There are text editors and then there are writing environments. Text editors are designed to edit text documents, whereas writing environments should be inviting and distraction-free – just like the free web app typWrittr.
It runs in your browser, it’s highly customisable and has a uniquely minimalist appeal that forces you to concentrate on one thing: your writing.
typWrittr is a browser-based writing environment that places an emphasis on the written word, rather than the act of editing a text document. For that reason it’s ideal for writers, bloggers, poets, lyricists or anyone who struggles to focus on their writing within the confines of traditional software.
Once you are logged in with Twitter, Facebook, or by registering an account using your email (though it’s not too greedy with social permissions) you’ll see a very simple interface: a text box and four buttons. The first starts a new document, the second saves it. You won’t need a file name, typWrittr simply uses the first line of your document.
There’s a real emphasis on simplicity, and that comes at the expense of features. The third button down opens your drawer, which is where your various text documents live. There are no sub-folders, so get used to everything simply appearing as a list (though you can remove items you no longer want).
Everything about typWrittr feels light and responsive, and that’s the point. Documents are automatically saved for you, and you can open as many instances as you need in different tabs without bringing your browser to a grinding halt. It’s also visually quite beautiful, even more so when you take the time to make it your own.
typWrittr was designed with customisation in mind, as a writing tool for focusing attention on your current creative (or otherwise) project. The fourth button down opens the preferences where you can pick everything from the width of the text editor and current theme, to line height and text highlight colour.
There are 21 themes included at present under the Inspiration drop-down menu, each with their own element colours and background image. If this isn’t enough, you can choose from four fonts, use your own (hosted) background image and customise the various elements until you’re happy.
A variety of “paper” width options make typWrittr ideal for side-by-side window or full-screen writing. I did notice the web app’s lack of a wordcount tool, which seems like a slight oversight considering it’s aimed at writers. Luckily there are browser extensions for the job.
Other Writing Tools
If typWrittr seems a little barebones to you but you’re still looking for a good browser-based writing environment, there are a few options to choose from. Quip is a browser and iOS writing app with a focus on collaboration, offering more features, nifty syncing between devices and far more polish. Saikat took a look at WriteApp, another browser-based solution with a good free option (and more features for those who upgrade). It’s arguably a far more refined approach, offering far less in terms of customisation but more in terms of features, support and polish.
There are many distraction-free text editors for all kinds of purposes, many designed just for Mac and others that use Dropbox as base. Keep looking till you find the one that suits you, then write – write like the wind!
I don’t think there’s anything out there quite like this “free forever” barebones writing tool. While alternatives do exist, none of them are quite so barebones as typWrittr in their nature. None of them force you to make do with so little, while still being effective writing environments you actually want to spend time in.
This is probably because typWritter was purpose-built by one person with a specific vision in mind, and it works. If you’re sick of the piercing whiteness of Google Docs and mundane nature of most other writing environments you might just love typWrittr.
Will you be writing your autobiography with typWrittr? Let us know in the comments!
Image Credit: PlaceIt