Free Software for Writers

Feb 22, 2010Updated 1 month ago

Free Software for Writers
Dozens of software applications are available and marketed to writers, yet many of these programs can be both expensive and difficult to use. While standard word processors serve the needs of many writers, some writers require more adaptable and agile solutions. For writers unwilling or unable to spend hundreds of dollars to invest in the multitude of purchasable programs, there is a plethora of free, user-friendly programs available for download.


Q10 is a free, highly customizable, full screen word processor. This program includes live stats, word count, auto-correction, auto-save, timer alarm for timed writing sessions, and optional typewriter sound effects. For writers who are easily distracted or crave a simple, effective word processor with no frills, Q10 is extremely simple to use. All documents are saved in .txt format and Q10 runs on Windows and is available for PortableApps.


yWriter is a word processor alternative that allows users to organize their projects in a completely new way. Users are able to write chapters or sections, and arrange them as a project. Storyboard view is available and scenes maybe re-ordered or added with a drag-and-drop feature. Chapters are automatically renumbered, auto-save and full screen are available, and project progress is automatically tracked. All work is saved as an .rtf file and yWriter runs on Windows.


According to Celtx’s website, “Celtx is the world's first all-in-one media pre-production system.” Not a simple word processor, Celtx is a multi-media tool recognizing that not all writers write novels. Celtx allows users to write scripts, storyboard scenes, document characters, and is simply unbeatable screenwriting software. For those looking for a diverse and easy to use tool, Celtx is the best. Celtx is


OpenOffice is an open source alternative to Microsoft Office. This suite of programs is completely compatible with MS Office and offers a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation software and more. OpenOffice is free and the entire suite installs with one download. Extensions are available for OpenOffice and those interested may order a CD-ROM through their local distributor, though OpenOffice does not distribute copies to individuals. OpenOffice runs on Windows.

Textblock Writer

Textblock writer is a free virtual index card writer that runs on Windows and the .NET framework. This software is intended as an electronic solution to using paper index cards for writers who are environmentally conscious or are looking for a way to get more organized. Index cards created with Textblock writer can be exported to .rtf documents and opened with word processors such as Word and OpenOffice Writer.


Sonar is a submission tracking software from the designers of yWriter that allows users to track multiple submission in color-coded fields. The program includes fields for the title, work type, market, and whether the work has been sold or rejected. This software is an excellent, user-friendly option to tracking submission with index cards, spreadsheets, and word processors.


FreeMind is a free, downloadable mind mapping software. FreeMind allows users to build complex, color coded, mind maps for brainstorming. Unlike many mind mapping software’s, this program is downloadable and user friendly. FreeMind features drag-and-drop functionality, an undo feature, html compatible nodes, smart copying, and the find feature for quick access to ideas. FreeMind runs on Windows and easy to understand documentation and support is available. is free mind mapping software available on the internet. Like FreeMind, is a simple, color coded mind-mapping interface. Unlike FreeMind, is available online only and so is idea for users who would like the mind mapping service without having to sacrifice hard drive space. is available to Windows, Mac, and Linux users as an online utility and users must sign up for a free account to use’s services.


DropBox is an online file storage solution offering 2 GB free space. Users download DropBox onto their computers and registers for an account online. When the boxes are set-up, files dragged into the box are updated on all connected systems. DropBox is ideal for back up and as a way to work effectively from multiple computers. Files placed in the DropBox are available online and DropBox accounts may be shared and connected for collaborative work.

CutePDF Writer

This program allows users to save word-processed documents as .pdf files. While other PDF writers are expensive or difficult to use, CutePDF is simple, lightweight, and appears as a print format. To save files as .pdf, users select Print and choose CutePDF Writer from the list of available printers and then save the file to the appropriate folder. It is as simple as that! There is simply no easier program available.

While free software continues to be made available to writers, not all free software is created equal. Research the product before you download to ensure that what you are installing on your system is safe, effective, and offers all of the features you expect or require from your writing software.


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