) OmmWriter is your own private writing room where you can close the door behind you to focus on your writing in peace. Everywhere you go, you have access to a beautiful distraction-free writing environment where your authentic voice is free to go where it is meant to go. OmmWriter is here to serve you. Re-connect with your old friends Concentration and Creativity, and discover the bliss of single-tasking.
Q10 (System Requirements: Windows Cost: FREE) Q10 is a simple but powerful text editor designed and built with writers in mind. Q10 is freeware. That’s right, you can download and use it at no cost. Q10 is small, fast and keeps out of your way. Press F1 inside Q10 to read the help card. Q10 will clean your kitchen, walk your dog and make excellent coffee. Well, not really. But it’s really good as a full-screen text editor.
WriteMonkey (System Requirements: Windows Cost: FREE) Writemonkey is a Windows zenware* writing application with an extremely stripped down user interface, leaving you alone with your thoughts and your words. It is light, fast and free. With an array of innovative tools under the hood and full Markdown* support, it helps you write better.
WriteRoom (System Requirements: Mac Cost: FREE OR $24.99 USD For Full Version) WriteRoom won’t do page layout or insert tables and graphs. WriteRoom’s focus is just to help you get words on the page. Stay focused with WriteRoom’s distraction free environment. Stay on track with word count. Stay safe with autosave.
Notepad (System Requriements: Windows Cost: FREE) Do you ever wish for a simpler time when the a text editor was just a text editor – well travel back to those fantastic times, now in a amazing new UI, with Notepad Classic. Notepad Classic supports everything that Notepad does: Find, Replace, etc… Notepad Classic has THE BEST support the touch keyboard. If you ever want to write on the go? There is no better way than with Notepad Classic.
Notepad++ (System Requirements: Windows Will Run Via Wine Cost: FREE) Notepad++ is a free (as in “free speech” and also as in “free beer”) source code editor and Notepad replacement that supports several languages. Running in the MS Windows environment, its use is governed by GPL License.
Based on the powerful editing component Scintilla, Notepad++ is written in C++ and uses pure Win32 API and STL which ensures a higher execution speed and smaller program size. By optimizing as many routines as possible without losing user friendliness, Notepad++ is trying to reduce the world carbon dioxide emissions. When using less CPU power, the PC can throttle down and reduce power consumption, resulting in a greener environment.
Kate (System Requirements: Cross platform Cost: FREE) Kate is a multi-document editor part of KDE since release 2.2. Being a KDE application, Kate ships with network transparency, as well as integration with the outstanding features of KDE. Choose it for viewing HTML sources from konqueror, editing configuration files, writing new applications or any other text editing task. You still need just one running instance of Kate. With a multi-view editor like Kate you get a lot of advantages. You can view several instances of the same document and all instances are synchronized. Or you can view more files at the same time for easy reference or simultaneous editing.
Vim (System Requirements: Cross-platform Cost: FREE) Vim is a highly configurable text editor built to enable efficient text editing. It is an improved version of the vi editor distributed with most UNIX systems. Vim is often called a “programmer’s editor,” and so useful for programming that many consider it an entire IDE. It’s not just for programmers, though. Vim is perfect for all kinds of text editing, from composing email to editing configuration files. Despite what the above comic suggests, Vim can be configured to work in a very simple (Notepad-like) way, called evim or Easy Vim.
Abiword (System Requirements: Windows, Mac Cost: FREE) AbiWord is unique among word processors in its drive to become a fully cross-platform word processor. Our source code is carefully written so that AbiWord will run on virtually any operating system with a minimum of time spent on porting. This combined with our support for internationalization (the ability to run AbiWord in many languages) gives AbiWord a massive potential user-base.
Currently we run on most UNIX systems, Windows 95 and later, QNX Neutrino 6.2. We also have a MacOS X native port available. There used to be a BeOS port, but that version has been unmaintained for too long and support for it has been discontinued.
OpenOffice (System Requirements: Windows, Mac, Linux Cost: FREE) Apache OpenOffice features six personal productivity applications: a word processor (and its web-authoring component), spreadsheet, presentation graphics, drawing, equation editor, and database. OpenOffice is released on Windows, Solaris, Linux and Macintosh operation systems, with more communities joining, including a mature FreeBSD port. OpenOffice is localized, supporting over 110 languages worldwide.
OpenOffice.org was donated to the Apache Software Foundation (ASF) on June 1, 2011. As with any code base brought to to the ASF, OpenOffice.org underwent incubation before graduating to a top-level project on 2012-10-17.
A lot of good information can be found on the Apache OpenOffice user portal, including a brief history of OpenOffice.org.
LibreOffice (System Requirements: Windows, Mac, Linux Cost: FREE) LibreOffice is a powerful office suite; its clean interface and powerful tools let you unleash your creativity and grow your productivity. LibreOffice embeds several applications that make it the most powerful Free & Open Source Office suite on the market: Writer, the word processor, Calc, the spreadsheet application, Impress, the presentation engine, Draw, our drawing and flowcharting application, Base, our database and database frontend, and Math for editing mathematics.
Microsoft Office 365 (System Requirements: Windows Cost: $99 USD) No description available.
There is currently no notable software for mindmapping on the market at this time. Please check back later. If you have mindmapping software you recommend please comment below with a link to the software.
Write or Die (System Requirements: Windows, Mac, Linux Cost: FREE OR $10 USD For Downloadable Version) Write or Die is an application for Windows, Mac and Linux which aims to eliminate writer’s block by providing consequences for procrastination and, new to this version, rewards for accomplishment. Historically Write or Die has specialized in being the stick in the carrot/stick motivation continuum, but it’s time to experiment with encouragement.
Please play with the user interface, check out what new options are available, then read this quick intro. I hope you enjoy the new features.
Written? Kitten (System Requirements: Windows, Mac, Linux Cost: FREE) We like positive reinforcement, so we decided to make something a bit like writeordie but cuter and fuzzier. Images are randomly selected from Flickr’s “most interesting” photos tagged with the search term of your choice. You can specify your own search term by editing the URL in your browser’s location bar like this. Written? Kitten! is open source and we’re happy to accept improvements, bugfixes, or suggestions. If you appreciate our work, please support the developers via Gittip.
EditMinion (System Requirements: Windows, Mac, Linux Cost: FREE) EditMinion is a robotic copy editor to help you refine your writing by finding common mistakes. To get started, paste a chapter of writing into the box above and click Edit! Don’t paste too much or the script will stop responding. This is still very much in Beta and I’ll be adding features as I come up with them.
Google Docs (System Requirements: Windows, Mac, Linux Cost: FREE) Google Docs brings your documents to life with smart editing and styling tools to help you easily format text and paragraphs. Choose from thousands of fonts, add links, images, drawings, and tables. All for free.
Yarny (System Requirements: Windows, Mac, Linux Cost: FREE OR $4.00 USD Monthly For Premium Membership) Write the way you want to write, using any approach you like, in a simple, distraction-free environment. Keep your writing private, or share it with others.