What is the best writing/editing software?

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    Can anyone suggest the best writing software that edits, checks grammar, spelling, vocabulary, etc, suitable for editing a paper, dissertation, or thesis. There are several online. I would like something one has used before and knows that it works very well.


    Iam right now working in Scrivener!  It is great – online and free!

    Rafia Faiz

    I used “whitesmoke” and loved it. Unfortunately, it is free to download as a trial version for seven days.


    Thank you Ylva Rancken-Lutz.

    I will try it. I never heard of it, or even came across it browsing…




    Hey Rafia Faiz!

    Thank you for confirming that whitesmoke is great. I came across it thru browsing, it was ranked 1st of the top 10.





    Thank you for confirming whitesmoke. I just bought but I have not tried it yet.


    Why use one tool?

    I have found that a combination (rather than one tool) is useful. For example:

    For multi-dimensional planning, Mind Genius or some other mind-mapping software works well. You can export it then to another tool such as:-

    For linear structuring, use the Outline View in  your main word processor

    For organising references, use End Note

    After that initial work, you should have a structure and should be able to avoid repetition or lack of clarity

    For the actual writing: Word or Open/Libre Office which can be saved in any format, including .doc and more recent versions

    For PDF output, Page Plus X6 is pretty good, and will produce E-books inter alia

    The important point is that in writing, as in the research itself, it is not the doing it which matters; it is what you do in preparing for it and what you do after it has been completed, that makes the difference.

    Good luck


    5th April 2012

    Clive Sims

    I believe that Scrivener is only a month’s free trial.

    Clive Sims

    I’m using Celtx. originally a screenwriting tool the latest version has is much more versatile. It is also free, not a trial version.


    Dear ALL,

    I have noted all your brilliant contributions. Have a wonderful weekend!


    Dr Jens J. Hansen

    I need to add to this discussion by telling you about “The Writer’s Diet” which is both a book and a smart little computer programme.  The Writer’s Diet as a book (Sword, Helen, 2010) details what is called a wasteline test.  That test refers to a computerised mechanism that can be applied to a sample of writing that indicates if your writing is Lean, Fit and Trim, in Need of Toning, Flabby or Heart Attack Material.  It then explains how you can err with respect to verbs, nouns, prepositions, adjectives and excessive written ornamentation.  

    The wasteline test that can be found on the web (http://www.writersdiet.ac.nz) allows you to insert a sample of writing and literally check out the fitness level of that sample.  Of course, the thing with a programme such as this is to treat it with caution – it’s a tool , not a writer’s elixir.  The author of this book and the inventor of this test is currently working on developing a desktop version that can be applied as you write.  And she agrees that because it is a tool, matters such as style must not evaporate from the writer’s mind.

    By the way, the advice about using mind managing/mind-mapping tools and then converting map items (and accompanying notes) into an outline that is then exportable to a word processing programme, makes a whole lot of sense.   So does the advice about using EndNote and outline from the view menu within MS Word.  Another tool top use is ‘Auto summarise’ although the 2010 version of word, regrettably, has left that function off the tools suite.  

    For more advice on writing, can I suggest that people have a look at my website http://www.woodhillpark.com  There are a range of resources within the ‘Articles’ drop down menu and also within the Categories section.  One of the more recent Blogs, for instance, details an alternative to EndNote and even though I personally have no quarrels with EndNote, I know many students have had issues with the software just weeks before thesis submission.  Happy writing, revising and yet more revising folks – remember, that’s the way of it all for successful writers. 




    You could look at Stylewriter, which is a plain english guide. It has a setting for academic texts, as well as technical reports, memos, student essays, and other categories of writing.  It scores Word documents (only – I think) from Excellent to Poor on three dimensions: the style index (use of jargon, technical terms, over-used words and phrases), average sentence length and passive verbs (to which academic texts seem particularly prone).   





    Thank you for replying informatively. I went to your website. I read about several issues, but A letter about referencing,  http://www.mendeley.com in particular, was interesting because I use it for easy referencing. I hope that others might use it as well. It has several search engines, which makes it easy to access various academic papers online…In-text and bibliography is great with mendeley…




    As a general guide book for writing a very useful text is

    Jean-Luc Lebrun

    Scientific writing: a reader and writer’s guide

    World Scientific,

    My paperback edition is dated 2007, but I would guess that there have been more recent ones.

    Although many of the examples are from the hard sciences, the principles apply to the social sciences as well

    Best wishes




    Thank you for contributing to this discussion. I’m actually reading about style writer… it looks like it is a good software…I have to compare it with whitesmoke, celtx, scrivener (suggestions by other bloggers)…This is exciting…


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