Best writing apps for Mac

From letters and memos to novels and screenplays, these are the best writing apps for Mac

Keyboard cases be damned, there's no better writing tool on the planet than the Mac, if you've got the right apps to get the job done, of course. Text editors are one thing, but full on-writing tools are something else entirely. Luckily, the Mac App Store is full of apps specifically made for general purpose writing. Whether you're a journalist, student, screenwriter, blogger, or even a novelist, there's something for everyone. If you're having trouble deciding which one is right for you, these are currently the best Mac apps currently available when it comes to long form writing!


Byword is one of the simplest writing apps available for Mac and supports Markdown for writers that plan on exporting to a content management system. iCloud sync is included so you can seamlessly sync all your documents across iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Customizable fonts, a dark theme, and more are all customizable options as well. A one time in-app purchase of $4.99 also gets you exporting options to the publishing platform of your choice. Byword currently supports Wordpress, Tumblr, Blogger, Scriptogram, and Evernote Notebooks.

If you want simple, distraction free, and easy publishing options across iOS and OS X, get Byword.

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iA Writer Pro

iA Writer Pro works as a series of different workflows that reflect the stage of writing you're currently in. Note, write, and edit stages all feature different fonts and interfaces that mesh the best with how we concentrate during different stages of the thought process. Read mode functions in the same way. iA Writer Pro fades everything but the current sentence you're working on so you can focus better. Syntax Control highlights different word types so you can avoid duplicate and superfluous usage with ease.

If you need help concentrating on what you're writing and prefer an app that guides you though the actual writing process, give iA Writer Pro a try.

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Write is a beautifully created writing suite with full Multimarkdown 4, drag and drop image support, and lots more. You can link up your Dropbox, Google Drive,, and SkyDrive accounts to access documents. Write also supports full iCloud sync for tags and all notes so you can pick up where you left off on your iPhone or iPad. And for times when you need to scribble thoughts quickly, Write can sit in the menu bar patiently for one click access. The dark theme featured in Write is one of the most beautiful I've ever used, a bonus for those that do a lot of heavy typing after hours.

If you want a fully functional writing app with an interface to boot, Write is as good as it gets.

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WriteRoom is another simple writing app with support for Markdown. Themes are fully customizable as well as shareable so you can make a writing space that's your own. WriteRoom also features commands on sentence, word, and paragraph levels for complete control over how you write. Like iA Writer, WriteRoom can also give you reading times. One thing that makes WriteRoom unique is its ability to let you track and log your writing time and export it to a spreadsheet.

If you don't need Markdown support and care more about customizing and controlling your writing environment, WriteRoom is the perfect choice.

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Ulysses III

Ulysses III is a full featured writing app for Mac that gives you complete control over how you write, where you store it, and how you can interact with it. From different styles of Markdown syntax, to live previews, to groups, filters, and more, Ulysses III is by no means short on feature set. For those writing long papers, Ulysses III has excellent support for footnotes and citations as well. For when you aren't on your Mac, Ulysses III can integrate with Daedalus Touch for on the go writing.

For a complete writing suite with an interface as great as its feature set, look no further than Ulysses III.


Scrivener is an all-in-one writing suite for anyone who's serious about hammering out serious content. From dissertations to screenplays to novels, Scrivener was made to handle anything you can throw at it. With support for MLA and APA style essays built right in, it's great for college and graduate students with heavy writing loads. You can also import text files from pretty much any file type imaginable. Whether you're a lawyer writing lengthy briefs or a novelist working on your next book, Scrivener has you covered.

If feature set is something you aren't willing to compromise on, Scrivener is what you're looking for.

Your picks for best Mac writing apps?

No matter what kind of writing you do, we feel the above apps will cover the needs of a pretty broad audience of writers. But as always, we know you guys do a fair amount of digging in the Mac App Store as well. If you found something we left off or you use something different, let us know what and why in the comments!

Note: Originally published, December 2013. Last updated, October 2014.