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Eliminate Writing Distractions with JDarkRoom

Mark O'Neill 31-01-2008

As a writer for several sources, I often need to focus very hard on getting the work done. But it can sometimes be difficult. My main distraction is the internet. If something in my Firefox browser doesn’t catch my eye, then I am busy arranging and re-arranging my toolbars in Microsoft Word. So when someone recommended the free program JDarkRoom to me, I decided to try it out in the interests of productivity and not getting fired.


Normally in a Make Use Of review, we focus on the unique features of each app. But in this case, the best features are that there are basically NO unique features. JDarkRoom is a word processing program which consists solely of a black screen with a green writing font. Using it makes you feel like Nero in the Matrix.

How is this good you ask? Precisely that if you’re looking for a way to get a document typed out in record time without being distracted, this is the thing to use. There’s no fancy toolbars to arrange, no irritating paperclips in the corner asking you if you need help, no flashy graphics. Just a black screen to type away on. In fact I typed this article using JDarkRoom and I was able to type faster than I have ever typed before.

This type of program would be useful for say students trying to get a thesis typed out or a business-person assigned to make a presentation with a short deadline.

As well as the plain screen, JDarkRoom also banishes all distractions by filling up the entire screen. So you don’t even see your Windows task bar at the bottom. Other programs are relegated to the background. If you need to view another screen for any reason, you can toggle between JDarkRoom and the other screen by using the ALT + TAB key.

The program has quite a few useful options to make this a worthwhile contender in the word processing field.

    * If you don’t like the way it currently looks, you can change the font and the background color.

    * You can copy text to the Windows clipboard, auto-save your work and get a word count.

    * When the file is finished, you can press F3 to save the file to your computer. You will then be asked to choose your file format such as a text file or a MS Word file (if you choose MS Word, you will need your MS Office disk to download and install a converter tool).

    *Once you have the text exported to a file format, you can then print it out.

Sometimes the best programs are the simplest ones – and JDarkRoom is as simple as they come.

Related topics: Microsoft Word, Writing Tips.

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  1. Johnny
    February 10, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    I use Linux and initially found TextRoom for this purpose. After about 1000 characters it slows down considerably with long delay between keypresses and the characters actually appearing on-screen. Not acceptable.

    Thanks to the comments here I am now demo-ing Q10 using WINE, still on Linux (Ubuntu 9.10). Haven't written much on it yet but it installs and runs without any problems.

  2. Hooper
    September 22, 2009 at 6:21 am

    I like Q10, especially the typing sound. I'm probably showing my age here, but the rhythm of the typing sounds makes me type faster. The only problem that I have with Q10 is that the spell checker absolutely does NOT work with Vista 64. Every time I've attempted to use it, it throws an "access violation" at some memory address associated with the ntdll.dll.

    • Biffsnot
      November 10, 2009 at 6:14 pm

      As far as the access violation - run q10 in win98 compatibility mode, solves the issue for me. Can switch off compat mode once you add any word to the dictionary (makes a user.dic file in the dict folder where you install q10). You may even be able to simply make a user.dic file yourself to fix the issue - but I just put on compat mode. Think the issue has to do with rights to create that file in the first place.

      • Biffsnot
        November 10, 2009 at 6:35 pm

        Sorry, one update on this - keep win98 compat mode on. Works perfect that way.

  3. Arch1k
    July 26, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    There is a new kid on the block and I think it is a little better then q10. Its called TextRoom (
    Here unlike all other alternatives you can make text bold, italics, underlined and change font size all using common keyboard shortcuts. It also saves in HTML format which makes it easy when later opening it in more powerful editors like MS Word, or sharing with others.

  4. Flame
    February 3, 2008 at 7:30 am

    You probably meant Neo not Nero :)

  5. Typewriter Lover
    February 2, 2008 at 11:56 pm

    Terrific, thanks for posting. I just downloaded Q10 and love it. No distractions & sweet typing sounds.

  6. maleficarium
    February 2, 2008 at 3:56 am

    Well Ive been using this one:
    Seems to be the exact same program but offers a bit off GUI if you dont run it on full screen as well as multiply screen support. and it looks like its more light-weight. no install needed either.

    • Aibek
      February 2, 2008 at 6:49 pm

      Hmmm.... It's quite similar to jDarkRoom. Any ideas how multi-screen support works here?

  7. Marco
    February 1, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    Always been a Pico (the Pine/Alpine text editor) fan and am using it since ... i dont even remember. I just hate the heavy-java stuff and even disabled JAVA on my computer because I HATE IT lol.

    Pico is available for almost every OS... just like (Al)pine... you can set the colors to whatever you want.

  8. gent
    February 1, 2008 at 6:16 am

    Q10 here too. Mostly because of the live word count.

  9. vistasp mehta
    January 31, 2008 at 9:25 pm

    Yep, I use Q10 too. It's built on the same "no distractions" principle; it also works full-screen, has a spell-check option and can be carried around on a USB stick, It's Windows only, though.

  10. Juliana Peña
    January 31, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    I like JDarkRoom's idea, but I prefer other implementations of it because Java is very heavy. In Linux, I use a Leafpad mod called a4e, which, just like Leafpad, is extremely lightweitht. You can find more info here:

    On Windows, I use Q10, which is awesome as it has features such as spellcheck and other fun things for writers. Also, in spite of all its features, it is very, very lightweight.

    Also, I think the guy from the Matrix is Neo. Nero was the one who burned Rome.

    • Aibek
      February 2, 2008 at 6:43 pm

      Wow, Q10 looks awesome. I especially like the timer feature. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Peter
    January 31, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    You forgot one thing, the whole thing is coded in Java, and that makes it cross-platform. I've been using it on Ubuntu for a month. Highly recommended!