Best Free Text Editors for Writers

Best Free Text Editors for Writers

What is a Text Editor?

Text editors are designed to view and edit plain text documents. Text editors typically offer minimal built-in integration features and are a scaled down version of full-fledged integrated development environment (IDE) text editors used by programmers and developers for programming and web design. Text editors are ideally fast and lightweight and designed to edit a small number of text files at a time.

Text editors for writers often feature a distraction-free writing environment which promotes getting more words down on the page. Several of the best free text editors now include the ability to create private URL links or publish directly to social media for hassle-free sharing.

Advantages of a Text Editor for Writers

  • Less Distracting than busy word processor menus
  • No reminder beeps
  • Minimal toolbars
  • No notifications
  • Full screen mode reduces distractions
  • Some target a peaceful writing environment using backgrounds and sounds for mood enhancement
  • Features of the Best Free Text Editors Include
  • Separate Content from Presentation (formatting)
  • Search, Find, and Replace
  • Syntax highlighting
  • Fully customizable settings and preferences
  • Multiple tabs or window panes
  • Flexibility to import, export, and print in variety of file formats
  • Integrated or plug-in options to publish online or share work with others directly from editor

Notepad++ (Download Here)

  • Free and available for Windows
  • Still competes with the best
  • Easy to upgrade from Notepad or Wordpad
  • Plenty of features
  • Can customize interface for a toolbar as minimal or as rich as you want
  • Document map and tabbed interface
  • Expandable with plug-ins
  • Small download
  • Open source
  • Auto complete
  • Color coding of HTML syntax
  • Available as portable app run from flash drive or cloud storage

Draft (Download Here)

  • Free and browser based
  • Use left icon to customize settings like background colors and text, name view and import documents
  • Right icon accesses shortcuts for most used markdown formats
  • Use Hemingway mode: “Write drunk; edit sober” to quiet your internal editor when writing first drafts
  • Supports Word and Google Docs
  • Version control
  • Team collaboration
  • Analytics
  • Ask a professional feature lets sends your writing to staff reviewers for feedback.
  • Publish to WordPress, Ghost, Tumblr, Twitter, and other social media directly from inside Draft.

Atom (Download Here)

  • Free and Available for Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows
  • Launched in 2008
  • Nicknamed a “hackable text editor for the 21st Century”
  • Simple to use out of the box
  • Easily expandable using hundreds of packages
  • Now fully open source
  • Smart autocompletion of code
  • Multiple panes
  • Find and replace function
  • Tons of plug-ins
  • Open API
  • Tabbed interface
  • Makes every list of best text editors

Q10 (Download Here)

  • Free for Windows Only
  • Writer focused design
  • Optional version includes spell check
  • Full screen frill-free mode
  • Option for realistic typewriter sound
  • Just text with document stats like word count and page count at the bottom left.
  • Choose English or nine other language choices
  • Customizable settings let you program fonts, paragraph, text width and font color.
  • Comes with optional quick-text feature and auto correct
  • Has a built-in timer alarm for timed writing which also gives you the number of words written in that period
  • Make in document notes using the “..” to manage easily
  • Up to four customizable word counters
  • Open from multiple word processor and text editor formats
  • Customizable Autosave feature
  • Portable from flash drive

WriteMonkey (Download Here)

  • Free and available for Windows
  • Hassle-free zen writing app with a minimalist look. Formatting options are hidden but available if you want them.
  • Markdown compatible which means you can use tags to format text
  • HTML compatible per included instructions

FocusWriter (Download Here)

  • Free and available for OS X, Linux, and Windows
  • Full-screen text editor with customizable themes
  • More text formatting than Q10
  • Find and replace feature
  • Timers
  • Spell check
  • Daily progress
  • Translates to over 20 languages
  • Portable and can be used on a flash drive, remembers last thing you worked on.
  • Optional typewriter sound effects
  • Auto-save and spell check
  • Multi-document support
  • Typewriter sound effects (optional)
  • Not completely distraction free

Write! (Download Here)

  • Free for one year; $4.95 maintenance fee annually beginning year two
  • Available for Mac OS X, Linux, Windows systems
  • Simple, hassle-free text editor for writers, bloggers, novelists, and journalists
  • Sleek UI that runs on all major systems
  • Uses Native Cloud to keep data secure
  • Distraction-free full screen mode
  • Save files in multiple formats
  • Automatically saves text as you type
  • Top left icon opens menu bar
  • Basic editing features
  • Spell check as you go
  • Dictionary supports over 31 languages
  • Right click for formatting menu and links to reference sites like Google, Thesaurus, Wikipedia
  • Minimalist design
  • Features publishing feature to send your writing out to your editor or your followers
  • Use tabs, sessions, and folders to manage multiple projects. When you change sessions, the group of tabs changes too.
  • Productivity counters
  • Publish to web with unique URL you can share via email or social media. Changes to shared document are automatically updated online


We’ve included Celtx on our list of best free text editors for writers because it is specifically focused on features that are especially appealing and useful for scriptwriters. Whether you’re writing a full-fledged movie script or shorter ad or video scripts, you’ll find that Celtx will make scriptwriting simpler and faster.

Celtx does offer a fifteen-day free trial and a free basic plan for scriptwriting but the paid levels include features that help you schedule and manage all the details involved in getting your script and production team from first draft through production.

  • Available for Windows, iPhone, iPad, or Android
  • Industry standard scriptwriter
  • Import from FDX, .celtx, and other formats; Export to PDF
  • Many more features at the paid levels including:
  • Script industry standard auto-format
  • Drag & drop scene arrangement
  • Social media sharing of script excerpts
  • Private URL sharing of read-only documents
  • Use the script insights feature to set goals, track progress, visually see script content in real time

Any writer knows that available writing time is precious and often limited due to competing obligations in our everyday life. One thing you won’t hear a true writer complain about is having too much time to write. Choosing the best free text editor for your needs can greatly increase the amount of words you get onto the page during your limited writing time.

These are just a handful of the best free text editors for writers. If we missed your favorite one, please let us know in the comments. For more in depth details about two of the best free text editors for Writers look for our review articles on Focuswriter and Ommwriter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *