Are you a writer with a Chromebook?
Guess what? I am too.
(Albeit, a novice one.)
If you’re here, you’re looking for the best Chromebook apps for writers.
(Don’t have a Chromebook? Don’t worry. These apps work on Windows and Mac as well as long as they’re running Chrome.)
I’ve been there. And done that.
I have a list of apps that I use daily when writing for myself or others. They only remain in my list because I found them to be the best of the best.
I’m going to reveal this list to you so you don’t have to do all the legwork of sorting through all the crap you can find on the Chrome Web Store.
These are the tools, editors, and writers you need to get your stuff done.
Here they are.
Last updated: 3/3/23. Updated for 2023 with an emphasis on work from home environments.
Best Apps for Writers #1: Google Docs
Okay, not to start this list off on the wrong foot (or should I say…page?), but this is probably the best app for writing I’ve come across.
But it’s not really an “app” per se.
It’s a web-based productivity suite made by Google. This means you access it by going to a website and typing in your browser window.
Yeah, if you’re old-fashioned, I get it. You’re probably used to downloading a standalone program, installing it to your computer, and double-clicking the icon on the desktop.
This is the new standard of writing and editing. Not is only Google doing this, but Microsoft has their own online suite as well.
Before you dismiss it, I strongly suggest you try it out for at least a bit before you let it go.
For those of you who have no issue using a web-based writing app, Docs by Google is my main editor.
For starters, it’s a full suite of apps. You get Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more. They’re all the Google alternatives for Microsoft Office.
But since you’re a writer, you’re only interested in Docs. If you’re used to Microsoft Word, you’ll be instantly glued to Google Docs. It’s modeled exactly like Word, but a simplified, faster, and more intuitive version.
I’m not going to go into detail about it because I already wrote about Docs vs. Word. Feel free to check it out. I mean it’s worth if it your writing career is based on this single program, right?
In a nutshell, Docs has many features you’ll like. It’s fast and easy to use. You won’t look through menus to find how to format or insert tables. It saves literally every few seconds directly to your Google Drive account. You never lose your work. You can even work offline and have it sync when you get a WiFi connection on your Chrome device.
Writing, editing, and formatting can be done in seconds effectively and efficiently. Everything you need is easily accessible right in front of you. I can’t speak highly enough of this app.
And it’s all free. All your work is saved in your Drive account, and it doesn’t even take up additional space of your storage capacity. You can also download the files as .doc, .docx, and any other popular filetype.
Again, I don’t want to get into too much detail. I’ve already written a detailed review of Google Docs.
Interested? You can get Docs for yourself and try it out.
Let’s move on.
Update: I still use Google Docs for my primary word processor in 2020. It’s what I use to type the draft for most of my work. And it just keeps getting better with new features. There’s no way I’ll ever pay for a text editor unless it has amazing features that Docs doesn’t have.
Update: With the current situation in 2021, many companies have switched to using Google Docs as their primary means of word processing. This makes it extremely handy to get familiar with. Collaboration is a cinch.
Update: Now in 2023, Docs is still my main gig. The spellcheck has improved significantly over time. I work between my PC, Chromebook, and Mac and all of them can collaborate on the same document simultaneously. Yes, other word processors can do the same, but Docs is just so easy to use.
Best Apps for Writers #2: Grammarly
Grammarly is a very popular spell checker that checks for more than just words.
It also gives you insight into your sentence structure, punctuation, fragments, complex sentences, run-ons, formatting, and countless other tidbits you’d never imagine.
Sure, the built-in spell checkers in Word and Docs are decent, but they simply check the word itself.
Grammarly checks the word along with the context- it checks for other words in the same sentence to make sure it flows properly and makes sense.
It’s an add-on that you can grab for the Chrome browser. And it’s completely free to use.
You’ll need this if you’re spending all day on your computer. It’ll catch a lot of typos you’d never expect or weird run-on sentences- and make spellchecking easier and efficient.
Grammarly will automatically check your writing in almost all online forms you fill out, including emails so you don’t make any mistakes to your CEO. Currently, it doesn’t work with Docs which is a big letdown.
Update: This feature to make Grammarly work in Google Docs has been released. You can try it out by enabling the extension in any Google Docs!
They also have a desktop version that you can download so it can check your offline documents as well. If you type your stuff offline, Grammarly can act as your primary spellchecker alongside the built-in one. You now have multiple checkers to improve your writing and catch errors and mistakes.
There’s a paid premium version that checks for a lot more things, but the free version will pick up things that your basic spell checker will miss. It’s worth it (it’s free).
You can use their official site and online spell check app, which offers you a quick way to see how you can improve your writing and correct text misspellings. It’s available even for the free version.
The premium one just has more spelling enhancements, but you can catch plenty of grammatical mistakes even using the free version.
If you want to improve your writing and not miss the less-than-obvious grammar or punctuation errors, get Grammarly.
Best App for Writers #3: Power Thesaurus
Power Thesaurus is like a thesaurus built into your browser.
You can get similes and antonyms to any word on your screen simply by right-clicking it. The app will then plug it into a search database and give you suggestions right there on the screen.
Now you never have to be redundant and you can spice up your writing a little more. Add in some related words that are similar to or opposite of the current word so you don’t have to keep repeating yourself and sound like a broken record.
You can even see popular and trending words if your writing should require you to be hip.
Power Thesaurus is completely free to use and is probably the best thesaurus app for Chrome OS.
Check out Power Thesaurus here and expand your vocabulary.
Best App for Writers #4: Evernote Web Clipper
If you’ve done any research on the best productivity apps, you’ve likely come across Evernote.
Evernote Web Clipper is an app that installs into your browser and lets you instantly save anything you see online to your Evernote account. (Yes, you need an account to use the web clipper.)
While you can use the built-in snip tool, the web clipper has a lot more features.
You can save any website, page, article, pictures, videos, or any other media you come across online. It’s perfect for when you’re doing research for an article and you need to gather information and sources to cite.
You can also tag your clips so you can easily find them later on in your project, as well as choose which notebook you want to clip to. It makes saving things from the web super easy just like taking screenshots.
If you’ve never used Evernote, it’s basically one of the best note-taking apps on the planet. You can write, take notes, create to-do lists, note with your voice, and pretty much anything else you could want. It’s free to use and they have a premium version as well with more features.
The Evernote Web Clipper is an app built by them which makes it easier to save web clippings to your Evernote account. Don’t get confused.
A few things I like about it is that you can highlight stuff in the articles you save and make callouts. This is super handy when you find something you’ll use in your writing and you can write a quick note to yourself about why you’re saving it or what to use it for.
For preliminary research, this app is one of the best. It’ll keep all your notes organized and easily accessible for reference.
Grab the Evernote Web Clipper here.
Best App for Writers #5: Hemingway App
Like Google Docs, this isn’t necessarily an app that you can add to Chrome.
Hemingway App is an online web tool that aims to make your writing “bold” and meaningful.
You can either copy and paste your document right into the editor, or you can type in it with its beautiful font.
It’ll then highlight your font in various shades of colors to note which sentences are somewhat hard to read, sentences that are very hard to read, sentences which contain a passive voice, and sentences that use adverbs (words that end in “ly” like “quickly”).
All of this is supposed to help you eliminate the “uhh” and “maybe” mindsets in your writing and turn you into the confident and bold writer you (may) want to be.
I use it, but I don’t make all the suggestions it highlights.
For starters, sometimes it asks you to omit nearly all adverbs in your writing. I find that it’s necessary sometimes to include these words.
Other times, it makes you cut down your sentence length to much shorter and simpler sentences, rather than complex run-on ones, such as this one.
The Hemingway App does what it advertises. It keeps your writing to the point and gets your message across. It’s useful for those who want to keep their writing short and sweet. You need to see if it fits your writing style though, as it’s made to accommodate only the type the editor agrees with.
When you plug in your text for the first time, you’ll find that it’ll pick up a lot of things you need to omit or edit. This is normal. It’s supposed to do this. It’s up to you to see which sentences you want to fix.
It’ll also give you a reading level score. It automatically gives your writing a rating of what reading level it is, such as “grade 4” or “grade 6.” Although there’s no “best” reading level, it’s useful to give you an idea if your writing is too complex to understand or too simple.
Overall, the Hemingway App is very useful and completely free to use. Check it out. It’s an app that every writer should consider using because it goes hand-in-hand with modern writing.
By that, I mean readability standards of today.
People prefer short, simple sentences with minimal paragraphs. If you look at most modern bloggers with huge audiences, you’ll find that most of them type in this manner.
Not that it’s better than traditional paragraphs with complete thoughts or anything, but it’s what’s “cool” nowadays.
Of course, you don’t have to type this way. It’s just what the app will help you do (if you’re interested).
Best App for Writers #6: Momentum App
This is an inspirational app built for Chrome. It takes over your page when you launch a new tab and lets you personalize it.
(Want to personalize your browser? Check out this list of apps to customize Chrome’s homepage.)
Every time you open a new tab, you’ll be greeted with a breathtaking background image (similar to Bing’s homepage) along with an inspirational and motivational quote.
You can favorite quotes to save them as well. You can also use custom background images for your tabs, but the preloaded ones are already fresh enough. They switch daily and offer some scenes you’ll gaze at.
But the best part? To-do lists and the main task. It ALWAYS reminds you of what you need to do for the day. The hardest part is typing in said task at the start of the day. If you can do at least that, then every time you pop a new tab, you’ll see it in your face.
It’s one of the best extensions for customizing your tab page on Chrome. You can put a gadget for everything- weather, time, to-do, focus task, or even view trending information all at a glance. Or you can minimize all of it and keep it clean- my preference!
You have a mini to-do list that you can expand and view your daily tasks and mark them off. This is good for a constant reminder of things you need to accomplish. Getting things done on a Chromebook made simple.
The other feature is a giant main task of the day that’s displayed in prominent glory.
Every new tab will show this task in front of your face so you’ll constantly see a breathtaking image, an inspiring quote (that’s completely customizable to your personal preference), and your big and small tasks all at a glance.
It’s hard to goof off and screw around when you constantly see this task appear over and over. That’s something I found most helpful. It provides a clear example of why you should stay focused on your work.
(Do you have procrastination issues? You may want to check out these apps for college students. A lot of them overlap with writers as well.)
Before you start going off on a browsing rampage, you’ll be halted with this gateway of a purpose. Depending on how important it is to you, it could very well stop you from procrastinating and wasting time.
I wrote a wholesome, in-depth review of Momentum App if you’d like to get more information about it.
If you’re interested in this app, check it out. It’s free with paid premium features. But the free version is good enough to get you started and you can upgrade if you like it enough. It’s completely up to you.
Did you find yours?
These are the best writing apps for Chromebooks I’ve found so far.
If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment and I’ll check it out. Also, if you’ve found this list useful, please consider telling a fellow writer.
Leave your suggestions. I’m sure there a ton of useful, handy apps out there that I’ve missed. As a novice writer, I’m ready to try whatever out to improve my writing and workflow.
Thanks for reading.