The Best Word Processors for Writers

You need to know the word processors for writers and how they can help you. Whether you are a seasoned author or just getting started in writing, you need a good word processor. Every writer has to have a way to write his or her thoughts, stories, and whatever else draws the muse. I’m reviewing writing software for writers(and this is the first of many reviews.

How do you know which word processor is the best for you? If you had a ton of money, you could try them all. But you probably don’t until you strike it rich with your writing. It’s a Catch-22, or is it? I’ve been writing since 2019 and I think I can help you because I have explored a lot of the options out there. Let’s take a closer look.

So Many Writing Tools

It all starts with pen and paper. Many writers like this the most for its tactile appeal. But that means typing all your writing into a word processor if it’s going to go anywhere in production. Still, some writers swear by this approach.

There’s nothing wrong with pen and paper. If that works for you, that’s great. I must use a computer because I am paralyzed and can’t use my hands. I know I’m in the minority with that fact of life. Many writers are turning to computers and word processors to do their work.

If that’s you, or you would like to know what’s out there, there are so many word processing programs out there. Almost all of them don’t have writers in mind. I want to look at word processors in general first, and then we will talk about whether they help writers more or less.

Will Any Word Processor Do for Writers?

In one sense, yes. I don’t recommend using Notepad because it is too simplistic for writing. Most of the word processing software out there helps in many ways. All the ones I have tried have the basic features of spell check, formatting options, and tools for referencing sources.

You want a more advanced word processor because those features really come in handy. The best word processors work with Grammarly and Prowritingaid so you can get the most out of your writing. You have options in the general word processing world.

A general word processor like Microsoft Word as part of Microsoft Office 365, OpenOffice, LibreOffice, and WPS Office can give you the upper hand in your writing. There are strengths and weaknesses of such word processors for writers. I will talk about those at the end of this post.

The Word Processor Most Writers Use

Microsoft Word is what most writers rely on to get their words on the digital page. It has a lot of great features that can help you write well. Its biggest advantage is that it is so widely used that it’s an industry standard your editors, publishers, and just about everyone uses.

That’s important because you are going to want your documents to be accessible to each of these professionals. Editors love Word because it has easy Track Changes options that allow them to record the changes they make easily. This is something not every word processor offers.

Another important feature of Microsoft Word is that it can easily make a Table of Contents that hyperlinks to the chapters and sections of your document. This is a great feature that many writers take advantage of. It can easily tell you your word count, which is important if you use a word count strategy in your writing.

In every software I use, I am concerned about accessibility features. Being both legally blind and a quadriplegic means that accessibility features are important to me. I try to look out for others who need some of the same accessibility features I use.

Word has some great accessibility features. For instance, you can change the color of the ribbon at the top from the standard blue to a dark gray skin that makes it easier to read the ribbon options. It also has a speak feature I found very useful. If you want to hear your document being read to you as part of your editing, this can be a valuable feature.

You can also change the magnification on your document with an easy slider bar at the bottom right of the program. I use this often when I am editing, turning the magnification down so multiple pages show in my final edits.

Microsoft Word has more features I cannot cover in one review. But there are many reasons writers choose it for their word processing software. It may not work for you for two big reasons I’m about to mention, so read on if you alternatives.

Alternatives to Microsoft Word

Even though Microsoft Word is the industry standard that most people use, you are not tied to just this one word processor on the market. Writers have two main reasons for trying other word processing software out there.

The first reason is the price of Microsoft Office. Currently, it is super expensive to buy the whole suite. The vast way to go is to purchase Microsoft Office 365 for a monthly fee. That makes the expense more reasonable. Plus, you have the cloud to back up your documents.

That works for many people. The other reason I have heard many people give for looking for alternate office software is that they don’t want to support the company for various reasons. Other people are concerned about security issues for their documents.

Have you heard of some of the alternate Office Suites available to you, many of them for free? Yes. I said free. They are comparable to Microsoft Word but they have some differences. Some of them might actually be better than Word.

First, perhaps the most common office suite out there most people know about is OpenOffice. You get a lot of bang for your buck with this office suite. It offers a Text Document word processor, Spreadsheet comparable to Excel, Presentation for making slides, Drawing, Database, and Formula.

First Best Word Processors for Writers Alternative

That’s a lot of tools all for free! The main drawbacks of this office suite are that you have to learn a new user interface and your files are not saved in the default mode so they can be used with Microsoft Office.

The user interface is different because if it is too close to Microsoft Word, the developers of OpenOffice would get sued big time. The program is different enough that you have to explore the user-interface and figure out the features. OpenOffice may have better features for writers than Microsoft Word.

You can also change the preference of saving as a OpenOffice document. In the program, if you go to Tools > Options, you can change the Load/Save option to Microsoft Word so other people can open your document in their program.

Another alternative is LibreOffice, which is comparable to the other word processors I have mentioned. What I like about LibreOffice is that it has accessible features I could really get used to. It starts up in a dark mood that makes it easy to see the toolbar and menu bar. You can zoom in on your document as well.

This program has a Track Changes feature like Microsoft Office. I know Word has a thesaurus, but LibreOffice also has one, and this is gold for any writer of fiction or nonfiction. It also has the same features as OpenOffic. Most writers are only interested in the word processor but it offers the same features as OpenOffice.

Second Best Word Processors for Writers Alternative

A final alternative in my review of word processors for writers to Microsoft Word is WPS Office. What I like about this office suite is its simple, clean interface. It does not have as many features as the other three options.

Third Best Word Processors for Writers Alternative

WPS Office offers a word processor, spreadsheet tool, slide presentation program, and a PDF component. I use WPS Office mostly as a PDF program. I really enjoy the user interface for this feature. But that doesn’t help most writers.

You are interested in the word processor feature. What I like about WPS Office’s interface is that it has tabs at the top (not shown in the picture) that allow you to switch from document to document with ease. It is much like the tabs in web browsers.

It offers a user interface much like Microsoft Word in that it has tabs at the top for tools to use in your document. I wouldn’t call it a ribbon, but it’s pretty much the same thing. It does not have as much functionality as Word. The biggest drawback is that you have to pay to open all the features.

Strengths and Weaknesses of These Word Processors for Writers

I have talked a lot about the strengths and weaknesses of each of these word processors. Any one of them will get you writing. They have some of the same features that writers will like. I’ve talked about those above.

Let me talk about some of the weaknesses of all these word processors. While they can give you a word count, page count, etc. from your document they do not provide a robust word count system.

Only WPS Office has a tabbing system for multiple documents at one time. Switching between documents is important when you are doing research and writing from that research, or showing your table of contents while you are writing.

There’s not much document integration in these programs. You have to make multiple documents and open them all to work between them. That’s a lot of documents switching. There are also better ways to organize your project.

They don’t have the features that help you prepare your story or nonfiction work and organize everything. These are just a few of the drawbacks of general word processors.

Is There Anything Better out There?

In my opinion, absolutely! If you haven’t heard about it already, I want to introduce you to an amazing program that will help you with every aspect of writing you can imagine. There are a number of writer-specific word processing softwares available to writers you may not know about.

I will be diving in to these programs that are much more integrated for writers with benefits you can’t get anywhere else. Some of them are free, and the ones that are on not that expensive. I will die in to my favorites writing software in my next review. After that, we will continue to look at other writer-specific software.

You will be surprised what’s out there and how much better they are them these general word processors. They will do in a pinch but they cannot compare to some of the software I will talk about in the following reviews.

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