Write Here, Right Now

Digital Tools for Academic Writing


Focus Writing

  • FocusWriter »
    Free open source writer app, goes into full screen when writing, can customize background and typing sounds, etc.
  • ZenWriter »
    similar function, not free
  • Ommwriter »
    similar function, supports Markdown input, not free
  • Writer »
    online focus writing tool, cloud saving, texts can be exported into different document formats
  • StayFocusd »
    Google Chrome app, limits time you spend on time-wasting sites like Twitter

Group Writing Projects

  • DropBox »
    synch, upload and share your documents easily
  • Google Drive »
    similar to Dropbox, can edit documents in google drive (only the Google document formats)
  • Penflip »
    a very simple web service to write group projects, easy to track changes of each document
  • Evernote »
    note taking software, can create notebooks and collaborate with other authors
  • Trello »
    organize projects into boards, members can collaborate, assign tasks, track progress via different functions provided by Trello
  • Kona »
    file sharing, online scheduling, task management in one space
  • Zoho projects »
    powerful online project management service

Mind Mapping/Brainstorming

  • Mohiomap »
    visualizes what's in your Evernote and Dropbox, can create dynamic maps that visualize the connections between documents in your Dropbox and in your Evernote
  • FreeMind »
    a highly customizable, free mind mapping software
  • Coggle »
    online mind mapping tool, free to use, can collaborate with others in creating mind map, can track changes, supports Markdown input
  • XMind »
    mind mapping software, a free version and a pro version
  • Mindjet »
    said to be the best mind mapping tool, but not free

Reference/Data Collection

  • Endnote »
    available to download from KU, and KU also holds workshops on how to use it
  • Zotero »
    useful research tool to quickly save online data into your personal library, also able to obtain reference information (for citations) from some webpages
  • Evernote webclipper »
    easily save webpages in various formats, but unlike Zotero, it cannot generate reference information

* Please note that the KU Writing Center offers the above websites and software systems only as resources for students. It does not endorse any one site in particular and is not responsible for how students choose to use these resources.

Quick Question?

Not sure how to cite a source in a particular style? Want to double-check punctuation in a sentence?    Ask a writing consultant! Allow 24 hours for a response.

Do you have a question about the Writing Center or our services? E-mail us.

Meet the writer: Kien Nguyen. KU graduate student in Civil Engineering, focusing on transportation support structures. From Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. KU Writing Center client. “Because I’m not a native English speaker,” Kien says of his writing process, “I just start with whatever I think in my mind, whatever works in English. Then I try to make that correct, then I try to polish the sentence. Many times, when I meet with a native speaker to help me correct a report, I learn that what I think is not natural in English and how to write more naturally in English. For instance, the structure is different than in my language. So I want to learn as much as I can about that.” If he could give a piece of advice to 10 people, Kien says: “Find balance between working, studying, and playing.” If he could give a piece of advice to 100 people, it would be this: “Do your best. Try as hard as possible, and do whatever you dream about. You’ll never know if you’ll get there if you don’t try—so just try.” And if he could give a piece of advice to 1,000 people, he would say this: “We are living. This is very good. So love it; enjoy your life.” Want to hear more from your fellow writers? Check out hashtags #writersofku and #thisiswhatawriterlookslike or follow us on Instagram @writing.ku (Photo credit: Katie Elliott)
“We are living. This is very good. So love it; enjoy your life.”--Kien Nguyen #thisiswhatawriterlookslike http://t.co/mpjKl8iNjo

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