Top 10 Best Open Source Tools for Writers

In a nutshell, open source software is the software the code of which is publicly available for viewing, studying, and even changing. The biggest advantage of the code availability is that it makes it possible to check any software of the absence of vulnerabilities and unacceptable features like hidden tracking of users.

Today, the open source community is growing rapidly. More and more users join it, so the amount of open source software is also increasing. This community produces a large number of tools for pretty much any purpose and makes it available for everyone.

In this article, we are going to look at some of the best open source writing tools that all writers should find handy.

Open Source Writing Software: Top 10 Tools


Ghostwriter is one of the best tools for writers out there. The tool is available for Linux and Windows. One of its biggest benefits is that it supports the Markdown language. Also, the application allows you to instantly export your documents to Word, HTML, Epub, PDF, ODT, and more. Thus, this tool can serve many purposes.


Another great tool is Bibisco. The tool is available for Mac, Windows, and Linux. It is created for writing mainly stories and novels. The best thing about this app is that it really helps you develop your characters. It asks you certain questions about each character, which helps get a better idea of your characters, their roles, appearance, motives, personality, etc. It also has plenty of other basic features.


The next tool AsciiDoc is one of the most multi-purpose ones on this list. It has plenty of formatting features and allows you to create all sorts of files including web pages, articles, books, documentation, blogs, slideshows, and much more. Thus, whereas the previous tool is designed for fiction writers, in particular, AsciiDoc is great for everyone. It will suit the needs of bloggers, book writers, academic writers who work at services where students can request “I want to pay someone to do my uni assignment”, copywriters, students, and just people who have to create lots of documentation. Apart from excellent functionality, it is also quite easy in use. Thus, be sure to add this app to your toolkit!


oStorybook is available for Mac, Windows, and Linux. It is another open source writing tool for those who are engaged in writing novels. Its biggest benefit is that it is perfect for organizing different elements of the story, for example, it lets you create a hierarchical tree.


Trelby is an excellent tool for screenwriters. The app can run on Windows and Linux. This program comes with a variety of features that make screenwriting simple and intuitive. There is auto-completion, spell checking, as well as character, scene, dialogue, and location reports.


Initially, GitBook was designed primarily for technical writers. The tool can run on Mac, Windows, and Linux. One thing that sets it apart from similar tools is that it features a git version control system to help you keep track of changes you are making in the document. Also, it supports collaboration between multiple users. And although it is mostly used for technical writing, it can work just fine for other purposes.


The next tool on our list, LaTex, is a document preparation system. Initially, this tool was designed to help write high-quality scientific papers. However, you may also use it to create excellently-formatted books. There are plenty of formatting and structuring features, and a possibility to add cross-references and citations.


The next tool Manuskript is for writing great novels. It is available for Mac, Windows, and Linux. The main focus of this app is outlining. It comes in handy for outlining and managing your novels. And it also features a great distraction-free mode that really helps you concentrate on writing!


Scribus is a free desktop software designed for publishing your novels with ease. This tool runs on a variety of platforms including Mac, Windows, Linux, and others. Unlike other open source tools on this list, Scribus is not created to help you write your books, but it is handy when it comes to layout the finished book.


The last open source writing tool on this list is also designed for screenwriting. Fountain allows you to write your plays in a simple and convenient way. And it allows you to apply the correct formatting as you go, which is also quite great!

The Bottom Line

When we think of writers software, we most often think of widely-known tools provided by big companies, for example, Microsoft Word Scrivener. Although many writers give their preference to such programs, it is impossible to ignore some major cons they have. First of all, the software produced by large corporations doesn’t come for free and can be rather expensive. Secondly, using such tools, you risk losing them at any time because once the company stops producing it, it will be all gone and unavailable. We bet, everyone knows how bad it feels to lose a program you are used to and like.

That’s when open source tools are more beneficial. Most of them are free of charge and, since their codes are publicly visible, even if the developer gives up on it, someone else can pick it up straight away.

Using open source writing tools implies many benefits. So, hopefully, each of you will find something to suit his needs in this article!

Author’s Bio: This article was written by an experienced writer Sandra Larson. Being in the writing industry for quite a while, Sandra knows a lot about all sorts of tools and software designed to make writing easier. She gives her preference to open source writing tools and shares her favorites with us.