Imagine being a writer back in the old days when the only tools available were pen and paper… Maybe a typewriter, if you could actually afford one.
In those days, doing research meant visiting a local library and checking out books, newspapers, and magazines related to your subject matter.
Sounds like a great deal of work, right?
Fast forward to the present, modern day technology has definitely made life easier for writers across the world. We’re now writing with computers, laptops - and even just mobile phones. On top of that, we are so privileged to just get online and ask Google any question in the world, having quick access to massive amounts of information quite literally, at our fingertips.
Then there are apps - made by writers for writers to resolve any challenge you may encounter as a writer. In this article, we share 50 of the top tech tools that professional writers use - hopefully this list will come in handy to you!
The ultimate go-to word processing software for many, Microsoft Word is available for Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS users.
Word has always been the most basic software for creating, editing, and sharing documents with others. Whether you are writing a short article or a long-form fictional novel, this tool could be more than useful. Check out the official Microsoft website to see how you can access the free trial or the paid version.
Libre Office is basically MS Word’s free counterpart. If you don’t want to pay any money for a word processor, this is a good option to consider. The software’s “clean interface and feature-rich tools help you unleash your creativity and enhance your productivity”.
Libre Office is free to download on Windows, Linux, and macOS.
Google Docs, on the other hand, is another free word processor that you can access directly from your web browser so you don’t have to download any software anymore. All you need is a Google account!
Plus sharing files is also extremely easy. If needed, several people can even work on the same document at the same time.
Go to Google Workspace for more details.
Compared with Google Docs, Draft gives you greater control over your documents. When collaborators make changes, you have the option whether to accept or reject the changes made on your master copy. Their changes will only appear on their own version.
Draft also has a user-friendly interface that makes it a delight to use for writers.
For Mac users, Mellel is described by its creators as a “powerful, flexible, and reliable” word processor. Book and academic paper writers will enjoy the fact that Mellel has features that allow them to add bibliography and index easier.
You can download a free 30-day trial straight from the Mellel website.
Ulysses can be the perfect tool for those who want to minimize distractions while writing. According to their website, this app “encourages immersion with the text” which effectively helps boost a writer’s productivity.
Ulysses is available for those using Macs, iPads, and iPhones. There is a free trial if you want to test it out before subscribing to the premium version.
Academics, book authors, journalists, novelists, and other writers love using Scrivener. In a PC Mag review, we read that the program “gives you what you need to research, compose, reorganize, and edit your writing.”
For example, the corkboard allows you to move your “index cards” so you can get a visual representation of your ideas while working while simultaneously rearranging your manuscripts.
Scrivener’s free trial is available to download for both macOS and Windows users. Those who want to use it permanently can instead go with a premium plan.
Writers struggling with distractions may want to give Write Monkey a shot. This program has become a favorite to many because of its “extremely stripped-down user interface” which means writers get to focus on typing words.
The classic minimalist appearance also makes this an attractive pick, especially for those who aren’t fond of using flashy writing tools.
Write Monkey is a freemium software, meaning anyone can download and use it for free. But those who want access to the plugins should first become a donor by donating any amount.
For a more focused writing experience, iA Writer’s clean interface effectively eliminates all the distractions for you. You’ll see no rules, formatting bars, and others. Another good function is the Syntax Control which scans your material in several languages.
Go to the iA Writer site for its features and pricing details.
Project management tools can be extremely helpful if you’re handling multiple projects on a regular basis. Todoist allows you to stay on top of things with its organization features. You’ll be able to see your progress on each writing task and even assign tasks with your collaborators.
A free version is available but with certain limitations. To unlock more features, you can check out the Todoist Pro or Business plan.
Known as one of the top collaboration tools in the market, Trello is a drag-and-drop style software that allows you to stay organized while working on different projects.
Using Trello boards, you can add cards with checklists and due dates. You may also automate repetitive tasks so you don’t have to create new cards every single time.
Go sign up with the Trello website if you want to try it for free. If you like what you see, you may subscribe to the Business Class or Enterprise versions.
Some consider Asana as the more straightforward version of Trello. The user-friendly interface allows you to manage and organize your tasks without getting overwhelmed. You see updates quicker and know which writing duties or team projects need your immediate attention.
Asana has a free version for individuals and groups but for bigger teams and companies, the Premium and Business versions are recommended.
For the most part, this online calculator has been created for novel writers participating in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) challenge. With this tool, you can set your own start and end dates, specifying how many words you want your book to have.
As you can probably tell, the calculator tells you how many words you will need to write per day to meet your goal. The program also lets you know whether you’re on track or are trailing behind.
Simply put, the NaNoWriMo Calculator is definitely a must-use for writers who want an easy way to track their progress.
A free-to-use online timer, Marinara Timer allows you to choose from a traditional Pomodoro Timer, a Custom Timer, or a KItchen Timer.
These tools can be effective in helping you focus on your writing tasks. Case in point, the Pomodoro timer gives you 25 minutes of working time and then a -minute or 15-minute break afterwards.
Marinara Timer is a neat and uncomplicated tool but unfortunately, it doesn’t provide users with reports nor does it integrate with other programs.
Also a Pomodoro timer, the Tomato Timer makes it possible for you to enable desktop alerts on Chrome, Firefox, or Safari. You may also change the audio tone and customize times on Settings.
Tomato Timer helps you focus on writing and reminds you to take a much-needed break.
Perhaps no other software eliminates writing distractions than this one. As you can read on their website, Cold Turkey blocks you from accessing websites, games, and apps so you can stay focused on writing.
Another good thing about Cold Turkey is you only have to pay a one-time purchase instead of monthly subscription fees. You also get free access to any future updates.
Also a popular website blocker, Freedom puts you in control of common distractions such as online shopping, social media, and video games, among others. The software can even ”sync blocks across all of your devices” to make sure you’re distraction-free once you sit down and start typing.
Freedom is available for Mac, Windows, Android, iOS, and Chrome users.
This Chrome extension is an excellent productivity booster by limiting the time you can spend on certain websites. As the description says, “once your allotted time has been used up, the sites you have blocked will be inaccessible for the rest of the day.”
You’ll be surprised with how much work you can get done as you use StayFocusd.
Can’t work in silence? Or want to get rid of annoying noise from your neighbors? This may be the right tool for you. Noisli gives you background sounds (such as rain, forest, coffee shop, seaside, etc) that make it possible for you to work and be in the mood at the same time.
On top of that, the program’s Text Editor is a total joy to use because of its minimalist design. The Word Counter also lets you see how many words and characters you’ve already written so far.
Noisli’s basic version is free to use but you will need to upgrade for a Pro or Business plan to unlock more features.
The most commonly used grammar checker today, Grammarly does everything from spotting grammar and spelling errors, to detecting plagiarism, to giving style and clarity improvement suggestions.
No wonder, Grammarly has become the go-to editing software of choice for many writers. The free version offers basic tools while the premium version grants you access to advanced features.
The Hemingway app has an interesting feature - it automatically gives the readability score of your writing. The interface is also user-friendly and distraction-free, making it easier to focus in writing.
Hemingway’s online version is free but you’ll have to pay for the desktop version if you’re a Windows or macOS user.
As its name implies, Cliche Finder does exactly that - it searches for cliches in your writing. All you have to do is paste your text on their website and click the ‘Find Cliches’ button. You’ll see cliches highlighted for you so you can decide whether to remove or tweak them.
If you want to avoid overdoing cliches, Cliche Finder can definitely help improve your writing skills.
Pro Writing Aid is marketing itself as “a grammar checker, style editor, and writing mentor in one package.”
Similar to Grammarly, this tool helps writers with its proofreading and spell-checking features. It also gives suggestions for improvement, helping you refine your material. Pro Writing Aid is available for free as a browser extension. To get the software’s full version, you would have to spend for a premium subscription.
WebFX Readability Test Tool is an excellent way to measure how readable your content is. Its indicators will show a red bar for low readability score or a green for easy readability. All you have to do is to enter your text or link and the tool will instantly do its job.
Head over to the official WebFX Readability Test Tool page to see how it works.
Novelists and short story writers love using Smart Edit. This amazing drag-and-drop platform allows you to “edit and polish” your material with ease.
Case in point, it works as a Microsoft Word plugin so it manages to help you during the writing process. The software highlights overused words and phrases, plus it analyzes sentence structures.
Go visit the Smart Edit website for additional details.
This AI-powered service can provide valuable assistance for transcribing Zoom meetings and other online conversations. This tool types out notes in real-time!
The basic service gives you 600 minutes of transcription for free each month. But if you want to go beyond that, you will have to pay for Otter.ai’s premium plan.
Rev does more than transcribe audio and video to text, it also captions your videos and even has the capability to translate videos with foreign subtitles.
This speech-to-text service often gets glowing reviews. Check out the Rev website for pricing information.
Built specifically with the need of content creators in mind, Convert Kit is an email marketing service recommended for authors, bloggers, musicians, podcasters, YouTubers, and other creatives.
The tool helps you manage email marketing so you can regularly stay in touch with your audience and even sell them your products or services.
To compare available plans, go to the Convert Kit site.
Writers and online entrepreneurs both love using Mailchimp because it’s an easy-to-use email marketing platform.
You can create automated emails to send to new and longtime subscribers. Furthermore, the service has integrated numerous apps and plugins over the years, which makes it the convenient choice compared with other services.
To get started, check out Mailchimp now.
Canva is a popular graphic design software you can use for creating event posters, social media memes, or even your book covers. Furthermore, this is very user-friendly and has thousands of templates for you to choose from. You don’t need to have any design experience at all to use this simple photoshop-style program.
The free version provides you with plenty of features but if you want to go beyond the basics, you should consider getting a Canva Pro or Enterprise subscription.
Want to create banner ads for your upcoming ebook? You can do that yourself by using Book Brush! This software provides you with the tools needed to “create professional images without spending a fortune”.
All you have to do is pick the ad size, upload your cover, choose the background image, and then add text boxes and stamps, as necessary.
You can sign up for free or also use the paid Book Brush version to get access to more features.
Although some users consider Steller as a social media tool, you can also utilize it as an ebook creator. This app lets you create artistic photo books for sharing with potential readers. The available layouts are attractive, plus you can use available photos, videos, and words.
Steller can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play.
BuzzSumo believes that “research is less work than guesswork”. With this platform, you get to perform quick research that leads you to relevant content on different topics. Simply said, this yields better results than typical Google searches.
So if you’re writing about something, you can use Buzzsumo to find reference materials related to your subject.
BuzzSumo offers a free 30-day trial but to use it further than that, you’ll have to go with the premium plan.
Answer The Public makes it possible for you to “discover an untapped goldmine of content ideas”. The software does that by compiling the phrases and questions entered by your target audience on top search engines.
With Answer The Public, you get a clear picture about what people are searching for and you can come up with relevant content.
Let’s face it: searching on Google can be frustrating. It can be a challenge to sift through all the results just to find the material you really need.
For academic writers, Google Scholar is definitely the right tool to use. You can easily discover abstracts, articles, books, theses, and more - straight from scholarly and professional publications. You can even sort results by date or relevance, plus you can jump to particular years if you’re searching for something specific.
The name is already a giveaway about what this service does. When writing academic papers or news, it’s always important to cite your sources properly. This is where Citation Machine comes in.
Aside from helping you find credible sources, the software also scans your content for grammatical errors or even unintentional plagiarism.
Check out the Citation Machine site to learn about the basic and paid versions.
While it is primarily a note-taking app, Milanote is definitely much more than that as it allows users to transform their ideas and projects into “visual boards.” Whether you are trying to write a long blog post or are creating profiles for your characters, this tool can be very useful. You can also create to-do lists, upload photos, and many more.
The basic Milanote is available for free but if you want to access the advanced features, you’ll have to sign up for a premium subscription.
According to Forbes, Evernote is a favorite note-taking app among “executives, entrepreneurs, and creative people” in writing and organizing ideas.
Aside from written notes, you can also record audio notes, and save articles you want to use as reference. You’ll be more efficient with your work when you use their tools the right way.
Evernote’s features are available for free and premium users.
Roam Research promises users that their tools are “as easy to use as a document and as powerful as a graph database”. You get to organize your research without hassle.
You can use the 30-day free trial if you want to test it out. To use the service longer and access the advanced features, a premium Roam Research account is recommended for you.
With Reedsy, book writers can expand their circle and find designers, editors, and marketers who can help transform their vision into reality.
This platform gives you “access to talented professionals, powerful tools, and free educational content” and “serves as a bridge uniting authors and publishing freelancers in the self-publishing industry,” the site described.
On top of that, you can also use the Reedsy Book Editor free of charge.
Freelance writers looking for more writing gigs may want to join the paid membership community Peak Freelance. You’ll find more potential clients after being added to a private Slack group.
A monthly fee is needed if you want to use the available tools of Peak Freelance.
Writing can take so much of your time and so you might need some help if you want to stay on top of your schedule. That said, Calendly is a good service to use for scheduling meetings and interviews.
A basic Calendly account gives you access to the free features. You can also try the Premium, Pro, or Enterprise plans if you want to use more tools from this software.
Google Calendar is a wonderful scheduling and time-management platform for writers and other professionals. It integrates naturally with Gmail, Drive, Meet, and other Google services.
In addition to creating and editing events on Google Calendar, you can also send notifications to team members to ensure everyone’s well-informed about upcoming meetings and events.
Managing financial records can be tedious and so you want to use good accounting software that gets the job done. Fresh Books is a tool that delivers exactly that.
This platform allows you to create professional invoices, organize your expenses, and generate accounting reports.
You can start with a free trial by visiting the Fresh Books website. You can later go with a paid subscription if you love the features and want to use them on a regular basis.
As a writer, you may want to keep a neat portfolio you can use when clients ask for writing samples. Having your own website can make a big difference so you might want to explore the available features on Squarespace.
Even without web design skills or experience, you can easily create a professional-looking website. You have beautiful templates to choose from, plus the drag-and-drop tools make it easy for you to customize your site’s overall appearance.
Sign up for a free Squarespace trial or subscribe for a paid version to unlock more features.
A portfolio maker for journalists, bloggers, and writers, Clippings.me is actually free which makes it a good alternative for freelancers on a tight budget.
Creating your own online portfolio only takes minutes with this service. Moreover, you can interact with other members if you want to find people to interview for future projects.
The basic Clippings.me features are free to use but if you want to get expert portfolio reviews, you’ll have to go with a premium plan.
Undoubtedly the most popular site builder across the world, WordPress is widely used by bloggers, startup businesses, and even big companies.
As with the other services mentioned in this list, the free version grants users the basic features. Meanwhile, Personal, Premium, Business, and eCommerce WordPress plans give users advanced tools that they need to build their respective websites.
Storytellers struggling with writer’s block can count on Plot Generator to help them find inspiration. Whether you are writing a short film or a novel, this online app gives you idea prompts for any genre.
Just pick a theme, enter some keywords, and you’ll get a plot, a title, and even a cover for your project. Go to Plot Generator if you want to see how it works.
A story and idea generator, The Brainstormer can be a big help if you’re stuck with your writing. Spin the wheel and it will give you possible conflicts, settings, and subjects you might want to use for your stories.
Last but not the least, we have the Writing Challenge app that aims to help you have fun while writing. This game can be a great source for ideas plus you can even play it as a group with other writer friends.
Go take the Writing Challenge if you want to get motivated and fight writer’s block.
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