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.


If you have any problems, you can always open a question on the project’s discussions page. This requires a GitHub account.

Using the Installer

The installer for Windows 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.

Please use the “Running from Source” option below instead. It has been improved and a script has been added that does nearly the same thing.

Running from Source

To run novelWriter from source, download the latest source zip file from the release page on GitHub, or from the main website. You can download the “Minimal Windows” zip file. It is a minimal version of the source that contains only the files needed for running on Windows. You can also download the full source if you wish.

In order to make novelWriter run on your system, you must first have Python installed (Step 1). Thereafter, a script will do the rest of the job (Step 2). Alternatively, you can run this step manually from the command prompt if you wish to.


If your system already has all the dependencies installed, you can run novelWriter directly from the extracted folder by double-clicking the novelWriter.pyw file. However, running the script also adds start icons.

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: Dependencies and Icons

Alternative A: By Script

Open the folder where you extracted novelWriter, and double-click the file named windows_install.bat. This should open a command line window and run the setup script to install dependencies, and add desktop and start menu icons.


If you downloaded the full source package, the file may be in the setup subfolder.

The script will also check that it can find Python on your system and alert you if it cannot run it. If you are sure you have installed it, but the script cannot find it, you probably didn’t install it with the “Add Python to PATH” option mentioned in Step 1.


If you upgrade Python to a newer version and the path to pythonw.exe has therefore changed, you may need to run this script again. You can also run it to upgrade dependencies to the latest version.

Alternative B: Manual Installation

The above alternative can also be run manually.

Open the windows command prompt. It can be launched by pressing the Win key and typing “cmd”. The “Command Prompt” app should then be in the list of applications.

With the command prompt open, navigate to the folder where you extracted the novelWriter source, and run the following commands:

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

The first command will install the dependencies on your system from the Python Package Index, and the second command will create a desktop icon and a start menu icon. That should be all that you need.


Alternative A: By Script

Open the folder where you keep the novelWriter files, and double-click 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.


If you downloaded the full source package, the file may be in the setup subfolder.

If you plan to also remove Python from your system, you must run the above script first as it needs Python in order to run.


Due to limitations of the pip installer, dependencies of the dependencies will not be removed, only the ones the setup script directly installed.

Alternative B: Manual Uninstallation

Like for the install process, the script just runs two commands. You can of course run them yourself if you wish. They are:

python win-uninstall
pip uninstall -r requirements.txt

There may be other packages on your system installed by pip. To list all packages, run:

pip freeze --user