Before purchasing Scrivener, I had read many reviews praising it as the best writing software on the market. Instead of convincing me, they made me sceptical. Was Scrivener that exceptional? Or was it just a marketing ploy? And above all, you don’t learn to write just because you have good writing software, do you?

That’s true, but Scrivener greatly simplifies the writers’ life and, considering how much time and effort writing requires, it turns out to be an indispensable ally. That’s why, even before discovering the existence of an affiliate program, I had decided to talk about Scrivener in an article. I had even already drafted it, and it didn’t change after receiving the affiliate link from the developers. Words come easily when you have so much to say.

OK, but what makes Scrivener so special to be considered the best book-writing software? To talk about it, I will refer to my experience since I use this program to write blog posts, comic book scripts, and any text that exceeds ten pages.

Who is Scrivener for?

Scrivener is the best writing software for writing novels. Why? The reason is simple: it is specifically designed for writers. However, it is not only suitable for novelists. Scrivener is a perfect writing software for bloggers, journalists, students, researchers, social media managers: anyone who writes a lot and needs to manage hundreds of pages or different documents. Oh, Scrivener is also available in other languages besides English.

Scrivener features

Scrivener combines the features of writing software, a binder, a corkboard, and a notebook for taking notes. The video clarifies the idea behind the program, which is to divide the text into sections that can be easily moved and edited. Moreover, the importance of the visual component helps to organize the work. When you use Scrivener you don’t feel like you’re just working with writing software: the whole process reminds the use of a large notebook where you can stick post-it notes, write notes, create outlines, and paste pictures. With the advantage of writing on the computer and being able to access the draft from any device with an internet connection, including tablets and smartphones.

Scrivener: Windows or Mac?

Scrivener is a book-writing software originally developed for Mac, and this is evident. Until 2021, there was only Scrivener 1 for Windows, while versions Scrivener 1, 2, and 3 had been released for Mac. With the 2021 update for Windows, developers moved directly to Scrivener 3, and now the differences between the Mac and Windows versions are almost negligible. Even before, I found Scrivener to be an extraordinary program; now, with the new update, it’s almost perfect.

Scrivener review: the best writing software for writers

Scrivener pros

1) Project organization

The collection of texts you work on is called a manuscript and can be divided into infinite folders and documents. Folders gather text documents: if a document corresponds to a scene, a folder can refer to a day, a location, a chapter, or a theme. For example, for my blog, I created as many folders as the categories of articles: in the folder “Historical Research,” there are folders like “Ancient Rome,” “Ancient Greece,” “Middle Ages,” etc. Each of them contains the text documents with blog posts already published, those in the draft phase, and numerous ideas I jotted down. This way, not only the documents are organized rationally, but they are also easy to move around, simply by dragging them from one point to another on the screen. It’s like magic.

2) Visual organization

scrivener best writing software

One of Scrivener’s best features is the inclusion of a corkboard within writing software. Just like a real corkboard, it allows you to pin notes inspired by flashcards, a common tool for writers. These cards are nothing but summaries of the text documents: with a glance inside a folder, you can see the titles and themes of various documents. This is extremely useful, especially when writing a novel: it helps to understand if the story flows and if there are unnecessary scenes that can be eliminated.

3) Keywords

Keywords are very useful for keeping track of characters, themes, or other recurring information in the texts. You can assign an unlimited number of keywords and perform a filtered search for keywords. For example, if you have multiple different points of view in a novel or script, you can assign each document the corresponding keyword for the perspective of “John” or “Kate.” Then, when you need to check in which chapters or scenes the story is filtered through the eyes of “John” or “Kate,” you can simply do a quick search. If you have ever written stories, I’m sure you realize that this feature is like science fiction for any other writing softwares.

4) Document labels

scrivener best writing software

Each document can be marked with a label. You can use them as you prefer, but a very practical use is to assign the progress status, e.g., draft, started, revised, etc. This is an excellent tool, especially when scenes are not written in sequential order, as happens to me with scripts. Even in this case, visual elements helps to immediate find what you are looking for in the text: if you associate a different colour with each label, you can immediately see how many pieces are ready, drafted, or to be started.

5) License valid on multiple computers (for the same person)

Need to switch computers? No problem: on the new one, you can reinstall the writing software and enter the old activation code. If you encounter any issues, you can always contact the developers for assistance. They will solve any issue.

6) Program in different languages

The program has always had a multi-language feature, useful for non-native English speakers. The issue with the first version (Scrivener 1) was that the installed dictionaries usually were very poor and didn’t recognize many words, including almost all conjugated verb forms. The screen was filled with red squiggles under words that appeared incorrect, effectively rendering the spell-check function useless. A significant problem. Scrivener 3, on the other hand, comes with much richer dictionaries, capable of recognizing almost all the words and verbs.

7) Lightweight files

Have you ever written a document that spans dozens, if not hundreds, of pages, like a university thesis? Do you know how many times a word processing software like Word freezes, slows down your computer, and crashes unexpectedly because the file is too heavy? Well, with Scrivener, this will never happen.

You can even write the new “War and Peace,” and the file you produce will not even weigh a Megabyte. That’s right. My master’s thesis was 180 pages long, and in Scrivener, it was only 35 KB! Unfortunately, at that time, I didn’t have this software, and I remember the frustration of managing such a lengthy document on Word. Why is Scrivener able to generate files with such small sizes? Because it divides everything into small documents similar to extremely lightweight Notepad files.

8) Software speed

Since the files are so lightweight, Scrivener software performance gains a lot. Even backing up the files takes only a few seconds.

9) Export in different formats

scrivener best writing software

There are a lot of export formats, from the classic .doc or .pdf to more specific ones like .epub and .mobi. These are e-book formats: Scrivener is the best book-writing software even for self-publishing. Unlike most other programs, Scrivener has very elaborate features for exporting the document, allowing you to create an e-book ready for distribution. The “Compile” function is quite complex, but there are several tutorials on Scrivener blog to master it effectively.

10) Impossible to accidentally delete files

Drag-and-drop is nice, right? But what if you accidentally delete something? What if you click “Delete” on one of the text documents by mistake? The problem doesn’t arise here: on Scrivener, it is (almost) impossible to delete a file by accident. There is no “Delete” option, only “Move to Trash.” If you ever delete something unintentionally, you can easily retrieve it from the Trash.

11) Autosave

Every second. Seriously. The program performs automatic saves every single second. For the most paranoid, though, it’s also possible to save manually – although it’s unnecessary, as everything is saved automatically by default. However, it might help psychologically to feel more at ease.

12) Cloud storage

By associating a cloud service like Dropbox or Google Drive with Scrivener, you can also save your work online. This allows you to work from different devices, always picking up from the right point. Moreover, you’ll have an additional layer of security: with saving both on physical memory and in the cloud, it’s very difficult to lose your work. You would need to simultaneously destroy or lose your PC and format the “cloud,” which is rather unrealistic.

13) Backup

Even backups are performed automatically, but you can decide when. The best option is to set them to start when you close the program. It provides an additional safeguard in case you accidentally click on the Scrivener software close button.

14) Infinite possibilities

Scrivener features are countless, and even though I’ve been using it for years, I still don’t know them all. Unlike excellent programs with a plethora of features, in this case, you can proceed step by step without being overwhelmed by a myriad of buttons that you don’t know how to use (just think of graphics programs, powerful but daunting for self-taught users).

15) App (only for Apple)

scrivener app apple android
Writing is a complex and tiring activity, so why not make it easier with the right software? Discover all the (many) merits and (few) flaws of Scrivener, the best writing program on the market.

I have Scrivener for Windows, so I cannot evaluate the app for IOS. However, it still seems very convenient to take notes directly on the file you are working on while on the go.

Scrivener Cons

Even the best professional writing software has a few flaws, but they are truly minimal and stem from the fact that its primary function is to help to write novels, or any other long and structured text. It doesn’t make sense to expect it to have the features of a graphic design program. The last part of the Scrivener review is dedicated to the writing software cons.

1) Problematic image insert

It’s almost impossible to insert images in text in Scrivener. If you insert images into an existing document, it’s challenging to move them within the text; if you import a new file with images, they disappear. Perhaps there are ways to improve the coexistence of text and images, although it’s essential to remember that it is not InDesign. Scrivener excels in formatting documents with only text, such as a novel or an essay. If you need to work on a file with many pages and images, it’s better to write all the text in Scrivener first, then export and edit it with professional graphic design software. Or seek help from a graphic designer.

2) File format readable only with Scrivener

Don’t misunderstand: the document can be exported or “compiled” in all possible formats, so you won’t be limited in distribution. The .scriv format is the file you work on within the program. It’s the one you back up, so to speak. If you were to pass this file to someone who doesn’t use Scrivener, they wouldn’t be able to open it. However, don’t forget to export the document in the right format, and the problem is solved.

3) Few tutorials for Windows

Almost all the Scrivener video tutorials refer to the Mac version, which has some differences from the Windows one. With Scrivener 3 the situation has improved significantly because the versions for both operating systems have become much closer; when only Scrivener 1 was in circulation, it wasn’t easy to find detailed tutorials for Windows.

Review: Is Scrivener the best writing software for writers?

scrivener best writing program
Writing is a complex and tiring activity, so why not make it easier with the right software? Discover all the (many) merits and (few) flaws of Scrivener, the best writing program on the market.

Scrivener has some cons, such as the difficulty in inserting images into the text, but they are not that serious. Remember not to ask it to be different from what it is: a program for writers created by writers, as their motto says.

The creators have a deep knowledge of writing and the issues that afflict those who write, and that’s what makes the difference. Imagine having to manage a story spanning hundreds of pages with multiple points of view and intertwining narrative threads: Scrivener won’t guarantee that it will be a great story, but it will help you keep track of all events, characters, and scenes, organize dozens of folders, and bring order to your documents (and in your mind). There’s nothing like it out there.

Who is behind Scrivener

Behind a great book writing software, there are wonderful people. They are a small group; you can count the programmers on one hand, and they do an immense amount of work. They believe in it so much and put so much soul into the project that, in my opinion, they even risk going into loss on certain occasions.

Let me explain. I bought Scrivener back in December 2018, driven by the reviews and a note that appeared on the website: anyone who purchased Scrivener 1 after a certain date in 2017 would be entitled to a FREE upgrade to Scrivener 3 when it was released. When does that ever happen? However, the work on the new version of Windows took a lot of time. The years went by, and more and more people purchased Scrivener 1, increasing the number of people who were entitled to a free upgrade.

When the time came, there was an enormous amount of releases, all for free. The programmers had worked for years, knowing that in the early stages, the new version wouldn’t earn them much. And they didn’t take so long due to incompetence or laziness: they wanted everything to be perfect, without a single bug upon release.

If you buy Scrivener, you won’t just have the best writing software on the market, but you will also support a highly valuable small enterprise of capable and passionate people.

How to buy Scrivener

How much does Scrivener cost?

Scrivener costs 59,99$, ma the price could drop to 40$: to know how, keep on reading.

If you also agree that Scrivener is the best writing software for writers, you can purchase it by clicking on the link below.

Scrivener: By writers, for writers.


  • Are you a student or a university researcher?

You are entitled to a discount: Scrivener costs only $50.99 for you.

  • Do you not have any discounts and are you looking for the standard license?

For you, Scrivener costs $59.99.

Does the cost of Scrivener seem high to you? Not after you start using it. It’s worth every penny. Trust me.

But there’s more: you can purchase Scrivener with a 20% discount! Below, I’ll explain step by step how to do it (it’s very easy, you’ll see),

Tutorial: how to purchase Scrivener + discount code

1) Go to the Scrivener sales page using this link or the button below. Don’t forget to USE MY LINK (this way, you will also help me earn a small commission that will assist with the expenses of the blog).

2) Scroll down to the bottom of the page, choose whether to buy the Windows or Mac version, and click on “Buy now.”

3) Select the right license for you (Educational license if you are a student or researcher, or Standard license for everyone else).

4) Enter your information, email address, and postal code.

5) Before selecting the payment method, click on “Add coupon”: enter CHIARA20. With my code, you’ll be entitled to a 20% discount! A nice saving on the cost of Scrivener. Click again on “Add coupon.”

6) And it’s done! If you purchase the standard license, the cost of Scrivener will be only $47.9, while if you are a student, the cost drops to just $40.8! A real bargain.

Happy writing!

Alternatives to Scrivener: Scapple

Even though Scrivener is the best professional writing software for writers, it’s possible that it may not be exactly what you need. Perhaps you don’t need writing software to manage long and complex texts but rather a tool to organize intersecting timelines or branching narratives, as in the case of a video game. The creators of Scrivener have also thought about this possibility and have developed a second professional writing tool: Scapple.

What is Scapple and how it works: review

Scapple is an advanced writing software that works like a large digital whiteboard where you can write unlimited notes. Creating notes is effortless, as well as connecting various elements with arrows – just one click with the mouse. And if space runs out? Impossible: as you add notes, the workspace will expand to accommodate the new additions. Potentially, you can scroll your maps infinitely.

How to buy Scapple

In this case, there is also a discount for students and researchers. But even if you don’t fall into this category, and even if I don’t have a coupon to offer you, there is still good news: Scapple costs only $20.99 ($16.79 for students).

When you decide to purchase, remember to click on the link below!

alternative a scrivener

  • Are you a student or a university researcher?

Scrivener costs only $16.79 for you.

  • Do you not have any discounts and are you looking for the standard license?

For you, Scrivener costs $20.99.

Support Storia tra le pagine

Doing research and writing articles is a long and complex job. If you appreciate the content of the blog, please consider donating: you would help me to cover the expenses of the website and materials, and I will be able to continue publishing.

Even a symbolic coffee would be enough, with PayPal too. THANK YOU.

To remind yourself of the name of the best writing software for writers, save the pin on Pinterest!

scrivener best writing software review

So, have I convinced you? Let me know in the comments if you have any questions about this writing software. Or write to me through the contact form.

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