Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Freeware & Online Tools for Writers

One thing I like very much about the internet are the programmers and software designers who make their work freeware or create online tools for anyone to use. Because writers are universally income-challenged, one of my missions with PBW is to hunt down links to online tools, freeware and free trial software that writers can use or test drive at little to no cost.

Over time links do change or go belly-up, and I've never put together everything I've found in one place. So I've raided the archives to create a collective, updated list. Here's everything to which the links still work, in alphabetical order by program, list or site title (hover over the link for a short description box):

AbiWord * AbiWord v. 2.4.5 * The Abstract Art Title Generator * Active Tree Notes * Acute Notes * AdventureMaker * Agenda * AkelPad * Alice * Alien Speech * Alleycode * AM-Notebook * AndreaMosaic * Angel Writer * Anry Color Picker * Art of Illusion * Artificial Planet * ArtPad * A-Toolbar * Aviz Thought Mapper * Axon * Best Privacy Pack * BezierDraw * Bible Gateway * Blueman's Name Generators * Bonsai Story Generator * Book DB * BookFormat * Book Reader * Book Writer * Browzer Books Art Pac * Calendar.exe * Calendar Magic * Calendars & Planners * Capture-A-Screenshot * Carabao * Celestia * Chandler * Chaos Manager * Chaos Pro * Cliche Cleaner * Click-N-Type Virtual Keyboard * ClockLink * Coffee Cup Zip Wizard * Color Cop * Color Palette Generator * ConceptDraw * Data Crow * Dead Disk Doctor * Design-A-Room * Diagram Designer * Diary Book * Dirk Paehl's Web Site * DocPad * DocScrubber * Dreamlines * DSpeech * EasyNoter * E-muse * Everest Dictionary * EZThumbnails * EBook Compiler * Editor's Choice Free Software * eJournal * Elfima * eQit * Fake Name Generator * FAQ Genie * Faststone * Flipbook Printer * Freefilmsoftware.co.uk * Floating Clock * Floating Notes * ForeWords * The Form Letter Machine * Fredal's Dictionary * FreeSerifSoftware * FreeWare Book * FreeMind * Free Photo Station * FreeToolkit.net * FreewareWiki * Furnish * Fuzzy Duck Note Tab * GameMaker * George's MySpace Editor * GlobalSpellChecker * Google Earth * GroupMail * The Hero Machine * HippoName * IDEA! * Idea Tracker * Ink * Instant Eyedropper * Interlex * Jan Verhoeven's Web Site * Jarte * John and Marcia, The Novel Crash Test Dummies * Jordi's Handwriting Fonts * JR Directory Printer * Keynote * KPlan Personal * Kwik Facts * Laptop Battery Power Monitor * Larabie Fonts * LaunchOnFly * Legendary Tales * The Literary Machine * Litha:Paint * The Magic Notebook * Magic Speed Reading * Manuscript Tracking * MemoirsLite * MicroEggTimer * MikkoMatrix * MindGenius * MindManager * MindPad * MiniMinder * Mobysaurus * MoonEdit * MouseCam *Multi-Reminders * My Things * Name Generator * Nature's Mosaic * 93 Photo Street * The Novel Notebook by PBW * Notebook 2000 * Notebox Disorganizer * NotesBrowser * NotesPad Text Editor * NovaMind * Offtype.net * Open Office * Open Office Portable * pAgenda * Paint Chips * Papel * Paperless Printer * PBW's Left Behind & Loving It 2007 Virtual Workshops * PCGen * PDF995 * PDF Factory * PDF Machine * PDF Maker DLL * PDFOnline.com * Peacock Color Picker * Personal Info Managers * Photo-to-Sketch * Photo2Web and Photo View * PhotoGadget * PhotoShape * Phrase Express * PlanWare * Pooter4 * PosteRazor * Posteriza * Primo PDF * Printable Notebook * ProBoards * Project DogWaffle * Project Engine * Quick2Do * QuickEnvelopes * Rainlendar * Random Terrain Generator * RapidKeys * ReadPal * Remind Me Please * Rhyme * Said * Schmap * ScholarCite * Scrapbook * Scribe * Send 2 Notepad * Serendipity * 7th Novel * Seventh Sanctum * Shirusupad * Simple TODO * SlimList * SmartBee * Smart CutNPaste * SnipIts * Sonar * SpeakOut * SpeedMenus * Spell Magic * Spice Trade * SquareNotes * StarStrider * Stay Connected * StickIt * StoryMind.com's free trial versions of Story Weaver, Dramatic Pro, and Movie Magic * The Story Starter * Sunbird * SuperMemo * Talking Alarm Clock * TaskPrompt * Text2Web * TextBlockWriter * Textalyser * Textanz * Textplorer * TimeLeft * Time Sentry * TimeTool * Title Scroller * TKexe Kalendar * ToDo * Total Organizer * TV.exe * TweakPDF * Twisted Brush * TypeItIn * UserHealth * Video DVD Maker * Visual Mind * Vizual Einstein ME * VMN Toolbox * Vocabula * Voodoopad * VRML Beans * Weather Watcher * WebMastersChannel.com * WebSearchBar * What to Do * Whiteboard PS * Win32Pad * Word Index Builder * WordMorph * Word Sorter * WordWeb * Wordcounter * WordPod * WPClipArt * Writers Block * WriteThis * Xint * yBook * yGen * yLaunch * Your Sky * ySync * yTimer * yWriter * ZuluPad.

I'm sure I missed a few, but I'll keep adding links as I unearth them, and update this list with new stuff I find. A permalink to this post will be added on the sidebar so that you all can access it easily in the future. Please feel free to pass any of these links along to folks who can use them.


  1. Eeek. Well, I'm going to be busy for a while....

  2. Anonymous2:16 AM

    Gee, thanks. Wandering around looking for "time saving" software is my black hole of productiveness...

  3. WOW...this is an amazing list. Thank you so much!

  4. Wow, thanks so much for all the useful info!

  5. pbwiki.com a free personal wiki. I followed a link from an article in the current issue of Vision and am using it to organize a current WIP. It's not software, but it may be useful to other writers and it is free. :)

  6. Anonymous8:25 AM

    I'm impressed again by how much effort and time you devote to helping fellow writers. Thanks.

  7. Anonymous11:25 AM

    Just yesterday I clicked my way through all of your Ten posts to find new software for me. Yes, all of them. That's how life works. :)

    Here are a few programs (freeware, of course) that I would like to mention:

    - AutoRealm (http://www.autorealm.org for information and tutorials) (http://wiki.autorealm.org/AR/FileVault The filevault of the wiki with user maps and symbol libraries)
    It is a great program to make maps and has many features. It even has two distance measuring tools and can do fractals to make those nice looking coastlines.

    - IcoFX (http://icofx.xhost.ro) Very simple icon editor, which I use to make icons for Keynote. Why would I do that? I use Keynote to store all the information about my stories. That means character info, worldbuilding, notes, thoughts, etc. All these can get their own icons, so I made little people icons in different colors for characters.

    - True Crypt (http://www.truecrypt.org/docs) I don't have any long-time experiences, but will be using this a lot soon when I get a laptop. It is an encryption program that creates containers for your files. These containers can only be opened with a password. I prefer this one to other programs that only let you encrypt files, because this way no one knows how many files you have and what they are called.

    I think all of my other programs are already in the list. It is possible that I got the above three programs from your blog, but I've been freeware hunting a lot and don't really know.

    Thanks for taking the time to finding and sharing all these great links! They are very helpful and way too much fun to try out. :)

    I also shamelessly want to add something else, because it more or less fits the post and I think I saw him here before:
    Thank you, Simon Haynes, for creating such a wealth of useful programs and making them available for free.

  8. Anonymous12:49 PM

    *GASP* Wow. Thank you SO much, PBW, for all you do for writers. :) We really appreciate it. *investigates links*


  9. Cripes, P.! I'll bet you were just as surprised by how many links you've found as we are.

    WTG, P.!

  10. Oh. My. Goodness. What a list!

  11. I note that the first two links are to AbiWord. AbiWord has some serious problems.

    It's unusable for novel-length manuscripts. Even simple reformat tasks, such as a change of typeface (Courier to Times Roman, for example), on a 85K word ms. takes FOUR MINUTES even on a fast processor (Athlon 4400 X2). Open Office Writer takes less than a second to do the same task.

    AbiWord also has display problems, and even printing problems: capital 'O' is partly chopped off in Courier New.

    AbiWord can't be recommended. Open Office Writer is a better choice.

  12. Anonymous9:41 AM

    Thank you Paperback Writer for mentioning my little thesaurus tool.

    I'm excited that this small linguistic tool can be of real help to writers in English, nothing can be more rewarding to me than that.

    Yes, "writers are universally income-challenged" - exactly.

    If you are writing in ANY way helping society, just drop me an email, mentioning one of your published works (either online or offline), I'll be very happy to send you a life-time universal license (of course free) to all existing and future versions of Mobysaurus Thesaurus. (No fee or donation required)

    Also, free life-time universal site license is available to any educational, non-profit, charity (and alike) organization. (No fee or donation required)

    - Anderson, author of Mobysaurus Thesaurus

  13. Anonymous4:00 PM


    New VMN Toolbox version 4 is released:

    Check it out!

  14. Thanks for posting this...but i went to 'manuscript tracking' and it tried to download something that was telling me that i had a virus..!


  15. Now, that's a list, and quite a useful one too. You have, however, omitted Google Docs which is available at:


    no downloads necessary, just a live internet connection, which is more and more available these days now we're approaching a 2.0 society.
    It also allows you to upload existing documents via email, a great backup facility with online storage.

    Nice blog-keep it up (like I need to say that!)



  16. Wow! Very comprehensive list! Thank you for taking the time to post this.

  17. Much appreciated.
    Some other things that are helpful that I rarely see are fractal map generators (stories can come from maps,) as well as other things that were originally made for D&D. (Ie. NameMage and other free generators.)
    I also recall having found a website that let you create an alternate moon cycle (you could even have multiple moons,) so you could plan out an alternate world.

  18. Oh- and astrology! :D Numerology profiles are great way to help you figure out a character.

  19. Anonymous10:55 PM

    CuteBabyNames.org could be useful resource. www.cutebabynames.org

  20. This is fantastic! Now I've got another reason to avoid writing. :)

  21. Anonymous7:10 PM

    Hi ! Thanks very much for freebie collection. found wonderful thinhs there.. BUT one great sw is missing there for everybody being creative or writer. : Evernote 2, a note program. full featured freeware. ou can do almost everything with it: note text, collect clips, to-do-list....
    i use it everyday.. !!!

  22. Can I suggest RoughDraft 3.00 It is a wonderful little wordprocessor designed to meet the needs of writers.

  23. Sheesh!! the word list doesn't do it justice, compendium maybe - I'm sure I'll find something - Thks

  24. Anonymous6:36 AM

    What a great list! There is one tool,that i keep myself organized, maybe you'll like it too - http://www.comindwork.com

  25. This WOULD be a great list if there were any discriptions or explainations of what each link went to or about the software the link goes to. As is, it's rather useless and a big waste of time.

  26. Christine wrote: This WOULD be a great list if there were any discriptions or explainations of what each link went to or about the software the link goes to. As is, it's rather useless and a big waste of time.

    You've found the old original list I compiled, Christine. For an indexed, as well as descriptions of the freeware (for those you just have to put your cursor over the link you're interested in) go to the updated list here. And thanks so much for stopping in; it's always interesting to meet people like you.

  27. Anonymous11:53 PM

    Hey you! All this stuff is so fucking great for writers around the universe. THANKS A LOT. I would retweet it, but... HOW? NEITHER YOU'VE A TWITTER OR FACEBOOK PROFILE. Gwt one, to get more people coming around you.

  28. Dear Anonymous:

    Thanks for the compliment. I'm glad you thought all this stuff was so [bleep] great. Alas, I'm never going to have a Twitter or Facebook profile. Ever. The universe will collapse first. So please stop screaming at me.



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