20 Best Academic Writing Software in 2022

20 Best Academic Writing Software in 2022
Imed Bouchrika, Phd by Imed Bouchrika, Phd
Chief Data Scientist & Head of Content

Writing is a challenge to almost everyone. Academic writing can be even more difficult than other forms, especially when it comes to tracking sections, research, flow, and grammar accuracy. Add to these deciding whether to use MLA or APA format in your academic paper and how to use such a format. Perfecting essays, research papers, and reports can take hours or days. Nevertheless, technology has enabled students and academics to address writing issues adequately.

This guide looks into the difference between academic writing and non-academic writing, the trends in academic writing, and some of the best academic writing software you can leverage to enhance your academic papers.

Best School Academic Writing Software Table of Contents

  1. Academic Writing vs. Non-Academic Writing
  2. Academic Writing Software Trends
  3. List of the Best Academic Writing Software

Academic Writing vs. Non-Academic Writing

Academic writing is formal and impersonal, aimed at a scholarly audience, while non-academic writing targets the general public. Academic and non-academic writing differ in format, audience, purpose, and tone. Non-academic writing is personal and subjective, unlike academic writing.

What is academic writing?

Academic writing is formal and impersonal, aimed at scholars. It relies heavily on research, factual evidence, and scholars’ opinions. It may come in the form of essays, papers, and dissertations. These pieces have a rigid structure and layout, including an introduction, a clear thesis statement, a topic overview, and a conclusion. Academic writing aims to inform the reader with non-biased information and solid evidence.

Academic writing uses specialized terminology. It requires citations and a list of sources and should be formal and objective.

The typical writing features of academic writing include the following:

  • Use of formal language
  • No contractions
  • Use of the third-person
  • Avoidance of interrogative statements; use declarative statements instead
  • Avoidance of exaggerations or hyperboles
  • Avoidance of sweeping generalization
  • Clear, concise, and no repetitions.

What is non-academic writing?

All other types of writing not intended for the academe and targeting the general public instead are non-academic pieces. It is casual, personal, impressionistic, emotional, or subjective writing. It includes newspapers, memoirs, magazines, letters, novels, websites, and text messages. Unlike academic writing, which focuses on a specific field, these pieces are often general and tend to inform, entertain, or persuade readers.

Most non-academic writings lack references, citations, and sources. They’re neither well-researched nor academic. Non-academic writing often lacks a rigid structure and is mostly free-flowing, reflecting the writer’s style and personality.

academic writing vs. non-academic writing

Academic Writing Software Trends

Students are on the lookout for free essay writers for the hardest essays. However, free essay writers can’t do high-quality work because they require professional writing skills. But this is not to say that new writing technologies are not worth using to create excellent academic pieces. Students and academics could benefit from understanding the current trends in academic writing.

Grammar Checker Software

Modern technology develops quickly and yields updates yearly. Academic writing tools and apps are plentiful but could be a bane to students or academics if not properly used. Writing apps help writers spot errors and improve their pieces. Perhaps the most popular tool is Grammarly, with 30 million daily active users. Students, teachers, writers, editors, marketers, and salespeople are the frequent users of this program (Lytvyn, 2021)

Source: Grammarly

Quality Content

With the difficulty of identifying authentic and credible online sources, professors are ever more critical of content quality. Students are expected to be critical of their information sources besides simply writing with proper structuring and grammar. They must research a topic and present impressive facts. According to Alostath (2021), 85.7% of the polled graduate students use books and journals as references for their academic writing. Such references add credibility to their content, thus raising quality.

share of master's students using books and journals for academic writing

Unfortunately, about 15% of polled college students admitted to paraphrasing or copying sentences or paragraphs without citing the source in their paper. (ICAI, 2021) Perhaps some may be doing this act intentionally, while others simply don’t know when and how to cite sources. Citation generators, therefore, are becoming important.

cheating among undergraduates

Plagiarism Checkers

Even in tandem with online proctoring software, checking for originality is tough if done manually. Plagiarism checkers, therefore, make the educator’s job easier. As cited in International Center for Academic Integrity (2021), McCabe surveyed 70,000 high school students at 24 United States schools. About a third of the students acknowledged cheating on an exam, 58% to plagiarism, and 95% to some type of cheating, such as plagiarism or copying homework. At UBC Vancouver alone, the cases of academic misconduct are rising, with plagiarism being the most reported. With free plagiarism checkers, educators can easily check these issues.

cheating in high school

List of the Best Academic Writing Software

1. Microsoft Word: Write Like a Pro

word dashboard

Microsoft Word is a popular word-processing program used for writing an essay, a dissertation, or other written academic requirements. It’s a 1983 Microsoft Office application and is a widely-used office program. Its integration with Office 365 and Microsoft OneDrive makes it versatile and allows for collaboration among students and professors. Features could vary depending on plan type, but for this review, the features presented are for Microsoft Word 360 Family Plan.


  • One to six users.
  • Sharing and real-time collaboration
  • Online and offline access
  • Available in 20+ languages with advanced spelling and grammar and in-app learning tips
  • Thousands of premium templates, fonts, stickers, icons, and stickers
  • Dictation, voice commands, and transcription
  • Up to 6 TB of cloud storage (1 TB per person).
  • Premium desktop, web, and mobile apps
  • An ad-free experience
  • Advanced security


  • Offers free access
  • Word for Home starts at $6.99 per month.
  • Word for Business starts at $8.25 per user per month.

2. Google Docs: Build the Best Ideas Together

Google Docs dashboard

Google Docs is a free online word processing tool ideal for students. It allows for real-time collaboration and syncing, so teams can work simultaneously on one document. Automatic saving prevents data loss. Mobile and laptop access allows you to access documents anywhere, anytime and integrates with all other Google apps.


  • Activity Tracking
  • Chat/Messaging
  • Collaboration Tools
  • Commenting/Notes
  • Customizable Templates
  • Data Import/Export
  • Document Generation
  • Document Management


  • Free

3. Scrivener: The Go-To App for Writers of All Kinds

Scrivener dashboard

Scrivener is a powerful app for writing, researching, and organizing long documents. It uses a ring-binder metaphor to organize your manuscript, notes, and references. Scrivener will stitch together any-sized text chunks, and the integrated outlining tools let you plan and restructure. Scrivener grows with your project.


  • Familiar Text Editing
  • Formatting Presets
  • Import
  • Corkboard
  • Outliner
  • Templates and Icons
  • Scriptwriting
  • Tools for non-fiction
  • View Documents Side by Side
  • Full-Screen Writing
  • Set targets and watch your progress.
  • Metadata
  • Collections
  • Choose your tools.
  • Print, export, publish.
  • Snapshots
  • Auto-save and backups
  • Write Anywhere


  • It offers a 30-day free trial.
  • Standard License for Windows/macOS $49.00
  • Educational License for Windows/macOS (for students and academics) $41.65
  • For iOS, $19.99
  • For macOS & Windows $80.00

4. Zotero: Collect in a Click and Collaborate


Zotero is a user and developer-supported, open-source project. It helps you to collect, organize, cite, and share research content. You can collaborate remotely with project members, create web-based bibliographies, and more. Windows, Mac, and Linux support Zotero.


  • Up to 300 MB of file storage for a free account with options to upgrade
  • Collected in one click.
  • Save a book to Zotero by scanning its barcode with an iOS 12 device.
  • Automatic Institutional Proxy Detection
  • Style Installation and Automatic File Import
  • Streamlined Saving
  • One-click PDF saving.
  • Secondary Translators
  • Bibliography: language selection
  • Integrated with Google Docs for easy citation and bibliography.


  • Free
  • Storage prices are $20/year (2 GB), $60/year (6 GB ), and $120/year (unlimited).

5. Mendeley: Access Your Library Anywhere


Mendeley helps researchers organize and share research papers and find data. It lets users store, note, and cite references, access cross-publisher articles, and import desktop documents in real-time.


  • Up to 1 GB of free online storage, with options to upgrade.
  • Reporting/Analytics
  • Activity Dashboard
  • Alerts/Notifications
  • Data Import/Export
  • Collaboration Tools
  • Multi-Device Support
  • Document Storage
  • File Sharing


  • Free
  • Additional storage prices start at $55 per year for 2 GB.

6. EndNote: Focus on Research


EndNote is a citation manager that organizes your citations in a searchable database. It formats footnotes and endnotes in your chosen style (APA, Chicago, MLA, etc.), automatically formats citations, and click-inserts references in Word documents. Format an annotated bibliography.


  • One-click full-text access
  • Read, annotate, and search library PDFs.
  • Organize references automatically
  • Automatic reference and link updating
  • Deduplicate library content
  • Insert in-text citations.
  • Build a bibliography.
  • Update your bibliography’s styles.
  • Cloud-based research is always available.
  • Integrate your online, desktop, and iPad apps.
  • Share your library.
  • Write-only or read-only library access
  • Multitask with Tabs
  • Track teammates’ library changes and activities.
  • Matches to relevant journals
  • Facilitate large-scale literature reviews.


  • A 30-day free trial
  • A student license is a $115.95 one-time purchase.
  • Full License is $249.95 one-time purchase.

7. Citavi: Designed for Individuals and Teams


Citavi combines note-taking and reference management. It helps researchers organize, collaborate, take notes, and write and manage citations. Annotate PDFs to save project ideas. Create draft outlines and write faster and more efficiently. Individuals or teams can use Citavi. Its tools boost work efficiency, divide tasks, and secure data.


  • API
  • Content Management
  • Reporting & Statistics
  • Data Import/Export
  • Access Controls/Permissions
  • Drag & Drop
  • Alerts/Notifications
  • Search/Filter


  • 30-day free trial
  • Price ranges from $44.50 (Citavi Desktop and Web Bundle – Student, upgradable to subscription) to $519 (Citavi 6 for Windows – Commercial, Perpetual)

8. Nuance Dragon Anywhere: Fast Dictation and High Recognition Accuracy

Nuance Dragon Anywhere dashboard

Nuance Dragon Anywhere is a cloud-based, professional dictation solution for mobile professionals. It lets you customize words, create boilerplate text, and dictate and edit documents by voice on your mobile device. Your document can be shared and customized with Dragon desktop so you can work seamlessly anywhere.


  • Correction menu
  • Train words
  • Select/Correct
  • Share
  • Evernote and Dropbox sync.
  • Auto-text
  • Multi-window workflow
  • Sync with Dragon desktop
  • Document management
  • Form filling
  • Import documents
  • Customize the vocabulary


  • 7-day trial
  • $150 annual subscription

9. Turnitin: Upholding Academic Integrity

Turnitin dashboard

Turnitin provides online plagiarism detection. It partners with schools to promote honesty, consistency, and fairness across subjects and assessments. Our products uphold the integrity and improve learning performance for educational institutions, certification and licensing programs, students, and professionals. Turnitin can check for originality and citations. Turnitin’s database grows as more instructors use it.


  • Identify risks and conduct cohort analysis
  • Reports within the context of assignments
  • Check for similarities with the Turnitin content database.
  • Reveal text manipulations
  • Verify the originality of the work.
  • Check for text similarity and grammar.
  • Citation assistant
  • Draft Coach


  • Contact sales for pricing

10. Copyscape: Maintain Content Originality

Copyscape dashboard

Copyscape is a trusted online plagiarism detection tool. It helps users avoid duplicating content before publishing it online. Copyscape also identifies sites that have copied or quoted your content without permission. You can make changes if similarities are found.


  • Copy-paste originality checks,
  • Upload Word and PDF files
  • Private index
  • Batch search
  • Case tracking
  • WordPress integration
  • Remove sites owned by subscribers.
  • A plagiarism warning banner for users’ websites to deter copycats.
  • Free tool for comparing web pages or articles
  • Guide on plagiarism.


  • 3c per 200-word plus 1c for every 100 words.
  • The standard subscription is $4.95 per month for up to 10 pages.
  • Copysentry Professional is $19.95 per month for up to 10 pages.

11. Grammarly: Write with Accuracy

Grammarly dashboard

Grammarly analyzes text for errors. It can distinguish between clear, compelling writing and sloppy, unprofessional writing. The free version covers grammar, punctuation, and spelling; the premium version adds stylistic and best-writing-practice suggestions.


  • Grammar and Punctuation
  • Spell Check
  • Plagiarism
  • Writing Style
  • Create your style guides and dictionaries
  • It integrates with Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and more.
  • Use the add-on as a browser extension, desktop, and mobile.


  • Free
  • $30.00 a month with discounts for a quarterly and yearly subscription

12. Hemingway Editor: Write Bold and Clear Pieces

Hemingway dashboard

The Hemingway Editor helps you write without distractions. It identifies common errors that degrade prose: confusing sentence construction, overuse of weak adverbs, excessive passive voice, etc. It uses different colors to highlight errors quickly. Yellow indicates long, complex sentences, red means hard-to-read sentences, blue refers to weak adverbs, green is passive voice, and purple is overly complex words.


  • Format text
  • View readability score, estimated reading time, and length
  • Work analysis, highlighting potential problem areas.
  • Copy and paste your work into the free version
  • Save or export/import only on the desktop version
  • Publish straight to Medium or WordPress
  • Import .docx files


  • Free
  • $19.99 one-time purchase fee for the standalone version

13. ProWritingAid: Write Smart

ProWritingAid dashboard

ProWritingAid is a premium grammar checker and style editor. This editing software helps users eliminate errors, optimize word choice, and edit faster. It checks blog posts, articles, books, editor’s notes, and more. ProWritingAid is web-based on Windows and Mac and supports Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and Scrivener.


  • Thousands of grammar, spelling, and readability improvements
  • Writing reports (e.g., vague wording, repetitiveness, over-dependence on adverbs, sentence length variation, over-complicated sentence constructions, passive voice, and more)
  • Style suggestions
  • In-app suggestions, explanations, videos, and quizzes
  • Word Explorer and contextual thesaurus
  • It integrates with MS Word/Outlook, Google Docs, Scrivener, Open Office, and Final Draft.
  • Create your style guides and dictionaries
  • Charts and graphs provide insights into readability, sentence variation, and more.


  • Free version
  • $20 per month or get discounts of 67% for a yearly subscription
  • $399 one-time payment for lifetime access

14. Ginger: Write with Confidence

Ginger dashboard

Ginger is a grammar and spelling checker that catches common and uncommon errors. It gives you the tools to sharpen and tighten your academic paper and educates you about errors and corrections. This grammar tool and spell-checker help you become a better writer while saving you time and headaches.


  • Grammar checker
  • Spell check
  • Sentence rephrase
  • Personal trainer
  • Text reader
  • Translator
  • Dictionary
  • Text-to-speech
  • Smart Word Prediction
  • Change the theme and colors in the software
  • Works with Microsoft, Mac, IOS, Android, Safari, Edge, and Chrome
  • Cloud storage


  • Free version
  • The subscription price starts at $7.49 per month

15. Quillbot: Write Like a Pro

Quillbot dashboard

Quillbot is an AI editing tool for academics and publishers. It includes a paraphraser, summarizer, grammar checker, and plagiarism checker. Google Docs, MS Word, and Chrome extensions allow you to use Quillbot more efficiently.


  • Summarizer Tool
  • Paraphrasing Tool
  • Grammar Check
  • Citation Generator
  • AI-Powered Thesaurus
  • Compare Mode
  • Extensions for Microsoft Word, Google Docs & Google Chrome
  • Plagiarism Checker
  • Co-writer


  • Free
  • It starts at $14.95 for the monthly subscription with discounts for 6-month and annual subscriptions.

16. Ref-N-Write: Learn as You Write

Ref-and-write dashboard

Ref-n-write uses AI for academic writing. It is meant to help you avoid self-plagiarism. Its rite’s templates rephrase sentences, while the paraphrasing tool rephrases paragraphs. The academic phrase bank and rewording are ideal for researchers.


  • View the search results in sentence and paragraph levels
  • Search for subject-specific information and language ideas
  • Snapshot of what, how, and where it has been said before
  • Import documents related to the content being written
  • Supported document formats include MS Word, PDF, and text files
  • Query REF-N-WRITE for language ideas
  • Read out loud
  • Pick up any grammatical anomalies
  • Introduce stresses and pauses as required


  • 15-day trial
  • Full version lifetime license around $37.5

17. SciSpace (formerly TypeSet): Discover Scientific Knowledge

Typeset dashboard

SciSpace helps find, format, publish and spread research. The software helps find images, tables, and charts. Access professional editing and plagiarism checkers. Free PDFs of scientific articles.


  • Native English editing and proofreading
  • Check for plagiarism with Turnitin
  • Direct submission of formatted manuscripts
  • Reference automation
  • 100,000+ journal templates
  • One-click formatting
  • Upload Word manuscripts and peer-edit
  • Add images and graphs
  • Copyediting
  • Use LaTeX math
  • Integrate with Mendeley, Zotero, and Endnote
  • One-click citations and bibliographies.
  • Generate Ithenticate’s similarity report in-app


  • Free
  • It starts at $8 (billed annually) for the Researcher plan and $6 (billed annually) for the Team plan.

18. LaTeX: Focus on Your Content

latex dashboard

LaTeX is a typesetting document preparation system, not a word processor. It’s used for scientific papers. LaTeX encourages authors to focus on content rather than appearance. It is a user-friendly version of TeX with an automated chapter, section, cross-reference, and bibliography macros.


  • Typeset articles, reports, books, and slides
  • Control over sectioned, cross-referenced, tabled, and figured documents.
  • Formula typing.
  • AMS-LaTeX math typesetting.
  • Bibliographies and indexes are generated automatically.
  • Multiple-language typing.
  • Artwork, process, or spot color
  • PostScript/Metafont fonts.


  • Free

19. Authorea: Publish Cutting Edge Research

authorea dashboard

Authorea is an online collaborative writing tool that helps researchers write documents and attach references, figures, data, and source code. The tool allows for collaborative editing, automatic citation formatting, change tracking, and public/private document settings. Authorea automatically formats scientific papers in the preferred style for online submission to peer-reviewed journals and conferences.


  • Collaborative writing
  • Commenting
  • Live chat in-article
  • Change tracking
  • Citation Search
  • Reference Formatting
  • Publisher styles
  • Equations
  • Figures
  • Data publishing
  • Live source code
  • Interactive figures
  • GitHub and Offline Editing
  • Export/Import


  • Free
  • $10 for Premium and $100 for Community

20. MindMeister: Collaborate and Build Your Ideas

mindmeister dashboard

MindMeister is an online mind mapping tool that enables real-time collaboration. Researchers and academic writers can leverage it to brainstorm ideas, plan projects, take meeting minutes, develop business strategies, and more. It’s also user-friendly. MindMeister works in any web browser and on iOS and Android devices so that users can access, edit, and present mind maps anywhere.


  • Custom Styles
  • Mixed Map Layouts
  • Outline Mode
  • Focus Mode
  • Embedded Media
  • Share mind maps and give others access.
  • Review the change history of mind maps and revert if needed.
  • Create slideshows from mind maps to present online or in person.
  • MeisterTask connects mind maps and project boards to turn ideas into actionable tasks.
  • Publish mind maps on a website or blog.


  • Free
  • The price starts at $2.49 per month (Personal).

Academic Writing with Accuracy and Integrity

Quality research writing and many other forms of academic writing are no easy feat. The gathering of references alone could be exhausting. However, academic writing is one form that everyone will deal with since it’s what schools require. As such, finding ways to complete your academic writing easily without sacrificing accuracy and integrity is vital.

Academic writing trends are geared toward stricter regulations on plagiarism on top of content accuracy, quality, and grammar and mechanics. As such, the best academic writing software like plagiarism checkers, citation generators, and grammar checkers are your partners in creating outstanding academic papers. This is particularly crucial in the age of elearning wherein students are largely unsupervised as they go about researching and writing papers. The best online learning platforms unquestionably do so much, but this part of online education will remain a matter of concern for educators and other vested organizations alike.



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