Don’t judge me, but it turns out I am a Word Processor Freak (WPF).
I did a quick survey of my various devices and this is what I have, in alphabetical order:
- Atlantis Word Processor (PC)
- Bean (Mac)
- Daedalus (iOS only)
- Libre Office (any OS)
- Open Office (any OS)
- Pages (Mac)
- Scrivener (Mac or PC)
- Ulysses (Mac, iOS) (Try it out for Mac during NaNoWriMo )
- Word – Office 365 (Mac, iOS, PC)
- WordPerfect (PC)
For many authors these days, the ability to export content to an eBook is pretty important, so where it’s relevant, I mention it. I’ll also mention that with my writing, I want shortcuts for tasks, voice interactivity, easy editing, and portability to sharable formats and across devices. The program should not crash or perform badly with very large documents, which most novels tend to be, and it needs not to exceed my (low) tolerance for reading instructions.
This isn’t intended to be an in depth review of all these applications, but if you don’t like Word there are options out there from free to less than $50.00. And, believe it or not, I have some praise for Word.
Atlantis Word Processor
- Full-featured 30-day trial.
Most of my familiarity with this application comes from its ability to do an extremely good export to ePub. There’s a plug-in for it, and from what I’ve seen it’s just about the best, cleanest export I’ve seen. I’ve seen what Jutoh (a Word document conversion application) does under the hood for ePub, and there’s no comparison. Atlantis is superior. Jutoh and Atlantis are about the same price, so based on output alone, Atlantis would be my choice.
I poked around some to see if I might want to write in this application via the Windows virtual machines I run on my Macs. The answer was, not quite. But this is a great, lightweight application that does a lot. If you’re on a PC, check it out.
Not in active development so (lifts hands). I did try to write in it but it wasn’t what I need for my WPF disorder. You can still download it.
- $0.99 in the app store.
This is iOS only, that is, iPhone and iPad only.
I really wanted to like this more than I did. There’s a lot to love here, but it failed me on the portability fork of the test. There’s something of a learning curve with the way it uses gestures and stacking of documents/pages. I don’t have much time for a learning curve. It’s still on my devices because I can totally see using this for small form writing or emergencies. Export to pdf or ePub was pretty easy, too.
My main issue was that it struck me as geared for shorter material, not the sort of long form writing, versioning, and editing required for a novel. Without a seamless way to integrate with a desktop machine and back, I don’t see this as a go-to professional writing application.
I’m a curmudgeon. Libre Office was too much like my nemesis, Word. However, and this is key, it opened a large Word document with no problem. This means it passes the portability test. So, this could well be a great option for the budget minded or people who are wary of Microsoft’s push to the cloud.
My experience with this application goes back several years when I attempted to avoid using Word ever. At that time, Open Office billed itself as an amazing tool for a professional writer. That might have been true, but only if the professional writer’s document wasn’t a novel. Because Open Office choked on a 90,000 word document. My experiment ended quickly. Maybe it’s better now. I don’t know.
I’m a quitter. As soon as I spend five minutes trying to figure out how to do something that should be easy, I quit. I can’t figure out anything in Pages and it’s as pushy and overbearing as Word. So.
For many writers, this is a go-to program. For me, it’s not. I’m sorry. Personally, any application that needs How-To books and weeks long courses is an application that is too complicated for me. Obviously there are legions who disagree. I confess to liking a lot of the features.
See: Quitter, supra.
I just recently, as in a couple of days ago, got this program. It has an iOS app AND a desktop version. I’m looking forward to trying this out.
Right now, they’re running a “Try for Mac during NaNoWriMo” option, so if you’re nanoing, maybe check it out.
Word has versions for iOS and Mac OS, so this wins on the portability fork. I’ve edited in Word on my iPad with a document in Dropbox and picked up on the desktop and laptop, so, despite what I’m about to say, that is a huge, huge convenience. It works seamlessly across Mac and PC versions.
Word is my nemesis. I despise it. I hate that Word thinks it knows how I should write and how I should format what I write. It doesn’t. It’s wrong. I use it because I have to. But, it’s convenient to have, and (AM I REALLY SAYING THIS???) it could be worse. I know it could be worse because, in fact, Word used to be even worse.
- $179.00 (Full version. Currently on sale)
This is the program I do most of my writing in. It does a great export to xml and it’s better than Word. It allows me to format the way I want and need to format. It’s the reason I run Windows virtual machines on my Macs. The current version is X7. I hear that version X8 will feature direct integration with Dragon Naturally Speaking, which I’m looking forward to and will immediately buy.