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) 19 Best Free Word Processing Software - Latest[2022]

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

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


What is the best app for writing on a Mac? ›

Ulysses is your one-stop writing environment for Mac, iPhone and iPad. Its pleasant, focused writing experience, combined with effective document management, seamless sync, and flexible export, make Ulysses the first choice for writers of all kinds.

Is there a free word processing program for Mac? ›

Pages is a powerful word processor that lets you create stunning documents, and comes included with most Apple devices.

What is the best free word processor for Mac? ›

Here then are the best word processors for Mac that are excellent alternatives to Microsoft Word for Mac in order of ranking.
  • Pages. Pages is Apple's free answer to Microsoft Word and over the years it has become a very competitive alternative. ...
  • Mellel. ...
  • Write 2. ...
  • Nisus Writer Pro. ...
  • Google Docs. ...
  • Bean. ...
  • Growly Write. ...
  • OmmWriter.
2 Nov 2022

Is there a writing program 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 is the closest thing to Microsoft Word on a Mac? ›

The most popular of these is Google Docs, a suitable alternative for Microsoft Word on a Mac. Google Docs is also free. It works in your web browser and offers most of the features that you're likely to need from a word processor.

What word processor do professional writers use? ›

If there was a popularity test for word processing tools, Scrivener would be a major contender. It's a top tool for all types of writing, from novels to screenplays to memoirs and much more. If you're looking to organize your writing, research, notes, thoughts, and all in one central place, Scrivener delivers.

Does Mac have something like Microsoft Word? ›

iWork Suite

Included with your Mac is the iWork suite: Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. These are Apple's own alternatives to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Pages, for instance, is one of the best Word alternatives for Mac.

How do you write documents on a Mac? ›

Create a basic word-processing document
  1. To open Pages, click the Pages icon in the Dock, Launchpad, or Application folder. ...
  2. Double-click one of the blank templates in the Basic category.
  3. Start typing. ...
  4. To save your document, choose File > Save.

What is the 3 types of word processors? ›

Word processors are of 3 types which are electronic, mechanical, and software.

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 does Apple use instead of word? ›

Pages for Mac Support Community. The current release of MS "Word" is Office365. Apple has a consumer-level equivalent called "Pages" and for many, it comes included for free with MacOS. If you plan on using it for personal, home use then "Pages" and "OpenOffice" would work fine for you.

Which word processor is most popular? ›

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

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 program can I use to write? ›

Google Docs is by far the most common and widely used writing software, and this list of free book writing software tools wouldn't be complete without mentioning it. Google Docs is a word processing tool that comes with your Google account. If you have a Gmail account then you already have access to Google Docs.

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 there an app to improve writing skills? ›

Grammarly is an incredible and well-designed app with a wealth of features that guide and improve your writing. From the basics like checking grammar and punctuation to recommending tone and word choices.

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.

Is there a free program like Microsoft 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. The functionality of Google Docs can get extended using different add-ons.

Does Apple have a program like Microsoft 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.

What word processor should I use to write a book? ›

The four most popular options are Squibler, Scrivener, Google Docs and Microsoft Word. Squibler is the best book writing software because it's designed specifically to help writers write books quickly and easily by providing a full suite of features to support any type of writer working on any kind of story.

What is best free word processor? ›

Supported platform: Windows, iOS, Android, and Mac.
💻 Which are the Best Word Processor Software?
  • Microsoft Word.
  • Google Doc.
  • Writer.
  • Grammarly.
  • ProWritingAid.
  • Scrivener.
  • Calmlywriter.
  • Ginger.
15 Oct 2022

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.

What are the five basic word processing tools? ›

5 Great Word Processing Tools For Writing Your Novel
  • Microsoft Office. ...
  • Apache OpenOffice. ...
  • Google Drive. ...
  • iWork Pages. ...
  • Scrivener.
19 Nov 2012

What is the difference between word processing and word processor? ›

Word Processing refers to the act of using a computer to create, edit, save and print documents. In order to perform word processing, specialized software (known as a Word Processor) is needed. One example of a Word Processor is Microsoft Word, but other word processing applications are also widely used.

Which word processing application is commonly used? ›

Using Microsoft Word

It's generally considered the standard word processing tool in fields that range from law to education.

What app is better than Microsoft Word? ›

The best alternative is LibreOffice - Writer, which is both free and Open Source. Other great apps like Microsoft Word are Google Docs, WPS Writer, Apache OpenOffice Writer and ONLYOFFICE. Microsoft Word alternatives are mainly Word Processors but may also be Novel Authoring Tools or Note-taking Tools.

Is there a free word processing app? ›

The Document Foundation's LibreOffice Writer, like OpenOffice, is a completely free and open-source product that offers word processing, support for . doc and . docx file formats, and all the tools the average Microsoft Word user will need in a word processor.

What is the difference between a text editor and word processor? ›

Text editor provides the ability to add, change, and remove characters from a file. Word processor has numbers of options onto which you can format the text or document. It helps or also provides the ability to move the lines. It helps you in inserting various colors, line spacing, and special symbols, etc.

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.

Where can I write a document on a Mac? ›

Create a basic word-processing document
  1. To open Pages, click the Pages icon in the Dock, Launchpad, or Application folder. ...
  2. Double-click one of the blank templates in the Basic category.
  3. Start typing. ...
  4. To save your document, choose File > Save.

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.

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.

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 does Mac use instead of Microsoft Word? ›

Apple designed Pages for ease of use, with powerful features and tools that allow you to create stunning documents quickly and easily. Microsoft Word is available for both Mac and Windows computers, while Pages is only available for Macs.

What is Mac's version of word? ›

Every Mac comes with Apple's iWork apps: Pages (word processor), Numbers (spreadsheet), and Keynote (presentations). And these apps can import Office documents.

How do you write first on a Mac? ›

You can also use keyboard shortcuts to quickly apply superscript or subscript to selected text. For superscript, press Control-Shift-Command-Plus Sign (+). For subscript, press Control-Command-Minus Sign (-).

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”.


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