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Android devices may be at the bottom of your “Ways I’d Prefer to Edit Text” list, but perhaps that’s only because you haven’t found the right text editing app yet. With the right setup, an Android device can be quite productive (and far more convenient than lugging around a laptop).
Enter the distraction-free text editor app. In this context, “distraction-free” means an app that maximizes the amount of screen space for editing text by minimizing interface clutter and other potential distractions. If you’ve used distraction-free editors on a PC, you know the drill.
More importantly, “text editor” isn’t the same as “word processor” or “note-taking app.” Word processor documents contain all kinds of formatting information and other unnecessary bits, whereas a text editor works with plain text. Note-taking apps have their own notebooks and formats, whereas a text editor can work with individual files on your device.
So you won’t find any Android office suites (e.g., Google Docs) or Android note-taking apps (e.g., OneNote) in this post. This is all about distraction-free text editors and the best ones available to you right now.
1. iA Writer
You may know of iA Writer as one of the best word processors for Mac and iOS, but “word processor” is a misnomer, at least for the Android app. This is a plain text editor that’s designed from the ground up for a “focused writing experience.” It’s simultaneously simple yet beautiful.
The integrated file browser makes it easy to find and open any file on your system, and the app supports both plain text and Markdown editing. Focus Mode improves concentration even further and Night Mode helps with eye strain when ambient light is lacking.
iA Writer can export text in HTML, PDF, and Microsoft Word formats and can also publish directly to Medium. It also supports file synchronization with Dropbox and Google Drive.
Download — iA Writer (Free)
Monospace is about as minimal as it gets. I’ve never seen such an “empty” interface, but in this case, empty is exactly what you want. Monospace strips away every possible thing that could be a distraction, which leaves us with the most barebones, essentials-only text editor you can imagine.
You can’t even change the font, which is monospaced and most conducive to concentration (hence the app’s name). It supports basic Markdown formatting, and the only non-essential feature is the hashtag-based organization feature. Instead of worrying about folder organization, use hashtags, and Monospace will handle organization for you.
Download — Monospace (Free)
3. Writer Plus
Writer Plus is yet another plain text and Markdown text editor in the vein of both iA Writer and Monospace. Its main focus is on light use of system resources, maximizing battery life, and making sure the app is as robust and crash-free as possible. It’s excellent for older or weaker Android devices.
As far as features go, you get the bare essentials: folder organization, basic Markdown formatting, Night Mode for reduced eye strain, word and character counts, and basic Undo/Redo functionality. If you connect a keyboard to your Android device, you can also use a handful of nifty keyboard shortcuts.
Download — Writer Plus (Free)
JotterPad is a text editor for creative types, thus it offers a bit more creative control than the other apps above. But you don’t need to be creative to benefit from JotterPad. The slick interface and distraction-free design are great for anyone who has text to edit.
Special features include phrase finding, keyboard shortcuts, custom fonts, typewriter scrolling, and style customizations. Markdown formatting and exporting are also supported. Some features, like syntax highlighting and the English rhyme thesaurus, are locked behind in-app purchases.
Download — JotterPad (Free with in-app purchases)
5. QuickEdit Text Editor
If your text editing needs involve programming of any kind, QuickEdit Text Editor should be one of the first apps you check out. It offers the widest range of syntax highlighting I’ve seen, with over 40 languages supported out of the box: C#, C++, Java, PHP, Python, Ruby, Swift, and many more.
Notable features include highly-optimized performance, opening multiple files at once, line numbers, unlimited Undo/Redo, search and replace, preview for HTML/CSS/Markdown files, synchronization with cloud services, and optimized interface for tablet devices. The free version is feature-restricted but more than good enough for text editing.
Download — QuickEdit Text Editor (Free, $2.99)
6. Jota+ Text Editor
Unfortunately, the free version is feature-restricted and ad-supported, which kind of defeats the whole “distraction-free” idea. QuickEdit is arguably better and cheaper, so I only recommend Jota+ if you don’t like or can’t use QuickEdit for whatever reason.
Download — Jota+ Text Editor (Free with ads, $5.99)
7. Notepad Text Editor
Notepad Text Editor is the bare essentials app of choice for scripters. It only supports a handful of file types (TXT, HTML, CSS, PHP, and XML), it has an outdated interface, and it doesn’t have many features — but it’s free and works in a pinch.
Download — Notepad Text Editor (Free with ads) [No Longer Available]
Which Text Editor Is Right for You?
For writing only, go with iA Writer for true simplicity and JotterPad if you need a bit of creative flair. If you’re going to edit code as well, it doesn’t get much better than QuickEdit. Of all the distraction-free text editing apps, these three are the best of the best.
One last thing: Know that you can connect a USB keyboard to any Android device to instantly boost finger comfort and typing speed. Obviously you won’t want to carry a keyboard with you everywhere you go, but it can come in handy when you need to edit at home.
What kind of text editing do you do on Android? Which app is your favorite? Are there any others that we missed? Let us know in the comments below!