Best writing apps for Mac

If you write on your Mac, you want one of these apps.

The Mac is a great tool for writers, with a plethora of software available for any kind of writing. It doesn't matter if you're a student spending long nights on your big paper, a journalist writing up your latest scoop, or a novelist furiously typing away on your next opus — there's an app for you on the Mac.

Ulysses

Ulysses

Ulysses offers a full array of tools for writers of any kind. This app is easy to pick up and start using but offers a wide array of customization options for everything from writing to exporting. Choose to work in Markdown or create your own markup style. With Ulysses, you can also create your own writing environment with everything from background colors to fonts. When it comes time to publish, you can export your work in a variety of formats, including plain text, DOCX, and ePub. You can also publish your work to WordPress sites and Medium.

Your projects all sync with iCloud between Mac, iPhone, and iPad, with Dropbox support also available. The app also recently added support for Touch ID to keep your documents safe.

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Byword

Byword

"Simple but effective" is the best way to describe Byword. With this Markdown-focused writing app, you start with a blank document and just write. It's a minimalist app with only a few settings to fuss with, and Byword really only cares about getting you writing. Your documents sync between Mac, iPhone, and iPad using iCloud Drive, though you can also store them in Dropbox.

When it comes to publishing, you've got options for PDF and HTML. You can also post what you've written to blogging services such as Medium, WordPress, Tumblr, and Blogger, or you could send your document to Evernote.

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iA Writer

iA Writer

iA Writer's gone through quite a few changes over the years. Where the previous Pro app tried to break down your writing into a flow between notes and writing and editing, the modern iA Writer focuses on having your write in plain text, with full Markdown support. That's not to say that there aren't advanced features, however, as there are quite a few. Syntax Control breaks down your writing to show you the structure, highlighting adjectives, nouns, conjunctions, and more. Link to other documents in iA Writer to combine them into a single project, or link to images or spreadsheet files to see them in iA Writer's Preview screen in a number of different templates.

Like other apps on this list, iA Writer lets you publish to blogs, in this case, WordPress and Medium. You can also export your work in Markdown, PDF, HTML, and Microsoft Word.

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Scrivener

Scrivener

Scrivener is nothing short of a full-featured suite of tools for writers. Novels, scripts, essays, research papers, it doesn't matter, because Scrivener supports all of them. Organize your ideas on digital notecards and lay them out on the corkboard to see how your work fits together. Import images, PDF and other media you've used as research to refer to it later. Keep your work segmented for easier organization and edition, while maintaining its structure with the Binder. And each part of the app can be customized to create the exact writing environment that you need. It's actually hard to encapsulate just how many options Scrivener gives you.

When you're done, compile your project into a single document, and export in formats like DOC, rich text, PDF, ePub, Kindle, and even export for other apps like Final Draft. Away from your Mac? You can also check out Scrivener for iPhone and iPad, which lets you work on your Scrivener projects no matter where you are.

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Blogo

Blogo

Blogo is a standout amongst our selections here because while many of these apps allow you to publish to the web, that's Blogo's explicit purpose. Open up Blogo and sign in to your WordPress, Blogger, or Medium account and start writing those hot takes. Manage everything from your post's title to its tags, preview your posts, and images. Write in Markdown or rich text, insert inline HTML and code blocks, and keep track of your writing goals. You can also perform some basic photo editing, cropping and resizing photos, and even adding effects and filters.

While Blogo is free up front, you can subscribe to Blogo Pro for $2.99 per month (or $24.99 for a year) to get access to more advanced features. You'll be able to add as many accounts as you want, get access to the Media Search feature to easily find videos, images, GIFs, and more, and on certain accounts, you can even moderate and reply to comments.

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Bear

Bear

A relatively new app compared to the rest of the list, Bear might seem simple, but it offers a great deal of flexibility for handling text. It's true that Bear is good for both notes and todo checklists, but it's support for Markdown, a variety of themes, and simple organization makes it a great tool for many different kinds of writing. Add images, files, code blocks, and more to spice up your work and give it more context.

In terms of options, you've got few. Choose how to sort your documents, pick a theme, pick your font, and even control fine-grain details such as font size, line height and width, and paragraph spacing. Subscribe to Bear Pro for $1.49 per month in order to sync your documents between Bear for Mac, iPhone, and iPad.

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Pages

Apple's own writing app, Pages lets you create all sorts of documents. There are more than 60 templates in Pages, covering just about every kind of writing, from short essays to research papers. There are even templates for items like business cards and flyers. You can add images and shapes, layout your documents in different styles, and more. You can also secure documents with Touch ID if you have one of Apple's 2016 MacBook Pros with Touch Bar.

Pages also makes it easy to collaborate with other people. Multiple people, whether they're on macOS, iOS, or even Windows thanks to iCloud.com, can collaborate on a document at the same time. You can share collaborative documents publicly or with specific users, see who is in the document at any given time, and follow their cursors as they edit the project.

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  • iPhone and iPad, Free ($9.99 for pre-September 2014 iOS devices) - Download Now

Your favorites?

What is your writing app of choice on your Mac? Do you use one of these or something else? Let us know in the comments.