The 7 Best Writing Apps for Your Mac
Whether you’ve just bought your first Mac and are setting it up for work or you’d simply like to explore new writing software, finding the right one can be a bit of a hassle.
Well, do not worry. We’ve scoured the App Store, so you don’t have to, and here are some of the best writing apps for Mac we think you’d find pretty useful.
Let’s begin with a pretty efficient app that’s pre-installed on your Mac: Pages. Since it’s a default macOS app, it’s free, and you needn’t pay a fee to use it. As with most Apple products, Pages has an intuitive design.
However, there are tips and tricks to help you navigate Pages on your Mac for a more seamless experience. The basic formatting tools are on the right, and the options to insert items and comments are above, leaving you with a relatively clutter-free and simple workspace.
You can choose from a relatively extensive and fun array of templates, and once you create a new document on Pages, it’s saved automatically to your iCloud Drive. That way, you can work on your projects across your Apple devices (iPhone, iPad, and Mac), easily collaborate with your colleagues in real time, and secure your documents using a password.
Download: Pages (Free)
2. Microsoft Word
Microsoft Word is relatively more universal and accessible. And it has been the industry standard in the publishing world for decades. If you’re working on a book, there’s a high chance your editor works with MS Word. So, to avoid not being on the same page with your editor, you can opt for MS Word, which you get full access to once you obtain a Microsoft 365 subscription or purchase a license.
In return, you get a word processor packed with several formatting features. There’s a built-in grammar and spell-checker, an outliner, a translator, a thesaurus, and a dictation tool. And if that’s one too many features, because the presence of too many icons can be distracting, there’s a Focus mode to help with that.
On top of that, Microsoft Word is a writing app that most people switching from a PC to a Mac may find familiar and convenient to work with.
Download: Microsoft Word (Requires Microsoft 365 subscription, $6.99/month)
While most traditional word processors merely provide you with a blank page, Scrivener offers writers an entire room filled with shelves. This organized system makes the process of organizing research materials and working on elaborate projects much easier.
You can create multiple sub-files, view chapters as index cards, and easily move sections around. There are also a bunch of helpful templates to choose from, depending on what your writing project is. Getting used to such a technical workspace might take a while, but there’s a pretty detailed tutorial that walks you through the entire process of using Scrivener on your Mac as soon as you launch the app.
Once you get the hang of it, you might see a boost in your productivity. That might be because of the customizable word target that encourages you to achieve your daily writing goal and track your progress or the flexibility that comes with jumping back and forth between different chapters of your book as inspiration hits or referencing research material very quickly.
Download: Scrivener ($59.99)
4. MarsEdit 5
With MarsEdit 5, writing and publishing blog posts becomes a quicker, more efficient, and relatively more enjoyable process. One thing many web writers know is writing directly on your hosting site is a tricky thing. In an instant, you could lose hours’ worth of work.
And with many word processors, there’s a good chance your work could end up collecting strange code, which you may have to spend extra time cleaning up. And that leads many writers to write in Markdown.
Fortunately, MarsEdit 5 ensures you can write at your own pace, never worry about losing your work, explore the software’s rich text editor and Markdown tools, and publish your work easily.
Download: MarsEdit 5 ($59.99, free trial available)
Ulysses makes the list of writing apps you should try on your Mac because it’s simple and efficient. Its minimalist design provides you with a distraction-free workspace suitable for nearly every writer.
Like Scrivener, you can set your daily word count goals, and a visual progress bar helps you monitor your progress. And whatever progress you make, be rest assured it’s backed up to your iCloud. And you can continue editing on your iPhone and iPad, provided all your devices are logged in under the same Apple ID.
While working, the grammar and style checker helps improve precision and accuracy. And when a thought comes to mind, you can easily stow it away in a native note section. The app also has Markdown tools that help with formatting.
Once you finish your project, you can export the work in whatever format you require or publish it directly to your Ghost, Medium, WordPress, or Micro.blog sites.
Download: Ulysses ($39.99/year or $5.99/month)
6. Drafts 5
Drafts 5 can help you write almost anything—even code. The app is designed to collect every and any thought you may have, then help you elaborate on them, and send them off wherever. And by wherever, it could be via messages to your mom, email to your boss, tweet to your friends and followers, or straight to your WordPress blog. You can even update your Reminders list.
You could start typing on your Mac, and when inspiration hits, pick up where you left off using your iPhone, iPad, or Apple Watch. And with the dictation tool, you could even go hands-free. And all of your work can be saved to your iCloud, DropBox, Google Drive, or Box accounts.
On the Pro version, you can create workspaces and assign separate work environments within the app to different projects. You can also script actions in Drafts 5—a feature that would certainly appeal to the writer who dabbles in programming from time to time.
Download: Drafts 5 ($19.99/year or $1.99/month)
7. Final Draft 12
Final Draft 12 is for scriptwriters. And it appears to be the industry standard among professionals in the entertainment industry for writing screenplays, stage-plays, graphic novels, and musicals.
It might be pricey, but the free trial version might convince you that every penny you spend on the license is worth it.
First, there are several templates to choose from. And as you write, the SmartType menu guides you through the various elements of your screenplay. Features such as the Story Map, Beat Board, and Navigator also help you keep sight of your story.
With the dictation tool, you can make craft dialogues that feel natural. And you can even create a virtual writer’s room of some sort and work together on a script with your team in real-time.
Download: Final Draft 12 ($199.99, free trial available)
The Best Mac Apps for Writers
Much of writing is struggling to articulate thoughts and express facts in the best way possible. The process is already tedious, so you don’t need to struggle some more with your tools.
And using the right tools can certainly make the process a lot better. From carefully choosing your writing apps to working in dedicated spaces or implementing useful tips and tricks, there’s a lot you can integrate into your creative process for a better workflow.