As the name says on the box, ProWritingAid really is a pro writing aid.
For more and more writers, online grammar checkers and editing software are becoming must-have writing tools. Any tool that finds common grammar and spelling mistakes and offers quick and easy corrections is going to help you improve your writing skills.
There are a lot of free writing and grammar checking tools available online now. Most of them can offer you basic help with spelling and grammar.
But do you want to get a useful, in-depth analysis of your grammar and a comprehensive writing style check? For this, you will need to consider using a premium version editing tool. ProWritingAid is my choice for all of my long-form writing projects.
Choosing Prowritingaid as your writing checker
Do you need an online grammar and writing style assistant? The most significant factor in your decision will be how well a tool suits your specific needs.
The choices will be different for every writer, depending on what platforms, writing software, and applications you are using.
For some, a fully functional desktop editor might be the only top priority.
For others, mobility and portability might be necessities. Do you want to work with multiple browsers and smartphone integration?
Do you want Word, Google Docs, and Scrivener integration?
Of course, price is a big consideration for many writers. Before I even start on my review, this one is a winner already.
There is a very good free version available. But the pro version of Prowritingaid is around one-third of the price of comparable premium writing and grammar checkers. It makes it extremely good value for money.
Now let’s get started on my hands-on review of ProWritingAid to help you in your decision-making process.
From the outset, I have to say that it only takes a few minutes to discover that ProWritingAid really has a lot going for it.
The toolbar at the top of the ProWritingAid desktop editor immediately lets you know that there is a lot on offer to analyze your writing.
I am using the premium edition for my ProWritingAid review. But even if you try the free version or free trial, you will be able to discover how helpful it is.
Start by opening the desktop web editor. The graphical menu at the top of the screen gives you access to so many ways to analyze, check, and improve your writing.
I spent my first half an hour clicking all the menu buttons. I immediately discovered that the text from my work-in-progress novel really needed a lot more work.
ProWritingAid certainly checks your grammar. But the web editor gives you access to more than twenty checks, reports, and tools. That’s a lot of grunt under the hood for a grammar and spell checker application.
The real-time check is a very handy tool to give you an overall running account of your writing as you make your corrections.
It sits in the top left-hand corner and works like a running scoreboard telling you how many possible errors or issues you have left to work on.
You can see that there is a lot of work left for me to do with my text.
Once you get into analyzing your writing, it uses different colored underlines beneath words and phrases to guide you to suggested corrections. With one-click, you have the correction or suggestion.
Here are a few examples of the way the editor works when highlighting quotation marks, redundancy, and passive voice.
It was a surprise to discover that it finds unmatched quotation marks. I have not seen this function in any other applications before. It is so useful, especially for fiction writers.
There are similar pop-ups for many other suggested corrections or recommending better word choices.
However, the editor has more to offer when you use some of the reporting tools available in the toolbar.
You can see below some examples of reports for repeated words, clichés, and an overall reading report.
These reports are very detailed and are interactive with your text, which makes using the information to make corrections very easy.
You’ll find tools and reports in ProWritingAid for stickiness, sentence length, and overused words. But there are many, many more. It’s a very long list!
There is no doubt that the web editor is feature-rich and user-friendly. Above all else, it is constructive in improving your writing.
What about outside the web editor?
ProWriting Aid has apps and plugins for a whole host of software applications.
There is a Chrome extension, an MS Word plugin, and a Google Docs extension.
But more importantly, for a lot of authors, Prowritingaid integrates with Scrivener.
As with similar premium apps, there is no Word integration for Mac users. It is a Microsoft and Apple problem, so there is no blame on the program developers here.
However, the web editor works exceptionally well on a Mac. You can quickly upload a Word file or work with documents using the familiar File, Save, and Open menu commands.
However, on all other fronts, the news is very good, even for Mac users.
On social media, Prowritingaid protects you from making silly little typos and spelling errors. In the posting text box, you will see that it is at work by the abbreviated toolbar that you use in the web editor.
For me, one of the most common uses of an online checker is when I am writing a blog post in WordPress. With the Chrome extension, it works like a charm, and there is no lag or hesitation.
So how good is ProWritingAid overall?
It is very good; I have to say. Every checking tool you could possibly need comes with ProWritingAid.
The interface is clean, and it is easy to understand and learn how to use it.
You are probably familiar with online writing tools. So it will only take you a few minutes to be underway and using the available tools and reports.
If you have never used an online grammar checker before, it will only take you a few minutes to feel comfortable using the web editor and Chrome extension.
The depth of analysis is the standout positive of ProWritingAid. There are just so many layers of corrections, improvements, and reports to help you make your writing so much better and more readable.
The pros and cons of ProWritingAid
If you are looking for an online writing coach, then you should really consider this application.
I use the word, coach because, unlike other correction tools, it does act like one.
There is so much advice Prowritingaid gives you. It feels like you have someone in your corner, helping you along the way with your writing.
So, what are the good and the not so good points?
It has every conceivable writing check you could ever need or want, especially within the desktop editor.
Easy to get started and learn how to use
Every part of the application is intuitive and makes sense. Even if you have never used an online writing assistant before, you will be up and running and productive with this pro writing aid tool in only a few minutes.
ProWritingaid is inexpensive and affordable for most writers.
The paid version of similar premium grammar checkers can cost you well over $120 per year.
But ProWritingAid starts at only $70.00 a year and even less for longer subscriptions.
If you are a student or work in education, there is a 20% discount available for you. Scroll to the bottom of the pricing page for details about how to claim your deduction.
Scrivener and Google Docs integration
This will be a big winning point for many authors and writers.
ProWritingAid can integrate with Scrivener. It is a great combination for authors.
There is also Google Docs integration, which is a practical advantage for many writers.
No Safari and iOS
ProWritingAid doesn’t have Safari or Firefox extensions or iOS integration, which are available on some other apps. Like other grammar checkers, there is no plugin for Mac users with Microsoft Word.
Update: New ProWritingAid editor interface
There is now a new version of the editor that improves the ease of navigation. In my testing, it also seems faster and more responsive.
All the same reports and analysis are within the editor, but they are a little easier to find and view.
One of the new features I like is the summary report. It lists all of the issues you have in your text.
Because it is quite a lengthy report, I created a gif below to show you how much information it contains.
When you want to work on an issue, all you need to do is click on the link. It will take you to the appropriate part of your text.
If you like the old version, there is a link in the main menu so you can switch back.
How To Use ProWritingAid As Your Writing Editor
In a perfect world, you would love to have your own writing editor to rely on.
If you are lucky enough to be an author with a contract for traditional publishing, editors work on your manuscript as part of your publishing agreement.
But in reality, we know that the cost of hiring a professional for editing services such as developmental editing, copy editing or line editing is beyond the financial reach of the majority of writers and self-published authors.
There are many self-help, short story and fiction writers using self-publishing today. It is unrealistic to think that all of them can afford to pay for a freelance editor to help in the writing and editing process.
What readers want
There is an expectation from readers that when they buy a book or even read a blog post or online news article, that the texts will be perfect.
If you read some of the major newspapers online, you will know that even with a professional editor, mistakes can still happen.
However, that is not an excuse. You should always be looking for ways to improve your writing, your grammar, and your writing style.
If you write a book, an article, or even if you’ve written a quick social media message, you need to be sure you are using good sentence structure and that your grammar and spelling are error-free.
For new writers, it can be daunting.
Mistakes get noticed very quickly. Readers are sometimes not shy at all about pointing out these errors by posting to public online forums such as social media, blog comments, or book reviews.
So you do need to learn how to write well and accurately.
You would probably love to have a writing coach or take writing classes. But these are expensive options. You need to make money before you can spend money.
The writing process needs to be a learning experience.
So how can you learn to make your writing clear, focused, error-free, and using grammar and style that will be enjoyable for readers?
Do you need a writing editor or coach?
A coach is someone (or something) that can help teach you how to do something. A standard grammar checker certainly can’t do this.
However, there is one program that can give you genuine writing guidance and help you to write much better.
If you are new or even not so new to writing and you have never heard about ProWritingAid, you should investigate the possibilities it has to offer.
It really is a pro writing aid.
Of course, it has a spell checker and grammar suggestion functions. It also has a plagiarism checker.
But where it is different is that it provides you with extremely detailed reports that can help you learn and understand how to improve your writing by using a long list of key analysis points.
For example, how does your writing rate for stickiness sentence usage?
You need to start by knowing what a sticky sentence is first before you can improve. With ProWritingAid, click on “Sticky” in the menu bar, and you will get a report and a link to a detailed explanation.
Long sentences can distract, bore, or even confuse readers.
To check your sentence length, click on “Sentences,” and you will get an instant report for every sentence in your text. You can then work to simplify and shorten the very long sentences you have written.
You also get data about your average length and optimal variety for all your sentences.
Every writer suffers from overused words.
When you read your text, page by page, repeated words are extremely difficult to find and replace. With ProWritingAid, it is again only one click to list all your repeated words in even a very long book-length text.
In the left menu bar, click on each item in the list to see a flyout menu, and you can jump to the next location of a repeated word in your text.
You can then use the synonym suggestions to make better word choices.
In all, there are more than twenty reports like this available for you to analyze and improve your manuscript or online writing.
Okay, it is not a human writing editor or coach. But when you have the choice of an online coach for free or for a very low price, it is an excellent alternative for you to consider.
If you need to edit books, and can’t afford professional book editing services, it is a fantastic tool because it can do an in-depth analysis of very long documents.
ProWritingAid is certainly a great writing app, and for the price, it is a bargain.
The best performance is in the desktop editor, where it wins hands down over the rest.
For a more detailed look at what you can do with ProWritingAid, you might like to watch this short video highlighting the features of the desktop app.