Whether you're crafting a novel, writing an important email, or just jotting down some thoughts, there's an app for it. In this guide, we explore a variety of writing apps designed for Mac users. To help you choose, we've focused on each tool's unique features and the tasks it does best. Without further ado, let's dive into the options.
Pages is an elegant, intuitive, and free built-in tool for creating documents on the Mac. It comes with powerful layout tools, making it one of the best free writing apps. If you know how to use them and have good taste, you can create a really attractive document.
You can start from scratch or choose one of the numerous templates – a letter, a flyer, a report, or a book. Your work with tables, charts, and figures is a breeze here because each element can be customized or changed – in shape, color, size, etc.
Pages is also great for teamwork: multiple people can view, edit, or comment on the file simultaneously.
Tip: getting your thoughts down on paper quickly before the idea slips from your mind is important. If you'd like to speed up your typing, try KeyKey Typing Tutor. This program will teach you to type quickly without looking at the keyboard.
Bike is a writing tool designed for text only – no tables, images, or audio. It will be a boon for those who like to write in a focused manner.
Writing here is organized as hierarchical rows, so each note can be minimized to the size of a single line. To focus on your work, you can switch to typewriting mode (which keeps the line you are working on in the center of the sheet) or focus mode (which dims all lines except the one you are working on). You don't even have to take your eyes off the keyboard while writing – all text-editing commands can be performed using keyboard shortcuts.
Google Docs are web documents that live in the cloud and look a lot like a Microsoft Office document. They are ideal for teamwork because:
- Multiple people can make changes to the document simultaneously, and those changes are visible immediately.
- Users can leave comments and suggestions on the document.
- The document owner can grant access at different levels: for viewing, commenting, or editing.
All document versions are saved, so you can always see who made changes to the file, and you can restore any previous version of it.
Other nice little touches that improve the writing experience include voice typing and integration with Google services (for example, you can easily create notes tied to a calendar event).
Tip. Do you have to write the same thing over and over again? For example, a boilerplate paragraph in your documents or your company's address. This tedious work takes a lot of time. Collect all those text fragments in the Rocket Typist app. With a custom shortcut, you can call up a menu with these text fragments and quickly insert them into your document. You'll be surprised how much time Rocket Typist can save.
Craft is your go-to writing tool for creating beautiful and highly functional notes. And it's not just words: If you rely on templates, you can easily get a document that looks like a designer's work. Craft is great for creating follow-ups, instructions, employee handbooks, trackers, and more.
You can easily include drop-down text, lists, calendar events, and links to other documents as you write. Share your notes with friends or colleagues for joint editing or feedback. And when you need a hard copy or a different format, exporting your notes to PDF or Word is just a click away.
Diarly is the best writing tool for Mac for those who love to document their daily life, thoughts, and memories. You can safely write your heart out in this diary because it's easy to password-protect. And thanks to syncing with iCloud, your notes are always at your fingertips. And we promise: you've never had a diary this good.
You can add photos and map tags to your notes or mark your mood as an emoji in the calendar. All your photos for the month are grouped into albums, making it easy to reflect on the time you've spent.
And if you've often given up on keeping a diary, this app can help you develop your writing skills. You can set the number of words you want to write each day and reminders when it's time to journal.
Elephas is an AI writing software for Mac. It's great for professional writers, amateurs, and anyone who needs to create any text, from emails to presentations.
The app helps you eliminate writer's block and even does some tasks for you. Elephas writes blog posts and emails, finishes a text you started, corrects grammar, summarizes, translates, etc.
To make a copy sound like you, create personal tones of voice. To do this, add examples of your texts or texts with a style you like. The AI will adjust and write in that style.
And just in case, know this: Elephas can create GSheet and Excel formulas (you just have to describe what the function should do in words) and KeyNote presentations based on the title.
Tip: While Elephas excels at a range of writing tasks, for those looking to streamline their email communication specifically, consider integrating Ready to Send into your workflow. This AI-powered app generates draft responses to your emails, tailored to your personal or professional writing style.
Evernote brings together all your notes and writing, tasks, and plans to help you stay organized in the flow of your daily tasks. Its standout feature is creating notes in text, audio, web clip, or sketch format.
The app syncs with Google Calendar to keep your to-dos and tasks at your fingertips and sends reminders so you don't miss deadlines.
Another idea promoted by Evernote is to get rid of paperwork altogether. You can scan tickets, invoices, business cards, warranty cards, etc., and have them at hand at all times. And thanks to AI search in your notes, you can always find what you need.
Tip. Got a large text and need to clean and format it in a few clicks? Try TextSoap. It automatically removes unwanted formatting, fixes common typos, changes case, removes extra spaces, and more. TextSoap can even extract text from an HTML source. It's a boon for lawyers, researchers, editors, technical writers, etc.
Focused is a minimalist Mac writing software designed to keep the writer away from distractions.
When you start working, a blank page opens in front of you. There are no menus, buttons, or anything else to get your attention. In focus mode, all text except the sentence or paragraph you're working on is dimmed. And in Zen mode, it's even better. A blank paper fills the screen, and relaxing music plays in the background.
To format text, use keyboard shortcuts. Many are standard, like Command + b for bold, so they are easy to remember.
If your mind is running faster than your fingers, use dictation mode. And if you want to hear how the text sounds, turn on playback. This is a great way to edit your writing.
Marked is an app with two main features. The first is previewing text created using markup languages such as Markdown. The second is real-time copy improvement.
To get started, open your file in your usual word processor and Marked simultaneously. In another editing app, you see the text with markup elements. Marked shows you what it will look like after publication.
Another key feature of the app is its comprehensive suite of proofreading tools, including spell check, readability scores, and word count statistics. Because the program is designed for previewing, you cannot change the text in it. However, changes you make in your writing app are immediately reflected in Marked.
MarsEdit is a powerful tool for blogging. It is best to write and edit posts on your desktop and then publish them to your blog with a single click.
The app integrates with WordPress, Mastodon, Micro.blog, Tumblr, and more. If you have multiple blogs, you can work with them all from one interface.
The writing space in MarsEdit is similar to a regular word processor. It allows you to format text, add images, categorize posts, etc. Before publishing, you can preview your posts to ensure they look right.
All in all, MarsEdit makes your work easier and quicker. If you write posts in a regular file, you know how tedious it can be to copy the title, description, and article itself separately and paste them into the blog CMS. Or how inconvenient it is to write directly to a blog on the web because if the internet goes down, all the content will be lost. This can't happen with MarsEdit, and that makes it the first choice for anyone serious about blogging.
Mental Walk is a writing environment for self-reflection and thought-tracking. It gives you a blank writing canvas with no distracting buttons or menus. You can write from scratch or use a prompt if you feel writer's block or can't articulate your feelings. Choose from various categories (Inner, Life, Career, Business, etc.) to find the one that resonates with you and select a question to reflect on.
All your notes are saved as one long feed, so reviewing your history of meaningful reflections is easy.
MonsterWriter is designed to help you format your thesis, research paper, or other academic work.
The app formats footnotes, headings, table of contents, bibliography, and more according to your desired style. It supports mathematical equations and scientific notations and is friendly to STEM researchers and scientists.
And if you've ever experienced a lagging problem with large files, you can relax here. MonsterWriter allows you to work quickly, even with really large documents like a dissertation. Moreover, thanks to its backup feature, the app ensures you don't lose a single line of text.
Plus is an AI-powered assistant that doesn't write for you but helps you improve your content and process information faster.
The app lives in the menu bar and appears when you select text and press Option+Space. You'll see a menu with suggestions for paraphrasing or simplifying the text, improving the writing, correcting spelling or grammar, and more. The app immediately performs your task in a separate window. In addition to improving your writing, Plus can explain an unfamiliar word or paragraph or summarize your writing.
But what if you need other help from AI? For example, to add jokes to your text. It's not a problem. Just create your own AI prompt in the Prompt Library and use it as described above.
TypingMind is an AI-powered writing program for Mac that can craft any text for you. It looks like a chatbot where you describe a task and get the result through dialogue. The app includes several different language models, such as ChatGPT and Claude. But here, they are wrapped in an incredibly user-friendly interface.
If you've used AI chatbots before, you know how difficult it can be to write detailed instructions to an AI and get a decent result. The Prompts library solves this problem. It contains 160 prompt templates (for grammar correction, data analysis, etc.) that will help you get the most out of AI.
Moreover, this AI can communicate with you through the prism of the knowledge and skills of certain characters, for example, a journalist or a chef.
Tip: For more ideas on how you can use an AI app for writing, programming, marketing, and more, check out our article Best ChatGPT alternatives in 2023.
Ulysses is an inspiring place for creative writing, allowing you to publish your copies easily.
The app is known for its convenience in managing large formats. If you're writing a collection of short stories, you can quickly and easily arrange them in the order you want. If you are working on a novel, you can create a hierarchy (volume, section, chapter) and easily navigate through it. Finished works can be turned into beautiful eBooks, PDFs, and HTMLs.
For those who write blog posts, there is integration with Medium and WordPress. Your post is published automatically; you don't have to fiddle with copy and paste to the CMS.
Ulysses' interface is clean and motivates you to write without distractions. The app is markup-based, which means you can use symbols like # or * to format text.
The app also tracks how much time you spend writing and how many words you write. A great motivator for developing good writing habits!
The best Mac writing software for creative minds
As you can see, there is a perfect tool for every writer and every type of writing:
- If you need AI assistance, try Elephas, TypingMind, Plus, or Ready to Send.
- If you want to work in a distraction-free environment, you can use Focused, Pages, and Bike apps for writing.
- Journaling can be done in Diarly or Mental Walk.
- Professional bloggers, writers, and content creators might like MarsEdit and Ulysses, Craft, and Evernote.
- For academic writing, Google Docs, MonsterWriter, and TextSoap are essential.
A good tool can significantly improve your writing experience. At Setapp, you can try most of the apps described for free for 7 days. You'll get access to their full versions and be able to choose the best one for you. Sign up now to enhance your Mac writing experience.
How to choose a good writing app?
Choosing the best writing tool for Mac depends on your specific needs, preferences, and the nature of your writing projects. It's important to consider ease of use, device compatibility, formatting options, and password protection. For example, Dairly and Mental Walk are good for keeping personal notes and thoughts. Elephas, TypingMind, and Plus will be your AI assistants for automatic text generation and improvement. All in all, there's an app for almost every writing task you can imagine.
Does the Mac have writing software?
The main word processor on the Mac is Pages, which integrates well with other Apple products and services. It has many tools for creating documents with a nice layout but lacks automated processes. For example, if you want a document that looks like a designer's work, it's easier and faster to create in a third-party app like Craft.