Academic Writing Software

Currently, there is no software specifically designed for academic writing, but there is quite a bit of software that was designed for fiction writing that works well for academic writing.

Writing software is typically designed for long-form writing--books and articles, but it can be used for papers or any writing.

Why writing software has grown in popularity:

  • helps break down a substantial piece of writing into more manageable pieces
  • provides a variety of options for organizing and managing writing
  • provides sophisticated outlining features


Scrivener was originally developed for fiction writing. Increasingly it is the most popular writing software among academics.

Scrivener must be purchased, once. The price is reasonable; updates are typically free. Try it before you buy it!  Scrivener is downloaded onto a particular computer and Scrivener-produced files can be stored in the Cloud.

Olin Library offers workshops at least once a semester. (Cornell graduate students, contact me if you would like a customized Scrivener workshop offered in your department). I'm available to Cornellians for one-on-one meetings to help with Scrivener, or for workflow & productivity consultations, or if you have questions about alternatives to Scrivener. (Sorry Cornellians only!)

Recommended resources for teaching yourself Scrivener:

Virginia Cole

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Virginia A. Cole, Ph.D.
106 Olin Library