Free online writing software: alternatives to Word Read it later

Free online writing software

5 writing software compared

We live in a time where everything is possible, even writing and publishing a novel independently. While this opportunity has lowered the bar of quality, by bringing less well-edited and formatted books onto the market, it has also opened the door to many stories that had been languished in drawers for all sorts of reasons and instead have to come out into the light.

All these opportunities have triggered the need for writing software to assist authors to proofread and format the text easily, organise the work and the multiple drafts, and set the files through the publishing process.

There are plenty of writing software tools, from Word® to Scrivener® via Novel Factory® and many others. However, they require a financial investment. I have often stated that writing as a career requires a good deal of professionalism, but I recognise that many writers, or aspiring authors, engage in this activity for the sheer pleasure of writing, and it is not always financially affordable to invest even significant amounts of money for a hobby, or else they prefer to start with free software and upgrade to paid professional software once they have an idea of what they are looking for in a writing software.

The tools of the trade

Let us first try to figure out why writing software should help to write better. Basically, all you need to write is a blank page, a pen and your imagination. True and false. The renowned “talent” must be helped. After all, even famous Michelin-starred Chefs use the planetary mixer rather than kneading by hand, don’t they?

In today’s competitive world, you need to know how to write a novel, nurture your writing skills and talent, and write fast, avoiding the writer’s block. A writing software can help you in more than one way to:

  • Structuring the text and formatting it easily;
  • Divide topics into chapters and blocks;
  • Improve your writing smoother fluent and engaging;
  • Target oriented work;

Who should use writing software

It doesn’t matter whether you write as a hobby or for work: every day, when you get up, the lion and the gazelle will have already started to run while you look at your drafts trying to figure out where you left your writing off. How to go on? Wasn’t it easy as you thought? Er, well, you get the point, don’t you?
Writing software can assist a wide range of people. Let’s look at some categories besides the pure writer:

The blogger: do you want your follower read your texts? Writing a fluid content can actually make a difference;

  • The student: writing a neat paper can guarantee better marks, not to mention your notes will be much more readable;
  • The blogger: do you want your follower read your texts? Writing a fluid content can actually make a difference;
  • The IT/fiscal/legal counselor: your customers ask you for a report on a specific topic, do you want to write it by pen, or organise it by neat and well-formatted bullet points to make your communication effective? The fee also includes the editing of your documents;
  • The employee: did the boss ask you for a report on the project he assigned you? Writing software will help you to be clearer and, by saving the appropriate templates, you will deliver the information required faster, without sacrificing visual and content quality. It is also extremely useful to take notes when in a meeting;
  • The journalist: if you think about it, they are writers, and as such they work with words. As much as there are dedicated software for journalists, even a basic online writing software could turn out to be useful.

Free online writing software

Whatever your reasons are, I have compiled a list of the most popular free online writing software available on the web with their pros and cons:

Calmly Writer: software designed based on the “distraction free” approach, with a clean, minimalist design. Ideal for those who get easily distracted. It saves the work automatically, you can format the text in no time to suit your needs and to export your drafts in many formats.

PROSCONS
Minimal designAdvanced writing statistics missing
User-friendlyNo blocks division options
Basic writing statistics
Multiple formats export setting
Calmly Writer Summary

Literary translation

Starting from:  0,06

Professional high-quality literary translation from English to Italian of novels, essays, short stories, and non-fiction books from English to Italian. Parole in Linea provides a range of packages to suit your needs, from individual book translation to ongoing translation services for publishers and literary agents. Are you a publisher or a literary agency? Get in touch via email.

After clicking on Add to Cart you’ll be redirected to the product page where you can see the subtotal for the translation. If the options are all correct, then click again on Add to Cart and proceed with purchase.


Google Docs: the perfect alternative to Word®, it allows to save and share your documents. All you need to use it is a Google™ eMail address and start writing. You can format text and create your own customised styles, just like in the Office® suite. The only flaw is the somewhat uncertain privacy, which seems to be unreliable. In fact, it seems that your data is checked and verified by Google™ itself. So you’d better not save the new scientific discovery of the century online.

PROSCONS
Word®-like interfaceGoogle™ has access to your data
Available anywhere
Spell-checker options
Multiple formats export setting
Sharing document options
Google Docs® Summary

Zoho Writer: this tool looks like the online version of Word® although the interface is a little different. It allows you to save your work, export it and access it wherever you are, because it stores your data in Cloud. Highly sensitive to privacy, on the Landing Page Zoho Writer explicitly declares that this writing software do not read/access to saved data and that there is no advertisements, despite the software is free. You can choose to create your own account, or write freely, without constraints. There are many easy and user-friendly formatting options. In my opinion, this is the best online writing software in the free writing software category.

PROSCONS
User-friendlyI haven’t experienced any so far
Privacy protection of saved documents
Many formatting options
Available anywhere
Multiple formats export setting
Zoho Writer Summary

Wordcradle: this is the first free online writing software I have found that allows the creation of complex literary projects, such as a novel, the outline of the narrative arc and characters, the brainstorming area and above all the division into chapters.

In addition, you can decide the number of words and the deadline by which you want to achieve your goal for each chapter. Great for serial procrastinators.

PROSCONS
Designed specifically for novelsBasic interface, at the limit of ease
User-friendly
Motivational quotes on writing
Privacy protection of saved documents
Multiple formats export setting
Wordcradle Summary

Basic interface, at the limit of ease

HemingwayApp: I’ve already talked about this in this article and I think it’s an outstanding online software to find out if your writing style is too difficult to read. Although some functions are only applicable for the English language, it’s perfect to check excessive sentence length in other languages, like Italian.

PROSCONS
Useful to check text readabilitySome features in English only
User-friendly text formatting optionsUS-scale readability
It helps to work on your writing style
HemingwayApp Summary

Dictanote e Speechnotes: I have already discussed this in this article for their particular feature speech-to-text. Perfect for anyone who prefers to take notes, or write anywhere, even without the convenience of a keyboard at hand. Because of their similarity that I preferred to treat them together. Although the first writing software is free it comes with the limit of a single project, but you can create infinite chapters, so in the end you can still organise multiple contents and use the free version; If it’s not fine to you, the latter writing software allows you to save infinite projects, or export them to multiple formats.

PROSCONS
Chapter structureThe free version of Dictanote allows you to create a single project only
Speech-to-textSpeechnotes is for Windows® only
Speechnotes consente la funzionalità multilingua speech-to-text
Dictanote and Speechnotes Summary

Editing: a blessing and a curse

Blindwrite [No longer available]: I admit that when I found this online writing software I jumped off the chair. I often start writing like a train, but after a few paragraphs I stop and go back to revise, check consistency between paragraphs or chapters, with the result that I extinguish the sacred fire of writing.

This writing software allows you to write blocking the chance to revise the text for a period of time you have to set at the beginning of the writing session. Throughout the whole time, the written words become blurred.

Perfect to start writing and defeating the obnoxious writer’s block (if you are interested in more tips, you can find them in this article) and the procrastination, and to practise the blind keyboarding skills.

PROSCONS
Fights writer’s blockIf you do not have a blind keyboard skill you risk spending too much time editing your contents
It helps training the blind keyboard skillsUnable to export your contents except by copy-paste feature
Blindwrite Summary

At this point there are no more excuses, you have all the tools to write for free, without the need to install anything on your computer. What are you waiting for?

Do you know any other free online writing software? Would you like an article on free desktop writing software? Write it in the comments and share this article.

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