Writing Tools You’ll Like Far Better Than Microsoft Word

Frustrated with Microsoft Word? Try one of these options
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GIVEAWAY: Will is generously giving away a Kindle copy of his latest ebook, Writing for the Web, to the person who leaves his favourite comment. Bonus points if you make him laugh! Comment within one week to enter. Good luck! (Update: Martina won!)

Many writers struggle with MSW addiction. They tell themselves they’re not addicted. They tell themselves they need MSW. They tell themselves they can quit whenever they want.

But they can’t. No matter how much they hate it, no matter how much they wish they could stop, no matter how much it affects their professional and personal lives, they keep using MSW.

I, for one, will no longer enable the use of Microsoft Word.

I know all the excuses.

“I’ve been using it forever.”

“I have to use it. It‘s the only way to get my work done.”

“I just need it for one more project. After that, I quit.”

Does any of these excuses sound familiar? Well, I’m here to tell you there’s a way out.

No more fighting with frustrating and convoluted menu systems. No more deciphering mysterious formatting and layout quirks. No more emailing Word files to your friends and colleagues with your fingers crossed, hoping your document appears correctly.

Word processing beyond Word

To start, you might try another, better word processor. Apple’s Pages and Google Docs are the heavy hitters and Scrivener is a long-time writer favorite. There are also new entrants, such as Quip, who hope to modernize word processing. Each of these programs is superior to Word, but you can go even further.

Be bold: quit word processing altogether. Or at the very least, quit using word processors for composition.

You see, word processors, especially ones like Microsoft Word, aren’t actually good tools for composition.

The act of composing is about ordering and structuring thoughts. It’s not about setting your margins or choosing fonts or italicizing phrases. But word processors are notoriously bad at letting you just compose.

MS Word Just Say No

Word processors conflate composition with typesetting. Making stylistic decisions about your work is a separate mental process from penning your thoughts. When writing software forces you to deal with presentational elements, it only distracts from composition. Even if you try to ignore the stylistic decisions, Word will be typesetting your text anyway. And you’re still stuck looking at a bloated interface built for formatting, not composing.

So during your composition process, skip the apps that want you to make stylistic decisions. Instead, use a plain text editor.

Editing in plain text

Plain text editors let you compose in plain, unformatted text. Notepad for Windows and TextEdit for Mac OS X are the standards, but they’re nothing compared to more robust editors. There are fantastic plain text apps that provide a heavenly writing environment, especially compared to the hell of Microsoft Word.

Here are a few options to get you started:

  • iA Writer and Byword are beloved by Mac users. They also have iOS counterparts, so you can use them on your iPhone and iPad.
  • WriteMonkey and Q10 are Windows-only options. They’ve been around for years and have been battle-tested by many a writer.
  • OmmWriter and Texts are both cross-platform editors, meaning they work on both PCs and Macs. If you use multiple machines with different operating systems, these programs are a great way to maintain a similar writing environment on each device.

Try composing in several different programs to help you get a feel for which one you prefer. I guarantee they’ll all be a more pleasant experience than your word processor. And if you absolutely have to, you can always turn to a word processor later in your workflow, when you need to format or print a document. (Although, I suspect that if most of your writing is intended for the web, you’ll have little use for it at all.)

Remember, friends don’t let friends use Microsoft Word. (Like this idea? Click to tweet it.)

How do you feel about Microsoft Word? Do you have a favorite program for composition?

Don’t forget to comment so you’re in the running for Will’s ebook giveaway! You could win a free Kindle copy of his latest ebook, Writing for the Web(Update: Martina won!)

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Will Moyer is a designer and the author of the upcoming book Writing For The Web. You can see his personal site at willmoyer.com and find him on Twitter ... .

Will Moyer | @willmoyer

Will Moyer
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  1. I find all Microsoft’s products bloated and unwieldy. I have no idea how they became the “universal standard” for files exchanges. And the fact that doing any editing in MSW requires that one change screens between processes boggles the mind. Thank you for a relevant post and marvelous links. I’ll be trying out your suggestions post haste.

    • Yeah, Microsoft definitely has a habit of building bloated, try-to-be-all-things-to-all-people software. It’s a shame because that approach often creates a mediocre experience for everyone.

      Anyway, glad to help Judith!

      • Donna Arthur says:

        I’m attaining my dream. Currently I am finishing my BA in English and writing a novel. For decades I put off doing what I wanted to do and focused on what I had to do. It is my turn now, and I have polished off those archaic ideas and thoughts and expanded my universe in every way but one. For my research papers I must use APA or MLA and of course Riverpoint Writer is excellent for those. I hate Word for my writing. When I write I do not always write in a straight line. An idea may hit me that needs to be in a totally different chapter from the one I’m writing and then I’m working through page breaks, scrolling through chapters, etc. I hate that. I have not tried any of the ones you suggested but I’m on my way now to see which one will work best for me. I want out of my rut, out of the mire that is MSW, and into the life I desire – a published accomplished author with much to my credit. First item on the agenda: create a blog. Next item: determine a subject – this has me stuck like molasses in January. After 67 years on this planet you’d think I could pick a subject but nothing has hit and stuck! Hobbies over the years? So many directions. Traveling. Overdone. Genealogy? Horseback riding for seniors? Where do I turn and what do I say? First, though, is this new software! Thank you for showing me the way!

        • Holy fucking shit dude

        • I thing you can try that may help you with organizing your manuscripts, if you haven’t done so already, is to learn how to use the Headings styles in MS Word to break up your manuscript into manageable chunks. You can define chapters and scenes using the Headings and then easily navigate around your manuscript using the Navigation Pane. I find that it definitely helps with a more nonlinear style of writing.

          I tried using Scrivener and I did like a lot of its features, but I didn’t like how I had to still export my manuscript in smaller chunks and then recompile them together in Word for submission and formatting. I also didn’t like how a Scrivener manuscript is associated with its own project folder, which made it difficult to keep track of different projects when using the cloud to work on a manuscript across multiple computers. So I did some research and by learning how to use the Heading styles and Navigation pane I was able to reproduce in Word some of the features in Scrivener that I liked.

          I’ve had some contact with people in the publishing world, and like it or not, it seems that for the foreseeable future MS Word will continue to be the word processing standard in the publishing industry because apparently it is the only word processor that has all the comprehensive editing and typographical features that editors need to work with manuscripts, or so I’ve been told.

    • The Microsoft programs got the standarad, because Microsoft developed the operating system for the first IBM PC’s.
      And these PC’s got the standard desktop computers in industry worldwide.

      Industry needs standards, excellent documentation and service. And those was not available at that time from other companies, which could compete with IBM.

      And Text-software programs were used only by secretaries at the beginning, who did not creative work.

      • Claus, from your comment here, I think it safe to assume you are not an entrepreneur. Had you ever attempted to market a product or service, you would not hold a notion like this. One could paste over the words “Microsoft programs” in your post any of hundreds of powerful product names marketed in the early IBM era that no longer exist today. SuerCalc, a spreadsheet program, ran on Apple and all PCs running DOS, including IBM. It was the “standard” and may have been the first computer program considered “a standard.” In spite of all that power, Microsoft Excel buried it in the early 90s.

        Way back when I purchased my first copy of Microsoft Word, I had spent days trying to choose between Word, WordStar, and WordPerfect. At that time, WordPerfect was the standard word processor, and many of my friends thought me crazy for choosing the upstart Word.

        As long as the marketplace is open and free, people will spend time examining options prior to making a final choice. Moreover, given that kind of market ethos, there will be nearly infinite choice. The vast majority needing a word processor have chosen Microsoft Word. I believe that free people free to choose make good choices.

        • Stephen, you can talk standard until you are blue in the face, but in my opinion Microsoft is at least a decade behind the competition in all phases of computing. One might even say that they have been resting on their laurels for so long that whatever creativity they brought into computers is long gone.
          Questionably they are, of course, known for their operating systems, but will they ever come up with one that needs not to be tweaked almost continuously until it is abandoned only to be replaced by another that is buggier than a New Jersey swamp in June. It is my devout wish that someone would dethrone the overweight monster that is Microsoft. As someone who has written engineering standards for everything from surgical supplies to airfield marking and lighting and visual landing aids, I find it interesting that the “standardization agency” known as Microsoft has not been able to garner an even larger corner of the market.
          In my opinion I prefer WordPerfect as a Wysiwyg word processor over anything else on the market. Every time I have been forced to use Miicrosoft for writing I have felt imposed upon. Generally speaking, I prefer my old Underwood to anything Microsoft has to offer.

    • Here is how Microsoft programs became the standard. Because DOS was far and away the best operating system for the money (note that qualification), Microsoft had infinite resources to spend on developing new programs. It follows then, that those new programs were so superior to the choices available, the majority of buyers chose them over other options. Add to this the fact that Bill Gates is considered by business historians as the greatest business manager ever in the history of the greatest country ever, and the conclusion is a no-brainer.

    • Thomas Murphy says:

      Microsoft became the industry standard because Bill Gates was smart enough to install DOS (as was) on every office machine he sold for “free”. At the time, most computers were sold without an operating system.

      By “giving away” the operating system, Bill realised that people would look for software programs which actually worked on it. That is where he made his money. Pretty soon, in the business world, Microsoft was king because they were one of the first out of the block with integrated word processor, spreadsheet, database and presentation software.

      The rest was down to the fact that businesses crave stability and standards and that they have to share documents between departments and also with their customers, suppliers, government departments and so on.

      Guess who very quickly got into government departments and pitched his wares ….?

      • Mr. Murphy,

        Please don’t take this as rude, but what you are saying here is not correct. MS-DOS originated as only one of the several operating systems offered by IBM in 1981 when they started marketing what came to be called the PC. The majority buying an IBM machine back then opted to add MS-DOS because it wasn’t free and it wasn’t expensive. Gates was a marketing genius, and he priced MS-DOS perfectly for the IBM market.

        Keep this in mind. IBM pitched everybody remotely capable of producing an operating system for their machine. It was not pure luck that Gates got in on the deal. Microsoft became instantly profitable because the were hanging on IBM’s coat tail, the biggest tech company in the world. They succeeded because Gates was willing to produce what IBM wanted.

        Secondly, Gates never sold any “machine.” From 1981 to 1995, MS-DOS was licensed to over 70 companies producing computers. Among them were all of the big producers like IBM, Gateway, Dell, Tandy, Commodore, and so forth. Apple, by comparison, was tiny. By the mid-80s, computer manufacturers stopped offering multiple possible operating systems and simply relied on DOS. Since 1995, Microsoft has over-whelmingly dominated the market for operating systems — a 35-year streak unmatched by any other company in marketing history.

        • Thomas Murphy says:


          Thanks for the detailed history lesson. I must confess I was relying on a very old and unreliable “folk memory” when I made my post and did not go back to check the details of the story. No wonder defence lawyers can tear apart eye witnesses in Court with such ease!

          The key point, as you also acknowledge, is that Bill Gates was a very smart marketing man and thus his product became ubiquitous. In the same way that no-one was ever fired for buying IBM, so no-one ever lost their job buying Microsoft – certainly not in the corporate world.

          That having been said, Microsoft has never been a generous company. Unlike others who embraced the open source model, Microsoft has always preferred to create closed, proprietary products in an attempt to lock in their customers. In the early days, that, too, was a key part of their success: sell everywhere at a reasonable price, lock in your customers and your customer’s customers and suppliers and then turn the ratchet.

          • Jeffrey Kukkola says:

            Just an update on the Open Source topic mentioned. In the last year MS has open sourced large portions of their development code. Yes, retail products are still sold as retail items. However, their contributions to the open source community in the development area is very interesting and I believe has caught many people by surprise. Check GitHub – where most open source projects live.

        • Chip Keyes says:

          You’re forgetting a machine that was my first computer, and changed my writing in a major way. I bought my first Kaypro 2 in 1984, for writing TV scripts at home. And a second one for the office in 1985. (Each was bundled with a daisy-wheel printer.) It had two floppy drives, the top one for application floppy, the lower to save the work on. The computer was called a “luggable”, bulky and heavy but one piece (the keyboard attached, keys inward, onto one end) and one could tote it with one hand. (Of course, you needed some strength to carry it.) It and it’s elegant (for the time) operating system CP/M were designed by the late, great Alan Kay (sp?) a gentlemen who took it in stride when a lot of his code “somehow” ended up in MS-DOS. A classy gent with a fine soul, a very solid machine who should not be forgotten. Not yet anyway.

          • I started with a Kaypro also – bought it from a dealer who was clearing his inventory since he knew CP/M was going out. Well, it worked for me till I finally had to upgrade. The Kapro was
            $4,000 + to buy and I sold it for $20. to a lady who wanted a place to keep her recipes organized. How the computer world has changed.

        • Chip Keyes says:

          I think Bill Gate’s genius was actually luck in the form of IBM’s shortsightedness. I was told they had an option to BUY MS-DOS outright from Gates/Microsoft and balked at the price. After which Gates proceeded to “license” it, for a fee, to EVERY computer sold that ran the system. So IBM remained a hardware company with slowly diminishing returns, Microsoft a software outfit that would for some time control most of the computing world. (That’s all– as far as I know– at least a 90%accurate recounting. I’m older now, memory no longer a steel trap. Sometimes more like flypaper. Or scotch tape…

          • Fortunate that you prefaced your remarks with “I think.” However, you should know that IBM’s carefully considered decision to stick with hardware led to “Deep Blue” (Look it up), which is the reason Warren Buffet became a major IBM stockholder. IBM went on to build new kinds of massively parallel computers such as IBM Blue Gene (Look it up). Blue Gene’s 131,000 parallel processors routinely handle 280 trillion operations every second. A single scientist with a calculator would have to work nonstop for 177,000 years to perform the operations that Blue Gene can do in one second. I suppose I don’t have to explain how this has benefited simple, poor families all over the world by providing universities, governments, and commercial research labs with technical ability to address a wide range of problems that had simply been too complex to tackle. BTW, you may be interested to know, last year alone, IBM invested a mind-boggling $5 billion in new technologies. It is impossible to calculate the benefit this investment will ultimately bring to ordinary people like you and me.

    • Millie Neon says:

      Used to train lawyer to use MS Office and I also used to be a typesetter. I really enjoy formatting as I type, and using keyboard shortcuts makes it fast and easy. I write screenplays, among other things, and I need a program with styles that I can assign keyboard shortcuts to so I can change styles rapidly.

      When I quit doing software training, I got a Mac and switched to Pages, which is a great little program. Not as robust as Word, but I could do what I needed to with styles, so I was happy. Then they started changing things because they want an app that works with iOS and Mac’s OS and lets users go back and forth seamlessly. So they started getting rid of features I used. Made me mad. When upgrading feels like downgrading, that’s not good. But even so, I don’t get Word. Too bloated. Too bad Word pushed WordPerfect out of the picture. That was a great program.

      There’s also Open Office, which is an open source version of MS Word’s programs (and it’s FREE). I’ve used that some. Just haven’t used it enough to zoom around in it. Thinking about it though.

  2. Word is good for writing a business letter when the whole company is using Office products. For personal use, especially when writing a manuscript, nothing beats Scrivener. It gives so much control to the writer.

    For the mobile writer, I like Evernote and Google drive because they synchronize to my main computer easily and allow me to copy paste into Scrivener easily.

    • Kathy Frost says:

      I worked with Scrivener for a while and found it difficult to master. It takes a lot of setting up. (I just want to start writing) Pieces are scattered and disjointed. There are enough writing shortcuts. I didn’t like how you had to name each scene. It was very clunky and hard to read straight through. Very difficult to transfer a Word document (I have many WIPS) into Scrivener. I saw a few advantages over Word, but not enough to use it full time.

      I don’t write in chunks, like Scrivener. I write linearly, from beginning to end, not in pieces that require elaborate compilation later. I love Autocorrect so I can type 2-3 letters and have expand to long names, words, phrases and places that I don’t have to write out every time. (Especially nice when I’ writing fantasy) With Word, I can save my doc at any time as a PDF, send it to my Kindle, and read the completed work (so it looks like a book) and use Kindle’s note feature for marking changes for editing.

      For me, Word works. I could write a third of a novel in the time it would take to learn Scrivener.

      • I totally agree with you. I write like you and have completed 7 novels on Word. Tried to learn Scrivener, but decided by the time I learned all the bells and whistles, I could just write another book. Ultimately, whatever works is what you should use.

  3. MSW has taken on new meaning for me! No longer simply a graduate degree (Master of Social Work) it is now a new frontier of addicition recovery and exploration of composition tools:-) I will accept the challenge to break from my comfort zone and explore your suggestions with my new M-S-W alternative approach: Mining-Smoother-Wordsmithing!!:-)

  4. Martin Pigg says:

    Hi Will.

    I guess your article solidified my status as a newbie writer, because I didn’t know this was such a hot topic in the writing world. I just fire up Pages and get started.

    Thanks for helping to expand my creative boundaries. Now, it’s back to the writing.

    Martin Pigg

    • No, you’re not a newbie. Most of the writing and publishing world uses and relies on Word. Its ubiquity is one of the main things that keep other writers from branching out and finding tools that better suit them. I wish it was a hot topic because writers deserve better!

      By the way, a new version of Pages just came out last week. (https://www.apple.com/mac/pages/) Have you gotten a chance to try it out? If so, I’d be interested to hear your experience with it.

  5. Hi – I’ve tried Scrivener, but I’ve gone back to MS Word – I found Scrivener too complicated and fiddly, and just couldn’t get to grips with it. I feel comfortable writing in Word – I’m sure other tools are superior in many ways, but my familiarity with Word, built up over years of use, means I just find it much easier to use. It enables me to focus on my writing, without having to worry about the mechanics of the tool.

    So, unlike Debi, I’m afraid I’m going to stay in my comfort zone 😉

    • I had the same experience with Scrivener. I am back with Word, but ignore a lot of it. I intend to give Scrivener another try as I did not give it enough effort before. MonStrosity Word and I will part ways someday. I’m tired of the daily battles. As Will points out, writing is the main thing, so eliminating the fluff would be a good thing.

    • narutoben10af says:

      Use Pages. It’s much better than MSWord.

    • Susan, I am like you. I have tried Scrivener many times, and it never took. Part of the issue is that I honestly love Word. I’ve been writing in it for about 20 years, and at this point, I’m completely comfortable with it. I also use it to format my ebooks and print books, and find it perfectly able to do everything I want it to.

      I don’t have anything against other programs. Q10 is a great, lightweight program, and I used it installed on a netbook for several years. It didn’t need as much memory as Word and it’s great for distraction free writing. But it also doesn’t allow ANY formatting, so if I want something in italics, I’m out of luck.

      That said, I kept having FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) feelings about Scrivener, so I have been using it for my NaNoWriMo project this month, and I’m finally starting to appreciate it. EXCEPT — and here’s something that is important to me — Scrivener’s file formats aren’t universal, so if I want to work on it on another machine without Scrivener installed, I have to remember to compile it as a Word document. This adds another layer of work, which is frustrating.

      So yeah, I’m a dyed-in-the-wool PC & Word user myself. Nothing against other programs, but I get a little tired of people hating on tools that have worked beautifully for me for decades. 🙂

  6. Stephanie Katcher says:

    Looks like I should be leveraging Byword to avoid programming more keyboard shortcuts. ((Imagine all the things I could DO with that extra time….)) However I am mildly concerned about social stigma. I knew what category I fell into as a Mac-TextEdit user, despite my MSExcel dependency. And I was okay with that. Byword though, what will people say?

  7. Another Evernote user here! Surprised that’s not on your list. I’m always on mobile so it’s great for me — and I love that I can save ideas and notes from sites, too. I’m constantly seeig an article or study I want to write about and clipping it to Evernote to use later.

  8. Interesting post! In terms of composition, I think you’re absolutely right: Word sucks. I like Pages for blog drafts and OmmWriter for creative pieces.

    Unfortunately, the majority of my time isn’t spent composing. I’m an editor, and in my line of work, it’s all about what’s compatible with the programs my authors are using. Pages has its own Track Changes system, but most of my authors don’t have Pages, and I’m always paranoid some of my tracked changes will be lost when I convert the file to .docx. Plus most of my authors are self-publishers, so they want to work within Word since it’s easier for them to format a final draft that will upload properly to online publishing services. For the time being, it looks like I’m stuck wrangling with the beast.

  9. Another Evernote junkie here, too! I’ve been using it for so many things (saving articles, photos, etc. to have later) for so long, it’s hard to give up. I do think a program in which I ONLY write might be a psychologically decent move, though – If I could train my brain to settle into writing mode as soon as I opened a certain program, I think I would have it made. I also wouldn’t be surfing the net for new writing tools and techniques when I should just be writing. 🙂

  10. Any of you Evernote junkies want to write a post for us about tips for writers who use Evernote?

  11. This post could not have come at a better time! It was just this afternoon that I was using Word on my Mac and the font would mysteriously change to Calibri no matter how many times I set it to Times New Roman. I actually yelled at my laptop, “Why do you hate me?” before I found out I had to change the default settings.

  12. I love your post. The tool I like better than MSW is simply paper and pen. The act of composing is about pushing your hand to pick up the pen and paper to write.

  13. Aha- just what I was looking for: checking out all the alternatives is the distraction I need to keep me from actually doing any writing today. Looks like my cutlery drawer will just have to wait…

  14. Dear evil genie who keeps luring me back to Word. I knew it! Read above and leave me alone!

    Will – Thanks for the tips. Appreciated the comments from Evernote users and the editor. On tenterhooks waiting for the next installations.

  15. Hello my name is Claudia and I’m a MS Word addict. BUT, I’ve recently switched to Mac and I don’t have MS Word installed and I’ve been going through withdrawals! It hasn’t been pretty, but I have been getting through it one day at a time.
    I have a Pages installed and the more I learn, the more it has been growing on me. I can see how MS Word isn’t the ideal tool for composing. It has all of these hidden formatting settings that require it’s very own “copy from Word” function when pasting into another editor.. annoying, I admit. Whereas with Pages it has pretty much been cut & paste and voila it’s there!
    I haven’t used Evernote yet, but it looks like it’s worth a looksie.
    Oh if you hear me cursing in her corner, don’t worry, it’s just me trying to kick the MS Word habit.

  16. Wow. Talk about serendipity. I junked the entire MSOffice suite yesterday. I just could not take anymore of its uncooperative nature. The only reason I had MSW was because my boss at my freelance job insisted I get it. But I rarely use Word. I compose in Scrivener–love, love, love Scrivener. I would be lost without it, and I can export to Pages or LibreOffice if I need a MSW -compatible document. Oh, and once I dumped the entire suite, mu computer was running a lot faster. Good-bye MSOffice. As for the new version of Pages…love it! Much easier to use than the previous version!

    Rebeca Schiller

    • Hooray, another OfficeLibre adherent! After upgrading to an SSD, I declined to reinstall MSW, to see how far I could get with OfficeLibre, and I’ve never looked back.

      Will have to give the others listed a try, once NaNoWriMo is over…

      • The problem with Open/LibreOffice is that it is a MS clone. So, I don’t find them liberating as Pages, or the dedicated text writing apps do.

      • S. Gantress says:

        I agree with you. Libre office is far better than anything Microsoft can do. And if you’re really cheap you don’t need to donate either. Huzzah for free!
        I can easily shit and convert any document to whatever is needed by the publisher.
        p.s. I’ll never buy another computer with anything from Microsoft in it. Even the e-mails are ten times slower than Google.

  17. I’ve fully jumped into the Google ecosystem, and Google Docs/Drive is the setup that works best for me. It’s great for writing, and for managing all my articles. Google Keep is also a great way to quickly type up notes to be used for later, on desktop or mobile.

    Because I’m a cultural and tech blogger I’m online more than I should be anyway; having a tab with Google Docs ready to go at all times is very convenient. My content consumption directly ties into my content creation, so being able to move back and forth between the two is important.

    Using an actual program, whether MSW or one of the ones you mentioned, means I’d be switching from Chrome to another program constantly – and that’s just a big annoyance. I may end up getting a Chromebook actually.

    MSW is on standby, I always have it there just in case. And it can sometimes be easier to snap MSW next to my browser, but this isn’t ideal on a 13inch screen.

    Great article.

    Mark-Anthony Smith

  18. After reading your article and the responses, I realize I don’t know anything about any of these tools. I’ve been blogging for close to two years. I use pen and paper sometimes because I love the feel of them and then type what I write into…gulp! Word, as that’s what I have with my laptop. Or I use Word directly. I have an iPad, but find it annoying for much writing as the “keyboard” can’t be used as a real one because I can’t rest my fingers on it and it’s too small and you have to switch screens for too many symbols. I’ll have to start taking the time to look into some of the things you’ve mentioned. Thanks!


  19. I have always used Microsoft Word for writing from the time I have learned how to type. Reading this article made me less of a noob. I am also an evernote junkie and I was recently looking for apps that I could use for writing when I am using android. This is such a big help. I will try your suggestions and I hope to get a free copy of your ebook. ( Pushing my luck )

  20. This is a hot post for me. Thank you – I appreciate all the tips and felt inspired (see Haikus below). I’d forgotten about the value of plain text apps for brain dumping when I feel inspired at the computer. Away from the computer, the pen and paper are always at hand.
    While I find MS Word quite frustrating, especially when the gargoyles invade – they seem to be able to sense looming deadlines, I do love some capabilities e.g. Synonyms.
    I “Will” try those apps that are new to me and will watch for future articles from you. Thanks for reading and responding to the feedback. Great job!

    Haikus – Hypotheses

    Writing in Plain Text
    Sparks your imagination
    Helps you work smarter

    The tide is turning
    Disable the quiet “noise”
    Ditch that monkey fast

    Invent in Plain Text
    Indulge the experience
    Inspire the write process

    Open the window
    Press your wonderful button
    Focus your writing

  21. I compose ALL my q & a’s in google docs for my blog. I even created the template for my features in it. It works great with blogger since its google based. I have also played with my templates in wix (thinking of mov just ng my blog there) it works beautifully there as well.

  22. Good article but it doesn’t mention the chief pull of MSW – autocorrect. So many people I know don’t even know their typing speed because the software corrects all their little typos.

    On the text editor front, consider Notepad++ its a very flexible editor built on Scintilla.

    • A lot of the text editors I mentioned — like ByWord, WriteMonkey, Q10 — have spellchecker. That’s not the same as autocorrect, but I’m not sure I’d trust an autocorrect service anyway.

      I loved Notepad++ when I was on Windows! It was my favorite. But I also used it for coding, writing HTML and CSS. For pure composition, I recommend text editors that are designed for specifically for writers.

  23. I’ve been using Libre Writer from Open Office, but I also use Google Docs (for portability from tablet to laptop and for collaborating with others). I’ve dabbled in Evernote, but I’m not sold on it yet. I’ll eye these others mentioned here, but I’m fairly content with Libre. (Except for outlining–Libre positively sucks at outlining).

  24. I admit I use Microsoft on my Mac, mostly because it’s what I have and what I’m used to working with. Way back in the day I used to write on Corel’s word processor (apparently Corel still exists..never knew), but it’s not a plain text editor. In University I started using Google docs, because it’s a great way to do collaborative writing/editing for projects. I know Microsoft is trying to do the same thing with Word and Skydrive, but I have found it’s too buggy and doesn’t work well. This is also why I refuse to buy the Microsoft Surface Tablet, because while it looks like a great as laptop/tablet it uses the new version of Word, which I hate (and also apparently the only browser you can use is Internet Explorer, what’s up with that?).

    If anyone is looking for a plain text editor for coding (html, css, etc) I recommend Notepad++ for Windows or TextWrangler for Mac. Definitely don’t write code in Microsoft Word and plan for it to work, because it doesn’t. The quotation and apostrophe marks are always off, meaning you have to edit any code that includes those punctuation marks.

    Aside from Google Docs and Evernote I’d never heard of these word processors. I might have to check some of them out.

  25. Excellent research and analysis, but I won’t be making the switch. Word is just a tool. For some it’s bloated, for others (like me) it’s a pocketknife with tons of gadgets. I write in Web layout or draft view, which drop the formatting (I prefer Web). I also published a Kindle book with images using a Word file converted to HTML. It came out perfectly.

    Writing on my smartphone would be impossible with it, however, so I am intrigued by those options!

  26. I’ve never liked Word. It was only one up from a hammer and chisel. I’ve tried several apps for writing and I’ve stuck with [Nisus Writer Pro](http://nisus.com/pro/) for academic papers and [BBEdit](http://bbedit.com) for writing in markdown.

    I used BBEdit for years as an code editor but it is great for both plain text and markdown. As you stated it allows me to focus more on the content and less on the look.

  27. I wrote my first book by hand and many many articles likewise. going back into the early 60’s. I was excited when I found a replacement for my Selectric typewriter! I worked with apple and then ms and settled with word perfect .. stayed there even to now but I don’t like it … starting or changing ideas and noting selections is a huge pain and slows me down.

    I am only now looking at alternatives which may have been way too late since they’ve been around it appears for awhile! Well, I appreciate this post a lot and thanks! Rick =)

  28. I use word and I’ve never ever thought of these restrictions the article is professing. I think some programs work better than others. You want to write freely? How about picking up a pen? I don’t think writers should be saying that something is better than something else because we all have our preference. I understand if Pages or some of these other programs work better for you but everything isn’t for everyone. If you’re proficient with Word it can do everything you need it do. Change the margins takes like five seconds. I don’t get this.

    • It’s not that Word doesn’t have the features, it’s the fact that it’s simply so bloated and clunky that it takes forever to load, it freezes up, it suddenly closes, and when you try to get out the program, it refuses to shut down. I don’t have any of those problems with Scrivener, Pages, or OfficeLibre. If Microsoft wants to really capture the Mac audience they have to make a version that doesn’t have any of these problems. And lower the price point. Pages is $19.99 and it does everything Word does. And Scrivener, the best organizational program for writers, which does just as much as Word (or more) is $45.

    • Jonathan,

      This article didn’t present the full case against Word, just a piece of it. Here’s a more detailed explanation of why Word is particularly bad: http://writingfortheweb.co/sample/

  29. I thought MS Word would lose some of its juice when a lot of the pc manufacturers stopped including it for free… I switched to Apple about 7 years ago and will never go back… love iA Writer but still end up in Pages or MSWord for MAC because that’s where the editors seem to be… Hoping that changes soon.

  30. Chizoba Adimba says:

    I have been using word since i know how to use a computer and i have found it quite helpful, i think people have a right to make their choice. Are we bordered about the monopoly of Microsoft or what? If they are not there other monopolies will arise. Methinks that we should let many flowers bloom. I have also been using evernote and a little of google docs but i will still be using MSW for a very long time.

  31. May I just say I hate word and Internet Explorer! I’m a community college instructor who is “required” to use MS. because out platform doesn’t like other processors. IE9 is incompatible with the platform in many respects, so we’ve been told to use other processors. I have several downloaded and switch between them. I hate MSWord and IE9 because I download dozens of documents a week, and about five documents a week get “lost”–always after I have spent up to thirty minutes responding to the documents. Then I have to use the “find” option and hope I can recover the lost file–just yesterday I lost work (on a downloaded document) that I’d spent several hours responding to. I had been periodically saving the document (once again forgetting that MSWord loses the downloaded documents). I definitely am ready to try something new. As of summer semester, we are ditching the student platform based on archaic MS code, and I can change to anything but MSWord. I’m going to try the programs suggested. Also, my next computer will definitely be a MAC.

  32. Just wanted to thank you all for commenting and let everyone know that Martina (http://thewritelife.com/microsoft-word-just-say-no/#comment-5420) won the free copy of my book.

    It’s hard to beat a haiku about text editors. Nice one, Martina. 🙂

    Thanks again to everyone for their comments!

    • I am starting to get tired of paying for word 360 and even powerpoint, any is there other good software besides Scrivener? can ppt be replace?

      • The applications suggested above — in the article text — are all good replacements for Word.

        I’d replace Powerpoint with either Apple’s Keynote or Google Doc Presentations. Good luck!

  33. My computer doesnt even have MSW xD I have to use Limbre Office, or, now that I downloaded Scrivener for NaNoWriMo, I use that. I get 50% off on it tomorrow. I will never abandon my Scrivener. I love it.

    The school I work at makes the kids write everything in MSW, though, so anything I want to send from my personal computer to put on my school account, I have to copy and paste into an email and edit it to look right on MSW. =P

  34. I use a program called WriteItNow. I really don’t know how it compares to other creativity/organizing programs like Scrievner or Pages, but for me this has been a great program especially for large projects or novels.

    If I’m blocked I can spend some time on character details or location descriptions OR I can even get random prompts to help jump start my day’s work. Someone said it well, Word is for work where everyone has Microsoft Office and writes memos and business letters.

    Great discussion!

  35. I use Vim for text composition and editing. It’s a hardcore programmer’s editor. The user interface has modes for text entry (insert mode) and editing (normal mode). Commands to the editor are touch typed. Once you learn it, it is fast and indispensable, but the learning curve is steep. I can’t live without it.

  36. Microsoft is known for their bloated softwares. I simply use pages for EVERYTHING I need. Not only does it do,the job, but it does the job very well. Personally, I no longer need Microsoft office for anything do. I didn’t know pages very well before I bought my iPad Air but I was really happy when I found that that it works so well for me. Microsoft risks being irrelevant in the next few years that is why they have so radically changed. PC makes with rare exceptions ship junk after junk in hither market. I bought a horrible dell machine and I had the chance my hard drive within the fist week, really crappy crappy computer. I am buying a Mac as soon as they are available I mean the new models unless Apple launches a bigger ipad with keyboard then I will go for it.

  37. I’ve never understood Microsoft haters. They are as puzzling to me as strawberry haters and people who find mayonnaise disgusting. What’s to dislike??? So many commenters talked about “bloat.” Do you actually feel or experience the bloat somehow? For me, whatever it is you’re calling “bloat” is totally hidden somewhere on my hard drive.

    I tried Google Docs, and several years ago, OpenOffice. If that’s the wave of the future, I’ll pass. And you’re telling me people out there write with their cell phone? Write with one of those dinky tablets with no keyboard? Well. I guess we’ll never see another “War and Peace.”

    But, set all that aside. Here is the real puzzler for me. If you give up Microsoft, you also give up OneNote, the most amazing piece of software for a writer ever invented. Nothing else exists that even remotely compares to the interoperability of Internet Explorer and OneNote for gathering research and creating a rough draft, all synced with and saved by OneDrive in the Cloud to be exported instantly to Word for re-writes, editing, and publishing to the Web.

    If it digitally exists, it can be collected and organized with OneNote. No webpage, PDF, photo, audio track, video, or ebook will ever disappear ever again. Every thought you write, every great quote found, every photo or chart discovered, every crib, every element needed for your project, once stored in OneNote can be easily retrieved and organized into your rough draft. It is the greatest rough draft (or zero draft) creating machine that exists. Then, click, click, click, click — and it becomes a Word document in folding outline form ready for edited.

    No other software can beat that.

  38. Gertude Wallace says:

    Good insight on alternative writing tools. Another good alternative to google docs that a colleague had suggested to me was collatebox. They seem promising.

  39. Deborah Nock says:

    I love Word, but am really tempted by the organisational ability of Scrivener. However, I really worry about the citation side of Scrivener – all of the documents I write are heavily referenced (I am a medical writer) and I would be lost without Reference Manager. But it seems I can’t use it with Scrivener. And I like the ability of Word to create excel graphs, etc. within a Word document (or import and then edit accordingly). I think Scrivener is ahead of Word in many aspects – but behind Word in other…very important…aspects. I guess I’ll stick to Word for now – and will live in hope that MS will take some tips from Scrivener in the next version of Word 🙂

    • Hmm, I’m not sure about the citation management aspect of Scrivener, though I think you can integrate it with EndNote: http://onhavingwords.wordpress.com/2013/02/13/scrivener-endnote-word-references/

      Regardless, it’s great that you’ve found a system that works for you!

      TWL Assistant Editor

      • Deborah Nock says:

        Just an update – I decided to try OneNote, as suggested by Stephen above. It’s brilliant! I can do all my research online and organise it in one place, then use it side-by-side with Word for writing the draft. So glad I took at look at your website, it’s already helped me immensely!

        • Stephen says:

          Hi Deborah, I’m happy you found OneNote works for you, however, it is much, much easier to create your first draft right in the section of your OneNote notebook where you have collected your research. And I write that draft in unformatted plain text for all the reasons Will Moyer has explained here and in his book. When you’re ready to format the document, you can send it to Word with 4 quick clicks where you can save a copy as a plain text document; again, for all the reasons Will has mentioned. OneNote doesn’t have Word Count, but if you’re working with 2010 or later, here’s a link to a great word-count add-in created and offered for free by one of the OneNote team members.


          OneNote has fabulous outlining features, but if you’re working with plain text, you won’t want to use it. So here is a trick. For longer documents and books, I create a new page for every part and section of the project. As you know, pages and groups of pages can be dragged up and down as needed and on the fly. If you have sent your reference material to these same pages, all that stuff travels with your rough draft as you move pages around. And here is another trick. If you have reference material saved in a separate reference section on in a different notebook altogether, you can easily create hyperlinks in your rough draft that will instantly take you to that material. I first started using OneNote for writing projects in 2007, but OneNote is so feature rich, I’m still learning and developing my process.

          Oh, one more trick. The Quick Access Toolbar is in the upper left corner of the window. Click on the down arrow, then click on “More Commands.” Search for the “Back” command. It is a circle with an arrow pointing to the left. Add that command to your Quick Access Toolbar and you can toggle back and forth between a given topic in your rough draft and whatever reference material you are using as you write, another reason to save reference material in the same section as your rough draft. Of course, you can toggle using hyperlinks also.

          • Deborah Nock says:

            Thank you so much, Stephen, for the valuable advice. I will give it a go for my next project, see how I get on and if I can wean myself from formatting as I write (I’m so used to that, after 20 years…). The outlining feature would be good, though, as the materials I write are normally very structured (e.g. training manuals), so I would need some idea of the overall flow.

            I certainly like OneNote though and am sure I’ll learn how to use it more over the next few weeks. Ta

  40. I just finished my first book using Word. However, I do have Scrivener, and really want to break the MSW habit. I don’t really have much problem with Word; however, I love the way Scrivener organizes the chapters of a book and allows you to keep research material to together within the same project.

    But here’s the problem. I tend to write when I’m at work on a PC. I have a MAC at home. I’ve purchased a license to both MAC and PC versions of Scrivener figuring I can upload my work from my PC to Dropbox like I always do and continue writing at home on my MAC. However, when I write on the PC and upload to Dropbox – the file doesn’t convert to MAC – and it’s the same visa versa. I can’t take a chance with my work like that. I love the idea of using Scrivener – but my circumstance makes the format conversion a precarious one.

    Is this a common problem for writers using both a PC and a MAC?

    • Oh no, Debi! That’s a tough one. Does anyone else combine both operating systems?

      TWL Assistant Editor

    • Bo Grimes says:

      I do the same with Windows and Linux versions of Scrivner. Don’t upload it. Create a directory in Dropbox just for Scrivner and save the entire project there from the start, and just open it from there.

  41. Bo Grimes says:

    I’m not a Word apologist, though my primary word processor is Jarte (built on WordPad). I use ConnectedText, WriteMonkey, Textroom, Draft, LightPaper, LibreOffice, Notepad++…I’m one of those hardcore productivity software addicts.

    However, I have never understood why folks (especially LaTeX and Markdown users) insist that content and structure can’t be separated out in a word processor.

    Any word processor can create a plain text file just like an editor. Don’t worry about structure, style and formatting until you want to. Jarte has something called “format brush.” And RightNote has styles one can set keyboard shortcuts for.

    Just write. When you’re ready to format, just highlight and change the style with a few keystrokes.

    Using Word as a plain text editor is like shooting squirrels with an elephant gun, sure, but it’s easy to do. It’s not like a word processor can’t be used just like an editor.

    Every couple of years I get determined to learn LaTeX (the king of the separate content and structure philosophy) until I spend a half hour on it and realize one is constantly making format and typesetting decisions. They just aren’t rendered until you compile. (Yes! Compiling documents!)

    When I write HTML I don’t even do the markup and CSS until I have the content. Why do people feel forced to make stylistic decisions just because it’s possible?

    I use an auto-hotkey script to disable the backspace key to get “Hemingway mode,” when I write to force me to not correct mistakes as I go. One can put off stylistic decisions just as well as editorial ones until such time as one chooses. The software isn’t the problem.

    • Thanks for sharing this perspective, Bo. Great point — it’s not just the software, it’s also about our own willpower not to monkey around with editing or formatting when we want to just write.

      TWL Assistant Editor

  42. Wow, this comment/thread has been going for over a year.
    I read all of the comments and do not remember if I got the suggestion for FocusWriter here or elswhere.
    But I have been using it for all kinds of writing, my WIP, blogs, letters, etc. I just copy/paste to my site, blog, or wherever and do a bit of editing there.
    A simple free app that’s worth a look: http://focuswriter.en.softonic.com/

    • It’s amazing to see new comments still coming in on this post — we love hearing about helpful tools for writers. Thanks for sharing your experience with FocusWriter; I’ll have to give it a try!

      TWL Assistant Editor

  43. Here is a problem I am running into. I write manuals for companies and use MS Word. To be more precise office 2013. When I do editing and arrange text per page, I notice when I scroll through the document (it arranges the page layout. Paragraphs are split on pages where I don’t want them. If I start a new subject heading on a new page it shifts up to the previous page. Why does it do this? Each time I edit a page, I notice word goes back through my document “pauses” and re-edits the page layout. Sooo infuriating.

    Any ideas as to why?

  44. I do all my writing in Evernote. It’s beautiful because I don’t have to worry about any typesetting stuff – I just write. What’s even better is then all my writing is available to me across all my devices. So I can write, edit, brainstorm, whatever wherever I am.

  45. Well, this is a timely post for me…my MSFT 365 just renewed, and I found myself wondering WHY I pay for it!

    I increasingly use Google docs with my teams, I use MarsEdit to compose blog posts and work offline (great super-simple mac tool), and I’m just starting to look at Scrivener for my ebooks.

    I feel like Word just didn’t keep up, and isn’t that well-suited to writers’ and bloggers’ needs.

    • Great point, Carol — I use Google Docs for just about everything, although Scrivener is fabulous for big projects. I love the compile feature for creating ebooks.

      How do you like MarsEdit? I haven’t tried it yet, but I’ve heard good things.

  46. Vim!

  47. I’m shocked. There is so much hate for Word here. I don’t know why you people are having trouble using it for composing. It’s easy as pie.

    No offense but if you can’t compose in MS word, you probably have technical challenges you need to overcome before using computers.

    Are there other options? Yes. Are they intrinsically better than Word? No.

    I’ve used some of the other apps listed here like Docs and Scrivener. They are not better. It’s really just a matter of preference. Pretending that Word is somehow inherently inferior is laughable.

    • It is a preference, but I don’t like Word–at least not the Mac version. It’s bloated and slow, slow, slow. I finally found a word processing app I love: Nisius Writer Pro. It’s as powerful as Word and fast. To say our dislike of Word is laughable isn’t fair because many is have our reasons to why we switched to use different apps. It isn’t because we’re not computer literate

      • Deborah Nock says:

        I know people who would much rather write with a pen (heaven forbid) and have copious paper notes lying around. Whatever works for you is what’s best! I actually use Word to write in and Endnote as a pin board to store everything and make notes. Everyone is different.

        • Deborah, you should take a look at Microsoft OneNote. It is better for your purpose than Endnote and it works seamlessly with Word. OneNote is free. It will cost you nothing to look at it.

          Rebeca, it is not Microsoft Word that is slow, it is your Mac.

          • Deborah Nock says:

            OneNote! That’s what I meant…imminent old age 🙂

          • Uh, no. Why is it that every single non-MS Office product opens and closes super fast? And why can’t Word users accept that many of us just don’t like Word and have found alternatives that are better suited for our needs.

          • Because it seems reasonable to question why 5% of a particular market should choose an alternative product that is demonstrably inferior. I would say “To each his own,” except for the fact that so many people posting here cite weaknesses in Microsoft Word that simply don’t exist and cannot be verified by anything other than opinion. The Bible calls that “bearing false witness.”

  48. Sue Johnston says:

    To Word or not to Word? I’ve only recently joined the writing community, as I preferred to keep my skills private, but this seems to be a popular argument. I’ve tried many different programs, particularly when you get a free trial period, but I always come back to that old beast, Word. It is rather surprising considering I am a person who jumps from subject to subject or idea to idea quite easily, which Word doesn’t seem to allow. My writing style however is never a jumping style but one from start to finish. The other important feature of my writing style is that I never plan as it’s simply a word or a line that draws me into writing a subject. Many of the other programs available seem to cater more to those who plan and those who jump. Don’t get me wrong I will do research into some areas before I write, however I use the handy old pen and paper. My house is full of different types of notepads, such as ones for poisons, myths, names, scribbling etc. You would think that in doing this I’d love one of the other programs as to find what I need would be an easy ‘find’ search but my notebooks are surprisingly well ordered with tabs and colour coding, despite the fact that my work area is to be ordered chaos. I have tried and tested but ‘to Word’ is the answer for me and I’m happy to let others to go the ‘not to Word’ route just never try to convert me.8

    • I am another “Wordy”. If I’m on the train, I will compose fast notes on my phone’s memo pad and then transfer them to Word when I get to the office. The fact that I have Word at home and in the office (and on my laptop) makes it easier for me. I cannot download outside programs at the office and since editors want submissions in Word anyway, I just keep using it.

      I was going to give Scrivener a try at home, but with the negative comments I see, I will just stick with Word, especially since I am comfortable with it and have been using it for many, many years.

      I might check out one of the Android apps, but I am pretty comfortable with my memo pad on my cell.

      To each their own.

  49. Of course I started with Word since I’ve used it for years and years, but I wasn’t happy with it for fiction writing for exactly the reasons you stated: hard to COMPOSE and keep thoughts and ideas in one place. At the advice of a few others, I tried Scrivener, and although it does have a steep learning curve, I’m finding it better and better. I can see my outline and make notes on needed changes all while I”m writing or editing my text. I know it can do still more, but now I’m learning as I go. I recommend it, but allow some ramp-up time.

  50. Tracie Ritchey says:

    I often wonder what the great writers of our past, such as Twain would think about Microsoft word and all our new tech!

  51. I like PageFour personally. It is simple and it is easy to group your research, character sketches and story together in one notebook. There are some great tools for picking up repeated words and phrases. It’s relatively inexpensive. If you haven’t given it a try I highly recommend it. I’ve tried a lot of writing software, this is my favorite.

  52. I do a lot of work as a ghostwriter, often to specified word counts. It is important that I produce the work quickly and efficiently. Whenever I spend time doing something other than writing, I am losing money.

    You are right. Word is a poor tool for writing especially when you are producing works overs 50,000 words. It’s not an issue of presentational elements so much as managing the size of your project. Larger projects are just unwieldy in Word. Keeping track of chapter length, moving text around in rewrites, finding sections you want to rewrite are tasks that are time consuming; time better spent writing.

    Neither can I imagine using PlainText for a large project. Some problem as above.

    I hear people’s complaints about Scrivener, but I think that comes from people trying to use Scrivener like it is Word. It is not. To use Scrivener with a minimum of angst some preplanning is necessary. I’ve set up templates to cover the word counts I most commonly write for my projects. For instance, I have an 8,000 word template, 10,000, etc, including a novel size template for 80,000 word drafts. Each template has a specified number of chapters, each chapter is broken into scenes (usually three) and each scene has a word count to fill. Not that these templates are set in stone! I frequently change the make-up of chapters according to inspiration. But it keeps me on track to know that I written three chapters of an eight chapter novella with five to go. Also my compile settings are preset in each template so as not to reinvent the wheel each time I download the Scrivener file into another.

    On top of this functionality, Pro-Writing Aid, my favorite online editing program has released a beta version that works with Scrivener on your desktop, (though it still links with the online Pro-Writing Aid for account verification.) No more downloading files to Word for edits! Everything is done in Scrivener and it is quicker than trying to use the Google Docs integration. I’ve been testing it for a week now and have not come across any significant problems.

    And the fact that Scrivener will compile your manuscript into a .mobi or .epub file for self publishing seals the deal for me.

    Everything else you suggested is just fine for small projects, but for large ones, I’ll stick with Scrivener.

    • Alia Outrey says:

      I agree about Scrivener being so much easier to organize than Word. I started my first book in Word (as I hadn’t taken the time to research any other options) and was horrified when I had reached over 300 pages. I could not get through the text quickly or even envision it well. It seemed that it just bogged me down. I really had trouble finishing the book.

      I converted the 300 pages into Scrivener and within days found myself rolling at a pace I had not attained in Office Libre, Google Docs or Word. I do write linearly and I only like to see my current chapter. The organization into chapters and chapters into scenes was a tremendous aid to help me see the big picture to stay motivated while still focusing on my current day’s work.

      One of my favorite things about Scrivener is that I can store my research in there easily. I do write fiction and do not have hundreds of references, but I do consult my research sources very often.

      I also really like switching views quickly in Scrivener. I often need to start in Outline form to see the whole book. Afterward, I need to go to scene form while glancing at chapter titles on the left side to make sure I am building suspense without getting wordy and without meandering needlessly. Then, when I am having a crisis moment, I love to read the flashcards to see what I had in mind for that chapter when I was initially inspired (beyond the one sentence in my outline). On the flashcards, I usually put phrases and sensory perceptions.

      When compiling the document at the end, Scrivener quickly and painlessly converted into an Adobe PDF which I’ve been editing/rewriting. I did used Word my whole college life, but I find Scrivener’s little touches for editing easier to manipulate. Of course, I like software and after a video can usually adapt to new software rather quickly.

      Perhaps the best thing about Scrivener is my being able to access it anywhere as a saved project in Dropbox from any machine. However, the constant free Scrivener software updates is another feature for which I am quite grateful. Both these features are incredible, not to mention, a one-time price of $45!

      My second, much shorter novel, I created completely in Scrivener. I attribute its clean efficiency and strength of plot to Scrivener allowing me to visualize where I was on my storyline path much more easily. My second work is a hunting machine compared to my first novel which is more like a three-toed sloth. It is as if Scrivener offers you an aerial view of your work, in addition to, a streetview and more traditional views.

  53. Rebecca Stone says:

    Have you ever tried Open Office or Power Point for starting a book. You can easy change the order of the slides to gain structure and enhance flow. The best part is tape and paste into Word or Open Office easily. Their structure are easily formatted for Kindle or Nook. Hope this helps.

  54. I have to say, I don’t get the hate for Word. I’ve been writing in Word for maybe 20 years. I put it in draft mode and type. If I accidentally hit the wrong key and format something weird I hit Ctrl-Z and it’s back right again. Yes, it’s got some funny defaults, like insisting on selecting an entire word when you want to select part of one, but I change the settings and then it does what I want. It’s got a thesaurus, a dictionary, spell checker, auto-correct, and a highlighter I use when I put in something that will need to be changed later. I don’t use any extra features, but I don’t object to them being there because it still runs fine.

    One thing I consider a clue to the anti-Word mindset is that a lot of people who don’t like Word also say things like, why not try just typing/writing on paper or talk about how they like to start out on index cards. I started out on a typewriter and when I first tried a word processor it was like someone had read my mind and given me exactly what I wanted. For me, sheets of paper and index cards are to writing what a hotplate is to cooking; I could use it if I had to, but fortunately I don’t have to.

  55. Hm, I don’t know about this. While I would like to try other programs, none of the ones listed here have anything close to what I want. Sure, if you aren’t proficient in Word then it would seem unwieldy and bloated but a text editor? That has nothing at all. I don’t want anything online or any “sharing” or “social” program…

    • Bo Grimes says:

      Even Office is going onto the cloud, with Office 365. I am like you. I don’t want that, so I still use the desktop version of 2013. I hate doing everything in the browser.

      And I agree if you are proficient with Word it helps, but it was once said 95% of people who use Word only use 5% or its capabilities, but they all use a different 5%. It’s also equally true that if you haven’t looked into a real text editor, like Sublime Text or Notepad++ and only think of MS Notepad you probably are in the same boat as those who aren’t proficient with Word.

      Just a few plugins I use with Sublime Text:
      Typewriter scrolling, like Scrivener has. Do you ever get tired of looking at the bottom of your screen?
      Markdown preview so I can see how a document I’m writing with Markdown will render as I type it.
      Origami so I can split my screen into a many windows as I need for a project
      PlainTasks so I can add todos while I work.
      Distraction Free mode

      Lots more, not to mention the built-ins, like multiple columns, projects, blazing fast search that supports regex, bookmarks, spellcheck you can turn on and off with the F6 key when you switch from text to code. Text folding anywhere, not just with headings like in Word. Just saying

  56. This is an interesting but ultimately pointless argument, I have just started on my fist book and I’m currently 20% into the actual writing. When I first started I noticed that there doesn’t seem to be any good option for composing available so I created my own solution; One noticeboard nailed to the wall behind my computer and a large amount of paper, pens and coloured post it notes.

    All of my outlines, ideas and timelines are available at a glance, all I have to do is look up. No constant switching between windows trying to find that one quote I wanted to use in a specific scene or the specific details about some background event that I’m alluding to.

    • Fredrik, see my reply to your comment below.

      Fellow writers,

      Microsoft Office is the industry standard for good reason. Stop and think. MSOffice is a world-renowned product. Word, for instance, beats every other word-processing application by miles.

      There are only two reasons someone would reject this product in favor of a lesser one: 1) benign ignorance; by which I mean misunderstanding, confusion, inexperience, misguided experience, bewilderment, youthful indifference, gullibility, or some other missing cognitive element. And 2) belligerent faddism. Faddism is a human trait within every single one of us that exists on a scale starting at teasing, adversarial competition descending downward into hostile bigotry.

      If you have read through this entire comment stream, you have seen every example of that scale demonstrated here. I would say, however, that most commenters dissing Word are simply ignorant of its full feature set and are unwilling to embrace the stiff learning curve true understanding requires. Many people prefer the easier route every moment of the day and are unaffected by receiving less as a consequence. They betray a simple ignorance when they try to justify their having chosen the easier, “less is more” way out.

      Some commenters have argued their prejudice against this product on the basis of “taste,” as though they were talking about mayonnaise or Michael Jackson’s Thriller. This is a bogus argument. No rational argument can support any kind of taste opinion. Various kinds of preferred tastes are simply quirks of one nature that cannot be rationally argued.

      As I made clear in an earlier comment here, if, as a writer, you reject Microsoft, you reject OneNote. Doing that, you have blindly and without rhyme or reason made your job as a writer more difficult. It can be argued precisely, and with great evidential detail that there is absolutely no piece of software or combination of software products that can compete with the ease and efficiency of the OneNote / Word combination.

      Nothing beats OneNote as the work-space for beginning a writing project of any size. If it digitally exists, it can be collected and organized with OneNote. No webpage, PDF, photo, audio track, video, hand-written note, pencil sketch, or eBook will ever disappear ever again. Every thought you write, every great quote found, every photo or chart discovered, every crib, every digital element needed for your project, once stored in OneNote, can be quickly and easily retrieved and organized into your rough draft. It is the greatest zero draft creating machine that exists. Then, click, click, click, click – it becomes a Word document in folding outline form ready for editing.

      No other piece of software does that better. This is not opinion. It is a provable fact.

      PS: Fellow writers, please take a look at Fredrik’s comment just above this one. Fredrik said:

      “I created my own solution; one noticeboard nailed to the wall behind my computer and a large amount of paper, pens and colored post-it notes. All of my outlines, ideas and timelines are available at a glance, all I have to do is look up.

      Fredrik, you can do exactly that on a single OneNote page. Exactly what you have done, all on one page When I say “exactly,” I mean it would look exactly like your noticeboard. You can then place a “Back” key in the Quick Access Toolbar. One click and you return to your “Noticeboard” page. Another click and you return to your current draft. You don’t have to even “look up.” The difference between you and me is that I was willing to spend months of hard work discovering the capabilities of OneNote and the never-ending continuing effort toward adapting these capabilities to my work-style.

  57. Sandra Sims says:

    I guess I am old school because for years I wrote long hand. I still have half a novel on a yellow legal pad. But once my arthritis began to bother me, I had to switch to Word. But, I do not type very fast and wish I had something that could help me. I heard their is a voice activated software out there but do not know how to order it. Can you help me with that? Please.

  58. “Knock, Knock!”
    “Who’s there?”
    “MSW Who?”

    (awkward interruption)

    “Wow, it has been such a long time, and you haven’t changed at all!”


  59. All time favorite writing programs I use:

    Google Docs

    Wordpad(get Windows XP,or just any type of Windows program made 1999-2007)

    ~Currently writing Balenor on Google Docs.:-)

  60. Use what you like. I’ve tried a bunch of other software, and it is worth paying for MS Office. That’s me. It isn’t because I’m married to it. I use it because I like it.

    • Nelle, what the writers posting on this thread don’t seem to understand is that you can work exactly the way each of them have explained in MS Word. You can create a plain text template, for instance. Word is so powerful you can set it up in unlimited numbers of ways. They call that “bloat,” as if the capacity to accommodate every kind of writer eccentricity is some sort of defect. And if the Review feature is so bad, why do 99% of copy editors do their editing in MS Word?

  61. Holly Helmstetter says:

    I’m a linear writer. Most of my novels start out when a title or first line pops into my head. In either case, those few words somehow make it obvious to me what the book will be about. After the first sentence, the next one presents itself to me. With one of my books (written long ago on a manual typewriter) I actually was watching the page to see what happened next. (That was the very best, so far, that writing has gotten, for me.) I do sometimes rearrange scenes, but mostly I start at the beginning and stop when I get to the end.

    When I worked with my brother on a non-fiction book called WHAT TO SAY WHEN YOU TALK TO YOUR SELF, it was the non-linear sort of work where there were printed chapters all over the room, with constant changes of chapter heads (previous ones being scribbled out), constant changes of page number, etc.

    For fiction writing, or articles for magazines, what I really want is something that tells me if I make a typo or misspell a word, repaginates as I make changes that affect length, keeps a running word count and helps me do correct formatting for submission (whether for a publishing house or an online publisher such as Kindle.)

    Can anyone suggest something, preferably free, that does these things?

    • Why do you think it should be free? Creating software costs money. You wouldn’t expect a paper notebook, or a typewriter, or a pen to be free. Stop being such a leech.

      • Holly Helmstetter says:

        I said “preferably free”based on the fact that I have seen free downloads of similar items. I don’t mean I think they SHOULD be free—it amazes me that the Internet offers so many things, gratis, from people who apparently just want to share. Just at present I have unusually large demands on my resources, and find it prudent to prioritize expenditures.

  62. I still use Microsoft Word for some tasks, but I prefer Pages, Scrivener, Evernote and WordPress. Sometimes I use Google Docs.

  63. Word is not great, but I only ever tried Pages as an alternative. My version of Pages did not have auto-save. It was awful. Not sure I understand how in good conscience you can tell writers to use programs that don’t auto-save, such as simple text programs? Sorry to be a jerk about it. But “just say no” to data loss. It happens, but there is no moment in the writer’s life more awful than realizing that incredibly perfect chapter you just finished no longer exists.

  64. MS Word is not very good for creative writing type of work. I write short novels, and the many options provided by MS Word are very cumbersome and distracting. I simply do not need all of those options. I remember back in the days when I used to draft short stories on simple text editors in DOS operating system – those were the most productive days. I am glad to be aware of these alternative programs.

    I am not bashing MS Word in any way when it comes to other type of work. I work in the legal field and Microsoft Word is very useful, as I do actually use many of the options MS Word has to offer. But not for this type of writing.

    • Annalyse, I have a great suggestion, and I hope you give this a try. If you are using any MS Office Suite from 2003 on, you have a free copy of Microsoft OneNote. OneNote works seamlessly with MS Word. Most professional editors want you to send your work to them in Word. Kindle Direct Publishing will only accept Word. But you prefer working in a featureless text editor. You can do that in OneNote. When your work is finished, just a click or two and Bam! There is your manuscript in Word ready to send to your editor. (That is, after you correct all the misspelled words your featureless plain text application did not catch for you.)

      You won’t want to do this, but you can create multiple separate notebooks in OneNote. In each notebook, you can create multiple sections, and each section can have an endless number of titled, dated pages (subsections of the section.) that will carry an unlimited number of words. (It remains a single page no matter what you put on that page — anything digital)

      When you download OneNote for the first time, you open a pre-organized notebook that is virtually worthless. Create a new section in that notebook titled “Writing Projects.” Then delete all the other sections.

      To begin, you need just one notebook with just one section in that notebook. That section will have no pages (subsections), but you can create 10,000 pages as you go if you want. In my system, each current writing project lives on a single page in the writing projects section of my notebook. Subpages and sub-subpages under the Current Project page carry all my notes and research. Writing in the current project page, you are writing in a featureless text editor, because you don’t want features, not that good features don’t exist in OneNote; they do. However, plain text on each page (with spell check) is the default in OneNote.

      There is a steep, steep, steep learning curve to get to the point where you understand the mindboggling capabilities of OneNote, but if you will take my suggestion and operate in just one Notebook, with just one section in that notebook, and ignore all the lurking features, the thing is as easy as pie.

      Here’s something you can’t do with a plain text application — Save your working manuscript every day to an archive file with 3 clicks in less than 2 seconds. Simply create another section in your notebook titled “Archive.” Your daily work can be copied, moved, titled, and dated with three clicks in less than 2 seconds. You never have to “save.” Your work is backed up as you type.

  65. Cool list! The problem with word processors like Microsoft Word is that, though they have hundreds of features, they’re not built for writing books; they’re built for writing anything and everything. So when it comes to formatting or typesetting, it’s a pain. These are much better 🙂
    I also recommend taking a look at our Reedsy Book Editor, since it combines a simple, Medium-like writing interface with powerful formatting and typesetting, allowing you to export a flawless ePub and a print-ready PDF for free: https://reedsy.com/write-a-book

  66. CharlieSomebody says:

    There’s a really awesome program if you’re writing a book. It’s called yWriter and it let’s you plan out the whole thing – scenes, chapters, characters, and it’s really comfortable to use. It takes a few minutes to find out where everything is, but in the end, it’s really handy.

  67. Andressa A. says:

    I finally decided to clean my e-mail inbox, and this post was there waiting for me. I wish I had read it earlier! I haven’t tried any of the programs yet, but I was thinking about how Word distracted me just the other day. I have been using Word since I started writing, so I feel really insecure about leaving it, but I will give some of those softwares a try. Anyways, you gave me a lot to think about. Thank you very much! I’m totally sharing this post with a couple of my fellow writers. =)

  68. I’m sorry, Stephen, but all of your proselytizing for OneNote has turned me away from M$ for any writing software. Let me try to explain (which, I’m sure, you’ll ignore).

    I tend to write, then to edit, as two separate actions. I don’t want to decide on a font when I’m writing, preferring instead to focus on getting my words into a form that I can later edit. I like to create my initial thoughts in something that’s text-oriented like Notepad or (heaven-forbid, an MS-DOS word processor!) WordStar, then do later edits using something like WordPad.

    The editors I work with tend to prefer that I submit my work in “.txt” or “.rtf” formats, rather than “.doc” or “.docx” format, but I guess they’re in the minority (or maybe not). I send a text file to my editor, and then it is converted into my editor’s preferred format (often, though not always, double-spaced text in Notepad) before it’s sent back to me for comment. Of course, I always know what my editor is thinking based on the comments that accompany the edited text file.

    I’ve never had an editor ask me to submit in OneNote or Word format, and if he or she did, I’m sure I could accommodate the request, although I’d have some trouble with what came later, as I don’t have M$ Word or OneNote installed on my system. There is no reason to install M$ software if your editor or publisher doesn’t request it, and there is definitely no reason to pay for it unless you can be reimbursed on your tax return for it. I’d suggest you back off from the proselytizing for it. It ain’t working…

    (Yes, I meant to use “ain’t.”)

    • Bo Grimes says:

      R.P. write: “I’m sorry, Stephen, but all of your proselytizing for OneNote has turned me away from M$ for any writing software.”

      Um, you call it M$ and say you don’t have Word and OneNote installed, so I fail to see how anyone’s “proselytizing” here turned you away. Use it or don’t–I use dozens of tools, rarely Word and never OneNote–but don’t be intellectually dishonest. Whatever issues with Microsoft you have, you brought them with you.

      • The title of the article is “Writing Tools You’ll Like Far Better Than Microsoft
        Word.” Reading this article, then suggesting the use of Word and OneNote
        multiple times seems like proselytizing to me.

        Anything that has a cult-like mentality surrounding it is going to turn me away. I, too, use dozens of tools, and continue to search for even more, which is how I stumbled onto this article to begin with. Many of the comments here have suggested even more tools to research.

        If there’s any “intellectual dishonesty” going on here, it is making multiple comments that there is but One True Word Processor and making insulting statements about non-believers, or to accuse me of having “issues” with the world’s largest software producer because I chose to abbreviate its name rather than write out “Microsoft.”

        If I’ve made any mistake, it was feeding the trolls.

        • In response to R P;

          R P, you’re having a hard time understanding what’s going on here. Bo Grimes merely stated that my “proselytizing” did not “turn you away” from MS since you never had it’s products installed on your computer. And you seem not aware that every kind of Comment Section is for the purpose of both praise and criticism of the author and the substance of the article to which it is attached.

          Cult-like mentality?

          I cannot for the life of me think of any market niche except those defined by a theological point of view that can be described as “cult-like.” I am a rabid fan of the Washington Nationals. If that is “cult-like,” where is the authority figure who exercises excessive control over me and the other Nats fans? Will they come after me if I switch my allegiance to the Red Sox? Will the fans I leave behind consider this an unpardonable sin and use fear and intimidation to keep me in line? How has the Nats management usurped my power to think for myself? Can I be disfellowshiped?

          I am an “intellectually dishonest” troll?

          Who now is making the insulting statements? Bottom line: Your rejection of Microsoft in this way tells me a lot more about you than it does about Microsoft.

          PS: R P — all of my comments were designed to counterbalance the misinformation and disinformation of the original article and of those commenting in support of its theme and conclusions, including yours. It is sane, honest, and conventional to do this sort of thing. You have not challenged one single claim I have made in this entire discussion. I have every right to assume, therefore, that you are so far out on the fringe, you just don’t understand.

          • Bo Grimes says:

            “I am a rabid fan of the Washington Nationals.” Right? I usually have been to at least one home game by now, but haven’t made it yet. Oh to have been there for Harper’s first gland slam!

          • Bo,

            Yes, yes. I hope he stays healthy this year. My current writing project has me living on Long Island. I catch the Nats only when they play the Mets. I miss it so much. Thanks for the response. You made my day.

          • No, Stephen, I’m not having a hard time understanding anything. You are proselytizing by stating multiple times that MS Word is the only word processor anyone should ever use. The fact that you and Bo Grimes are doing such a thing on an article concerned with alternatives to MS Word should be evidence of who has the weaker position to defend here.

            There’s a reason I’m neither a Mormon, nor a Jehovah’s Witness. You figure it out…

  69. My biggest complaint about MS Word is the cost. I don’t really like spending that much money on an MS Office suite. The problem is employers want to know you are competent with Word. If you can’t navigate the ribbon menu efficiently you are handicapped. If you can’t format in Word you are handicapped.

    Since I bought an ASUS C300M Chromebook (the world’s cheapest Ultrabook equivalent) I have been mostly using Doc.google.com. You also can use Doc.google.com with literally any Web browser. The C300M is both ultra thin/light and has a 12-hour battery.

    A small number of employment websites will not recognize a “converted to .docx” from doc.google.com for uploading. They don’t have a problem with the google doc PDF format, fortunately. This may mean that I will not be able to directly publish e-books on the KDP because the conversion to .docx is not perfect.

    I don’t really see an advantage for making the interface “less distracting” for my kind of work but will freely admit that the amount of variation in personalities of writers are likely to produce people who compose most efficiently in a minimally distracting environment. I need the access to other tabs or windows to access my notes when composing.

    This was an excellent blog post for stirring up the cognoscenti. 🙂

    • Thomas Murphy says:

      Tom Miller :

      You could always try OpenOffice (https://www.openoffice.org/). It’s free, open-source software which competes directly against Microsoft Office.

      OpenOffice can save files in a variety of formats, including .docx and versions are available for a number of platforms.

      Alternatively, you could have a gander at LibreOffice (http://www.libreoffice.org/), another free, open-source productivity suite.

    • Tom Miller said:

      “I don’t really like spending that much money on an MS Office suite. If you can’t format in Word you are handicapped.”

      Tom, you can subscribe to the MS Office suite (Office 365) for $9 per month. And you don’t need to “format Word.” Just click on the App, click on the blank document, and start typing. It’s already formated by default.

  70. I’m an 82 year old techie dunce and all this time I thought my problems with word were my fault. I have just finished composing 30,000 words in Word. The possibility of being set free is like going home from school for the summer holidays: No more Latin, no more French, no more sitting on a rotten hard bench.” I just can’t wait to get started!

  71. Robert Bulger says:

    I like Storyist. I use it on my Mac and iPad. Work can be saved on iCloud and Dropbox. The function I like best is an area to organize thoughts, characters, and my story “universe.”

    I wish it had an interface with Grammarly (which should be considered another entry here). Grammarly allows users to create in or download into a top-notch grammar, spelling, and structure checking tool. Grammarly doesn’t have a MacOS Microsoft Word add-in, but does have a MacOS desktop app that works admirably. The desktop app allows you to create in an environment without distraction. For those that like to compose in Microsoft Word on Windows, they can use the really awesome Grammarly plug-in.

    I happen to really like Microsoft Word 2016, both on the Mac and Windows. The ribbons can be collapsed to minimize the impact the interface might have on the user. I like how Microsoft has embraced the cloud so that my Office 365 subscription allows me start a document on my work PC, fiddle on it again on my Mac, and then still later finish it up on my iPad.

    I hope this posts helps folks looking for something to help them get their thoughts down faster and better. Enjoy!

  72. Another nice alternative to MS Word is Nevron Writer. It provides most of the features of Word plus some more like generating and inserting barcodes, much better HTML import and export (including support for HTML5 and CSS3), but the most important features, which make it better than MS Word for writers is the built-in support for creating Electronic Publications (i.e. eBooks in the EPUB format) and its optimized performance. It is fast even when working with very large documents or books.

    More information and a free demo is available at: https://www.nevronoffice.com/products-writer-about.aspx

  73. I didn’t read all the previous comments, I will admit. I just came here to blow off some steam, because I am in the midst of fighting with Word’s penchant for thinking it knows what you want better than you do. In my experience it an exceptionally poor excuse for a word processor. Why should I have to fight with it to get my way? I am not a person who normally curses, but Word brings that out in me. I’m restraining myself from typing what I’m thinking.

    For the record, I used WordPerfect for a number of years, then was forced to switch to Word in the mid-1990s because that was what everyone else was doing. I’ve been using it regularly ever since, so it isn’t like I’m a newbie. The more I use it, though, the less I like it. You can do almost anything you want in Word as long as you have enough time and you can spare the hair you’ll pull out along the way. But if you want to have control over your page, and you want to get things done more quickly, get something else. [WordPerfect, for example, is vastly superior to Word, even in light of its penchant for crashing periodically. What I can eventually do in Word, WP can do in half the time.]

    Thanks for letting me vent.

    • Jeanne Voelker says:

      Several people here have said Pages is better than Word, but it’s unclear to me HOW it’s better. I have an Apple computer and composing on Pages is no problem, but then I have to change it to a PDF or DOCX to send it to others. Then, I can’t edit the new doc without it reverting to Pages. Am I missing a step or a shortcut somewhere?

      • Robert Bulger says:


        Let it revert to Pages so you can edit it, and then save it as .docx or convert it to PDF to send it to others. It’s not a big deal.

        — Bob

    • Basically, it comes down to what you’re used to. I have used Word for many years and have no problems at all. Other people are happy with other types of software. No-one is right or wrong, just use whatever floats your boat! It’s good to have recommendations for something new to try through, positivity is always a good thing…

  74. When I use MSW, I feel like the “ugly girlfriend”. You know – grateful, loyal to a fault, keep coming back because I don’t think I can do any better?

    Even though I may have to take a word processing self-esteem class first, I think I will try these out. I’m tired of using MSW simply because I have a POS computer with a hobbled printer and, therefore, have to keep uploading everything onto a jump drive, and take that awesome bus ride with the unwashed masses to the local library to print out my stuff.

    Now, what to do with all the time and bus fare I’ll save…

  75. Jacinto says:

    Hi: I would like to find a software to write that will assist you on replacing common words to formal or more professional words. Does anyone knows if there is a software for mac that can do that?


    • Robert Bulger says:


      I like Grammarly, but Hemmingway is very good as well. I’d check both of those out.

      Good Luck,


    • What you need sounds suspiciously like a “thesaurus”, that is, a dictionary that lists synonyms (different words with the same or similar meaning). macOS has a dictionary app built in (called “Dictionary”, d’oh), which includes a thesaurus. macOS also has tools built in that you can access the dictionary from within other apps. Just mark the word, right-click, and select “Look Up”. You’ll get a pop-up window that shows you the entry within macOS’s dictionary, and you can select and fine-tune where it should look up, and at the bottom, launch the dictionary app to look it up there directly.

  76. elgarak says:

    I never was an MSW addict. I was an MSW operator forced due to choices by people not me. MSW is a terrible writing program. Historically, it has evolved from a computerized typewriter to an enterprise text document handler, and no one involved in steering that evolution wanted to write. Consequently, I was never writing using Word… I was operating Word (better, forcing it to do my will) to produce a text, and most routine operations I was forced to perform to accomplish that were superfluous menial tasks that I shouldn’t have to do.

    Nowadays, I like plain text editors (with a simple markdown for structuring) like Byword for simple jotting down texts, and Scrivener for writing longer texts.

    Scrivener’s awesome. The best writing tool since, well, ever. All hail our writing overlord! (That doesn’t mean you have to like it. If your writing style is different than mine, bless you, don’t use Scrivener if you simply cannot bend your workflow to it. Your workflow is paramount. That said, if you truly think Word is the tool of choice, there’s something wrong with you.)

  77. I write using an HTML editor. Here’s why —

    * It’s WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get). This makes for easy editing
    * Put each chapter in its own file. Link them together in any order you like.
    * HTML displays in any browser simply by clicking on the file name
    * Free HMTL editors are available for any computer
    (for example, Kompozer, Bluefish, Seamonkey)
    * Anybody using any computer can read your material simply by double-clicking
    on your Table of Contents file
    * If someone requires Word files, just display your HTML in a browser, and
    copy-and-paste it into a Word document
    * Best of all, you’re not dependent on Word. When Microsoft goes to a new version,
    it no longer effects you. Think of that novel you wrote ten years ago in Word 97.
    Did you upgrade it to each new version of Word? This problem no longer effects


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