The 10 Best Writing Apps of 2021

Useful tools for novelists, playwrights, editors, and other wordy types

If you're serious about writing, consider getting serious about your writing tools. These writing apps for macOS, Windows, Linux, iOS, and Android put your words into the right format, adding polish and professionalism to your creations.

01
of 10

Best Word Processor for All Genres: Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word on desktop
What We Like
  • Hundreds of templates make creating any document simple and fast.

  • Easily add charts, graphs, and images.

  • Built-in translation tools.

What We Don't Like
  • Overwhelming interface.

  • Full app is expensive.

  • Only one person can edit shared documents at a time.

No writing tool list is complete without Microsoft Word. This word processor is the best option for all genres, complete with hundreds of templates to choose from, endless formatting tools, and a robust online support system. From a poem to an e-book to a novel, Word can help you do it all. You can even create your own templates.

Word is available for macOS, Windows, iOS, and Android devices. You can start with a free trial of Microsoft Office, which includes other Microsoft applications as well. If you choose to purchase, packages range from $69.99 a year to a one-time payment of $149.99. If those prices are too high for you, you can also use Word for free.

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02
of 10

Best Organizational Companion: Evernote

Evernote on iPhone
What We Like
  • Add photos, audio snippets, and more.

  • Robust collaboration tools.

  • Search for text in PDFs, images, scanned documents, and handwritten notes.

What We Don't Like
  • Only 60 MB of monthly upload space is available for free.

  • May include more features than you need for simple note taking.

  • Free version limits you to two devices.

To electronically capture ideas on the fly, use a text-based note app on your device. For an enhanced organizational experience, we recommend Evernote. It enables you to collect many types of input, including whiteboard photos, website screenshots, different document formats, audio recordings, and your handwriting. You can separate items into different notebooks for multiple projects.

Evernote is free to download for both Android and iOS devices, or you can use it online. Users can upgrade to Evernote Premium for $7.99 per month or Evernote Business for $14.99 per user per month.

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03
of 10

Best Writing Software for Bloggers: Google Docs

Google Docs on desktop
What We Like
  • Changes to your documents save automatically, so no more lost work.

  • View the history of edits and track changes.

  • Collaborate in real time.

What We Don't Like
  • The Google Docs app for mobile devices is slower than the desktop version.

  • Limited options for adding charts and other visuals.

  • Fewer formatting features than premium word processors.

One of the best things about Google Docs is how easy the program makes it to collaborate with others. No more "version shuffle" as you send drafts and revisions back and forth in email.

When you share a document with your blog editor, they can insert suggestions, comments, and changes right there. Then, when it's time to implement the changes, accept the revisions and close comments about issues you resolved. You can even use Google to work on Microsoft Word documents.

Google Docs is a free online tool that's also available as an app for Android and iOS devices.

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04
of 10

Best Tool for Long-Form Content: Scrivener

Scrivener novel creation template on desktop
What We Like
  • Keyboard shortcuts make writing a breeze.

  • Templates are ready-made to jumpstart your creativity.

  • Easy to manage and rearrange pages and chapters.

What We Don't Like
  • Has a learning curve.

  • Spelling and grammar check are not enabled by default.

  • Intended for users who have an intermediate understanding of word processing.

Do you write long-form works like novels or non-fiction books? If so, you need a tool that performs some of the low-level tasks for you. Scrivener offers ready-made templates that eliminate the need to spend time on tedious formatting tasks.

This application also includes features for storing details about your characters and other critical background information, writing sections and placing them in your manuscript later, and viewing a detailed outline built from synopses that you write for each chapter. If you don't like the flow, you can move chapters around. When you're ready to publish, Scrivener makes it simple to compile and export a completed manuscript.

Scrivener is available for macOS, Windows, and iOS. You can try it free for 30 days. After the trial, a standard license costs $45.00 or $38.25 for students.

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05
of 10

Best Writing App for Novelists: Werdsmith

Werdsmith on iPhone
What We Like
  • Keeps track of your writing goals and tells you how close you are to reaching them.

  • Lots of helpful templates and formatting options.

  • Publish your writing to the web from the app.

What We Don't Like
  • Must purchase a membership to use the novel and screenplay features.

  • Text formatting tools could be more intuitive.

  • Not worth the price if you don't regularly use all the features.

Werdsmith is a portable writing studio, complete with instant formatting for novels and screenplays. You can even use it to publish to your online writing portfolio. Werdsmith features a clean design, it's easy to use, and it's the perfect place for keeping your notes and finished work. The goals and stats function helps keep you motivated.

Werdsmith is free to download and use for iOS devices. In-app purchases are offered through a membership for $4.99 per month. Members receive four new themes, novel and screenplay writing tools, hundreds of writing prompts, and more.

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06
of 10

Best Screenwriting Application: Final Draft

Final Draft on desktop
What We Like
  • It has everything professional screenwriters need to meet industry standards.

  • Powerful story mapping tools.

  • Integrates with Storyboard Pro.

What We Don't Like
  • May not be great for beginners due to the hefty price and steep learning curve.

  • You must sign in to the platform each time you use it.

  • No support for real-time collaboration.

Final Draft is used by 95 percent of film and television productions. Why? There are hundreds of templates to choose from and Final Draft automatically paginates and formats your script to the industry standard, allowing you to focus on writing.

With advanced tools, the program allows you to easily brainstorm and collaborate as well as plan set pieces or store character research with customized visualizations.

Final Draft offers a free 30-day trial. After that, the cost is $249.99. The program works with both macOS and Windows and also offers a mobile app for iOS devices.

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07
of 10

Best App for Journalists: Dictation

Dictation app on iPhone
What We Like
  • It's designed for one thing: dictation. This simplicity makes it an easy tool to use on the go.

  • Accurate transcriptions.

  • Helps prevents strain on your joints and back.

What We Don't Like
  • Without the pro version, you'll see an ad after each dictation you create.

  • Doesn't integrate with word processing apps, so it can be tedious to use.

  • No word counter.

For journalists who interview individuals for news stories and features, a good dictation tool is a must-have. Dictation is a speech-to-text app that translates voice to text for mobile devices. It can also be used to dictate any voice while on the go. It's perfect for capturing your brilliant ideas as well.

Dictation is free to download for iOS devices. Dictation Pro, which costs $12.99 per year, removes ads and allows you unlimited app usage.

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08
of 10

Best Application for Editors: TextEdit

TextEdit on desktop
What We Like
  • When the full-scale capabilities of a word processing program are unnecessary, TextEdit fills in the gap.

  • HTML and JavaScript support.

  • Save files in various formats (.DOCX, ODF, and others).

What We Don't Like
  • Only available for macOS devices.

  • No third-party plugins.

  • Formatting issues when you copy-and-paste.

This simple tool is perfect for editing documents, including Word files, on the fly and converting them into other formats seamlessly. Need to change a Rich Text Format (RTF) document to another format quickly? TextEdit is the perfect app for that. You can also easily create and edit HTML documents for the web.

TextEdit comes standard with macOS.

09
of 10

Best App for Song Writers: Lyric Notepad

Lyric app on iPhone
What We Like
  • Record yourself performing and attach the file to your song.

  • Counts syllables and tracks rhyme schemes to help you maintain your flow.

  • Inexpensive pro version.

What We Don't Like
  • The interface is a bit clunky.

  • No way to back up your lyrics to the cloud.

  • No search tool.

For poets, rappers, songwriters, and lyricists, inspiration can strike at any moment. That's why it's important to have a tool available at your fingertips. Lyric Notepad goes beyond typical word processing tasks to track rhyme and syllable schemes, help you find new words, and record your lyrics, all in one app. The built-in notepad allows you to add notes about your songs as you write and the metronome helps you easily keep time.

Lyric Notepad is free to download for both iOS and Android devices.

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10
of 10

Best Application for Distracted Writers: FocusWriter

Focus Writer on desktop
What We Like
  • The tool is easy start using as soon as it downloads.

  • Free with no catches.

  • Simple, intuitive interface.

What We Don't Like
  • There are no editing functions outside of cut and paste.

  • Need another word processor for editing purposes.

  • No mobile version.

Given all the distractions in the world and especially online, it's easy to get off track during your writing time. FocusWriter allows you to focus and get your work done. The interface is basic, with all the tools hidden beyond a screen until you need them, so it's just you and the document in front of you. Hidden timers and alarms alert you when it's time to stop.

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