FocusWriter – A Distraction Free Writing App for Ubuntu.

Although I am not a full time writer, I have maintained couple of blogs for the past few years. All of them were WordPress based ones – May be Blogger is the only Google service I am not using! – and I have only written my posts at the WordPress admin panel, except for few occasions. I remember I tried Zoundry Raven few years ago, but I didn’t adhere to it. I have the WordPress app installed on my Sony Xperia P, but I am almost not using it. That’s it about my usage of blog editors.

Although WordPress’ writing page is the best I have found in content editing platforms, with all the menus and gadgets all around, it’s easier to get distracted. Plus you use it inside a tab of your browser, and I am sure almost all of you have GMail and Tweetdeck as pinned tabs, while Facebook is in a regular tab. That means you may not be able to resist the urge to take another look at those tabs once in few minutes.

That’s where distraction free writing apps come in. (WordPress does have a distraction free writing mode and you can go full-screen with it, but I never felt comfortable with it.) They everything else behind and leaves you with a space for writing things. Not even a formatting tool bar is visible – you can format it later, what is more important is getting the things inside your brain into a big text box, through your fingers and the PC’s keyboard!

Ubuntu is my personal OS (I have to use Windows at the office.), so naturally I was in the hunt for a distraction free writing app for Ubuntu.

I first found “UberWriter”, it looked good to me, but the problem was that it wasn’t in the best price of the world. It’s currently priced at 5USD in the Ubuntu Software Center, but I didn’t have the enough money in my pocket! Then I found “FocusWriter”which is completely free and it seemed to me that it could do anything that the description of “UberWriters” promised to do. I can’t really compare them because I haven’t used both of them though.

Default Appearance of FocusWriter.

By default you get a blank screen filled with gray where you can write. The document is saved in ODT format, which is the default document format of LibreOffice as well. The standard toolbar and the menu bar will be revealed to you when you move your mouse pointer to the top edge of the screen.

Standard Toolbar and Menubar of FocusWriter.
Standard Toolbar and Menubar of FocusWriter.

Left edge has a document list, while the right side have a hidden scrollbar.

The documents list of FocusWriter.
The documents list of FocusWriter.

There is a status bar in the bottom edge of the screen, which shows you statistics of the document like the number of words and the characters. Multiple documents can be opened in FocusWriter at the same time and they’ll be displayed in a tabbed document format in this status bar.

A section of the status bar of FocusWriter.
A section of the status bar of FocusWriter.

Those items in the edges of the screen are only visible when your mouse pointer is over them.

FocusWriter comes with a good preferences window, which allows you to change things such as information displayed in the status bar, how quotations work, and more. You can even change the appearance of the writing area, using the “Themes” feature. You can choose to hightlight only the current typing line only, which will help you stop getting distracted by your own previous writings.

Do you use a distraction free writer? What is it? What are the best features you like in it? Share in the comments section below!

9 responses to “FocusWriter – A Distraction Free Writing App for Ubuntu.”

  1. Linux, Ubuntu are great … for Tech guys …. but for users that just want to blog it is not feasable. I tried to read this article and I drowned several times. lol I’m a basic WordPress end user, but even wordpress has a good learning curve required. If you just want to blog, like you drive a car without having to build the car …. a point and click system would be best. I know someone who is releasing one with an integrated distraction free writing app. ALL IN ONE!!

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