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 can be used for academic writing.

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

Why writing software has grown in popularity:

  • allows breaking a large writing project into smaller parts
  • allows organizing and managing large writing projects in a variety of ways
  • allows visualizing an entire writing project


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

Scrivener must be purchased, once. The price is reasonable; updates are typically free. Try it before you buy it! The  free trial is for a generous 30 uses or opens, not 30 days. 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. (Graduate students: contact me if you would like a customized Scrivener workshop offered in your department). I'm usually available for one-on-one meetings to help with Scrivener, or for workflow & productivity consultations, or if you have questions about alternatives to Scrivener.

Recommended resources for teaching yourself Scrivener:

Virginia Cole

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