When it comes time for serious editing, the two most popular choices are the Grammarly or Prowritingaid desktop editor.
These two apps are the top choices for a writing checker and grammar corrector for most writers.
There’s no doubt that if you have a premium version of either one, you know how helpful it can be to check your online writing.
But when you check and edit long texts and documents such as novels, nonfiction, and essays, how good is each desktop editor?
Grammarly vs. Prowritingaid
I have used both of these apps for many years and still do because they have become essential writing tools for me.
There’s no question that Grammarly is my preferred app for online writing.
The main reason is that it works superbly well with the WordPress editor.
Whenever I write blog posts or articles, Grammarly’s one-click correction feature saves me so much time.
For a 1,000-word article, I can run through the suggested corrections in just a few minutes.
But when I’m editing a long manuscript, I always use Prowritingaid.
It has so many features and tools to craft and improve a long text.
Yes, Grammarly’s desktop editor is not bad at all and can help you find a lot of corrections.
But I believe the Prowritingaid desktop editor offers many more useful tools and checks for an author or a writer of other long-form texts.
As always, though, it depends on your needs.
Grammarly and Prowritingaid desktop editor comparison
There are a lot of factors to consider before you decide on a premium writing tool.
Very few writers want to pay more than one subscription, so you need to choose carefully.
If you only need some occasional help in correcting very short texts, or quick online writing, a free tool can often do the job for you.
But when writing is what you do, you want the best editing tool for the job.
Let’s take a look at some of the factors you might want to consider.
Maximum file size and word count
The Grammarly desktop editor has a character count and file size limitation.
Here is the support note regarding limitations.
You can upload a document of up to 100,000 characters (including spaces) to the Grammarly Editor.
Your document’s file size shouldn’t exceed 4 MB
The Prowritingaid desktop editor has no word count limit.
Premium will give you access to all the ProWritingAid reports.
An unlimited editing word count and access to our Desktop App, Web Editor, Office Add-in for Windows, and all of our integrations.
It’s a pretty clear win here for Prowritingaid.
Speed and responsiveness
Any online editor will slow down and become less responsive as the document length or file size increases.
Even if there is no limit, trying to load and work on a 120,000 manuscript will become sluggish and frustrating.
I tested both editors with a 7,500-word text.
For Grammarly, it was a bit too much, and the editor became slow and occasionally unresponsive.
Prowritingaid handled the text with ease without any hesitations at all.
When I pushed it a bit harder, it was still zippy and responsive with a 10,000-word and then a 20,000-word text.
Most authors edit a book one chapter at a time, so it handles the task with ease.
User interface comparison
The Prowritingaid editor works with two panes.
You can scroll the left-hand pane independently from the main text pane.
It helps when you want to select and work on a specific language point.
For example, you could click on Grammar/Spelling/Style or Sentence Variety.
You can’t see all the options that are available in the left pane in the image below.
But depending on your settings, there could be up to twenty options available as you scroll down.
Another way to analyze your text is to use the top menu. You might check for overused words or phrases or concentrate on grammar.
The big plus is that it makes it so easy for you to work through issues one at a time.
For me, the one part of the interface that I love is the green and orange real-time sliding progress scales in the left pane.
For more details, you can read my full Prowritingaid review.
The Grammarly editor is a little more basic.
There are three panes, but they don’t scroll independently.
However, if you want to work on one element at a time, the right-hand menu has a few options.
By clicking on Correctness, Clarity, or Engagement, the list of suggestions will change to that selection.
For some, the simplicity of the Grammarly editor might be an advantage.
But for me, I prefer to have more choice in how and what I work on when I’m editing.
However, both editors offer one-click corrections and a lot of helpful hints on specific language points.
It’s always difficult to compare how well a writing editor performs for accuracy.
I have never used one that was 100% accurate. Every tool misses a few typos, errors, or punctuation mistakes.
But I have to say that both of these premium apps are better than most.
Sure, you are not going to get 100%. But both will catch most errors.
The one thing it proves is that regardless of what automated checking you use, nothing will replace human proofreading.
File import and compatibility
The Grammarly Editor supports these file types: Microsoft Word (.doc, .docx), OpenOffice (.odt), .txt and .rtf.
Prowritingaid supports Word (docx), Rich Text (.rtf), Open Document (.odt), and Final Draft (.fdx) files. It is also compatible with Scrivener.
Even though this review is about desktop editors, it is worth looking at how each app works for online editing.
Both use browser extensions to enable online editing.
Here’s a quick look at how they work with a WordPress blog editor or any blogging platform editor.
First, here is Grammarly in action. You can see the red icon at the bottom of the screen, as well as an underlined error.
You can click on the underlined error to correct it or on the red icon to bring up all suggested corrections in the right-hand pane.
Prowritingaid is similar.
Again, you can click on an underlined error to correct it with one click.
But when you click on the green icon, you open more options.
The options are similar to the desktop editor menu. You can click on a menu option to check your text for specific language points.
Price and value
When push comes to shove, price is always a deciding factor for any purchase you make.
If you are looking for the best value desktop editor, well, it’s a clear choice.
It’s not too difficult to do the arithmetic.
For an annual subscription, Prowritingaid will cost you $79.00 compared to Grammarly at $144.00.
Sure, price is not everything. But when the gap is nearly 50%, you have to pause for consideration.
In summary, I have to be balanced and fair because I use both of these excellent premium editors.
I doubt many writers would be like me and use two premium apps.
But because I write and edit a lot, I like to have the best of both worlds.
For me, Grammarly is a little better for online writing. With the browser extension and a premium subscription, you have all bases covered.
It works with any paid or free blogging platform editor, and for texts up to 2,000 words or so, it’s fast, efficient, and quite accurate.
But Prowritingaid isn’t far behind with its online performance. It’s efficient and useful.
But when it comes to long documents like manuscripts for novels and nonfiction books, the Prowritingaid desktop editor is miles ahead of Grammarly in both performance and value.
You won’t go wrong with either choice.
But if you balance what you get for the price, Prowritingaid is almost half the price of Grammarly for an annual subscription.
You will get the best desktop editor plus a useful and efficient online editor.
Related reading: Can Grammarly Replace An Editor Or Proofreader?