Distraction-Free Writing Software

Image Credit: http://soulofatlas.com/

Writing is a very stimulating activity that keeps our brain fresh and creative, practising the usage of words to construct a bigger message can convey a heavy creative thinking. What better than making our words flow without the hectic surroundings? Screen-wise speaking of course :). In this post I’ll give you some distraction-free software to be even more inspired and calm while passing down your messages into the computer; these programs are good for book authors, journalists, bloggers, students and I can just think of more examples.

It doesn’t matter what operating system you use, you will definitively get one here! But if you don’t know what you can expect, let me tell you in simple words: A full-screen window where you will be able to focus on what you are writing non-formatted text, with a minimal background and font (if you are given the choice, customize with a big serif font and a light gray background).



S.O: Linux, Ubuntu (Linux), Windows, Mac OS X. / Free / Source Code Available.

FocusWriter is a simple, distraction-free writing environment. It utilizes a hide-away interface that you access by moving your mouse to the edges of the screen, allowing the program to have a familiar look and feel to it while still getting out of the way so that you can immerse yourself in your work. It’s available for Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X, and has been translated into many different languages.


  • TXT, basic RTF, and basic ODT file support
  • Timers and alarms
  • Daily goals
  • Fully customizable themes
  • Typewriter sound effects (optional)
  • Auto-save (optional)
  • Live statistics (optional)
  • Spell-checking (optional)
  • Multi-document support
  • Sessions
  • Portable mode (optional)
  • Translated into over 20 languages

Download/More info: http://gottcode.org/focuswriter/



S.O: Ubuntu, Mac OS X, Windows, Fedora / Free / Source Archive Available.

It is a free (as in freedom and free beer) full screen rich text editor developed with especially writers in mind.

TextRoom and all other similar editors share one goal: to get you writing right away by providing distraction free environment to your liking, as well as familiar set of keyboard shortcuts to control its behavior. If you don’t feel comfortable already with your editor of choice, you may find it useful.


  • Export your documents to Google Docs.
  • MiniFlo mindmapper based on Flo by Ian Reinhart Geiser.
  • GetAWord random word generator
  • MusicRoom very basic music player. (Can’t play mp3, but you are good with ogg).
  • basic rich text editing: bold, italic, underline, and changing font, font size and color
  • configurable statusbar colors and fonts
  • configurable editor width and height
  • configurable tab stop width and paragraph spacing.
  • .odt export.
  • you can insert images to your documents.
  • configurable behavior: full-screen on/off, auto save, flow mode (disable delete and backspace keys), load last document on startup, remember position in text for the last file
  • insert current time and/or date in a configurable fashion
  • live word count for all text and selected text
  • live character count option
  • configurable page count option
  • live clock on statusbar
  • targets: setting deadline from a graphical calendar
  • targets: setting a target word count
  • targets: setting short deadlines to write in minutes
  • keyboard shortcuts for the most common tasks (if you start the program for the first time, just press F1 for help)
  • typing sounds similar to a typewriter which can be disabled
  • cross-platform
  • Spellcheck with hunspell (US English and Turkish, for now.).
  • Universal Linux installer.
  • Printing support.
  • Background images.
  • Transparent statusbar.
  • File association with .txr files.
  • Restoring all settings to defaults.
  • Plain text only or rich text options.
  • Scratchpad.
  • Line indent (Shift+Enter ignores indent).
  • RTL support.
  • Aligment (Right, Left, Centered and Justified).

Download/More Info: http://textroom.sourceforge.net/

Write Room

This theme has to be downloaded for free in the author’s website.

S.O: Mac OS X, iOS / Free – 9.99 USD

For Mac, iPad & iPhone users to write without distractions. WriteRoom is a full screen writing environment. Unlike the cluttered word processors you’re used to, WriteRoom lets you focus on writing. Requires Mac OS X 10.7+ or iOS 4.3+ so don’t hesitate to download.

Download/More info: http://www.hogbaysoftware.com/products/writeroom



S.O: Mac OS X, Windows / Free

I have personally used this one, the background and typing sounds are amazing, I wish I could set my own background but the ones that are included don’t disappoint. If your PC isn’t powerful enough, the software will give you lag while writing, thus making your words appear a little bit late. You can re-size your writing area, it has a visible scroll-bar and its own file extension to save your projects.

Download/More info: http://www.ommwriter.com/en/download.html

Ulysses III


S.O: Mac OS X / 44.99 USD

Ulysses III is a brand-new writers’ environment from the Soulmen — the fine folks that brought you Daedalus Touch for iPad. It’s built around a revolutionary engine, dubbed “plain text enhanced”, which combines the very best parts of minimal markup (i.e. Markdown, Textile) with the power, beauty and simplicity of OS X. As a single-library app, Ulysses holds all your texts in just one window. No “Open”, no “Save”, no Finder safari. Full iCloud integration lets you access *everything* from all your Macs.

Export options are vast and flexible: Whether you’re going for RTF, PDF, HTML or ePub, a little style sheet is all you need to create beautiful, customized output. Preview HTML and PDF as you write, or send rough drafts to your favorite word processor for finishing touches. Ulysses III is an adaptive, built-to-grow application. Use it as a sophisticated notepad, create your next couple of novels, or continuously feed your blog. Keep everything neatly organized, or mess around at will.


  • Beefed-up, minimalistic three-pane interface
  • Sources › Groups & Filters › Sheets › Editor
  • Select across sources
  • Select multiple groups & filters
  • Edit multiple sheets as one
  • Search across sources
  • Single search match highlights in sidebar
  • Export and statistics from every part of the library
  • Full keyboard navigation
  • Simply beautiful

Download/More info: http://www.ulyssesapp.com/



O.S: Windows / Free

This is my horse, I use it all the time when I have something no longer than 100 thousand characters (with spaces) without anything else distracting, in a normal background with normal big text (Georgia, dark gray, 25px) and no user interface to bother me. The downside? It has no scroll-bar, you have to use the trackpad or mouse-wheel (or the find feature) to get to a certain point before or after your writing. Apart from that little complain, Q10 is very useful to me and I’d never uninstall it. Works with key-strokes if you want to change the settings, so make sure to press F1 the first time you use it.

Download/More info: http://www.baara.com/q10/



O.S: Windows / Free

Writemonkey is a Windows zenware* writing application with an extremely stripped down user interface, leaving you alone with your thoughts and your words. It is light, fast and free. With an array of innovative tools under the hood and full Markdown* support, it helps you write better.

Download/More info: http://writemonkey.com/

iA Writer


O.S: Mac OS X, iOS / 4.99 USD (for each operating system).

As soon as you type the title bar disappears and all you see is the clean typing sheet, distraction-free, ready for your ideas to take shape. With over 600,000 copies sold, Writer has helped students, journalists, and bestselling authors to find more pleasure in working with text.


Convert a Microsoft Word 2007 .docx file to Markdown via drag’n’drop. Convert iA Writer documents to Microsoft Word .docx. Craft your text one sentence at a time in Focus Mode. The surrounding text fades into the background, reducing the temptation to edit.

Effortlessly sync your documents using iCloud and Dropbox. Create folders in iCloud on Mountain Lion to organise your writing. iA Writer for Mac introduced a way to format your documents without taking your hands from the keyboard. Don’t click — write to format.

Download/More info: http://www.iawriter.com/mac/

We’ve finished with the list, it’s time to enjoy downloading these amazing programs and just write, everything that comes to mind! Who knows… maybe you’ll engender something worth reading and being published word-wide :).

9 thoughts on “Distraction-Free Writing Software

    1. Aww what a bad situation this is, I had uninstalled it because I no longer needed it but it was the older version :S, I wanted to try the new one. Thanks for the notice, I’ll update the info.

  1. Very interesting finds on all the distraction-free software. Thanks so much. I’m going to check out a few of the non-Mac based ones.

    Hey, have you run across any good (and I mean really good) editing software out there? You seem to know how to do your homework! 🙂 You’re a great resource for resources!!

    1. Editing as in? Editorial edition? I use inDesign (by Adobe), but some people prefer to use Quark, Xara, Word (if used correctly, it can be a bomb) and some who are starting to use Markdown, like Mou.

      If you mean text code editors, I really really like Coda and Sublime Text.

      Whereas image editing software, Pixelmator, Inkscape, Picassa, Lightroo, Photoshop, Pixlr and Paint.net.

      1. Thanks for the detailed answer. I was interested in editorial editing–verb tenses, dangling participles, that kind of thing. I’ll check out the software you suggested. 🙂

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