Pillarbox is a Free and Simple Writing Interface

Melanie Gross
Dec 1, 2011
Updated • Apr 26, 2015
Google Chrome, Google Chrome extensions

Pillarbox is a free Google chrome extension for writers and those who prefer a simple user interface over one cluttered with buttons and menus you will probably never use.

Even a popup window can wreck your concentration enough to prevent you from completing a cogent thought. So can other people, but this won’t help with that.

Pillarbox includes basic word counting features, a cursor and text on a simple background, no more than that.

It is much like a journal in that respect. This simplified interface can help you do what you need to do with few distractions onscreen. To get the full benefit of this extension, you should hit F11 to go to a full screen view as you will see browser controls otherwise still.

Pillarbox will auto save your file. The file is saved locally allowing you to be completely offline when writing. Files are saved locally so you do not need to stay connected to the internet to do your work. To get back to the work all you need to do is open the browser and start Pillarbox. The last thing you wrote will be shown inside of the browser window.

There is a built-in word counter in the event that you write professionally and need to hit a required word length. This is also very useful for students. There is a handy timer included to help you write for a predefined time. At the end of the countdown timer there is a small popup that comes up with a "Time is up" message to let you know you need to stop writing. Naturally, this can be annoying too, so you don’t have to use it.

You can make many different changes within the options. It is easy to edit the settings inside of Google Chrome options menu. Under extensions, select Pillarbox. You can change just about everything relating to the text layout that you would like. This will help any computer-oriented writer find the most appropriate and comfortable way to view their work space. If you are familiar with CSS, it is easy to make custom settings that will bring an even better look and feel to Pillarbox.

Pillarbox is much more than a simple text input window. With the benefits of operating inside of the Chrome browser there is nothing to install.

It is a simple idea that has a sophisticated feel to it. It is, however, not an all-encompassing word processor. Writers will still have to take the text and place it into Word to get the added benefits of Microsoft Office. Spelling is checked while in the Pillarbox window without formatting. You can use your word processing software of choice to handle that task. Pillarbox is just a place to go to when you need to concentrate and get a job done. It is singular in its focus and its execution, much like a writer’s mind. It is a GUI version of going out into the field and sitting under a tree where nobody will bother you while you write. Of course, you might need to put bolts on your doors and soundproof your office to get complete privacy.


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  1. Lif said on December 11, 2018 at 11:04 pm

    I accidentally deleted the Pillarbox extension and now Chrome Web Store says it can’t be found anymore. Is it really gone? I loved it and want it back!

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