Free Scrivener Alternatives

I recently tried out Scrivener, after hearing about it over and over again from multiple professional writers.  While there were things about the program I loved, it was a little difficult to master, and it also lacked some functionalities I wished it had.  Plus, it costs $40, and though I was using the free 30-day trial, I wasn’t yet convinced that it would meet my needs enough to purchase it.   I wanted to see what else was out there.

So… I looked.

And I found a lot of options.

So, I dug deeper.  I spent many hours testing out multiple programs, mostly free, and comparing their features to Scrivener and to one another.  I read tutorials, I tested out the programs, I created a partial story to try out the software’s functionality… I even took screenshots.

Then I compiled them all and compared them, and what resulted was the chart below.

This chart is by no means exhaustive.  There are plenty of software programs I didn’t try.  I also can’t guarantee the chart is perfect.  It’s possible I missed a feature here or there because it was just difficult to find within the program, or that perhaps some of these programs have been updated or changed since a few weeks ago when I tested them.

However, if you’re looking for writing software and you want to know what’s out there and how it compares to a leading software like Scrivener, then I hope this chart will be helpful to you.

A note: Green checkmarks mean YES to a feature, while blank boxes mean either a general “no,” that I couldn’t find the option in that program or that the option doesn’t apply.  If I took time to put a red X in a box, take that as an emphatic NO.


And now, THE CHART:

comparison-of-writing-software_page_1comparison-of-writing-software_page_2I realize that this chart gives only a very brief analysis of each program.  It is intended to be a summary tool to help you see a lot of info all at once.  However, if you want more details about each program I tested, I did create a detailed review for each one (with screenshots!).  You can see these reviews in my “Free Writing Software Review” series posts, in which I’ll be posting a detailed review of each program on the above chart.  These will be posted once a week, starting next week.

Thank you for reading!

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7 Comments Add yours

  1. Billlie Boyd says:

    Why the split page? The chart is on the left and will not move and the blog is on the right. the chart is too small to read.
    Is the chart somewhere else that is readable?


    1. CCrawfordWriting says:

      Are you viewing on a computer or mobile device? I just double-checked and on a computer, the chart is readable (though the font is small). If you right-click, you can “Open Image in New Tab” and zoom in as far as you like; everything is still clear and readable even when zoomed. On mobile, you can do the same by tapping and holding on the image, then selecting “Open Image.” This should open the image in a separate window that lets you zoom in. Hope that helps!


  2. Terence Park says:

    Looking at changing old PC (XP based). I’ve only kept it going because of writing software that won’t work on Windows 7 or later – having said which, the hardware has come to the end of its natural life, so I’m looking at the options. I noticed Bibisco and read your experience which took me here. I already have yWrite 5 which fine except for one thing – backups (I’d prefer to create one when I save rather than the autocreate; not a big deal but I’d rather not have content free backups…) That aside I like it for word count, word count by scene and word usage.
    Your comments on Scrivener ring true. I used the free download a couple of days until other things in life took precedence (Taxi-driver of Dad) plus keeping up with stuff.
    I hope to treat myself to Scrivener at Xmas – it might never get used but as a writing junkie, what else should I ask for? 😉 😉
    Keep writing


    1. CCrawfordWriting says:

      Did I never reply to this??? I’m so sorry! So, I’ve still yet to master Scrivener, but it’s on my to-do list! I have a couple other writing apps I want to try out first, because to be honest, Scrivener intimidates me still. I know SO MANY writers swear by it, but it’s a little too overwhelming for me. I may watch some tutorials, etc., when I get time and then try out the trial version some more before deciding whether to purchase.


  3. Deej Jennings says:

    Your organized chart is perfect – I am looking for a scrivener alternative and your posting is the best!


    1. CCrawfordWriting says:

      Thank you so much! I’m glad it was helpful!


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