Author writing programs for Mac and iPad with / without Duden exam, thesaurus and writing style analysis

While looking for an author's writing program, I came across a wide variety of apps. Especially when it comes to a program for the Mac that, in addition to a Duden exam, may also analyze the writing style, you have to take a closer look. The selection isn't huge, but it's hard to say which one is right because you simply have to try it out. Therefore, at this point "only" a list of my findings for authoring programs for Mac and iPad (as well as Windows, Linux and Android) with / without Duden exam, thesaurus and writing style analysis - without a test this time. 

Author writing programs for Mac and iPad are available with and without a thesaurus, Duden exam and writing style analysis. Some also only offer trouble-free word processing. You can find an overview for authoring apps here!
Author writing programs for Mac and iPad are available with and without a thesaurus, Duden exam and writing style analysis. Some also only offer trouble-free word processing. You can find an overview for authoring apps here!

Author writing programs for Mac, PC, iPad and Co.

Whether non-fiction, biography or fiction novel - writing a book is easier with a specially designed program than with Word, Pages or Open Office apps. Because where the apps for general word processing score with numerous formatting options, they have no features for sorting characters, storylines, scenes and the like. You cannot “put down” the central theme of the book; you have to write it down on paper, in individual files, or in your head.

Therefore, free Office programs, Pages, Microsoft Word and the like do not appear in the following list; even if they (partially) bring a spelling and grammar check with them. Rather, the list is about software that helps authors to find the right words using the thesaurus or synonym function, to avoid spelling thanks to the spelling and Duden test, to structure the book, and perhaps with a sense of style also to write without distraction. The latter through a user interface that can be deactivated. Maybe there is the right thing for you ...

Drama Queen

DramaQueen, currently available in version 2, is made for scriptwriters and prose writers. The creation of exposé, scenes, steps, scenes and sequences as well as files, parts, chapters and sub-chapters is possible. There is a trial version that can be used free of charge for 30 days. Then the slimmed-down free version is activated. Full versions cost from 99 to 297 euros. You can get all information here: 


FocusWriter offers a distraction-free user interface in four different designs. The tools only appear when you move the mouse to the edge of the window. German can be set up as the language, but there are no super-special features that help authors with text design. For this purpose, schedules, alarm clocks, typewriter noises and other things can be set in the app for macOS, Windows and Linux. You can find more information and the download here: 

iBooks Author

iBooks Author is a free app from Apple, as you can see from the name. It is available for macOS on Mac. The free software is mainly intended to create eBooks for Mac, iPad and iPhone - from cookbooks to story or picture books. There are also layout templates, but they are sure to distract novelists rather than help. But if you are planning graphics in your book, you should take a look: 

iA Writer

iA Writer is another software that creates a distraction-free writing surface. It is available for macOS and Windows as well as for iOS or iPadOS and Android. A dark mode can also be set for night owls. There are focus features and the ability to highlight adjectives, nouns, adverbs, verbs and conjunctions. So you can see at a glance where you should stylistically grind your text. Also interesting for speechwriters. The trial version is free; I cannot say whether German is supported (despite the German landing page): 


Knovelty is available in German and offers novel authors under Windows the option of dividing their works into chapters and scenes. Background information on people, places and more can also be managed. “Everything can be linked to everything!” It says on the website. After the test period of 30 days, you can buy the full version for just 10 euros. The full range of functions includes stylistic text analysis, tools for revising the text, statistics on written words and more. You can find all functions and compatibilities here: 


PageFour is again a software in English, but it should help everyone who can do without the Duden exam, thesaurus and writing style analysis. The single .exe for Windows PCs offers the possibility to organize chapters, characters, locations and the like on a simple user interface. There are also different "notebooks" for the different projects / novels. More information and the download is available here: 

Papyrus author

With Papyrus Author, we come to another app for macOS and Windows that is priced in the higher class of authoring programs. The current version costs 179 euros (as of August 22, 2019), but offers functions for planning and research, for text improvement and style analysis, a good interface for writing and assistance with publishing. There is also a Duden corrector, a timeline for the plot, a figure database, etc. All details and the test version are available here: 

patchwork fabric

Patchwork is also available in German on Mac and PC and offers a 30-day trial version. It is intended for novelists, scriptwriters, blog writers, as well as publishers. In the program you can plan and write, you can do research, and content can be organized and revised. There are also features that help with publishing. There is also a timeline, a creative board, a planner for props and locations, and a lot more. The Duden function is available, but costs extra. The basic price is 99 euros. Details, download and tutorials are available here: 


SciFlow is an online writing program that you can use alone or with others via the web browser. So it is a "pad", but one that is specifically designed for scientific writing. Not only should the reduced surface ensure distraction-free writing, there are also numerous templates with which the research results and findings can be brought into existing form specifications. In addition to the manuscript styles, journal templates and formatting for term papers and theses, there is also the option of outputting the documents in frequently used formats such as .docx, .LaTeX, .pdf and .html. You can check out the whole thing here:


You can find Scrivener as a download for macOS on the Apple Mac, for iOS on the Apple iPad / iPhone and for Windows on the PC. Here, too, you have to get by without a Duden exam, thesaurus and writing style analysis when writing in German, because the program comes from Great Britain and does not seem to offer a translation yet. In the test version, however, you can try for 30 days whether writing planning, research database and figure overview, trouble-free writing and exporting as an eBook are something for you: 

Text force

Textkraft is an iOS app for iPad and iPhone that offers different functions depending on the version (there is a "Pro" version). It should combine advantages for writing, correcting, formatting and publishing. Offline dictionaries and a synonymsFinder. I once read on one page that Textkraft should also be quite good for translators because of the synonym finder. All information in a clear list with a breakdown by basic and pro version can be found here: 


With Ulysses, you can also use a number of functions such as distraction-free writing, dark mode, overviews and outlines, attachments and research as well as filters, writing goals and automatic backups. The synchronization also works with the cloud, for example with iCloud or DropBox. The app is now also available in German.

In addition, the written texts can be exported and shared, for example as HTML, ePub, Docx and PDF. There is also WordPress support for website operators. There is a free demo version as well as subscription prices with monthly or annual payment. 

From my point of view, it is worthwhile Get Ulysses directly from the Setapp subscription, because Ulysses is included there, including the iPad and iPhone versions.

Book recommendation: WordPress 5 manual by Richard Eisenmenger


yWriter is a free authoring app for macOS, Windows, Linux, iOS and Android. It helps to keep an overview by dividing texts into chapters and scenes. Otherwise there is a clean writing surface that is not disturbed by other elements. However, the app is in English and does not include a style analysis or text check. So rather something minimalistic to break down what is written. Information and the download are available on the developer website, which is reminiscent of the primeval times of the Internet and has a terrible menu structure: 

Bear notes

I have the Notes app Bear I've been using it for more than a year now and use it to write my blog posts. The big advantage that the app has for me is the iCloud synchronization. This enables me to start posts on the Mac and finish them later on the iPad. It is perhaps less suitable for large works, as there are no features such as the creation of a table of contents or footnotes. But if you are looking for a lightweight for writing, you will be well taken care of with Bear.

The features of Bear at a glance.
The features of Bear at a glance.

Conclusion and even more authoring programs

There are a lot of writing programs for writers. If you are still free to decide whether you want to work with or without the Duden exam, thesaurus and writing style analysis, you can try everything out. But if you want to have the auxiliary tools for style, choice of words and spelling with you, the choice is quite limited. Most of the (free) writing programs for novelists are easy to understand in German and English, but above all they offer a writing surface and a few options for structuring. If you still have an insider tip - preferably in German and with test features - please leave a comment with your favorite app for scribes;)

App tip: LanguageTool Plus - The German Grammarly alternative

My tips & tricks about technology & Apple

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14 comments on "Author's writing programs for Mac and iPad with/without Duden test, thesaurus and writing style analysis"

  1. I have been using papyrus for the Mac for 14 years now. I have seen the developments and would like to add to the above report that Papyrus has been 100% aligned with the wishes of the authors with each new version.
    The Duden corrector, which, as far as I know, only exists in papyrus, should be emphasized. With the style analysis and the readability index, Papyrus is awesome.
    So anyone who writes professionally is on the safe side with this program. Papyrus is particularly suitable for those who want to publish their works themselves as an eBook. With a few clicks, the document turns into a great eBook.
    Video workshops on Papyrus were published on YouTube late last year. If you want to find out more, there is an extensive source there.

    I've been working with Drama Queen for a long time, but only use this program for scripts and radio plays. The possibility of writing prose with Drama Queen has not been possible for as long as I have already tried. Here, too, I would like to praise the spell check and the inclusion of the wishes of the authors. A great program that comes very close to the world's leading Final Draft. Numerous videos on how to use the program are also offered free of charge on their website.

    Of course, both programs are quite expensive, but in my opinion the price-performance ratio is right and, like everything in life, the price is also relative.

    Thanks to Jens for the great compilation of the writing programs.

    1. Hello Jochen! Thank you for your extensive experience report. I bought Papyrus Author last night and am waiting for the activation. I also find the style analysis and the Duden correction very helpful for bloggers... that was decisive for me in my decision. Visually, Papyrus still has "room for improvement". There are really 10x prettier writing programs on the Mac, such as Ulysses, iA Writer, OMMwriter or similar. But they don't all have the nice correction analyzes that Papyrus offers.

      I think Papyrus Autor will soon receive its own article - even if, as a blogger, I probably only use 20% of the functions. : D

  2. Gabrielle Meier

    I've written with Papyrus for a long time, but I have to admit that I personally prefer to work on an iPad with an external keyboard. (Logitech). Desktop PCs are simply too big and tied to a specific location and on laptops the touchpad bothers me enormously when writing. With a tablet in a keyboard case, I am most likely to have the typewriter feeling. But at Papyrus there is no Ipad support. A heavily scaled-down version would actually be enough for me! But for about five years now, people have been put off. I bit into the not-so-sour apple and am now writing with Scrivener again. Synchronously on all devices. Yes, it lacks style analysis and some useful tools, but Scrivener really isn't to be sneezed at. Reduced to the essentials and still clear. I find the pin board in particular to be very helpful.
    In addition, my publisher would like to have Word documents from me ... Well, I didn't expect anything like that. When exporting from papyrus I had problems with various formatting. Not with Scrivener ...
    Should there ever be an Ipad version of Papyrus before I retire, I'll be the first to try it! Because with all the comforts and gimmicks, as an author I only want one thing: to write, write, write and always and everywhere (at least I'm someone like that) and unfortunately I can't do that with Papyrus at the moment.


    1. Hello Gabriele! Thank you for your assessment. For me as a blogger, Papyrus on the Mac was simply not “Mac-like” enough and too bloated. I have a small note tool that works best on all devices. But I'm also not an author who writes huge works.

  3. Hello! I have three different writing programs (Scrivener, Papyrus, Patchwork) on my Mac, one of which I use the most - Patchwork. The only downside is that I also had to buy Parallels because Patchwork was designed/programmed for Windows users:inside. Otherwise, I can only give the program praise, because it is constantly evolving and since I used it for the first time (Edition 1.22) I've been at 3.29 and am amazed at how great you can write down your texts with this software. The imprint service that Martin Danesch offers for subscribers (upgrades) might also be worth mentioning.

    1. Hello Rainer! Thanks for your comment, but strictly speaking, patchwork is not intended for the article here, since you have to emulate Windows to use it. Nevertheless thanks for your tip. Maybe it's still exciting for one or the other Mac user if you already have Parallels on your Mac because of another software.

  4. You're right about that, of course, but you might be interested in how to use it on the Mac. ;)
    Anyway, I would recommend patchwork rather than papyrus.

    1. Thanks for the addition. Looks very "powerful". But when you're writing a book, it's definitely easier to keep track of things than in a Word document. 😊

  5. As with any tool, it depends on the intended use. 😅
    There are also specialized tools for various manual things and it's the same here too. You should think carefully in advance what do I want, what do I need for it and how can I best implement it. 😉

    1. You're right. I've found that these authoring programs, while technically intriguing, are just complete overkill for a simple blog post.

  6. iA Writer supports multiple languages:
    Language Support The iA Writer for Windows user interface is currently localized to English, German, Japanese, French and Spanish. Our syntax highlighter is available in English and the style checker is available in English, German and French. We are working hard to expand Writer's language support and hope to add more languages...

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