novelWriter is a simple, multi-document plain text editor using a modified markdown syntax to apply simple formatting. Additional features that are not standard markdown are available through special meta data keywords. These keywords make it possible to inter-link documents, and generate an overview of the entire novel project and how the various files are interconnected.

Design Philosophy

The user interface is intended to be as minimalistic as practically possible, while at the same time provide a complete set of features needed for writing a novel.


novelWriter is not intended to be a full office type word processor. It doesn’t support images, links, tables, and its formatting is limited to headers, and bold, italicised and underlined text.

Most features are accessible through the menu and through keyboard shortcuts. The colour scheme of the user interface can be modified with various themes, and new themes are fairly straight forward to add.

The project itself is laid out in a tree view on the left hand side of the main window. It has various sections, called root folders, for the various types of supporting files that the user may want to add to the project. The novel itself lives under its own root folder.

Project Layout

The layout of the novel itself is managed through the four supported heading levels, H1 through H4. H1 is used for the book title, and for partitions. H2 is used for chapter tiles. H3 is reserved for scene titles. H4 is for section titles within scenes, if such granularity is necessary.

For the files designated as project notes, the usage of headers imply no structural meaning, and the user is free to do whatever they want.

Project Export

The project can at any time be exported to a range of different formats. Natively, novelWriter supports export to plain text file, HTML document, novelWriter flavoured markdown, standard markdown (requires Qt 5.14), and to a basic Open Document. In addition, printing and printing to PDF is also possible. The best supported export format is HTML, which can be imported or converted by a number of other tools like Pandoc, or simply imported into Libre Office and similar.


novelWriter with default system theme:


novelWriter with dark theme: