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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.

Minimalist Approach

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.

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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.

Highly Customisable

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 Quip: A Collaborative, Mobile-First Word Processor For iOS & Web Quip: A Collaborative, Mobile-First Word Processor For iOS & Web While a tablet or smartphone certainly can't (presently) do everything our PCs can, there are certain tasks that may be better suited to your mobile devices, such as word processing. While typing thousands of words... Read More 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 WriteApp: Is This The Distraction Free Online Writing Tool You Were Looking For? WriteApp: Is This The Distraction Free Online Writing Tool You Were Looking For? There are a few things I ask of any writing application or a text editor. Yes, it should be minimal but it should have a few features to aid the words I key into the... Read More  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 Write In Peace With These Distraction-Free Editors Write In Peace With These Distraction-Free Editors I have felt it. Visual clutter – thanks to menus and other markup features – have often cemented my writer’s block. So, I have tried out quite a few distraction-free text editors in a grand... Read More , many designed just for Mac Four Distraction-Free Writing Environments For Mac Compared [Video] Four Distraction-Free Writing Environments For Mac Compared [Video] If you want to increase your writing productivity on your Mac, one sure fire way to do so is to use full-screen mode in a distraction-free text editor program. Read More and others that use Dropbox Five Tips To Use Dropbox As The Perfect Writing Environment Five Tips To Use Dropbox As The Perfect Writing Environment Read More 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

  1. Mosi Dane'el
    October 13, 2015 at 5:32 pm

    I'm having real trouble just trying to get the Preferences off the screen or saving them. The default environment for me has dark blue and black font, so I can't see. But when I try to change them in Preferences, I can't scroll down to Save or Cancel. So my Preferences end up not being saved.

  2. Rob Cohan
    December 25, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    I come from the days before displays, so finding a way to have green text on a plain background is a Godsend for me. I can write for hours on end with this thing. Thank you. I haven't had this great a writing environment in 25 years.

  3. cornishlad
    August 29, 2014 at 10:56 am

    I like the idea of the first line of text becoming the file name, just like the memo pad on the Palm Pilot from ages back.

    Does the saved filename change if you alter the first line, and is there any way of saving the file to Dropbox?

    • Tim B
      August 30, 2014 at 12:46 am

      Yes, the filename changes if you change the line but unfortunately there is no integration with Dropbox. Good old copy and paste takes over :)

  4. Clive R
    August 29, 2014 at 10:53 am

    At first glance seems really nice as you can focus on text creation and then paste into a word processor later to add formatting. It would be nice if the file list additionally had the option to download a text file to avoid using cut and paste (especially for large documents)

    However this is a brilliant tool to use alongside something like dreamweaver where you are using CSS to define finished appearance.

    One bad point from my perspective is the paper transparency - I find the image bleed through a little distracting and tiring - maybe could add a slider to the tools to adjust paper transparency - that way we could adjust or even remove transparency

    • Tim B
      August 30, 2014 at 12:47 am

      Well there's the two console-style themes which feature no background image, or alternatively you could point typwrittr at much less distracting (lightly textured maybe) image instead.

      Glad you found the article useful :)

  5. appleloser
    August 29, 2014 at 1:53 am

    laverna is better.

  6. igor
    August 28, 2014 at 10:41 pm

    ZenPen is amazing online-service tool to work with text inside browser.

  7. Robert Jones
    August 28, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    Thanks for the responses guys! I like the minimal appearance of the Typwttr app and look forward to trying it.

  8. Laverna
    August 27, 2014 at 10:04 pm

    I use Laverna. You can host it on your own server as well.

  9. Robert Jones
    August 27, 2014 at 3:39 pm

    What about the security of my documents on the Typwrittr cloud? Do they use encryption? Who else can access my documents?

    • Tim B
      August 28, 2014 at 12:53 am

      Typwrittr doesn't state what security precautions are in place, so I'll assume there are none. Typwrittr is a simple project created by one person, so it probably isn't using industry-level encryption on your documents – and if said person really wanted to browse your stuff, they probably could. That doesn't mean they will, of course.

      As is always the case with writing tools, if you're producing confidential or private documents that you don't want others to see, use an offline tool instead. Those kinds of documents should never go anywhere near the Internet, as merely sending them via email or storing them in the cloud also puts them at risk of interception.

      That said, the chances of someone bothering to hack a service as small as Typwrittr are very slim, so you might argue its obscurity makes it less of a target and thus a "safer" place to write.

    • Remy (a.k.a. kaytrance)
      August 28, 2014 at 4:34 pm

      Hey, Robert!

      As for encryption I am currently in process of improving this feature, but atm. files already stored not as plain text. Besides, files are saved to AWS, so they are pretty much secured. I will also add encrypted connection later.

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