Setup on Windows

This is a brief guide to how you can get novelWriter running on a Windows computer.

Unlike other operating systems, Windows does not come prepared with an environment to run Python applications, so you must first install Python. After that, running novelWriter is straightforward.

Install novelWriter

The recommended way to run novelWriter on Windows is to download the “Minimal Package” option from the main website, or from the GitHub releases page (it’s the same download file).

This is a zip file containing only the files you need to run novelWriter on Windows. In order to make it run on your system, you must first have Python installed (Step 1). Thereafter, a script will do the rest of the job (Step 2).

Step 1: Installing Python

If you already have Python installed, you can skip this step. If you don’t have it installed, you can download it from the website. novelWriter should work with Python 3.6 or higher, but it is recommended that you install the latest version of Python.

Make sure you select the “Add Python to PATH” option during installation, otherwise the python command will not work in the command line window.


Step 2: Installing novelWriter

Extract the novelWriter zip file, and move the extracted folder to a suitable location. You should probably not keep it on your desktop or in your downloads folder where it may be accidentally deleted. Instead, move and rename it to for instance C:\novelWriter.

After you’ve got the folder where you want it, open it and double-click the file named windows_install.bat. This will open a command line window and run the setup script to install dependencies, and add desktop and start menu icons.

Update novelWriter

To update novelWriter, simply replace the folder containing the old version with the extracted folder of the new version you’ve downloaded. After this, you may need to run the windows_install.bat script again to update icons.


As long as your system has all the dependencies installed, you can also run novelWriter directly from the extracted folder by double-clicking the novelWriter.pyw file.

Uninstall novelWriter

If you installed novelWriter with the method described above, you can uninstall it again by double-clicking the file named windows_uninstall.bat. This should open a command line window and run the setup script to remove the main dependency packages and remove desktop and start menu icons.

After that, you can simply delete the novelWriter folder.

If you want to remove Python, it has its own uninstall tool. Just keep in mind that the Python package manager may leave some files on your system.

Manual Approach

If you want more control of what’s happening during the install process, or want to do the steps yourself, you can run the install steps below from a command line window from inside the folder containing either the minimal package, or the extracted full source package.

pip install --user -r requirements.txt
pip install --user pywin32
python win-install

The first command will install the three main dependencies of novelWriter using the Python Package Index install tool. The packages are PyQt5 for the GUI, lxml for handling XML data files, and PyEnchant for spell checking.

The second command installs a Python tool for Windows that assists the setup script in installing icons and setting a few registry keys.

The third command runs the setup script that creates the icons for your desktop and start menu, and adds the necessary registry keys so you can also launch a project by double-clicking a novelWriter project file from your file explorer.

The above steps can be reverted by running:

python win-uninstall
pip uninstall pywin32
pip uninstall -r requirements.txt

Windows Installer

There used to be a Windows installer, but this is no longer provided. See the installer issue for more info on why. You can still create the installer yourself if you want to. It can be generated with the provided script. use the script’s help command to get further instructions.