The best free distraction-free writing apps for Mac

Distraction-free writing apps for Mac - Paper

There are several terrific writing apps available on the Mac App Store for focused writing. But if you don’t want to shell out the cash just yet, try one of these free tools for capturing your articles, stories, or essays.

Writing with a distraction-free tool allows you to concentrate on what’s most important, your words. So whether you’re just giving this a try to see if you like it or don’t need extra features that the paid apps provide, this list of free focused writing apps is for you.

Distraction-free writing apps for Mac

Here is a list of the apps we’re covering, in no particular order.


Drafts app on Mac for focused writing

Drafts is a terrific writing app because not only does it let you concentrate on your words, but lets you use plain text, Markdown, and MultiMarkdown formats. The app also gives you powerful features that make it more than just a focused writer.

Drafts notable features:

  • Customize the action bar for what you really need.
  • Tag and flag entries to keep them organized.
  • Use custom fonts, line height, spacing, and margins to enhance your page.

With the Drafts app, you can not only focus on your writing, but use tools for a better overall writing experience. Be sure to check out the full list of features on the App Store or video introductions on the Drafts website.

  • Availability: iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and Mac
  • Cost: Free with an in-app subscription option for the pro version which gives you action creation and editing, themes, workspaces, extra widgets, and more


Paper app on Mac for distraction-free writing

Another great distraction-free writing app for Mac is Paper. With this app you get a plain text writing environment that you can simply open and get to work.

Paper notable features:

  • Use Markdown, publish to Medium or WordPress, and export to PDF, HTML, or RTF.
  • Sync with iCloud and use the app on your other Apple devices.
  • Export as a PDF, web page, plain text, or rich text.

Paper gives you a nice writing experience because it’s just you and a blank canvas. There are no buttons or toolbars to get in the way so you can take any action you need with the menu bar.

  • Availability: iPhone, iPad, and Mac
  • Cost: Free with an in-app purchase for the pro version which gives you different writing modes, counters, and text size and line length adjustments


uFocus app on Mac for distraction-free writing

For a writing environment you’ll love, take uFocus for a spin on your Mac. The app is easy on the eyes with light, dark, or sepia themes. Plus you can write more than one document at a time in the same window using the tab bar.

uFocus notable features:

  • Choose a text style from tons of options, pick the size, and resize the window as you like.
  • Check out your statistics with a click to see the word and character counts along with reading time.
  • Export as HTML and use Markdown format.

With uFocus, you can definitely concentrate on your words and the Highlights setting lets you do exactly that. You’ll see the line you’re composing stand out while the rest of your words are dimmed.

  • Availability: Mac
  • Cost: Free


Compositions app on Mac for focused writing

The final app on our list is called Compositions. If you’re looking for a focused writing tool on Mac that you can also use on your iPhone or iPad and connects with Dropbox, this is it.

Compositions notable features:

  • Freeze versions of your documents with the Snapshots feature and then restore it if needed.
  • Show the tab bar so you can work on more than one document at the same time and use Tab Overview to see them all.
  • Export as text so you can import in another app easily.

Compositions is a good distraction-free writing tool for Mac that’s worth your time. Plus, there are no hidden costs or unlockable features to worry about.

  • Availability: Mac
  • Cost: Free

Wrapping it up

Each of these free focused writing apps for Mac is awesome in its own way. If you’re not sure which one to try first, try them all! You can use a different one each day and at the end of the week, keep the one you love the most.

Do you use a different distraction-free writing app for Mac that’s available for free? If you do and want to recommend it, please leave a comment below!

And take a look at our other Mac app recommendations while you’re here!