10 Free and Affordable Online Writing Tools for Students
- Nearly 3 in 4 employers strongly value written communication skills.
- Discover the best writing tools for academic and creative writing.
- Many writing tools and apps offer student discounts and free trials.
Based on the results of a 2021 survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 72.7% of employers said they look to hire job candidates with strong written communication skills.
Writing ability is valued across industries. Many professionals use written communication tools daily, including email, Slack, and instant messenger. A grammatical error or unclear point in an important work email could have significant consequences, such as losing a sale or causing a misunderstanding with your boss.
By improving your writing, you can boost your critical and analytical thinking skills. You may also increase the likelihood that your arguments and ideas will be well received by colleagues. Although there are many rewarding career paths for writers, you don't have to be a professional scribe to benefit from learning to write well.
Thankfully, many free online writing tools and affordable apps can help improve your writing. Whether you struggle with distractions, find grammar rules confusing, or need assistance organizing your thoughts, there is a writing tool that can help you.
10 Free and Affordable Online Writing Tools
5 Free Online Writing Tools
Grammarly bills itself as more than a grammar, punctuation, and spelling tool. Unlike other grammar checkers, Grammarly considers context when suggesting corrections. If you use "effect" when you should have used "affect," Grammarly should catch it. Grammarly also flags misused words, punctuation errors, and sentence structure problems.
Grammarly offers an add-in for Microsoft Office. You can also use it in many places across the web, making it a great tool for writing online. Premium and business subscriptions that add additional features are available.
Reedsy Book Editor
With Reedsy's book editing tool, authors can write, typeset, and prepare their manuscripts for both print and e-book publication. Reedsy claims to be the first free formatting tool that allows authors to export files compatible with several different e-book and print-on-demand services.
Reedsy Book Editor is available for all Reedsy members to use. To start, set up a free account and navigate to "My Books." There, you can create a book and begin writing.
Draft is a piece of writing, version control, and collaboration software. With Draft, you can save multiple versions of your work and easily compare them to see how your manuscript has changed over time.
Draft also helps co-authors and editors work together. When someone makes an edit in a shared document, Draft creates a new copy, making it easy to review, accept, or reject changes.
Draft features a host of additional features, including audio/video transcription, a presentation tool, and auto-simplification, which detects and deletes superfluous sentences to sharpen your prose.
The Hemingway app makes your writing more concise. If you write a wordy sentence, the app highlights it in yellow or red. Hemingway also identifies instances of passive voice and adverbs that may weaken your writing. If you're prone to using big words, Hemingway will suggest shorter, simpler alternatives.
While you can use Hemingway's web platform for free, a desktop app is available for both Mac and PC for $19.99.
Grammark is a free, open-source writing tool that identifies passive voice, wordiness, and lengthy sentences. Too few transitions can make your writing hard to follow, so it lets you know when your text is short on transition words, such as "despite" and "however." Grammark also checks your prose for casual language and grammar errors.
Grammark works best for academic writing. Unlike some other online grammar tools, Grammark doesn't flag sentence fragments, comma splices, or apostrophe errors.
5 Affordable Online Writing Tools
Mellel is a word processor for Macs and iPads. Creative writers and screenwriters can use Mellel's story tool to identify turning points in a narrative, develop timelines of events, and keep track of characters and locations. Academics may appreciate how it works with reference managers like Bookends to generate bibliographies.
Mellel supports several languages, including languages with non-Latin alphabets like Syriac, Arabic, and Hebrew. The normal price is $49; however, discounts are available for students and faculty. You can also try Mellel for free for 30 days.
Ulysses is a writing app that you can use on your Mac, iPad, and iPhone. The app features a clean, minimalist interface, which can help reduce distractions. Tools such as typewriter mode can also keep you focused on your words.
Additional features include a library to hold all your writing, the ability to save documents in different formats, and full iCloud synchronization. Ulysses costs $5.99 a month, or $49.99 a year. Student discounts and a free trial are available.
Scrivener is a word-processing program with useful features for writers of longform content. You can use Scrivener to create outlines, break a long manuscript up into sections, and draft sections in any order. You can also save your research in Scrivener and pull it up alongside your manuscript as you work.
Scrivener is available for macOS, Windows, and iOS. A standard license costs $49, with discounts available for students and academics. You can try Scrivener free for 30 days.
If you struggle with distractions while writing, OmmWriter could help. The latest version of this immersive writing tool features backgrounds and ambient sounds inspired by nature. Users can also choose instrumental audio tracks and backgrounds informed by color theory, which foster a sense of tranquility.
OmmWriter offers two experience tests to let you try out the software before buying. Purchasers of OmmWriter can set their own price.
Freedom isn't a writing tool per se, but it may help you write more. This website and app blocker is designed to safeguard you from distractions. Freedom lets you block a handful of sites, most sites, or all sites and apps for a specific duration. You can use Freedom on a set schedule or start a session whenever you choose.
Freedom is compatible with several different operating systems and can be synced across devices. A premium subscription costs $2.42 a month if you sign up for one year, and a free trial is available.
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