Do you want to write? Would you prefer not to have to spend large amounts of time on the manual tasks of editing and getting feedback? Lots of apps are available that help expedite the writing process. This makes it so much easier to get the creative juices flowing. Here are 12 software tools recommended for writers in 2020.
|App/Software||Windows (W) or macOS (M)||Price AUD||Use for writers|
|Google Docs||W, M||free||Collaboration, |
|Trello||W, M||free||Project |
|Hemmingway App||W, M||$19.99||Improve writing |
|Evernote||W, M||free for two devices||Collaboration, |
|Grammarly||W, M||$29.95/mth||Grammar and |
|Ginger Software||W, M||free||Translates |
well for non-
|Ulysses||M||$9.99/ mth||Draft, |
edit and compose.
|Scrivener||Primarily M||macOS $77, Windows $77, iOS $19.99.||Draft, compile, edit |
|Dragon Naturally Speaking||W||$489||Speech to text |
|Final Draft||M||$350||Screen writing.|
|IA Writer||M, W||$42||Writing.|
- Google Docs – 5 stars
This is a fantastic free collaborative tool. It is a synchronised file storage service. It has an app for Android and iOS devices. You get a generous free 15 GBs of storage on google drive. If you wish to purchase further storage it starts at $2.49 a month AUD. The Google Docs office suite means you can access word processing, spreadsheets, surveys and lots more. You can store items including images, notes and files. Files can be simultaneously edited by numerous people. You can see suggested edits and comments by each user and trace the history of edits. A basic voice typing feature can be activated by Ctrl+Shft+S and it can accommodate more than 50 languages. This is a powerful and cheap options for writers.
- Trello – 4 stars
Trello boasts that it helps teams work more collaboratively and get more done. It is a great free tool for project management. As any writing task is a project, it helps maintain momentum with deadlines and check-ins. You can nominate a member for a task, and it is colour coded for visual ease. You can use it for yourself to organise your manuscript or to work with others when editing and rewriting. There is a free version with 10 MB file attachment and 10 boards per team. More features and functionality are available with the business subscriptions. A free Android and iOS app is available. The latter supports the Apple watch.
- Evernote – 3 stars
Evernote is similar to having a notebook on your phone. Its free basic plan syncs across only two devices, which is limiting. It has a 60 MB monthly upload limit with a 25 MB maximum note size. You can save receipts, notes and articles, create to do lists and brainstorm ideas. It is a great tool for keeping ideas organised on the run. These are easily retrieved using its powerful search function.
- Hemmingway App – 4 stars
This app is excellent for content writers and assists in reducing the number of complex sentences used. It is colour coded and provides a readability score. This improves clarity and reduces verbosity. When the passive voice is used and adverbs are written, it highlights them and provides an optimal score. This assists in reducing use of these. This app provides simple feedback and is easy to use. It cost $19.99 AUD.
- Grammarly – 3 stars
Grammarly has free basic writing suggestions comparable to the free checker in Microsoft Word. The paid plans provide more thorough checks. These are expensive, costing $29.95 per month AUD, although you can often get subscription discounts. Grammarly is also compatible on Android and iOS through a mobile keyboard app. It provides clarity-focused sentence rewrites, tone adjustments, plagiarism detection, word choice, formality level, fluency and additional advanced suggestions. It has enhanced Google Docs supports.
- Ginger software – 2.5 stars
This software has a free spell and grammar check version which translates to 50 different languages, so it is great for English as a second language speakers. It also has a personal dictionary. The Microsoft Word checker is similarly powerful.
- Ulysses- 3 stars
Ulysses is a writing app for macOS and syncs to all devices. It has a lovely interface and provides filters to organise your manuscript. You cannot collaborate on this app and there are no templates provided. You can download a free trial and payment is a subscription fee of $9.99 per month or $81.99 per year AUD. This gives you access on all iOS devices.
- Scrivener- 3.5 stars
Many writers use Scrivener as it is the leading book writing software. It gives writers the tools they need to draft, edit and compose their manuscripts. It is initially confusing but helpful training tutorials are available through Lynda.com and YouTube. You can compose your text in any order and then compile it into a single document for export, self-publishing and printing. Scrivener one off payments are available for macOS and Windows for $77, and iOS for $19.99 AUD. There is also an educational discount for students and academics. You can install the desktop app on an unlimited number of computers. There is no Scrivener app available for Android users. You can download the trial, but it will stop working after 30 days of active use. Another advantage is you only pay once and then you own the software. The development of Scrivener has focussed on the macOS version, so this is more advanced.
- Vellum- 3 stars
This software is only made for macOS. You can pay to use MacinCloud to access this software. Vellum allows you to format your manuscript professionally. You can download a free trial and use it for as long as you wish but you will not be able to publish files until you purchase the software. To enable publishing, you can purchase the licence from within Vellum for around $278 AUD.
- Dragon Naturally Speaking Professional Individual v15 – 4 stars
This is a very accurate dictation-transcription and voice command tool. It utilises machine learning to recognise accents and speech patterns so improves over time. You can execute commands such as opening and closing software, posts to social media, dictation and editing. It can be loaded onto four computers and your user account gives you access to the app. It costs around $489 AUD for a one off payment. You can get a seven day free trial of Dragon Anywhere available on Android and iOS.
- Final Draft – 2.5 stars
If you are a screen writer, Final Draft is a great tool that supports collaboration. It has a library of templates across genres. There is a free 30-day trial, and it costs around $350 AUD for a one off payment. It has only been developed for iOS devices.
12. iA Writer – 4 stars
iA writer is a simple free writing app available for macOS, iOS, Windows and Android users. When writing, the line you are working on is highlighted and all other lines are blurred. This assists with focus. The app is minimalist, easy to use and works across platforms. Trial periods are limited to two weeks. The app will prompt you when the trial expires to purchase. It costs around $42 AUD to own outright.
Be sure to reach out and ask us for a quote if you need help with your proofreading.
Good luck and happy writing.