Words on a Page Writings about writing

5 useful online tools for writers

Some tools on a dusty workbench

Here are five excellent online tools that I think just about every writer, no matter what kind of writing you do, will find useful.

PuppyPaste — Have you ever copied, say, some text from a word processor or a web page or an email into your blog’s editor? And did you notice how different the formatting of what you pasted looks compared to the rest of the text? It’s annoying, and takes a bit of manual work to get around. But PuppyPaste helps you get around that. You just run the text you want to paste into your blog post through PuppyPaste and you get nice, clean Markdown or HTML. You can then change to the code view in your blog editor and paste in nice, clean, well-formatted text.

Word Counter — If you’re writing in a text editor, or even online, you might not always get an accurate word count from your application. Or even get one at all. That’s where Word Counter comes in. It’s easily the most accurate tool of its type that I’ve used, and it goes beyond counting words and characters. Word Counter can also estimate the time it would take to read or speak your document, its reading level, and even track is keyword density.

Zamzar — You never know when you’ll need to convert a file to another format. That could be an image, a document, or even an ebook that you want to sell on Amazon. Instead of installing a dozen different applications on your computer, turn to Zamzar. It converts between hundreds of file formats, is fast, and is free. If you do a lot of conversions or if you want to store your converted files online, you can sign up for an account starting from $9 a month.

Cliché Finder — Who doesn’t want to rid their writing of clichés? The problem is that many of us don’t realize we’re using a cliché until we’re told we are. Paste some text into Cliché Finder and it highlights anything untoward that it finds. Using Cliché Finder can be a sobering experience, but it will help improve your writing.

Unmark — If you’re looking for a slightly different way to save and manage bookmarks, then give Unmark a look. It’s a very visually-pleasing bookmark manager, with useful features like previewing a bookmark, and adding notes and tags to your bookmarks. You can get a paid version, which costs $12 a year, that lets you import and export your bookmarks as well as search them.

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