Notepad or its richer replacements are quite good when it comes to writing short to medium sized texts but lose much of their appeal when it comes to longer texts.
While you can certainly write a book using nothing but Notepad, it may not be the most comfortable thing to do and while programs such as Notepad++, Microsoft Word or OpenOffice Write may not have that issue, they may bring along problems of their own.
The free program write! for Windows offers another option. It is a distraction free writer that limits what is displayed in the interface which means that only a few icons and options are displayed in the interface by default.
That does not mean that it only supports plain text though as it ships with formatting options and several comfortable features that improve the writing process significantly.
The interface does not look like much on first start though. You see an untitled tab at the top, a Hamburger Menu and a plus icon to create new tabs. Apart from that you only find window controls on the top right, a social/information icon in the lower left status bar and a point icon in the lower right that displays a small representation of the contents.
A right-click reveals the context menu which displays options in four tabs:
A click on the Hamburger menu extracts it so that it looks like a regular menu bar with File, Edit and View menu options. You use the menu to turn features on or off, either directly or by opening the settings, or to save, load and print files.
A click on the icon in the lower left displays status information about the text that is currently displayed by the application. This includes information about words and characters, the text's reading time, as well as productivity information that highlight the words per day and the characters per minute.
As far as options go, there are a few that you find in the settings. There you can disable or limit the spell checker, change the auto-complete feature, or select the supported markup types.
Update: Newer versions support additional features such as setting insertion point locations, switching between enter and Shift-enter for new paragraphs and options to display the tab bar in full screen mode.
The program supports a massive amount of shortcuts. This includes shortcuts to turn program features on or off, and also markup shortcuts that can be added to the text right away to create lists, change the formatting of text or add headlines.
Write! is a beta product right now which means that you may encounter bugs and issues while using it. I did not notice any issues during tests though.
It is a great option for users who like to work in a distraction free environment that limits menus, buttons and information.
The program has its limitations as well. There is for instance no option to integrate images or other media, and the export options are limited to pdf, odf, plain text and three markup formats.
Now Read: DBook, a structured writing tool
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.