Writing Tools: 60 Formidable Tools & Resources to Improve Your Writing
As a writer, you should always be looking to improve your writing skills.
Fortunately, there’s a number of tools and resources we can leverage to improve at a faster rate than ever before.
Today, I bring you the most detailed and comprehensive list of writing tools on the internet.
Grammarly claims to be the world’s most accurate grammar checker. It runs in the background and works in real time, underlining any grammatical errors as you type.
The tool also features a contextual spell check (for correct spellings used in the wrong context) and vocabulary enhancement to improve readability. It’s a web-based application that runs within the Chrome browser as an extension – so it’s compatible on any machine that supports Google Chrome.
Freemium: Grammarly is free (with limitations), or you can upgrade to Pro for $99/month.
The Hemingway Editor is an online spellchecker on steroids. It improves your writing by highlighting long, complex sentences (as well as common errors). You can type straight into the tool for real-time suggestions, or you just can copy your completed draft into it.
It started out as an online-only editor, but the team behind the tool has since released a desktop version. The new version supports offline use and includes slightly more functionality.
Freemium: Hemingway App is free if using the web-based version. The desktop-version (for Mac and PC) is a $19.99 one-time payment.
Google Docs is one of the easiest, most popular ways to share your work with anyone online. Real-time and simultaneous editing allow you to work a single document between a group of people. Google docs also auto saves to the cloud so you never have to worry about losing your work.
It’s also useful when working as an editor for a project — this way, you can show your client exactly what you have changed and, most importantly, why.
Free: Google docs is free.
ZenPen is a web-based application that describes itself as a ‘minimalist writing zone’. The tool presents you with a completely blank writing space where you can be free of distractions. It’s pretty basic, but could be used as a free alternative to Microsoft Word.
Upwork is the “world’s largest online workplace”. You can use Upwork to work as a freelancer, or to hire a freelancer (which is what we’re looking at in this case).
Hiring a proofreader or research assistants to help you saves time and improves the quality of your work and it only takes a few minutes to set up a job as a client.
Premium: Upwork is free to sign up, but hiring is subject to a 2.7% fee, plus whatever you pay the freelancer.
Power thesaurus is an online, crowdsourced thesaurus dictionary. You can use it to improve your vocabulary which helps to make your writing more engaging.
Simply type a word into the search bar to get hundreds of alternative suggestions. The search results are also sorted by upvotes and downvotes which is really helpful.
Free: Power Thesaurus is free.
oTranscribe is a free web application that makes it easier than ever to transcribe uploaded audio clips and/or Youtube videos.
It prevents you from having to switch windows, gives you handy keyboard controls, provides interactive timestamps and even saves your progress automatically every second.
Free: oTranscribe is free.
Fresh out of ideas for blog posts and need a little inspiration? Try Blog Topic Generator. Just fill in the three fields with three different nouns related to topics that you’d like to blog about.
After a few seconds, you’ll be provided with a week’s worth of engaging topics that you can write about. You can repeat this as many times as you want, until you find one that clicks!
Free: Blog Topic Generator gives you 5 five topics without having to enter your email (otherwise you get a years worth of topics).
As you can probably guess, Word Counter counts the number of words you’ve written – but actually, that’s not all it does.
The online tool also counts how many times words are used throughout your text, which helps you identify over-used words and areas where you need to expand on your vocabulary. Just paste your text in and it will do the rest.
Free: Word Counter is free.
Scrivener is a comprehensive virtual ‘writing studio’. It allows you research, draft, write, and compile materials in one place. No longer will you have to worry about losing important files. Even better, Scrivener allows you to split the editor.
This means you can view your research materials while you write and avoid flicking back and forth between windows. Scrivener is desktop app that’s compatible with Windows and Mac.
Trial: Scrivener offers a 30 day free trial. After that it’s $45 for Mac, and $40 for Windows.
SlickWrite is an online proofreading tool that checks your writing for grammatical and stylistic errors. Paste your text into the editor on the website and the program will check through your work and point out areas that need improvement.
It looks at redundant words, overuse of adverbs and complex sentences, as well as other metrics like average reading time. Overall, this tool works great if you’re looking to make your writing more clear and readable.
Free: SlickWrite is free.
Headline Analyzer was designed to help you write better headlines based on an algorithm that grades your headline quality (including social media share factor). It can also tell you how likely it is to receive increased traffic as well as SEO impact.
Type in your headline and you’ll receive a breakdown on the amount of common, uncommon, emotional, and power words in your title – with some tips on how to improve. Your headline is always the most important element of your writing, so tools like this should always be welcome in your toolbox.
Free: Headline Analyzer is free.
Daily Page is a web-based application that helps you create a daily writing routine by leverage the power of habit. It works by providing you with a writing prompt each morning – giving you 24 hours to complete it.
The writing environment itself is distraction-free and you’ll get some additional stats about your writing along with a personal score. You can also choose whether to keep your daily pages private, or make them public.
Premium: Daily Page is $4.99/month, but paying annually brings it to $3.99/month.
Fiverr is a marketplace for creative and professional services from just $5. Type what you need into the search bar, and you’ll get an extensive list of people who provide services around that topic.
This platform is great if you’re looking to get something done fast, and there’s plenty of low-cost proofreaders and research assistants looking for work on Fiverr – handy if you’re a writer in need of help.
Premium: Fiverr is free to sign-up, but hiring freelancers starts at $5.
BuzzSumo helps you find topic ideas based on proven content. Type a topic or a domain into the specified area and search to find the high-performing content.
You can use your findings as inspiration for writing your own content. This could include blog posts, guest posts, or even ad campaigns. It’s an excellent tool for finding out what types of content people want to read in your niche.
Trial: BuzzSumo offers a 14 day free trial. After that, pricing starts at $99/month.
Expresso is a web-based tool that proofreads your writing and points out areas for improvement, including things like synonyms, weak verbs and filler words. It also provides you with an overall readability grade which is a nice metric to measure your improvement.
A nice little extra feature is the ‘clean text formatting’ button, which is useful if your copying edited text to paste elsewhere.
A simple program that generates random idioms. Select the number of phrases you’d like to generate, then push the ‘Generate’ button and you’ll be presented with a list of idioms – as well as an explanation of the meaning behind them.
This web-based tool could be useful if you’re looking to break the monotony of your writing, or if you’re writing something more creative, such as poetry.
Free: Idiom Generator is free.
Evernote is an organization tool. It makes to make your life easier by keeping everything you need in one place, accessible from any device with an internet connection.
You can create a to-do list for your project, take a picture, or add an important reminder note for later. Evernote is both a web-based tool and desktop application for Windows and Mac.
Freemium: Evernote gives you 60 MB/month across 2 devices for free. Upgrade to 1GB of uploads per month for $3.99/month or 10 GB for $7.99/month.
Content Idea Generator is a web-based tool that helps you come up with fresh content ideas based on titles related to the central keyword you feed it.
Just type your keyword in and click the button to generate ideas (you can keep clicking to cycle through different ideas). As a nice little bonus, the generator explains why it included certain words.
Free: Content Idea Generator is free.
Tone Analyzer is a web-based application that uses linguistic analysis to detect the tone of your writing. You can use it to change people’s perceptions of your writing and make it more effective depending on the topic.
When you enter your text, the program will analyze it to detect the levels of emotions it triggers, as well as language style and social tendencies of the piece. Useful if you’re aiming your writing toward a specific target audience and you need to strike the right balance in your tone.
Free: Tony Analyzer is free.
Prompts is an aptly named Apple application that provides you with useful and creative prompts as you write. It makes intelligent suggestions on what you should write next, as well as tracking your daily writing habits so you you can see which days your write most, and at what times.
The app also features daily writing reminders and allows you to store and sync everything to the cloud (such as Dropbox).
Premium: Prompts is a one-time payment of $2.99.
Dragon Dictation is a text to speech app. In other words, it runs in the background and transcribes your voice into words. All you have to do is download the software, speak into a microphone, and the tool will work it’s magic as you see your words appear on screen.
Most people can talk much quicker than they write, so this is a fast way to get your words down. It’s also hands-free, so you can do something else while you talk. It’s not just limited to writing in a document either – you can use it in any application and runs on both Windows and Mac.
Premium: Dragon Dictation starts from $300 for individuals.
Clippings.me is a portfolio website, allowing you to showcase your work to potential clients. You can customise the look and feel of your portfolio without the need to learn any code, embed multimedia elements (like video) and even track visits.
You also get a bunch of analytics to see how often your work is shared, with in-depth social statistics for each clipping and publication.
Freemium: Clippings.me is free up to 10 clippings, but paying $5.99/month gives you extras like unlimited space and the ability to use your own domain.
Ilys is a web-based application that helps you stay on track with your writing and ensures you spend your time on new content instead of editing old content. You tell the program how many words you want to write that day, and then you start writing.
The only thing you can see is the last letter you typed – Ilys doesn’t let you edit your work until you’ve completed your word count for that day. Instead of getting hung up on what you wrote earlier, you can focus on what comes next.
Freemium: Ilys is free up to 3,000 words, after that it’s $10.08/month.
AutoCrit is a web-based editing tool that enhances your prose and makes you rethink your wording. It works by scanning your writing and highlighting flaws such as repetitive words, overuse of adverbs and use of passive voice.
Premium: AutoCrit Editor is $29.97/month. AutoCrit Elite gives you access to exclusive weekly lessons for $59.97/month.
Novelize is writing software for authors. The main feature of the tool is that it allows you to access your work from anywhere while keeping your work backed-up at all times.
It also helps you track your writing progress by giving you daily, weekly, and total progress updates – as well as a weekly email report to tell you how you’re doing.
Trial: Novelize allows a 17 day trial, then it’s $5/month, or $45 per year.
Paper Rater is a web-based proofreading program that checks spelling and grammar, offers improvisations, and ensures content is not plagiarised. The tool also checks for errors and offers improvements where possible.
Freemium: For the most part, it is free. But, for extra features you will need to pay $7.50 per month.
Penflip helps you to write, share, and publish your writing. It provides you with a minimalist writing environment, allows you to share with your friends to gather feedback, and has a built-in ebook exporter.
The program also gives others the opportunity to make changes to your work. It’s up to you whether you accept or reject them. Every change is also recorded automatically, so you never have to worry about losing your work again.
Freemium: PenFlip is free as long as you keep your repositories public. To go private, it starts from $10 /month.
Rhymer is a free web-based rhyming dictionary. Just enter a word and the tool provides you with a list of different rhyming words. Words with one syllable are at the top and the number of syllables per word increases as the list progresses.
Paragraphs is a Mac only minimalist writing application. When you start writing, the rest of the interface disappears, leaving only your words. The design of this app allows you to write completely free of distractions, and there are no menus or toolbars – just you and the blinking cursor.
Premium: Paragraphs is available on the App Store for $9.99.
Storybird is a web-based, global publishing platform that allows you to share your stories and get feedback from people around the world. If your writing is popular, you might even get selected for the Promotion Program.
The platform exposes your work to a large audience and lets them connect with you directly by offering suggestions. If you tell entertaining stories and you’re looking for exposure, it might be a good avenue to get your foot in the door.
750 Words is a site dedicated to helping writers build healthy writing habits. The goal is to write 750 words a day – equivalent to 3 pages. Everything you write is private, so there’s no worry of others seeing your work.
The program also provides you with feedback on how well you are doing. For example, it tracks your writing speed, and how often you get distracted.
OneNote is a web and desktop application that allows you to create and store notes online. Instead of scribbling down notes on paper, keep them stored online with OneNote.
You can access the content from anywhere, even if you don’t have an internet connection. If you’re connected to the internet, you can also use it to collaborate with others.
iA Writer is a minimalist writing app that provides a blank text editor, specially designed to remove all distractions. Useful for writers who prefer to work in a simple, clean environment.
This desktop application is only available for Apple products.
Premium: iA Writer is a one-time payment of $9.99.
Word Count is a browser-based extension that counts how many words you’ve selected on a page and displays the result in the Chrome toolbar. This handy tool saves a lot of time since you don’t have to copy and paste text into a dedicated word count program.
If you’d like to count all words on a given page, you can simply press ‘Command + A’ on a Mac, or ‘Control + A’ on a Windows to select the entire contents of the page.
Free: Word Count is free.
Penultimate is an iPod app that allows you to handwrite your work without having to use paper. It provides a clean, simple writing space with all the tools you need as a writer, while remaining free of clutter.
It also includes Evernote syncing, so your notes are always available on any device with Evernote installed.
Free: Penultimate is free from the Apple App Store.
Write or Die helps you meet your word count goals. Enter the number of words you need to write along with your time limit. The interface will present you with a space to enter text, and if you stop writing, the screen will change color and music will begin to play as a ‘consequence’.
This is an interesting way to keep you ‘in the flow’ of writing by preventing procrastination, and forcing you to just keep typing.
Premium: Write or Die is available on the Apple App Store for a one-time payment of $20.
Quora is a worldwide question and answer website, and a great place for writers to find topic ideas based on questions (or audience pain points).
Users from around the world posts thousands of questions each day, so if you’re looking for inspiration, you’ll find it here. Unlike many other question and answer sites, answers on Quora are often clear and well thought-out.
Yoast SEO is a WordPress plugin that helps implement SEO best practices into your writing, perfect if you’re producing content for blogs or other online publications.
It checks keyword usage in places like your title, subheadings, meta description and even image alt tags. It also looks at other ranking factors such as content length and readability.
Free: Yoast SEO is free from the WordPress plugin repository.
Urban Dictionary is a crowdsourced online dictionary that contains a list of slang-words and phrases. When the user types a word into the search bar, a list of ‘slang’ definitions appear in the results with popular definitions appearing nearer the top. This may be useful if you’re writing a less serious piece, or want to add humor to your writing.
Free: Urban Dictionary is free.
Writefull checks your text against a huge database of correct language. You can use it in conjunction with any writing tool – from MS Word to Gmail. Just select your text and hit the short-key to activate the popover. A very useful way to explore how to use language in ways you might otherwise not have considered.
This is a desktop application available on MacOSX, Windows, and Linux. Since it requires the use of certain online databases, you need to be online for it to work.
Cliche Finder is a cool little web-based application that finds cliches based on the keyword you punch in.
Although you can use this tool to implement cliche’s into your writing, it might be better used to steer away from them, since – by their own definition – they’re overused and no longer interesting.
Free: Cliche Finder is free.
Ginger Software is writing tool that works as grammar checker, sentence rephraser, translator, dictionary and text reader. It’s useful for writers who make frequent grammar, spelling, or syntax mistakes and can also come in handy if you need to translate text into another language.
Ginger can be downloaded as both a browser-extension (for Safari and Chrome) and a desktop app (for Android and iOS).
Content Ideator is a web-based application used for coming up with blog titles and – of course – content ideas. Enter your keyword and the tool shows you similar posts published on that topic.
The premium version also enables you to see trends and statistics about each article, so you can check which articles are the highest performing.
Freemium: Content Ideator is free for basic use. For associated statistics, you’ll need to upgrade for $29/month.
LibreOffice is a free, open-sourced office suite that’s regularly updated and improved. It includes word-processing documents, spreadsheets, presentation documents, databases, flowcharts, vector graphics, and formula editing.
LibreOffice is an excellent free alternative to Microsoft Office (and you can even import and export MS Office documents). Best of all, it works Windows, Linux, and Mac.
Free: LibreOffice is free.
Mellel is an word processor for Mac and iPad – best suited for long, professional documents. It works by giving you a birds eye view of your entire document, listing out tables, images, and bookmarks so you can locate them easily. It also allows you to customize the style of your document and the design of this app makes it easy to keep everything organized.
Overall, it’s a great option for writers who are into producing in-depth, specialized documents.
Premium: Mellel is $19.99 from the Apple App Store.
1Checker is an Mac application that checks your grammar and spelling – powered by Artificial Intelligence and Natural Language Processing technologies.
It provides you with accurate proofreading, style reviewing, vocabulary enrichment, a comprehensive dictionary and even translation. Perfect for any writer looking to enhance their work.
Free: 1Checker is free from the Apple App store.
Writing Challenge Generator is a web-based tool that provides writing challenges for those looking for a spark of inspiration. You first select how many elements you want in your story (from one to five, or random) – then, you choose how many challenges you’d like to generate (between one and ten).
The tool will then come up with a specified number of scenarios in varying complexity, and you can go ahead and pick a scenario to write about.
Free: Writing Challenge Generator is free.
Keep Writing is a modern typewriter and plain text editor. Anything you write can’t be deleted, but can be written over if necessary.
This is a great productivity hack since it doesn’t allow you to polish your work until you reach your word count goal. Keep Writing is a desktop application available only on Windows.
Free: Keep Writing is free.
Ahrefs Content Explorer is a web-based application that helps you find content ideas. It works by searching the web for the most popular content around any given keyword, and popularity depends on how many backlinks, organic traffic, and social shares that the content has accumulated.
It’s an excellent tool if you’re looking for topics that are hot in a specific industry, so you emulate that success.
Trial: Ahrefs Content Explorer gives you a 2 week free trial, then it starts at $99/month.
After the Deadline offers contextual spell checking, advanced style checking and intelligent grammar checking. Like other checkers on this list, it uses artificial intelligence and natural language processing technology to find errors in your writing – as well as smart suggestions.
The tool can be used online and is available for integration with a large number of other platforms (too many to list here) – but you can find out more on this page.
Free: After the Deadline is free.
Proofread Bot is a web-based tool that looks to improve your writing by highlighting mistakes throughout your text. It even goes as far as offering explanations as to why it doesn’t like certain areas of your writing – including suggestions on how to improve.
Premium: Proofread Bot is $5 up to 50,000, $20 up to 250,000 words and $35 up to 500,000 words.
Write.App is a freemium Mac application that serves as a notebook and text editor. It’s designed to keep your writing private and secure, storing your text in the cloud so it can be accessed from any device using Dropbox.
You can work in fullscreen mode to help avoid common on-screen distractions, and even allows advanced customisation to get the look and feel you want (including the option to select different themes altogether).
Freemium: Write.app is free for basic use. You can upgrade for extra features at a one-time fee of $1.99.
Novelr is a web-based text-editor for writing and editing that can be used both online and offline. It backs up your work automatically, features a built-in word count, organizes chapters and even provides statistics based on your writing.
Trial: Novelr offers a 2 month trial, then it’s $10/month or $100 per year to carry on using.
I Write Like is a web-based tool that compares your writing to style to famous writers to see who you… well… write like.
It’s essentially a statistical analysis tool that looks at word choice and style. It then compares this personalised data to it’s sample library of well-known writers and brings the closest match.
Free: I Write Like is free.
Readability Test Tools is a web-based tool that analyses the overall readability of your writing. It works by comparing your text to a series of different readability indices and provides you with some useful statistics.
It’s great for checking the complexity level of your writing. This way, you can make sure your writing is appropriate for your audience. It allows you to paste text or enter a website URL, making it easy to test the readability of your entire website.
Free: Readability Test Tool is free.
Typing tests is an online tool used to discover your typing speed. Select a duration (between one and five minutes) and a subject and start typing. When the timer runs out, the tool will calculate your words per minute along with any mistakes you made.
This is a good way to practice typing faster and also measure your progression if you take the test in regular intervals.
Free: Typing Test is free.
Readability Score is a web-based program that scores your writing according to – you guessed it – readability. It scores you based on individual factors, but also aggregates that information into an overall average score.
The tool counts sentences with lots of syllables, passive phrases, adverbs, and cliches. It also provides information about the estimated reading and speaking time of your text.
Free: Readability Score is free.
Copy Paste Character is a web-based tool that provides a set of characters copy and paste straight into your work – allowing you to add some interesting and visual elements throughout your writing.
You can choose from an extensive list of simple images for free. Just click on an image to copy it to your clipboard, and you can then go ahead and paste it into your preferred writing application.
Free: Copy Paste Character is free.
Word to Clean HTML is a web-based tool that translates the formatting in your Word Document to Hypertext Markup Language. Useful if you’re uploading your document to the internet, but don’t want to lose the formatting.
Also, if you don’t know any HTML and don’t want to learn, you can just write your document in Word and then upload it. Easy.
Free: Word to Clean HTML is free.