Best Book Writing Software Free

The best book writing software can be tricky to find. Writing a book is hard. When you’re not sure what to write, it’s easy to get stuck.

Writing books also takes a ton of time and focus—things that are in short supply for most new authors.

If you want to write a book, you need book writing software that’s up to the task. Yes, you can invest in dedicated book writing programs. But you don’t have to: a great writing tool is likely already at your fingertips, if you know how to write a book using Microsoft Word.

In this guide, we have put together the best free book writing software for Windows and Mac that will make your task easier. Read on!

Best Book Writing Software Free

Free Book Writing Software

Not everyone can afford to go all-in on writing their books, and it’s not always necessary. While paid writing software options allow for additional features and support, you can still write an incredible book with the various free ones out there.

Here, we’ll cover the 4 best free writing software (with other free options listed in the Distraction-Free Productivity section below).

#1 – Google Docs

We’ve looked at the appealing simplicity of Word and the in-depth power of Scrivener, but there’s another book writing software that more and more people are starting to use for various reasons:

Google Docs.

Essentially, Google Docs is a stripped-down version of Word that you can only use online. It’s a simple, yet effective writing tool.

The beauty of this program (and Google Drive in general) comes in the ability to share content, files, and documents among your team. You can easily communicate via comments, for example:

This program keeps a complete history of all changes made to a document, so if you accidentally delete something you wanted to keep, simply click the link at the top of the screen that says, “All changes saved in drive.”

That will bring up the version history, where you can review all the changes that have been made to your book file and revert to a previous version if you so choose.

Google Docs doesn’t require any installation and can be accessed anywhere via your browser, or an app on your phone.

(Anyone who has ever lost a draft of a book understands how valuable this feature is!)

Plus you can access your work when you move from one location or another—no carrying a laptop or thumb drive around with you. When you share a book draft with others, like test readers or your editor, they can comment directly on the draft using the built-in comment functionality.

Out of the “big 3” book writing software tools, Google Docs is probably the least sophisticated when it comes to formatting and outlining tools. But it makes up for that with easy collaboration, sharing, and online access.

Key Features:

  • Auto save
  • Sync across many devices
  • Visible outline on left sidebar option
  • Commenting/suggesting and editing features
  • Spellcheck and compatible with grammar softwares (grammarly)
  • Offline mode available
  • Speak-to-text capabilities
  • Easy to organize and save drafts in folders


  • Purely for writing or editing
  • No plotting or character assets
  • No tracking or progress updates
  • Can’t easily see word count

BEST FOR: Writing Collaboration & Editing
TYPE: Word Processor

Click here to get started with Google Docs.

#2 – Notion

Notion is technically not solely a writing app, but it has capabilities to outline, writer, and house details inside the app. This is actually an app that feels like a combination of Google Docs meshed with a tasking system, folders, calendars/boards, and more.

Using this app as more than JUSt a writing software is typical. Personally, I use this to track finances, ideas for businesses, grocery list, and various book ideas as they come up.

So keep that in mind as you read these features—it’s not solely made for books but can be used that way. We’ve actually create both fiction and nonfiction book templates you can use in your very own Notion account—just click here to grab one of those.

That being said, there are a ton of features wrapped up in Notion, too many to even count out, and it’s really customizable if you’re someone who can get a handle on new tech quickly. You’ll be able to create your own frameworks for your outline, notes, and character profiles that you can save as templates for more books.

Ultimately, this is great for someone who wants their writing software within another they can use frequently for other purposes, as well as someone who is more tech-savvy and wants to really customize their book writing process.

notion book writing
notion character template

Key Features:

  • Easy to create your own version of an outline
  • Several different functions that can be used for characters, plotting, outlining
  • Access across all devices
  • Offline mode
  • Auto save
  • External sharing via link with commenting
  • Folders organized by favorites and emojis
  • Calendars, charts, boards for tracking
  • Board-style chapter and scene breakdowns available
  • Customized experience you dictate in full


  • It does take a while to understand all the features
  • Not solely for book-writing, so lacking built in features for that
  • You have to make your own book templates to reuse

BEST FOR: Advanced Writers & Planners
TYPE: Notes, Tasks, & Writing
PRICING: Free for a personal account (upgrades for teams or unlimited personal)

Click here to get started with Notion free.

#3 – Evernote

Evernote is a note-taking app. It’s a great way to keep track of your thoughts—like brainstorming ideas, outlining chapters, and jotting down inspiration when it strikes.

The mobile app is particularly useful for capturing new ideas when they strike, since most people have their phone with them 24/7.

Evernote as a writing software is comparable to Notion in that it’s not meant solely for writing, but has many functionalities that can aid the writing process as a whole.

While you can use Evernote to write content—I’ve used it for writing blogs and other small sections of books—you wouldn’t want to use it as your main word processor. Its functionality is a bit too limited.

While Evernote has been around for a little while, they seem to always be expanding on their features, making it one of the best writing softwares out there.

But as a way of keeping track of ideas, it’s a great find.

evernote on mobile

Key Features:

  • Syncing across multiple devices (if you pay for multi)
  • Auto save
  • Easily searchable
  • Template creation
  • Several templates available to use
  • Document scanning and uploading for notes/ideas
  • Create tasks to keep you on-pace with writing goals


  • No writing-specific functions
  • You have to tailor notes and functions for your writing preferences
  • Free account has minimal monthly uploads (60MB)
  • Offline mode only available for paid

BEST FOR: Advanced Writers & Planners
TYPE: Notes, Tasks, & Writing
TECH LEVEL: 3.5 / 5
PRICING: Free for 2 devices, upgraded versions available with more features

Click here to get started with Evernote.

#4 – OpenOffice

You may know of this software, you may not. Essentially, it’s a free version of a word processor much like Word or Pages. If you don’t have Word on your computer and can’t afford to buy it, this is a great alternative that’ll get the job done.

The capabilities are pretty limited with Open Office but if you really only need the basics and don’t want to spend any money, this is the perfect writing software for you.

Here’s what this book writing software looks like:

a bank new page on Open Office

Key Features:

  • Simple interface
  • Word processor with spell check 
  • Accessible to almost anyone
  • You can write your book all in a single document
  • Exporting options 


  • You can’t easily adjust the file type
  • Only OpenOffice users can collaborate in-document
  • Doesn’t have book-specific features for plotting or characters, etc.
  • It has an older-looking interface (can be a pro to some people)

BEST FOR: Beginner Writers
TYPE: Word Processor

Click here to get started with OpenOffice.

book writing software free online

If you haven’t found the right writing tools yet, consider one of these free writing software options. There are so many word processors these days, so we’ve provided the pros and cons for each one to help you decide.

1. Google Docs (iOS/Mac/Online)

google docs logo

Google Docs is simple and doesn’t offer a ton of bells and whistles. Nonetheless, for writers who are easily distracted, the simplicity might be the key to focusing.

 Pros ????Cons ????
• The automatic save function is a lifesaver for writers who often forget to save their work. Never lose another word of your work with Google Docs!• There are no complex organization or planning functions. This might not work for writers looking to easily organize their ideas, characters, or plot.
 • You can access your writing from anywhere because all documents are saved to the cloud. • This might not be the best option for writers without a steady internet connection.

2. yWriter (Windows)

ywriter6 logo

If organizing is important to you, you’ll love yWriter. This free writing software allows you to organize your plot and character development with ease!

 Pros ????Cons ????
• Organization features! Your writing can be organized by scenes, rather than lengthy chapters. yWriter offers the ability to drag and drop scenes to rearrange your writing any way you want.• yWriter is only available for Windows right now, but a Mac OS version is on its way!
• Lots of stats data. Use this feature to keep track of your writing goals and progress.• Some of the additional features can be distracting for writers who struggle to stay focused.

3. FocusWriter (Windows, Mac OS, Linux)

free writing software

FocusWriter is the ideal tool for easily distracted writers. Sometimes, technology can be awfully distracting. Having too many features in your writing program can be too much clutter to focus on writing!

 Pros ????Cons ????
• A clean, distraction-free interface that lets you focus on what matters: your words!• No additional features.
• Available for many operating systems.• Not ideal for writers who need organization or for those who often research while writing.


Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

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