App Review

Write! App, a minimalist distraction-free app for writers

Write! is a “minimalist text editor for distraction-free writing,” much in the vein of Scrivener or Ulysses—at least in the general sense. But Write! really is minimalist—it gets out of the way so you can focus on writing and editing without a lot of distractions, user interface clutter, or a steep learning curve.

The app has versions for PC, Mac, and Linux. I used the Mac version for this review (1.61.2). The interface is clean, white, and minimal. You can set light or dark themes. The large middle pane is the writing space, with a nice-sized text, a and a clean, readable font. A range of font types and sizes are provided for system-wide use.

Along the left side are your documents, in a hierarchical arrangement, also available in the Cloud, if you wish. Local writings is also available, as well as uploading directly to a Write! or Medium account.

Tabs across the top allow multiple documents to be open at once. The right-hand column is an overview of the entire page. The entire interface mimics the PC-style rather than the Mac style, but that’s a minor element that does not take away from the clean style.

“Focus mode” (in the “View” menu”) causes all text to dim except the current paragraph (a nice touch). Control-clicking any selection brings up a contextual menu with a tab of text- and paragraph-formatting options, headings, highlight and background color, Google/translate/thesaurus/dictionary options, and spelling. A misspelled word will cause a little red icon to appear: click on it and get options.

Markdown, Wiki, and Textile syntax are available, and can be combined across the document, along with the common rich-text. You can publish directly from the app to the web and share the link to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.

A “Sessions” option, accessed at the top right of the window, allows you to choose a selection of tabs, so you can easily call up a set of documents to work on. While the tabs are nice (and most of us use them commonly in our browsers), a side-by-side window option would be nice, and even critical for some writers and researchers. However, you can set a “note-taking” view, which places the tabs along the left side for easier access between the documents.

Short-cut keys are provided for most of the writing functions such as spaces, headings, and so on. Autocomplete is also available for words as you type (you can turn it off, and tjhe options are configurable). Some of these are strange. For example, the key-combination for an m-dash (common in professional writing!) sets the current line to a heading.

You can easily view statistics for your document and writing session through an icon at the lower left: words per day and characters per minute, as well as documents characters, characters plus spaces, words, pages (you can set the page size), and reading time. You can also set a limit on any of those options, and a count at the bottom left will show you how many words (or characters, minutes, etc.) are left. The icon and numbers turn red when you pass the set limit.

Once finished, a document can be exported to PDF, text, and md formats.

I outlined, drafted, and edited this review in Write! It was an enjoyable experience once I got the hang of the interface, which did not take long. Write! seems especially suited to writing web content, articles, and other short pieces. A book could also easily be written in it, though it is probably not well-suited for writings that requires a lot of reference to research notes, includes graphics, or is more complex. I suspect most creative writers would find it quite suitable.

A major problem for me is that there is no mobile app or web version (though the web page does list your shared documents). For me, this is crucial, because I often write or edit on the go with a tablet or even smart phone.

For someone who finds Scrivener too complex and/or doesn’t want to spend time with its steep learning curve, or a Ulysses user who doesn’t need all it has to offer, Write! is an excellent alternative. It is also a great app for someone who is looking for a first writing app, and doesn’t need mobile sync.

Write! is available here for $24.95 (Note: one year after purchase, Cloud access and maintenance updates are $4.95 per year). Students can purchase the app for $9.95.

For more on Write! features, visit https://writeapp.co

The Creators of Write! provided me with a free copy of Write! for this review.

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