CNET Editors' review
If your job involves writing or editing, you probably need a word processor to get it done. Microsoft Word can cost hundreds, so a free alternative is nice. Zen Writer is a stylish program that will save you cash, but you'll sacrifice most of the features you need in productivity software.
True to its name, Zen Writer gives you an open, peaceful place for organizing thoughts. The customizable music and backgrounds produce a calming effect. You can add a typewriter sound effect to your keystrokes and it even saves your work automatically. It's a fun environment for brainstorming, but it won't match other options like OpenOffice or LibreOffice for productivity. Most of the features you need aren't there. There are only five fonts, and you can't bold, italicize, or underline. There are also no graph, list, or image options, which other word-processing programs have built in. This program just gives you an open space to write in and nothing else.
Zen Writer probably works well for fans of minimalist note-taking environments. Setup is a breeze and it's more pleasant than the blank, white background you may be used to. However, it doesn't offer enough to be a good standalone option. It doesn't save files in DOC format by default or include other productivity software, which means it won't work for essays or presentations.
ZenWriter, a text editor for Windows that cuts out all the distraction and lets you focus on letting your thoughts flow. It's a full screen, zen-like program that offers few formatting options but a whole lot of tranquility. If you find yourself, skipping between tabs in your browser checking up on e-mail and Facebook when you're meant to be writing, ZenWriter is the solution to your distracted mind.
What's new in this version: - table of contents - critical bugs in automatic saving were fixed - wordcounter now count words properly, without punctuation
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All versions:4.4 stars
out of 7 votes
Current version:5.0 stars
out of 1 votes
My rating:Write review
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"Great Program. Works as intended."
Version: ZenWriter 2.0
1. No distracting features (I'm surprised so many people think it's a Microsoft Word replacement. Even the Cnet editor. Read the 'About' It's meant for creative distraction free writing. Not a Word competitor.)
2. I haven't found anything so useful this cheap. Lets face it... it's a nice blank screen you can customize with pretty music. Yet, some people are charging upwards of sixty for less. Still others have too many distracting features for those of us who want simple distraction free writing.
3. Customization backgrounds. It doesn't have a black screen but I was able to use a file to create one, making an even more distraction free zone.
4. I do find the sounds helpful to productivity... even if I feel a little like a silly nerd because of it.
1. Can't change the font color. I would prefer it to be bright green so I can pretend to be Ghost Writer (Like from the show)....Okay, so I need help.
Great program. It isn't for creating presentations, or doing thesis projects on advanced biochemistry... It's for getting your words out there. It's not for note taking in general it's for novelists who can get distracted by research, facebook, and such. It takes up the whole screen and the tool bar goes away so you don't think of exiting and doing other things. It doesn't get in the way, or constantly nag at you. So if you want all the pretty shiny features and need more... might I suggest Microsoft Word? I hear they've got a snazzy italics. But if you want distraction free writing, productivity of word count... this program is for you.
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