If you write professionally (or aspire to), you probably already know that the writing itself is only a part of the whole process.
To create a piece of writing that impacts your readers takes a lot of steps: research, outlines, drafts, edits, more drafts, proofreading, and getting feedback from editors.
If you have buckets of cash, you can hire a team of proofreaders and editors. But if you’re more like everyone else, you probably want to find cost-effective ways to better writing.
The good news is that software has come a long way in terms of helping writers. The web is full of free writing software (Libre Office writer, Google Docs, Zoho Writer), and it’s hard to know whether you should pay for something or not.
Today there are a lot of paid writing tools available and a wide variety of costs.
Our content marketing agency produces over 300+ articles/month, so we use these tools on a daily basis.
We’ve already covered the complete range of best free and paid writing tools here. However, some of those writing tools are exclusive to Mac, iOS (iPhone, iPad) or Android, so this review covers Windows writing software exclusively.
Let’s review the best five writing apps for Windows as reviewed by our team.
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No matter if you are writing for school, a business pitch, a script, or attempting the great American novel, Scrivener has you covered.
In fact, it’s the software that bestselling author Tim Ferris used to write several of his books.
The Scrivener desktop app offers a wide range of tools and templates, and although it costs a little more ($49 for a lifetime license after a 30-day trial), the value is clear.
The most important features of Scrivener include:
- premade writing templates
- an easy-to-use text editor
- in-depth organization tools for large writing projects
- a distraction-free writing aid
Let’s look at some of Scrivener’s features in a little more detail.
Preloaded writing templates
Writing templates can be a huge timesaver if you find yourself staring at the blank screen trying to get started.
Scrivener offers more than a dozen writing project templates for blog posts, novels, short stories, poetry, screenplays, and more. And they’re all available in the Windows version.
And of course, if you can’t find what you need, you can create your own templates and save them.
‘Snapshot’ Restore Feature
If you tend to rewrite different sections of your content, then the ‘Snapshot’ will be a huge help for you.
With Snapshot, you can save the latest version in a folder before you delete or modify it. Then it is easily accessible should you change your mind and want to revisit your past genius.
Using Snapshot, you can save as many versions as you want. You can reopen older versions and compare them side-by-side.
Drag and Drop Editor
Scrivener also offers three different ways to organize content:
- the Editor
Corkboard and Outliner help break down larger books or blog posts by headings and sub-headings. Similar to Evernote, it gives an excellent visual overview. It feels like having a whole bunch of post-it notes that you can drag, drop, and reorder the format as you please.
If you are the type of person who finds it hard to keep focus, you will love the distraction-free ‘Full-Screen Mode’ option. The desktop app offers a pretty simple yet effective tool that enlarges your while minimizing everything in the background.
You can even customize how much of your screen you want to cover and how blurry the background appears.
Lots of Export Options
Scrivener has, by far, the most export options of any Writing App for Windows. Through the app, you can upload directly to sources such as:
- Final Draft (for screenwriting)
- Google Docs
- Google Drive
- Microsoft OneDrive
- Microsoft OneNote
- Script Studio (for screenwriting)
A lot of writers will start a blog post by gathering their notes on Evernote. Afterward they transfer their drafted pieces to Google docs for proofreading or sending to WordPress. Scrivener makes all these steps easier with simple import and export options.
30 Days of Use Trial
The coolest part about the Scrivener software is that it offers 30 days of use trial of the full version. That means you can use it for 30 non-consecutive days. So if you use the program one day a week, it will last 30 weeks. Or if you use it every day, it will last 30 days.
If you decide to upgrade and purchase a license, the cost is $45 for a lifetime license or $38 for a student license. This one time cost makes it one of the most affordable text editors and grammar tools on the market.
ProWritingAid aims to up the ante when it comes to helping you become a better writer. Yes, it offers proofreading tools that fix simple mistakes.
Best of all, there is no download needed. ProWritingAid integrates into many different writing programs (Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Word, Google Chrome, and Google Docs, to name a few).
While the premium package offers some valuable formatting extras, the free version boasts features such as proofreading, grammar checking, and sentence structure. It’s probably the best Grammarly alternative out there on the market today.
Grammar, Spelling, and Plagiarism Checker
ProWritingAid checks for grammar and spelling mistakes, but it adds more dimensions to your writing projects by looking for:
- writing cliches
- repeated words
- passive voice
The Premium Plus version includes a plagiarism checker, which is a hugely valuable tool to ensure you haven’t accidentally copied someone else’s writing.
Readability & Style Index
ProWritingAid references the Flesh-Kincaid reading score for readability analysis:
It also offers a writing style index to weed out common writing problems such as passive voice or excessive adverbs:
Yes, there is a free version of ProWritingAid. However, you can only check 500 words at a time (which can get annoying fast), and it only offers 19 free reports.
The cost for ProWritingAid premium is $70 annually or a lifetime license fee of $240. They do offer a 14-day money-back guarantee in case you are worried you won’t like it.
If you want to add the Plagiarism feature, it is an additional cost. The Premium Plus plan starts at $80 a year and is $340 for a lifetime license.
If you are interested in writing stories, screenplays, or a novel, Autocrit is a worthwhile choice for a writing app for Windows users.
Not only will it help with writer’s blindspots like word choice and repetitive phrasing, but it will also give you instant feedback on the ‘quality’ of your writing.
Autocrit’s software will offer you an overall readability score based on several key factors.
That’s why AutoCrit goes to painstaking efforts to provide tailored suggestions and benchmarks based on the type of writing you’re doing. For example, the ‘acceptable threshold’ of adverbs might be different for general fiction vs. B2B, nonfiction stuff.
Autocrit’s distinct advantage is that it’s the only Writing App for Windows that analyzes your wording and flags pacing or momentum issues in your writing. Especially for stories, this can be a huge help.
Tidying Up Tools
The ‘Unnecessary Filler Words’ report inside AutoCrit should be an essential tool for every professional and aspiring writer. It will help you remove unnecessary words to make your writing much more concise.
AutoCrit does include a grammar checker, but it is not as useful as other tools such as Grammarly Premium. It’s advisable to use the tools together for the best effect.
You can think of Autocrit as a virtual writing coach. It provides real-time feedback and flags writing and formatting issues you can fix on the fly.
You can also improve your skills by learning from teachers or mentors like MasterClass offers.
Great for Fiction and Screenwriting
For fiction writers, it might be the best option available on the market outside of a human editor.
It can also help write screenplays, however, make sure to check out our review of the best screenwriting software to learn what else is out there.
In terms of cost, Autocrit does offer a ‘Free Forever’ version with limited functionality. There are no word limits, and it has unlimited online storage.
For the paid versions, there are two options:
- Professional, which costs $30/month
- Elite, which is more expensive at $80/month
Most of the more useful writing tools are only available as part of the Professional package, and Elite offers some considerable bonuses, such as tips and tricks from professional authors and editors.
4. Write! App
In some respects, Write! App is like a minimalist version of Scrivener. The user interface is spotless and simplified, which makes distraction-free writing its stronger selling point.
Distraction-Free Writing Tools
If getting off track while trying to write is an issue, the Write! desktop app helps you stay focused with two different options:
‘Full-Screen Mode’, which blocks everything except your document outline writing area.
‘Focus Mode’ that de-emphasizes everything on your screen except the sentence or paragraph you’re currently working on.
Best of all, you can combine both options.
Write! App also offers built-in cloud sync, giving you access to the same shared library from any device you use.
Plus, there are no limits on the number of files you can save. (However, cloud sync feature will cost you an additional $4.95/year).
One of the biggest downsides with several of the Writing Apps is no collaboration features. The ability to upload and share documents via a link is a big plus for the Write! App.
Another great feature of the Write! App is the ability to do spell checking in up to 35 different languages. This can be very handy for any bi-lingual writers or those who are translating text.
The cost of the Write! App is probably the most enticing feature.
At $24.95 for a full license, it’s an excellent option for students or writers on a budget. For an additional $4.95 a year, the latest versions of all your documents are saved to the cloud for easy access.
If you just need a simple writing app, which removes distractions, helps with formatting, and can spell check in over 35 languages, then the Write! App is a great option.
iA Writer is another simple writing app focused on minimizing distractions.
Thanks to its simplicity, iA Writer is one of the easiest Writing Apps for Windows available. It has a simple, clean user interface.
The only functionality of the app is actually writing, so distractions are minimal.
Their ‘Focus Mode’ allows you to just the current paragraph or sentence highlighted, and places everything else in the background.
iA Writer also offers a nifty Typewriter Mode’ which keeps the cursor on the same line and rolls the text up as you type, like an old-school typewriter.
iA Writer also has preloaded templates available to make the job of writing easier. Or, you can even create your own. This makes it a great free screenwriting software, or free blog writing tool.
iA Writer integrates perfectly with both Dropbox and iCloud. It also enables publishing to WordPress and Medium or as an HTML page.
However, if you don’t want to immediately publish the only two export options available (outside of WordPress or Dropbox) are PDF and DOCX. This limitation means there are no EPUB or Final Draft options.
iA Writer Pricing Plans
The iA Writer Windows license is reasonably priced at $19.99. They also offer a 14-day trial.
iA Writer is a good, simple writing app. It provides a basic text editor, and can also pull in spell checking features from Windows software.
If you’re looking for software that helps you take notes or for working on a blog post, it can be a great option.
Keep in mind that overall it’s a pretty limited writing app. You can’t really organize larger projects. It also lacks some key features and export options that don’t make it a well-rounded writing app like Scrivener or even the Write! App.
It might seem like using a simple word document with spell check and a grammar checker might be enough for you to get started writing. And that’s true.
You can even look at combining several free writing apps such as Google Docs and Grammarly to do a similar job.
But if you want to improve your grammar, formatting, readability, pacing, and whole slew of other writing skills, then consider a writing program to help. We’d recommend checking out Wordable to publish Google Docs to WordPress in 1-click, instead. It will not only clean and properly format your HTML, but also compress images, open links in a new tab, automatically set featured images or create a table of contents, and lots more.
All these Writing Apps for Windows will add depth, finesse, and impact on your writing. And best of all, they will save you time and money in the long run.