Picking the right manuscript editing software can be daunting. Several packages exist, and they all have different features. Here we list the best 6 manuscript editing software packages on the market. We give you an overview of their features to help you choose the best.
AutoCrit launched a new version in September 2014. Usage is 100% online, so you have to enter your text into their website to get an analysis. It provides a good range of reports including overused and repeated words, sentence length and variation, and dialog words. Sadly, there is now no free version for users to try out. When you enter your text for the first time you just see a summary report but cannot see any of the suggestions within your document. It does not include a grammar check so you must purchase a grammar checker such as Grammarly separately.
Costs: $60-$144 per year
How it compares: The most similar package to ProWritingAid. The new version is definitely an improvement, but it's expensive by comparison, especially considering there's no grammar checking.
Stylewriter is one of the oldest manuscript editing packages on the market. This is reflected in the user interface that looks dated and clunky. It's Windows only software. While it uses some interesting metrics like "bog index" to analyze your writing and highlight areas for improvement, it lacks some of the useful features of the other manuscript editing packages such as highlighting cliches and analysis of dialog. Stylewriter is aimed more at the business writer than the novelist. It definitely struggles when you try and analyze even moderately large documents with it
How it compares: Looks dated and doesn't have all the functionality that a creative writer will need, but it's worth testing if you're a business writer on Microsoft Windows.
The new kid on the block. We've only used the beta version up to this point. This software is aimed at providing a quick and easy edit for your text. The Word add-in just uses a simple sidebar that suggests improvements to the readability of your document and grammar corrections. If what you're looking for is a fast edit of your document then this is probably the best manuscript editor for you. However, it lacks the in-depth tools that a lot of the other software packages in this review do.
Costs: $20-$30 per year
How it compares: Fast and effective, but lacking the in-depth tools of the other packages.
Windows only, this is a stand alone application for editing. Although, they've recently released an add-in for Microsoft Word. Smart Edit has the benefit of being able to be run without an internet connection. However, this means it's limited in the functionality it has. Many of the manuscript editing packages (and grammar checking services) are online apps because they rely on large statistical models to make accurate predictions.
How it compares: Windows only. More of a tool for finding areas to work on rather than for suggesting changes.
Disclaimer: this is our website. ProWritingAid has more reports than any other manuscript editing software package, at a better price. ProWritingAid is available online, as a addin for Microsoft Word or Google Docs and soon as an extension for Chrome and Open Office. We're also working on a way of integrating with Scrivener the popular manuscript writing software.
Costs: $24-$40 per year
How it compares: We believe it's the best. We wrote this article because we're confident that if you try the competition, you'll see it's true.
WordRake is aimed more at the professional lawyer, and the price reflects this. We've included it here for completeness. WordRake is only available as an add-in for Word and Outlook (on Windows). You press the Wrake button on the toolbar and it processes your whole document making a series of changes. You can then go through each of these changes and accept it or reject it. Virtually all the suggestions are style changes aimed at making your writing more succinct. There is little to no focus on picking up grammar issues.
Costs: $129-$199 per year
How it compares: Expensive and style based. We prefer Essential Editor.
We've listed all the main manuscript editing software packages here. Try them out and we're sure you'll like ours the best. If you don't then please contact us and tell us how we can improve.