Getting Started

You can download novelWriter from

Latest version is 0.10.2.

Installing Dependencies

If you already have Python installed, all you need to do is install the dependencies. To do this, your need to open your command line tool, find the folder where you extracted novelWriter, and run:

python -m pip install -r requirements.txt

On some operating systems you need to use python3 instead of python.

The following Python packages are required to run novelWriter:

  • pyqt5 for the GUI
  • lxml for writing project files


Sometimes the SVG graphics package for pyqt5 must be installed separately.

The following are optional, but recommended:

  • pyenchant for spell checking

PyQt/Qt should be at least 5.2.1, but ideally 5.10 or higher for nearly all features to work. Exporting to standard Markdown requires PyQt/Qt 5.14. There are no known minimum for package lxml, but the code was originally written with 4.2. The optional spell check library must be at least 3.0.0 to work with Windows. On Linux, 2.0.0 also works fine.

Running novelWriter

If all the required dependencies are met, you can run novelWriter from the command line in one of the following ways:


A few switches are supported from the command line, mostly to assist in debugging if an error is encountered. To list all options, run:

python --help

There are also a couple of install scripts in the assets folder which will assist in setting up launch icon and the novelWriter project file mimetype for Gnome desktops on Linux. Currently, there’s one script for Debian and one for Ubuntu.

Building a Standalone Executable

A standalone executable can be built with pyinstaller, using the provided python script “” in the source folder. This script will automatically try to install all dependencies and build the standalone executable of novelWriter. You can run the script by typing the following into your command prompt:


If successful, the executable will be in the “dist” folder.

Additional Instructions for Windows

If you don’t have Python installed, you can download it from the website. The installers for Windows are available at

novelWriter should work with Python 3.5 or higher, and the executable installer is the easiest to install. Please note that the pyenchant package for spell checking does not currently work with the x86-64 version, so if you want spell checking, you must install the x86 version.

Also, make sure you select the “Add Python to PATH” option.


Once Python is set up and running, you can either run novelWriter from the folder where you extracted it, or you can build an executable and run that from a desktop icon instead.