12 Best Mac (Word Processor) Writing Apps for 2022 (2023)

There are very few certainties in life. Death, taxes, and that, at some point, you’ll need to use a computer to write something. Whether you work in an office, run your own business, or volunteer in the Congo, there’s pretty much no escaping it.

Since you’re going to have to use your Mac to write, you might as well use the right app for it. Using the wrong tools is never fun.

In this article, we look at some of the best writing app options available on macOS. Not all these apps will be right for you, but one of them probably will.

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What Makes the Best Word Processor for Mac?

Word processors and other writing apps have been around for decades now. There are very few bad ones left! Most writing apps will work for most things, but they sometimes won’t be very good at it. Microsoft Word is a really powerful word processor, but it’s overkill if you’re using it to write a blog post.

This means that the number one thing that makes a good writing app is how well it fits your needs.

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I write a 1000 word article every day of the week. I also work on longer, more heavily researched projects at the same time. This means that I’ve got some very specific needs. If you only need to write occasionally, your needs are going to be very different.

Besides that, there are a few key features thatany of the best word processors for Mac should have to be a good writing app:

  • They need to be able to open and export many file types.
  • Whatever file formats they use have to be open or widely supported.
  • They need to offer some way for you to style your text.
  • They need to allow you to work on more than one document at once.
  • They need to be stable, bug-free, and still supported on your Mac.

While this is hardly an exciting feature list, it does exclude a surprising number of apps. You can’t have a crucial app, such as your word processor, crash because of lack of support.

The 12 Best Writing Apps for Mac

Now, let’s start digging into the best writing apps for your Mac. This list isn’t in order of best, but rather moves from most popular, most easily available, down to niche apps designed for specific purposes.

Full Word Processors for Mac

Full word processors are applications that do anything you could imagine with text. They’re things like Microsoft Word (and all of Microsoft Word’s main competitors). If you work in an office, you probably need a full word processor, but for some, they can be a bit over the top. Let's look in detail at what makes these apps powerful options to work with:

(Video) 12 Writing Apps For Writers [2022]

1. Microsoft Word - Word Software for Mac

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While Microsoft Word isn’t as dominant as it once was, it’s still used in millions of offices around the world. If you work in any big company, the odds are this is the app you'll want to use. It might not be anyone’s favorite writing app, but it can do pretty much everything.

Its deep feature set is almost a problem; for most people, there’s too much going on. If you've got to use Word, then there’s nothing you can do about it. But, given the price and quality of some of the other options, I’d recommend looking elsewhere if you can.

  • Microsoft Word software for Mac is available for $9.99 a month as part of an Office 365 Personal subscription.
  • It’s the most popular word processor in business so widely supported everywhere.
  • There's also a companion iOS Word app so you can work on your documents from anywhere.

2.Google Docs- Accessible With Your Mac

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Google Docs is the leading competitor in reach, if not necessarily in quality or features, to Word. It’s an online, collaborative word processor. While its feature set is more limited, for most uses, it’s possible to use Docs over Word.

  • Google Docs is free writingsoftware for Mac and for anyone with a Google account to use.
  • The biggest issue is that you can only make the most of Docs when you’re connected to the internet.
  • Docs’ greatest strength is how seamless collaboration is. It’s simple for multiple people to work on a single document at the same time.

3. Apple Pages- Mac Word Processor App

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Pages is Apple’s Mac-native answer to Word. It takes full use of all the Mac’s native technologies and has a companion iOS app. It's a decent app with all the features you’d expect a professional word processor to have and is broadly considered one of the best word processors for Mac. You can even collaborate with PC users through Pages for iCloud.

  • Pages is free writing software for macOS and iOS users. PC users can also use the iCloud version for free.
  • Pages is the best looking, and has the best looking templates, of all the full word processing suites available on Mac.
  • Unfortunately, Pages just isn’t as popular as the other apps, so you might have a hard time convincing the people you want to collaborate with to use it as well.

General Writing Apps for Mac

These writing apps are less fully featured than a full word processor. Some are more suited to specific kinds of writing, like blogging, but they're all pretty flexible. For most people, one of these apps will give you the best balance between form, features, and price. They’re all a lot easier to get to grips with than a behemoth like Word.

4. TextEdit

TextEdit is getting a reference for completeness' sake rather than its features. It comes with macOS and can create, edit and style simple text files. If you only need a very basic scratchpad for writing quick text documents, it’s perfect. But, if you need something more fully featured, there are better options.

6.Ulysses- Pro Writing Software for Mac

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I’m writing this article using Ulysses. It’s the app that, by far, best fits my needs.

(Video) Best 9 Writing Apps for Mac

It’s great for writing long form content as well as keeping dozens of shorter articles organised. I know quite a few other writers who use Ulysses as well, and that’s the key. Ulysses is perfect for writers. If you're banging out hundreds of words on a daily basis, it'll make your life easier. If, however, you only need something for occasional report writing, it'll be a poor fit.

  • Ulysses costs $49.99 for the Mac version or $5.99 per month.
  • Ulysses has full Markdown support.
  • Ulysses is designed for writers so offers a lot of features to make it easy to outline, draft, write, edit, and rearrange longer works.
  • You can also publish directly to your WordPress site or Medium account from Ulysses.

7.Byword- Simple Mac Writing Software

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Before Ulysses, I used Byword. It’s a simple, beautiful text editor. If you just want to write a letter, a diary entry, or a blog post, and not worry about much else, it’s great.

  • Byword costs $10.99 on Mac and $5.99 on iOS.
  • Byword is designed to be used with Markdown. It’s the app I used in my introduction to Markdown tutorial.
  • With Byword, you can export your files to text, HTML, or PDF files. You can also publish them directly to Medium, WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr, and Evernote.

8.iA Writer- Minimalist Writing App for Mac

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iA Writer is a similar style of app to Byword: a simple, minimalist Markdown writer. Where Byword prioritises publishing to elsewhere, iA Writer offers better file exporting: you can use custom templates and even export to Microsoft Word files.

  • iA Writer costs $29.99 on Mac and $29.99 on iOS.

8. Craft Docs - Collaborative Writing App For Mac

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Craft Docs is a young and new writing app for Mac that puts great emphasis on collaborative features. It was built to be a native Mac app. The app lets you create beautiful documents and notes. You can link notes together to create structured documents as well as collaborate easily with your team.

  • The app is available on the web and Mac and iOS devices
  • Has a limited free plan
  • Paid plans start at $5.99/mo
  • You can export documents as markdown documents, PDF files, and text files.

Specific Writing Software for Mac

Word, Ulysses, or Byword are versatile but also have a very general application. Jacks of all trades but masters of none. If you want to, say, write a book or a screenplay, you'll need a writing app that can handle special formatting.

9. Scrivener - Long Form Mac Writing Software

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Scrivener is designed for writing long-form documents. Things like novels and theses. If you’re writing something that’s less than 20,000 words, Scrivener is complete overkill. On the other hand, if you're writing the next great American novel, then Scrivener is perfect.

  • Scrivener is $49 for the macOS app and $19.99 for the iOS app.
  • It’s a “complete writing studio”. You can outline and organize your ideas, rearrange segments, and more. Here’s our guide to getting started with Scrivener to help you find your way.
  • Scrivener takes a non-linear approach. You can just start writing anywhere and move it into place later. Want to jump from working on chapter 15 to chapter 22? Go right ahead.
  • Scrivener also has a file browser/research tab so you can keep all your research in the app as well.

10.Storyist 4- Robust Mac Book Writing App

(Video) BEST WRITING SOFTWARE FOR WRITERS: Which Writing Tools and Software I Use and Recommend

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Storyist 4, like Scrivener, is designed for writing books. The biggest difference isn’t in the feature set but in the interface. There's very little one can do that the other can’t. Both have free trials so, if you’re writing a book, the best thing to do is try them both out before settling on one.

  • Storyist 4 is $59 on Mac and $19 on iOS.
  • Storyist 4 has a more modern and cleaner interface than Scrivener.

11.Final Draft 12- Powerful Screenwriting Mac Writing App

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Final Draft 12 is the industry standard for screenwriting. The developers claim it’s used in 95% of film and television productions.

Screenplays have very strict formatting conventions. Everything is written in 12pt Courier on US letter paper with everything laid out in a certain way. Fail to stick to these conventions and you’ll just look like an amateur. Final Draft 12 makes it easy to write your next screenplay professionally.

  • Final Draft 12 is $199.99 for Mac.

12.Slugline 2- Simple Screenwriting Writing App for Mac

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Final Draft is undeniably a professional app with a professional price tag. If you’re just looking to get to work on your first screenplay, you might want something less expensive. This is where Slugline comes in.

You get a beautiful screenwriting app that’s designed just for the Mac. A printed screenplay written in Slugline 2 will look identical to one written in Final Draft. It might not have as wide use in the film industry, but it's being used in more and more productions. There’s also an iOS version available for $19.99.

Start Writing Your Next Masterpiece with a Mac Word Processor!

As I said at the start, the biggest factor you need to consider when choosing a writing app is what you need. Slugline 2 is awesome if you’re writing a movie, but it’s not very useful if you just want to publish an occasional blog post.

Word is still the de facto standard, but Google Docs and Pages are decent, free writing software for Mac competitors.

(Video) What's The Best Software For Writing A Book in 2022?

Look at what you want to do and pick the app that suits you best. Many also offer free trials, so don’t be afraid to download a few different ones before you buy.

Editorial Note: This post has been updated with contributions from Brenda Barron. Brenda is a freelance instructor for Envato Tuts+.

(Video) FREE Writing Software For Authors | Writing Apps, Word Processors

FAQs

What is the best word processor for writers? ›

The Top 5 Best Free Word Processors
  • LibreOffice – Best all-in-one processor.
  • WPS Office – Best for PDF functionalities.
  • Google Docs – Best for seamless collaboration.
  • Etherpad – Best for customization.
  • Dropbox Paper – Best for business documents.
8 Aug 2022

Does Mac Have a writing program? ›

Pages is a powerful word processor that lets you create stunning documents, and comes included with most Apple devices. And with real-time collaboration, your team can work together from anywhere, whether they're on Mac, iPad, iPhone, or a PC.

What do writers use on Mac? ›

Pages is Apple's free, powerful word processor that lets you write, edit, and collaborate with others to create stunning books. Pages is not only simple to use, but it's full of helpful features for writers.

What app do most writers use? ›

Professional writers use a variety of apps to write their novels. Scrivener, MS Word, Final Draft, Google Docs, Plottr — there are so many great apps that bestselling writers use for their writing process.
...
Other Free Writing Apps:
  • LibreOffice.
  • yWriter.
  • FocusWriter.
  • Reedsy Book Editor.
  • Apple Pages.
  • MS Notepad.
24 May 2022

What to use to write documents on Mac? ›

Create documents
  1. On your Mac, open an app that lets you create documents. For example, open TextEdit to create a plain text, rich text, or HTML document.
  2. Click New Document in the Open dialog, or choose File > New.

What word processor is best for a Mac? ›

Best Mac word processor
  • Microsoft 365.
  • Pages.
  • IA Writer.
  • Google Docs.
  • Ulysses.
  • OpenOffice.
  • WPS Office.
  • Scrivener 3.
17 May 2022

What word processor do famous authors use? ›

Scrivener is one of the best-known word processors on the market, at least among writers. Unlike more generic tools like MS Word, it was created specifically for writers.

What word processor does Stephen King use? ›

Interesting fact: Stephen King uses MS Word writing software to draft his book manuscripts. He uses Final Draft to write screenplays. How much does MS Word cost? Microsoft Word costs $139.99 as a one-time purchase.

What is Apple's writing program? ›

Apple Pages is a powerful word processor that gives you everything you need to create documents that look beautiful. And read beautifully.

What is Mac's equivalent to word? ›

The closest thing to a free version of Word For Mac is Apple Pages, which can be downloaded for free from the Mac App Store. Pages is also part of Apple iWork which is Apple's answer to Microsoft Office and includes Apple Numbers for spreadsheets and Apple Keynote for presentations.

What program does Mac use instead of word? ›

Pages is a good option if you're a Mac user and are looking for an alternative to Microsoft Word. However, Pages does not have all the features of Microsoft Word, so if you need those features, you may want to stick with Microsoft Word.

Does Mac have a built in text editor? ›

For general-purpose work, it's easiest to use one of the text editors included with macOS. If you want to use a graphical text editor, use TextEdit (in Launchpad). Otherwise, use one of the command-line editors included with macOS: Nano nano is a simple command-line editor.

What software does JK Rowling use? ›

I use Scrivener and OmniOutliner to plan and write my novels. I loathe Microsoft Word. What tools do you use?

Is Scrivener better than Word? ›

Winner: Scrivener. It allows you to set a word count goal for your entire project and for individual sections. It also allows you to set a deadline, after which it calculates how many words you need to write each day to meet the deadline.

What program do you use to write documents? ›

WPS Office and LibreOffice are the best office software that can be used for composing Word, PowerPoint, and Excel documents. If you want an office suite with cloud sharing, select WPS Office, Google Docs, and Office Online Writer. For composing and sharing word documents only, you can select Dropbox Paper.

Is Pages better than Microsoft Word? ›

However, what makes Microsoft Word difficult to recommend over Apple Pages is that, while it has more features, they are difficult to use, and not many people need them. Comparatively, Apple Pages is a simplified word processor, offering all the basic editing and formatting features that most users would use.

Which is a powerful word processor given by Apple? ›

Pages is a powerful word processor that lets you create stunning documents, and comes included with most Apple devices. And with real-time collaboration, your team can work together from anywhere, whether they're on Mac, iPad, iPhone or a PC.

What is the most commonly used word processor? ›

Sometimes abbreviated as WP, a word processor is a software program capable of creating, storing, and printing typed documents. Today, the word processor is one of the most frequently used software programs on a computer, with Microsoft Word being the most popular word processor.

What are the three popular word processors? ›

Google Docs. Textilus-Microsoft Word Edition. Text Edit. Kingsoft Office Writer.

Do real writers use Scrivener? ›

Scrivener is the go-to app for writers of all kinds, used every day by best-selling novelists, screenwriters, non-fiction writers, students, academics, lawyers, journalists, translators and more. Scrivener won't tell you how to write—it simply provides everything you need to start writing and keep writing.

Do any famous authors use Scrivener? ›

Scrivener has some famous fans: Taffy Brodesser-Akner used it while working on Fleishman is in Trouble, and Ta-Nehisi Coates came across it while looking for software to help him transition to comic-book writing.

Is Scrivener worth the money? ›

If you're deciding on whether to use Scrivener for Windows or Mac iOS, it's important to conduct a full Scrivener review on whether it's worth it. The program definitely has a learning curve, but it's worth it. The Mac version and Windows version do have differences, but the overall functionality is the same.

Does Apple have a program like Office? ›

Every Mac comes with Pages, Numbers, and Keynote — powerful productivity apps from Apple that help you create stunning documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. You can collaborate with one person or many people to create and edit Pages, Keynote, and Numbers files.

Is Pages on Mac the same as word? ›

You get nearly all the same functionality, but there are some missing parts. With Apple, you can add images, videos, tablets, stats, and shapes to your content or set a password for a specific page. You'll also be able to do spelling and grammar checking – which is also available from Microsoft Word.

Is Microsoft Word on Apple free? ›

FAQ about Microsoft Office for Mac

Do you have to pay for Word on Mac? Yes, you need a Microsoft 365 subscription or one-time purchase of Office 2021 to use Microsoft Word on your Mac. Microsoft 365 subscription costs $69.99/year for a home/personal use version, and up.

Does Mac have something like Microsoft Office? ›

Fun fact: There's a version of Microsoft Office written just for Mac. So you can use Word, Excel and PowerPoint on a Mac just like on a PC. macOS also provides built-in support for the latest version of Microsoft Exchange Server.

Which tool is most like Microsoft Word? ›

What are the 10 best Microsoft Word alternatives?
  1. ClickUp Docs. Create unlimited docs, wikis, and knowledge bases in ClickUp. ...
  2. Google Docs. via Google Docs. ...
  3. LibreOffice Writer. via LibreOffice Writer. ...
  4. WPS Office Free Writer. via WPS Office Free Writer. ...
  5. FocusWriter. via FocusWriter. ...
  6. Zoho Docs. via Zoho. ...
  7. AbiWord. ...
  8. FreeOffice TextMaker.
1 Jul 2022

How do you do handwriting on a Mac? ›

To open the Trackpad Handwriting window, click the Input menu in the menu bar and choose the Handwriting input source you added, or press Control-Shift-Space bar. If your Mac has a Touch Bar, and you customized the Control Strip by adding the Handwriting button , tap the button to open the Trackpad Handwriting window.

What is the equivalent to word on Mac? ›

OpenOffice

OpenOffice for Mac is a completely free alternative to Microsoft Office for Mac and the equivalent of Word in OpenOffice for Mac is Writer. OpenOffice was originally created by Oracle but is now developed by Apache and one of the most widely used MS Office alternatives on Mac.

What can I use instead of word on Mac? ›

Best Microsoft Word Alternatives for Mac
  • LibreOffice. LibreOffice is a free and open-source office suite that includes a word processor, spreadsheet application, presentation program, and more. ...
  • Pages. ...
  • ClickUp Docs. ...
  • Google Docs. ...
  • Calligra. ...
  • Polaris Office. ...
  • Mellel. ...
  • Nisus Writer.
22 Mar 2022

Does Apple have a handwriting keyboard? ›

Write with Apple Pencil in any text field, and Scribble automatically converts your handwriting into typed text. Scribble even works when your handwriting extends beyond the edges of the text field. To use an action shortcut, tap the Scribble toolbar.

What font on Mac looks like handwriting? ›

Norquay Handwritten Font

A classic hand-drawn sans serif font, Norquay was developed to add a personal touch to logos and branding designs.

Is there a way to take handwritten notes on Mac? ›

To use Trackpad Handwriting, you must add a Handwriting input source, then choose Handwriting from the Input menu in the menu bar. If your Mac has a Touch Bar, you can quickly open the Trackpad Handwriting window by adding the Handwriting button to the Control Strip. See Customize the Touch Bar.

What's NotePad on a Mac? ›

TextEdit is the Mac equivalent of NotePad and is free with all versions of macOS. To find it, simply search for TextEdit in Spotlight or CMD click on your desktop and select “TextEdit”.

Is word for Mac free? ›

Do you have to pay for Word on Mac? Yes, you need a Microsoft 365 subscription or one-time purchase of Office 2021 to use Microsoft Word on your Mac. Microsoft 365 subscription costs $69.99/year for a home/personal use version, and up. Microsoft 365 Business Basic is currently $5/month per user.

Can I buy just word for Mac? ›

Yes. You can buy standalone versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for Mac or PC. Go to the Microsoft Store and search for the app you want. You can also get a one-time purchase or a subscription version of Visio or Project, available for PCs only.

Is Apple pages as good as Microsoft Word? ›

However, what makes Microsoft Word difficult to recommend over Apple Pages is that, while it has more features, they are difficult to use, and not many people need them. Comparatively, Apple Pages is a simplified word processor, offering all the basic editing and formatting features that most users would use.

What word processor does Apple use? ›

Pages is a word processor developed by Apple Inc. It is part of the iWork productivity suite and runs on the macOS, iPadOS and iOS operating systems.
...
Pages (word processor)
Developer(s)Apple Inc.
Operating systemmacOS 11.0 or later
TypeWord processor
LicenseProprietary
Websiteapple.com/pages
4 more rows

Is there a free program similar to word? ›

Google Docs

Arguably, Google Docs is a powerful word processor and among the better-known alternatives to Microsoft Word. It mirrors Microsoft Word in terms of functionality. It allows users to create files and share them in various formats.

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