As a writer, there’s nothing more critical than a word processor. Yet don’t feel you have to settle for Microsoft Word because Microsoft Word isn’t designed for writing. Instead, Microsoft Word is designed mostly for formatting your document and modifying its appearance such as in columns. Beyond its emphasis on formatting, the other biggest problem with Microsoft Word is that it overwhelms users with multiple features that they may never need for writing, such as creating table of contents or wrapping text around pictures.
While nice, such features do little to help you take your thoughts and turn them into words. Instead, Microsoft Word tends to confuse and clutter the screen that can actually prevent you from thinking clearly about what you want to write. That’s why there’s a whole army of dedicated word processors for writers.
One of the most popular is Scrivener, which is designed as a writer’s tool. Not only does it help you write in a distraction-free environment, but it also helps you organize your thoughts, which Microsoft Word is horrible at doing. With all your notes and ideas stored in one file, Scrivener makes it easy to write and refer to your ideas within a single program.
Another popular dedicated writer’s word processor is Ulysses (only for the Macintosh), which offers a distraction-free interface so you an focus on your writing without menus, icons, or toolbars cluttering up the screen. While you can hide Microsoft word’s interface elements, it’s much easier to use a word processor geared for writing instead.
Ultimately it doesn’t matter which word processor you use just as long as you use one to help you write, rather than wrestle and struggle to write with it. As a general rule, don’t buy Microsoft Word for writing. Buy something less expensive and far simpler. You won’t be disappointed.