When I say writing is challenging, I do not just tell it for namesake.
I have experience writing content online (like the one you are reading) and academic research papers.
Academic writing is more challenging.
And I say it because not only do you want to articulate your research outline and results in the most accurate way possible, following a strict structure, but you also have to keep notes of your outline, online research, statements, abstract, conclusion, discussions and most importantly proper citations and reference formatting.
There is no room for creative outbursts or nuanced sentences; academic writing requires straightforward, formal, grammatically correct sentences that explain your opinions/facts.
Handling all of that is a challenge if you do it manually. But if you use academic writing software, it will save you both time and effort.
Let me get straight into some tools I use to get my job done and recommend if you want to make your job easier as a student or researcher.
Academic Writing vs. Non-Academic Writing
Before I get into the details of any software, it’s crucial to understand the unique demands of academic writing compared to non-academic writing.
Academic writing requires strict adherence to specific formats and citation styles, proper research organization, and a focus on presenting evidence-based arguments.
Conversely, non-academic writing may prioritize creativity, storytelling, and a more relaxed writing style. Adequate format, correct grammar and tone, proper citation, and references for all sources are critical to good academic writing.
The best academic writing software is the one that will help you achieve that.
Now, let us dive into it.
List of the Best Academic Writing Software (Personally Used and Recommended)
Here is a carefully curated list of the top 7 best academic writing software to help you make your work easier.
I will discuss all features, including functionalities such as citation management tools, reference formatting, research organization, note-taking, grammar checking, plagiarism detection, and collaboration features.
1. Microsoft Word
Microsoft Word is a word processing software developed by Microsoft Corporation.
It is a part of the Microsoft Office suite, which includes other productivity applications such as Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. Find out how you can use Grammarly in PowerPoint.
This is my go-to app when writing academic content and framing a draft of my content. It has all the essential features needed to write a scholarly paper. Here is a list of the best features of Microsoft Word.
Best Features of Microsoft Word:
- Rich Formatting Options for fonts, styles, sizes, colors, and paragraph formatting.
- Automated basic Spell-check and Grammar-check
- Pre-designed document templates (resumes, letters, reports, etc.) for various purposes.
- Adjustable Page Layouts that Control for adjusting page margins, orientation, and size.
- Tools for creating and formatting tables, graphs, and other visual elements.
- Support for inserting and formatting images, videos, and other multimedia elements.
- Track Changes and Version history by multiple users.
- Features for adding comments and annotations for collaboration and feedback.
- Tool for Citations and References in various formats
- Real-time collaboration features, including simultaneous editing, review modes, and online sharing.
- Ad free.
- Mobile, desktop, and web tool versions
MS Word is a free academic writing software alternative that is cost-effective for students and educators. Investing in MS Word for Home starts at $6.99 per month, while MS Word for Business begins at $8.25 per user per month if you are looking for better options.
Grammarly has advanced grammar and plagiarism checking for academic writing designed to improve the quality and clarity of written content.
Individuals, professionals, and students widely use it to ensure accuracy and enhance the overall effectiveness of their writing.
I write an overall draft in Word, followed by a thorough grammar and spelling check using Grammarly’s native integration in Word.
You can also copy and paste your text to do the same.
And it will help you correct mistakes in your research paper.
Best Features of Grammarly:
- Advanced Grammar and Spelling Checker
- Real-time writing suggestions as per Customized Goals
- Sentence Structure Improvement
- Punctuation Correction
- Vocabulary Enhancement
- Tone Detection to maintain consistency.
- Plagiarism Checker to detect potential plagiarism by comparing the text against a vast database.
- Tailors suggestions based on the specific genre or type of writing (academic, business, creative, etc.).
- Integration with Various Platforms like web browsers, Microsoft Word, Google Docs, and other writing platforms.
- It has a desktop and mobile app version you can use on the go.
Grammarly has a free version with all the essential features; however, one of the most important features that come in handy for academic writers is the plagiarism checker, which is available in Premium Plans only.
Premium plans start at $30/month when billed monthly, while the same comes at $12/month annually.
If you are also looking for collaboration features for group projects and assignments, you can check out their Business plans, which also come with a 7-day free trial.
If you think Grammarly is a tad bit pricey. ProWritingAid is the cheaper alternative. It is one of the best writing assistant software, offering various features to enhance grammar, style, and readability.
Best Features of ProWritingAid:
- Has a good grammar and spelling checker.
- Has real-time style suggestions
- Has synonym and sentence structure enhancements
- Has a thesaurus Integration
- Comes with a decent plagiarism checker.
- It has fewer integrations than Grammarly or a mobile app, but it is good at what it does.
Premium Plans of ProWriting Aid come at $120/year, or you get a Lifetime subscription (One-time purchase)at $399.
Find the answer of which is better when you compare ProWritingAid vs Grammarly.
We all know how important it is to avoid plagiarism in academic texts. It’s legitimately a punishable offense. But reframing basic sentences can be a hassle, and you must make the sentence have proper form and meaning.
Quillbot is one of the best free AI writing software and helps paraphrase and rewrite. The tool is designed to help users rephrase or reword sentences and paragraphs.
Read the Quillbot review to learn more about the tool and how you can use it to improve your content.
Best Features of Quillbot:
- QuillBot specializes in paraphrasing and rewriting text to create new, original content while retaining the meaning of the original.
- Customizable word and sentence levels with various modes of writing
- It supports paraphrasing and rewriting in multiple languages, making it a versatile tool for users with diverse language needs.
- It has a summarizer tool that can help make abstracts.
- It has decent grammar, spelling, synonyms, and syntax checkers.
- Has a citation generator in various formats and sources.
- It is available as a Chrome extension and has a word integration in Premium plans.
The free version is available with limited features for all. Premium plans start at $9.95/month, but you can save up to 50% with annual billing at $4.17/month. You also have a 3-day money-back guarantee if you want to try it out first.
If you still have doubts about which one is better, Quillbot or Grammarly, then you can read this article.
Turnitin is an academic integrity and plagiarism detection tool widely used in educational institutions to promote originality in writing and prevent plagiarism.
In today’s day and age, there are instances when papers have been turned in with the help of AI-assisted writing. But Turnitin can even detect that.
Best Features of Turnitin:
- In-depth plagiarism detection to give Similarity reports and identify reports with potential sources of the match. It also points out areas where citations are needed.
- It has tools for educators and instructors to provide feedback on student and grade submissions through the Gradescope tool.
- Has a Revision Assistant that offers feedback on writing mechanics, style, and originality, assisting students in improving their work before final submission.
- You can also design and create exams in Turnitin with their Examsoft tool.
- AI content detector is also available.
Read our article on Grammarly vs Turnitin to find out which one is the best for you.
Turnitin has custom pricing plans you can negotiate by contacting their sales department.
Mendeley is the tool for you if you are looking for a tool to store your research papers and do your references.
Mendeley is an open-source software academic social network that helps researchers manage and organize research papers, collaborate with peers, and discover new publications.
It is software for citation management and reference formatting for people of specific academic disciplines (e.g., literature, science, engineering).
Best Features of Mendeley:
- Reference Management in a centralized library.
- Annotate and highlight PDF documents directly within the Mendeley interface for efficient reading and analysis.
- Generate Citations and Bibliography
- 1 GB of free online Cloud Storage
- Collaborate with peers by sharing references and research materials, fostering teamwork in academic projects.
- Keyword and Tagging System
- You can create a researcher profile showcasing your publications, collaborations, and research interests.
- Has an integration with Microsoft Word and LaTeX
- Mendeley offers an Institutional Edition, providing additional features and support for academic institutions and organizations.
Suppose you’re a researcher who prefers dictating your notes or papers. In that case, Mendeley integrates seamlessly with the best dictation software available, ensuring smooth and efficient workflow for those who prefer speech-to-text functionality.
Mendely is free to use. However, if you want to increase your cloud storage, prices start at $ 55/month.
This software is free, open-source, and great for managing citations and formatting references. It supports multiple citation styles and can be integrated seamlessly with browsers to make reference collection more accessible.
Best Features of Zotero:
- Has seamless integration with web browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari) and word processors like Microsoft Word and LibreOffice for accessible collection of online resources and referencing.
- Tools for Reference Organization
- Supports various citation styles (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.)
- Has PDF Annotation
- Supports Cloud Sync
- It has a tagging and searching tool
- Allows users to take snapshots of web pages
- Automatic bibliography updates
Extra storage is available for $20/year (2 GB), $60/year (6 GB), or $120/year (unlimited). The service is otherwise free to use.
Read my article on Grammarly for LibreOffice to help you integrate it seamlessly and improve your writing.
Conclusion: Best Academic Writing Software
Now that I have mentioned the top writing tools for students and researchers for writing (Microsoft Word), editing (Gramamrly/ProWritingAid), avoiding plagiarism and summarizing (Quillbot/Turnitin), and referencing (Mendeley/Zotero), I don’t think you should have a problem with academic writing at all.
Here, I have written an in-depth article on top AI tools in scientific research.
I hope you find the tools that work the best for you.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Which is the best tool for academic writing?
You can use many software to create and edit academic papers. These include Microsoft Word, Grammarly, Quillbot, Zotero, etc.
What software can be used to write academic papers?
Word or LibreOffice are good word processors, while Grammarly and ProWritingAid can help in grammar and spelling correction in academic papers.
Which is the best academic software for free?
Microsoft Word is free to use. Zotero is an academic referencing software that is free and open source and can be used with Microsoft Word to create proper citations and bibliographies.
Can I use AI writing tools for academic papers?
As long you do not have plagiarism and do not use AI to write your paper, you can utilize AI software to help you correct mistakes and get style and referencing help. Turnitin is a good plagiarism and AI content detector that can assist you in detecting and preventing plagiarism.