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Saturday, May 8, 2021

Best Distraction Free Writing Tools for Linux – Linux Hint

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Distraction free text editors and writing tools provide a minimal application layout without many user interface elements. These applications allow you to better organize your thoughts and help you improve your writing. Whatever interaction with application is needed, is mainly done through keyboard shortcuts. While you can go fullscreen with most text editors / code editors / IDEs these days, there are some applications solely designed to provide you a distraction free writing experience (especially some Markdown editors). This article will cover a list of such writing tools that provide you an immersive writing experience on Linux.

Ghostwriter

Ghostwriter is a free and open source distraction free editor that allows you to write your content in Markdown language and export it in multiple file formats. It features a fullscreen mode where it hides all major UI elements of your desktop and the app to give you a clean slate like experience.

It also features a unique “focus” mode where it fades everything other than the current line you are typing.

Other main features of ghostwriter include auto-save functionality, real-time word count, real-time previews, dark mode, customizable themes, a typewriter-like mode that disables delete and backspace keys, quick navigation through a heads-up display (HUD) and so on. Ghostwriter also remembers cursor position when you close a file and resumes back to the last point when you reopen it.

To install Ghostwriter in Ubuntu, use the command mentioned below:

$ sudo apt install ghostwriter

Ghostwriter can be installed in other major Linux based distributions from official repositories available in the package manager. Further installation instructions, a flatpak package and other installable packages are available here.

FocusWriter

FocusWriter is a free and open source distraction free writer that lets you write and save content in simple text, ODT and RTF file formats. Its fullscreen mode can be toggled by pressing the <F11> key. Focuswriter is fully themable and you can change colors, text styles and background graphics. It also features auto-save functionality, writing goals, real-time word count, a spell checker and typing sounds. Like Ghostwriter, FocusWriter also remembers cursor position and resumes back to the last line you were editing. By default, FocusWriter hides all UI elements but you can trigger its main menu by moving the cursor just below the top horizontal edge of the application window.

To install FocusWriter in Ubuntu, use the command mentioned below:

$ sudo apt install focuswriter

FocusWriter can be installed in other major Linux based distributions from official repositories available in the package manager. Further installation instructions, a flatpak package and other installable packages are available here.

Left

Left is a free and open source distraction free editor that comes with minimum UI chrome. It features a sidebar that allows you to quickly switch between multiple documents and snippets. Other main features of Left include a speed-reader, auto completion, document statistics, reading mode, insert mode, downloadable themes, synonyms checker etc. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a way to go fullscreen with Left, something that a distraction free writer should have. Left is a cross-platform application and may be fullscreen mode is not supported on Linux yet.

You can download a build of Left for all Linux distributions from here. Left follows a “pay what you want” model where you can purchase the application to support the developers or get it free of any charge.

Apostrophe

Apostrophe is a minimal and distraction free Markdown editor written in a beautiful GTK3 interface. It features a “focus mode” where only current line is visible at full contrast and remaining ones are faded to improve focus. A “typewriter mode” that disables delete and backspace buttons is also included. Apostrophe hides its main menu-bar / toolbar by default and you can access it by hovering your mouse just below the top edge of the application window. Other main features of Apostrophe include a spell checker, real-time previews, multi-pane mode and ability to export content in multiple file formats.

You can install Apostrophe in Ubuntu by running the following three commands in succession:

$ sudo apt install flatpak

$ flatpak remote-add –if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

$ flatpak install flathub org.gnome.gitlab.somas.Apostrophe

To install Apostrophe flatpak package in other Linux distributions, follow instructions available at the bottom of its official listing.

Quilter

Quilter is a free and open source distraction free text editor specially designed for elementaryOS. It works well with other Linux distributions too and provides a dedicated focus mode and dark mode. Other main features of Quilter include a sidebar for managing multiple files, real-time previews, sepia mode, built-in search functionality, full screen mode, document outline and so on.

You can install Quilter in Ubuntu by running the following three commands in succession:

$ sudo apt install flatpak

$ flatpak remote-add –if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

$ flatpak install flathub io.github.lainsce.Quilter

To install the Quilter flatpak package in other Linux distributions, follow instructions available at the bottom of its official listing.

Conclusion

These are some of the most used distraction free text editors available for Linux. Nowadays, almost every text / code editor provides a full-screen, distraction free mode and there are now only a handful of applications that focus mainly on delivering a distraction free writing experience.

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