8 Online Tools that Make Your Writing Easier

Writing a high-quality publishable research article takes time. If you are the lead author, you need extra time to coordinate writing and manage logistics. The good news is there are many amazing online tools that make your writing process easier. Here are some of the tools that I like:

<This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclaimer for more information.>

1. Grammarly

Grammarly is an automated grammar-checking tool. After you simply copy the text of your paper or upload the paper to their editing window. It will start to review and analyze your text.

For the free version, it will check contextual spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and style. Upgraded version will add functions like vocabulary enhancement, plagiarism check, and more advanced proofreading. Grammarly will flag problematic issue and provide suggestions for revision.

2. WorkFlowy

WorkFlowy is an organizational tool for taking notes, making lists, planning, and brainstorm. I found it is useful in developing an outline for the manuscript. Its simple flexible design allows users to add brief, bullet-points for main points as well as detailed notes for content. One can download the finished outline to their Word document.

3. BibMe

BibMe is an automatic citation/bibliography maker, which makes it easier to generate citations in the right format. It only requires three simple steps: select style (e.g., APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, AMA) and search for a book, article, website, etc.; add it to your bibliography list; download bibliography in the desirable format.

4. Padlet

Padlet is a great tool for collaboration. Many studies involve collaboration, but the collaborators are not always able to have in-person meetings. Padlet provides a simple blank page (a wall) so all collaborators can post ideas, upload attachments, add links, etc on the same page. It is a great way for people to share ideas and documents.

5. Google Docs

If you have several co-authors and each one is responsible for certain sections of the paper, Google Docs is a tool to facilitate collaborative writing. It also allows all authors to review and edit the full paper on the same document, instead of emailing numerous versions back and forth to each other.

6. Authorea

Authorea is another collaborative writing platform designed specifically for scholarly writings. It has some features that Google Docs lacks, such as citation creation and version control (to track each modification). Besides, unlike Google Docs that multiple authors can edit the same paragraph at the same time, Authorea only allows one author to edit a paragraph at a time by temporarily locking the text to others.

7. Dropbox

Collaborators may need to share files from time to time. Some files such as datasets can be quite large. Dropbox is a file syncing tool that allows users to share large files. Once uploaded to the shared Dropbox, files are automatically synced to everybody’s computers. You can share large files in the Dropbox with anyone, even those who don’t have a Dropbox account.

8. E.gg Timer

E.gg Timer is not directly related to writing or collaboration, but it is an easy helpful time management tool. Writers use it to set working blocks (25-minutes working + 5-minute break) or use it as a timer (e.g., alarm in 60 minutes). Knowing the timer is on may push you to be more productive within a limited time frame. The reminder for a short break helps you feel relaxed and recharged.  

Have you tried any of these tools to help you be productive and stay focused? I am sure there are a lot of other great online tools not included here. What are your favorite tools for boosting your writing productivity?


online writing tools