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 straightfoeward.

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. You can still create it 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.

Running from Source

To run novelWriter from source, download the latest source zip file from the release page on GitHub or the main website. The file named, where x.y.z is the version number, is ideal for this. You can also download the full source.

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). or you can do it yourself manually if you wish to.

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 the novelWriter source, and double-click the file named setup_windows or setup_windows.bat. This should open a command line window and run the setup script to install dependencies, and add desktop and start menu icons. It will also check that it can find Python from Step 1.


If you upgrade Python to a newer version and the path to pythonw.exe changes, you may need to run this script again.

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:

python pip
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.