If you want the freedom to write without being overwhelmed by the number of features available in popular word processors such as Microsoft Word and Pages for the Mac, there are some excellent distraction-free writing tools.
You don’t have to struggle with complicated formatting, be baffled by how to generate a table of contents or be daunted by more features than you will ever need. The following distraction-free writing tools for the Mac, Windows and Google Chrome together with some web-based tools, will provide you with everything you need simply to get on with your writing without any of the unnecessary distractions.
Distraction-free writing tools for the Mac and Windows
The developers of OmmWriter describe their software as ‘your own private writing room where you can close the door behind you to focus on your writing in peace. Everywhere you go, you have access to a beautiful distraction-free writing environment where your authentic voice is free to go where it is meant to go’.
Although there is no set price for the software, a minimum of of €6.20 ($7.27) is recommended. However, the average offering is €8.12 ($9.52). You can download the latest version of OmmWriter for both Mac OSX and Windows here.
WriteRoom is a text editor for the Mac and is devoid of all the usual word processor trappings and so you are completely free to concentrate on your writing. If you want to imagine you are back in simpler times when all a writer had was his trusty typewriter, then WriteRoom is for you.
Although WriteRoom claims to be thin on options, you can actually make a number of adjustments including changing the font, scroll options, scaling, and spell checking. WriteRoom also features a few essential tools such as word count and auto save functions and it is free to download.
FocusWriter for Windows is a lightweight, basic text writer, which is completely free from the distractions of the more complex word processing applications. In full-screen mode, there are no toolbars, just a background and your text and so you are completely free to concentrate on your writing.
There are some additional basic features such as search and replace and custom themes and in preferences, you can turn on auto save and also set goals for the day (by time or number of words) which is useful for professional writers. FocusWriter is free to download.
Google Chrome distraction-free writing tools
Write Space is is a browser-based text editor for Google Chrome. You can use Google Chrome in full-screen mode and then simply start writing on Write Space completely free of distractions. At the bottom of the writing space you will find the total word count, total number of lines, and total number of characters (including spaces). All your notes are automatically saved locally and so when you open the app again, your notes will be exactly as you left them even if you are offline.
PillarBox is a free Google Chrome extension for writers who prefer a simple user interface rather than one cluttered with buttons and menus you probably never use. Pillarbox automatically saves your files locally and so you can work completely offline. So, to get back to where you left off, simply open the browser and start Pillarbox. The last thing you wrote will be shown inside of the browser window.
Web-based distraction-free writing tools
Write.app is a very simple web-based writing application which is described as ‘the most delightful writing experiences on the web’. It is free to use but if you upgrade for a one-off payment of just $5 not only will you get access to some exclusive premium features including being able to post public or private notes just by sending an email, you will also get a higher level of support with all emails answered with 24 hours or less. Everything you write is kept private by default but for notes you want to publish you can choose to make them public.
Koi-Writer is another web-based text editor which enables you to write completely free of distractions. The very simple text editor offers a variety of font and formatting options and you can change the background to fit your mood.
What’s your verdict?
If you try out any of these distraction-free writing tools do let us know what you think and whether you would recommend them. Or tell us if you know of anything better.