Authors software

Authors software comparison - The best writing program for you

We introduce you to the most important writing programs and show you their advantages and disadvantages as well as the costs. This comparison will save you time-consuming research and will help you to quickly find the right writing software for your needs!

How will you write?

If you want to write a book, you should first consider which writing program should be used. Should it be a simple word processing program such as Word or would you prefer a comprehensive authoring software that also offers you support in researching, planning scenes and characters, structuring the text or finding ideas? There is a large selection of software that is specially tailored to the needs of authors. But that does not make choosing the right program any easier.

By the way, you can also easily read the book typesetting online with the Text Designer from tredition! This is free of charge and easy to use even for laymen!

Why do you need authoring software?

The writing itself, i.e. the typing of your text or dictation, is of course not something that any software can do for you. But writing programs can help you write in many ways. Computer software helps with text recognition and often also has a grammar check and/or spell checker, internal references or links within your text are possible.

Furthermore, authoring software offers the possibility to structure texts, i.e. to create and organize chapters and headings or to organize your text structure even better. Once the writing of your manuscript is done, writing software can help you to format the document in a way that makes sense for a book publication.

For this purpose, many writing programs have special format templates that authors can use. In addition, some writing programs even contain special functions for authors, such as a style analysis, readability control, research pinboard or the possibility to convert an e-book from the manuscript. But not every software has the same functions. Therefore it is important to find the best writing program for your own text work.

Writing programs at a glance

There are a large number of writing programs that can help you. In the following we will introduce you to the most important writing programs and specific authoring software. Find out which tools or additional features are available to you and what the advantages and disadvantages of each software are. Most importantly, which writing program is right for you depends on your individual needs regarding book design as well as your technical requirements and skills. Our comparison will help you to make the right decision for your own book project. Of course, we can't present every software in every detail, but if you have very specific questions about the individual applications, ideally you should contact the manufacturers directly.

Microsoft Word: The classic for texting

Microsoft Word is the classic among all writing programs. The software is part of the Microsoft Office package and runs on PCs and Macs. There is only a minimal difference between the PC and Mac versions. Every author should be familiar with Microsoft Word, as it is the top dog among all writing programs. The program works very solidly and is intuitive to use, even though there are minimal differences between the PC and Mac versions. Most people, editors, typesetters, etc. know and use the program. So there are few problems when working with other service providers. However, special additional functions for authors are missing, which other programs like Papyrus and Co. offer.

Price

Additional costs only apply if Microsoft Office is not pre-installed on your PC or laptop. In such a case you have two options: A slimmed down version of MS Office is available free of charge. However, if you want to have the (recommended) full scope of services available, you have to take out an annual subscription with Microsoft. The prices for this vary depending on the package and type of use (private or business). You can find more information about this at Microsoft online.

Advantages

Almost everyone knows the program or has used it before. Therefore the cooperation with editors, typesetters or other additional service providers is also problem-free.

If you have any questions or problems with the software, you can find answers and information quickly at Microsoft Word directly or in relevant forums.

Word has a user-friendly interface that you can quickly navigate and a built-in spell checker.

Disadvantages

There are no additional aids or functionalities for structuring texts for authors.

Possibilities that are specifically tailored to authors, such as a character database, an additional style analysis, a timeline or similar, are unfortunately not available in Word.

There is no way to export an e-book with Word.

LibreOffice: Text software for smart spenders

LibreOffice is a free office suite that was spun off from the OpenOffice office package in 2010 and has been developed independently since then. In its functionalities, the writing software is almost identical to the office package. Through constant improvement and updates, LibreOffice is said to be "the best free office package" according to its inventors and is generally considered to be the modern version of OpenOffice. Although the program is free of charge, regular updates are necessary to keep the functions up to date. OpenOffice is an alternative for all "update tired" users, but it should be remembered that, unlike Microsoft Word, OpenOffice has more compatibility problems when used, e.g. when converted into a Word document or PDF.

Price

free of charge

Advantages

Microsoft Word supports the OpenDocument standard (.odt). This makes it easier to transfer documents from one application to another.

LibreOffice is available for Linux as well as for Windows and Mac OS.

In contrast to Word, OpenOffice and LibreOffice can be used free of charge without restrictions.

Disadvantages

LibreOffice is very cumbersome to use. Simple functions such as section changes quickly become a torture. If you are not particularly computer-affine, this writing software is not suitable, especially because of the frequent updates.

The single commands in LibreOffice are not very intuitive, for example, for page numbers you have to call a section with the bulky name "field command".

Neither LibreOffice nor OpenOffice have any additional features specifically for authors and are therefore more likely to be used as free versions of MS Word.

Papyrus: Popular and rich in features

Beyond classic writing software like Word and OpenOffice Papyrus one of the best known writing programs, which was developed especially for the purposes of book authors. By the way: Some ideas and functions of Papyrus were designed by the author Andreas Eschbach. The computer trade magazine "c't" judged that Papyrus "in terms of program size, speed and stability, top dogs like Word or OpenOffice are ranked". Fact is: Papyrus is a valuable alternative for you, especially if it is important to you to have a program that supports you not only in writing, but also in planning and revising your book.

Price

Papyrus costs 179 Euro, for an upgrade to the current version 69 Euro are due. The student version is available for 149 Euro.

Advantages

There are many functions and tools for authors, such as an outline of their own chapters, a timeline or an "organizer" that takes up the structure of chapters, scenes and events for their own planning and design and makes it available at a glance. At the so called think tank you can graphically develop ideas.

Papyrus style analysis helps to give formulations the finishing touch. According to Papyrus, it marks potential style weaknesses that have emerged from writing theories and the collaboration with bestselling author Andreas Eschbach.

In contrast to Word, OpenOffice and LibreOffice can be used free of charge without restrictions.

Disadvantages

Because of the many functions Papyrus is quite complex. If you are used to Word, you might have difficulties at first.

Papyrus has the disadvantage that it is very difficult to create a PDF file, the fonts are often not embedded properly in the process and it shifts a lot, which makes the final handling between author and service provider difficult. In most cases, service providers or printing companies need a print-ready PDF.

There is a lack of good figure databases and plotting elements, as you can get with the software DramaQueen (see below).

DramaQueen: For fans of visual planning

DramaQueen is a relatively new German writing program for screenwriters and prose writers. The developers praise DramaQueen as software "by authors for authors". A big advantage of this authoring software is the possibility to plan and visually present your own story. The program is therefore especially suitable for people who like to think visually.

Price

A simple basic version of DramaQueen is available for free. The entry-level version "DramaQueen PLUS 2" can be purchased for 99 Euro and DramaQueen PRO 2 (with all dramaturgical features) for 297 Euro. The usage is unlimited in each case. Larger updates are subject to a charge.

Advantages

With DramaQueen you can not only write and format stories, but also develop, visualize, analyze and revise them.

With DramaQueen you can work with story lines, turning points, different outline models, a storytelling guide as well as with character profiles, character arcs and analysis graphics.

DramaQueen provides an overview of the plot and character development. So if you write long, multi-layered novels, you have clear advantages here.

Disadvantages

If you only want to write down and format your text, you are surely overstrained with this authoring software. The training takes a long time.

The program requires knowledge of the vocabulary of a writer. Debut authors in particular may find this difficult.

There is a lack of good figure databases and plotting elements, as you can get with the software DramaQueen (see below).

Scrivener: With sophisticated pinboard planner

Scrivener is a writing program that enjoys increasing popularity. Numerous author functions offer authors assistance in writing books. However, the program is quite complex. Scrivener was developed by a British student Keith Blount, who was looking for a suitable authoring software at the time. At first Scrivener was only available for the Mac, but in the meantime a Windows version has been added. Scrivener is marketed by "Literatur & Latte", a company founded by Keith Blount for this purpose.

Price

The standard license of Scrivener costs 53 Euro, a student version costs 41.05 Euro.

Advantages

The planning, organisation and structuring of the text is possible by dividing it into scenes. These can be arranged and rearranged on a pin board by drag & drop function, as the author's heart desires.

With the full-screen mode you can write undisturbed with this authoring software.

The user interface can be set up individually so that the software can be adapted to your own needs.

Disadvantages

There is no solid spelling or grammar checker.

Styles or formatting functions are completely missing.

Unlike Papyrus, Scrivener (often referred to as the "cheap brother" of Papyrus) does not offer style analysis.

Patchwork: creative techniques included

Patchwork is like DramaQueen a relatively new authoring software. The manufacturers praise it as "the most innovative, intuitive and smartest authoring program". It was conceived as software by an author for authors. Patchwork is similar to Papyrus and has similar features, but is less expensive. On the Patchwork website you can find a detailed description of the program's features: Among other things, freely designable templates, a spelling and grammar checker, a text structure in chapters, subchapters and scenes as well as possibilities for creative work such as mind mapping or a creative board with links to your own scenes.

Price

There is a patchwork license including Duden for 134 Euro, without Duden the license costs 99 Euro.

Advantages

Many helpful features like a timeline for your own project, a character database and a scene and style analysis as well as a mind map, which is well suited for plotting your own plot. There are countless other features: You can also have your own story read out to you.

After writing, you can prepare your manuscript for printing or create an e-book.

On the website, patchwork users can exchange information with each other, the forum posts are grouped by topic so that you can quickly find answers to your specific question.

Disadvantages

Due to its many functions, patchwork is quite complex. So weigh up carefully whether you are computer-savvy enough and want to accept a corresponding training period.

Patchwork is designed not only for book authors, but also for bloggers, screenwriters and publishers. This makes the program very content-rich and elaborate.

LaTeX: Right on target for scientists

LaTeX is a writing software or a typesetting program which simplifies the use of the typesetting system TeX with the help of macros. The software was developed in the 1980s and is therefore not one of the most modern authoring programs. TeX and LaTeX are open source solutions. Writing software is often used in the scientific field and when working with reference books, especially in the natural sciences. This is because formulas can be represented much more precisely with LaTeX than is possible with Word. The writing software is suitable for PC experts. LaTeX is available for Linux, Mac and Windows PCs as freeware.

Price

free of charge

Advantages

LaTeX is well suited for textbook authors, especially from the natural sciences, because working with formulas etc. is much more precise than with other writing programs.

With LaTeX, texts are only viewed from a logical perspective, which is an advantage for more extensive texts.

Disadvantages

If you have questions about LaTeX, you can't rely on telephone support, but have to consult books, internet pages or similar.

Individual templates for your own text are not easy to create, but require very good training. Standard templates are available, however.

Test the writing programs that come into question for you before you buy them! Most providers of authoring software have a trial version where you can put the various features and functions through their paces. You may also be able to combine different aspects of individual programs. It is also possible to use several programs at the same time, such as the text construction kit functions of Scrivener and DramaQueen and then the spell checker or the formatting options of Papyrus and Word.

Conclusion

Now which is the best writing program for you? Ask yourself in advance what your own needs and requirements are. You should first make a note of these needs and then go through the functions of the individual programs. Where are the most similarities? What are your prerequisites? How much time do you have for training, how much money do you need to buy the software? Do you already have experience with writing programs? Are you writing a novel or a textbook? The decision is not only based on the functions of an authoring software, but also on the ease of use and accessibility. So choose the best writing program according to your inclinations and experience, not just what other authors recommend.

For new car drivers

If you're not particularly adept with computers and don't need any additional features, the classics like Word or Open Office are still the best alternative. Especially when it comes to formatting, Word still has the edge. In addition, you can exchange files with other service providers and quickly get tips on how to use the writing software online!

For lovers of many functions

Are you adept with computers and do you require many functions in your writing program with which you structure your book? Then Papyrus, Scrivener or Patchwork could be the better alternatives for high demands. But here you have to expect a long training period. If you don't want to spend a lot of money and don't feel like reading the user manual, papyrus and patchwork are not for you, then Scrivener might be a cheaper alternative.

For plotters and tinkerers

If you love plotting and are a visual type, DramaQueen might be the best authoring software for you.

What genre do you write in?

LaTeX can be a good alternative for technical book authors, especially in the natural sciences. However, it takes some time to get used to it. A simple alternative is and remains Word.

Papyrus, Scrivener or DramaQueen are particularly suitable for novelists, as these programs offer a range of functions that provide great support for authors when planning and reviewing novels.

We wish you much success in trying it out!

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