Best Writing Enhancement Software of 2018

Rebecca Armstrong ·
Phones & Networking Writer
Updated
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The best writing enhancement software is more than a simple spelling or grammar checker – it should include resources to help you improve as a writer, as well. After 60 hours of tests and research on the best writing enhancement software products, we recommend WhiteSmoke as the overall best option for most people. It works anywhere you type, so you can use it to check your documents, emails and social media posts to make sure your words represent your best writing. We also recommend Grammarly Premium for writers and Writer’s Workbench for students. 

Best Overall
WhiteSmoke
WhiteSmoke is the best overall writing enhancement software because of its simplicity. Its wealth of features can be used in real time wherever you use a text box.
View on WhiteSmoke
Best Value for Writers
Grammarly Premium
Grammarly Premium offers the best value for writers of all skill levels because of its excellent spelling and grammar checker, active online community and Personal Writing Handbook.
View on Grammarly
Best Educational Software
Writer’s Workbench
Writer’s Workbench is the best option for in-depth writing analysis. Its comprehensive features for writing improvement and learning make it our recommendation as the best software for educational purposes.
View on Writer's Workbench
Product
Price
Overall Rating
Editing Tools
Performance
Reference Tools
Help & Support
Articles
Modifiers
Sentence Structure
Capitalization
Pronoun Agreement
Punctuation
Prepositions
Commonly Confused Words
Negatives
Adjectives and Adverbs
Passive Voice
Subject/Verb Agreement
Numbers
Grammar Explanations
Advanced Grammar
Editing Suggestions
Word Processing Add-on
Analyzes Content/Meaning
Basic Grammar
Usage
Spelling
Web Integration
Windows XP
Mac OS
Windows Vista
Windows 7
Windows 8
Translator
Writing Tutorials
Thesaurus
Dictionary
Document Templates
Live Chat
Phone
Email
FAQs
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Best Overall
We recommend WhiteSmoke as the overall best writing enhancement software because it is so easy to use for everything you type. Once the software is installed, it pops up as an icon whenever you type, whether that is in a word processor document or text box.
Other products can require a lot of copying and pasting, but WhiteSmoke integrates itself easily into your workflow, allowing you to check yourself at any time with just a click. Aside from the standard underlining of errors in red or green, WhiteSmoke does an excellent job of catching contextual missteps such as commonly misused words. After it completes its spelling and grammar check, WhiteSmoke generates a writing review report and overall text rating based on six categories, including sentence length, structure, voice, formality, word choice and redundancy. These ratings are color-coded so you know at a glance which are good to go and which areas need more work. It also offers suggested changes with explanations why things are marked wrong. Another standout feature for the WhiteSmoke writing enhancement software is its translation tool. It offers fairly accurate computer-generated translation into 11 languages. Its other reference tools, including dictionary, thesaurus and template library, are extremely helpful as well.
Pros
  • Can be used wherever there is a text box
  • Performs checks in real time
  • Easy to use
Cons
  • Doesn’t check for plagiarism
  • Erratic performance on capitalization corrections
  • Does not correct passive voice
$79.95WhiteSmoke
Read the full review
Best Value for Writers
Grammarly Premium offers an exceptional array of tools catered toward writers of all skill levels, making it our recommendation as the best value writing enhancement software for writers. It was a top performer in our grammar and spelling check test, and it provides a flash card for every grammatical error it finds, which provides an explanation and examples of improvements for the sentence.
One of Grammarly Premium’s unique features is that it can filter its analyses by genre, providing a level of contextual analysis that is unmatched in other products. Other tools that are helpful for writers include the plagiarism check and vocabulary enhancement tool, which helps to elevate your writing by offering suggestions for stronger word choices. Grammarly Premium’s Personal Writing Handbook is also an extremely useful tool for writers, as it keeps tabs on everything you put into Grammarly so you can see your progress and improvement. This tracks things like writing habits, personal strengths and weaknesses. Grammarly is available to use in a web browser or as a Microsoft Office add-on for Windows platforms. The Office integration is not available for Apple, which is unfortunate because the two use options make Grammarly an intuitive and flexible presence. The browser version of Grammarly functions as a word processor, as well, so you can use Grammarly without Microsoft Office.
Pros
  • Excellent grammar and spelling check
  • Vocabulary enhancement tool
  • Online community and forums
Cons
  • Microsoft Office integration not available on Mac platforms
  • No telephone support
  • No included translation tool
$139.95Grammarly
Read the full review
Best Educational Software
Writer’s Workbench is our recommendation as the best educational writing enhancement software because of its in-depth writing analysis. This software does have a bit of a learning curve and is a little too demanding for casual use, but it is a great learning tool if you want to invest your time and effort into improving your writing.
It is also important to note that this product only works with Microsoft Word. The scope of Writer’s Workbench’s grammar check tool is extensive. When you run text through its check, Writer’s Workbench creates a report with more than 20 categories. It offers detailed explanations for every tool and suggestion it offers, and it does not autocorrect anything so you can choose to change or keep everything that gets flagged, which forces you to think critically about your grammar and sentence structure. You can also run text through any of 25 different analysis settings. This is a great tool for teachers, as these analyses can provide insights into specific areas or concepts where a student is struggling. Writer’s Workbench provided the best help and support. It offers an in-depth user manual to explain all the software’s features, which is helpful since it is a somewhat difficult interface to master. There are also tutorial resources for beginning writers.
Pros
  • In-depth text analysis
  • Useful tutorials
  • Excellent help and support
Cons
  • Can only be used with Microsoft Word
  • Dated interface
  • Learning curve
$120.00Writer's Workbench
Read the full review
Best for Everyday Use
After years of dominating the market, Microsoft Word continues to be the most ubiquitous word processing software available.
When we put it to the test and compared it with other writing enhancing software, we weren’t really surprised to find that it held its own. There are only a few programs that had more of the features we looked for. Microsoft Word underlines errors in different colors to indicate the root of the problem. You can also set it to autocorrect as you work and even customize the list to fix certain mistakes. This software isn’t quite hands off; it’s not quite smart enough to detect some more complex syntax and grammar errors. When composing with Microsoft Word, you want to make sure to read through its changes and suggestions before publishing or submitting them. There are some connectivity options that let you share documents through Microsoft Office’s online hub. Microsoft is such a common program, and it's powerful enough to help you, even if you compose documents every day.
Pros
  • Customizable autocorrect options
Cons
  • No complex grammar and syntax suggestions
Microsoft
Read the full review
Best for Teachers
Editor 3.8’s reporting options make it a good choice for teachers who are interested in their students’ composition progress.
When you load a document, you get comprehensive, printable feedback about your project. The reports can be tricky to read the first time around, and some of the information is repeated several times in the report. We liked the usage section because it provides insightful feedback, though it’s occasionally inaccurate – a not-uncommon problem with writing enhancement programs. The interface is very dated and can be tricky to navigate. Also, the program’s standard features, like spell check, are counterintuitive compared to those in other software we tested. To match its reporting features, it needs a cleaner interface with more intuitive controls. However, if you need a tool to keep track of students’ writing abilities, Editor 3.8 might be the right choice.
Pros
  • Complex reporting options
Cons
  • Outdated interface
Serenity Software
Read the full review

Why Trust Us?

We are a group of research, writing and product testing experts who love words and grammar. Even so, we have colleagues who edit everything for us before we publish our words online. We know that not everyone has that luxury. While maybe not as amazing as our editor friends, writing enhancement software can help you clean up your spelling and tighten up your grammar so that you can present your best-written self in papers, emails, memos and even tweets.

Our unique knowledge base and expertise puts us in the fortunate position of being able to help you find the best writing enhancement software to fit your needs, writing style and budget. Extensive thought, research and testing went into our product recommendations. We present only the most important information about only the best products, so you can make an informed decision and have confidence in whichever software you choose.

How Much Does Writing Enhancement Software Cost?

There are a few ways to get your hands-on writing enhancement software, including one-time downloads and monthly subscriptions. A few programs even come on CD-ROMs. The benefit of a monthly subscription, such as Grammarly, is the software continuously updates as it becomes smarter.  A few subscription programs even offer a free trial to give you the opportunity to check out their features. We recommend spending between $10 and $20 on a monthly subscription and less than $100 for a one-time download or CD-ROM. 

How We Evaluated

We started our search for the best writing enhancement software by seeing what was available. We compiled our list of products and started narrowing down the search by researching their specs, features, and reported performance on developer websites and based on user reviews. We were specifically looking for software that enhanced writing generally, not programs created for specific uses, like resume writing, creative writing or screenwriting. Once we had narrowed down the list to the top 15 products, we acquired each in order to do some hands-on testing.

We evaluated these writing enhancement software products based on their editing tools, performance, reference tools, and help and support, and we expand upon each of these categories in each product’s review. To test each program’s tools and performance, we learned the software to assess its ease of use and limitations, and then ran a test paragraph through each one. The paragraph had some obvious and some subtle errors throughout, and we rated the products based on how they responded to these errors.

In every test performed, we strived to mimic typical consumer use as closely as possible so our results would be representative of your own experience. After testing, we combined our research and our test results to pick the top 10 products so that you can find the best writing enhancement software for you, whether your needs are more general or more educational.

Some writing enhancement software is available to use over the internet, which offers more flexibility than products that only work in conjunction with a word processor.

What to Look for in Writing Enhancement Software

Editing Tools

A basic grammar and spelling check is necessary for writing enhancement software. The best products, in addition to offering these features, have the capacity to catch more complicated discrepancies, including mistakes in context, commonly confused words, numbers and capitalization. Writing enhancement software should also explain why it marks things as incorrect and offer helpful suggestions to make your writing better. The best products work both online and in a word processor.

Performance
Performance is gauged on how well the included editing tools react to errors. It doesn’t matter if a writing enhancement program has a vast array of features if these features do not perform well. The basic grammar and spell-check functions are the best place to start when assessing the value of any writing enhancement software. A product that fails to catch typos or sentence fragments makes you wonder about the accuracy or efficacy of the product’s other features.

Reference Tools
You definitely want to choose writing enhancement software with a dictionary and thesaurus that are regularly updated to include new words and new uses of words. A template library for help with common formats such as resumes and letters is also useful. The best writing enhancement software also included a translator and access to additional resources such as forums and writing tutorials.

Help & Support
Should anything go awry while you use your writing enhancement software, it should be easy for you to find out how to fix it. All products we reviewed provided a customer support email address, but the best products provided multiple ways to get in touch with someone to answer your questions, including phone and live chat options. Written literature such as FAQs, manuals and online forums are also helpful.

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