Ghostwriter: An Excellent Open-Source Writing App

We have covered several open-source tools for writers with some distraction-free editors.

One of them is Ghostwriter. It is available for Linux and Windows with an unofficial build for macOS.

I will not blame you for accidentally reading it as “Ghost Rider” if you are a fan of it.

Keeping that aside, it looks like Ghostwriter is now under KDE’s umbrella, with Carl Schwan (KDE Developer) as a sponsor. So, you can expect the writing app only to get better.

Hence, I think it is a good idea to spotlight KDE’s newest addition to its Incubator, i.e., Ghostwriter as one of our weekly app highlights.

Ghostwriter Excels At Distraction-Free Writing

ghostwriter white

A distraction-free writer is always welcome to write an article like this, make a technical document, or do other creative writing tasks.

Also, we need a reliable app that saves things in a jiffy.

Ghostwriter seems to be an excellent option with all the essentials. Let me highlight some of its key features.

Features of Ghostwriter

ghostwriter black

As a distraction-free writing app, some users prefer a minimal set of features. But, Ghostwriter does not compromise on the toolset that you get with it to enhance your writing experience.

The main highlights include:

  • Focus mode to highlight specific regions you write/edit
  • A full-screen mode
  • Clean user interface
  • Markdown support for easy formatting
  • Built-in dark and light themes (toggle)
  • Ability to customize the theme/create your version
  • Live preview your Markdown document in HTML
  • Sidebar with outline navigation
  • Session and Document statistics (characters, words, paragraphs, average wpm, reading time, etc.)
  • Ability to export to Pandoc, MultiMarkdown, commonmark
  • A Hemingway mode to disable editing while writing (to help you focus on completing the brought draft faster)
  • Drag and drop image support
  • Autosave
  • Cheatsheet to refer Markdown system without looking elsewhere

Experiencing Ghostwriter

ghostwriter screenshot f37

I tried using Ghostwriter on Fedora 37, and it worked as one would expect.

It presents a minimal user interface, which is easy to use, pleasing to look at, and not too fancy.

ghostwriter toggle

The availability of essential options as toggle buttons is much appreciated (left-to-right):

  • Dark/Light mode toggle
  • Live HTML preview
  • Hemingway mode
  • Focus mode
  • Full-screen mode

In addition to the toggles, the document and session stats also come in handy to keep track of time spent, words written, and other valuable data.

ghostwriter stats

Another user interface element that I found helpful is the bottom status bar that you can customize.

ghostwriter bottom

What do you need to focus on when writing?

The editor lets you choose that to see as a priority stat. Whether you want to focus on the number fo words, speed, paragraphs, or time, you can set the bottom bar to change.

To enhance the experience, you can customize the theme to your liking, where you get to change the font, color of the title/text, and other elements of the user interface.

ghostwriter theme edit

While you already know that it supports Markdown, it will not stop you from working on it.

Even if it is your first time using Markdown, it includes a cheat sheet in the sidebar for quick access. Of course, if you need a dedicated editor for it, you can try exploring some of the best Markdown editors available.

Use the cheat sheet to add code blocks, links, text formatting, headings, and more.

ghostwriter markdown cheatsheet

Overall, if you closely take a glance at the screenshots, all the essential functionalities is accessible in a single click.

Unless you need to tweak the theme, change the file saving folder preference, and a few more available options, you do not need to leave the editor.

As a bonus, it includes useful export options for users who need it:

ghostwriter export

You can explore rest of the tiny bits and decide if it suits your requirements.

Installing Ghostwriter on Linux

You can install Ghostwriter via a PPA for Ubuntu-based distros, and it is also available for Fedora through a separate repository.

To install Ghostwriter on Ubuntu-based distros, type in the following command:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:wereturtle/ppa
sudo apt update
sudo apt install ghostwriter

If you are using Fedora, type in the following:

sudo dnf copr enable wereturtle/stable
sudo dnf install ghostwriter

You will also find a Flatpak package listed on Flathub. However, it does not seem to be a recommended option as per its official download page. You can give it a try, though.

Explore more about it on its GitLab page or the official website.

Not Too Fany, But Very Useful!

I think the user interface, the user experience, and the feature set are perfectly balanced for all kinds of use cases.

Of course, some do not need Markdown support, and some need more features to write/create chapters for their books. So, Ghostwriter may not be for everyone.

That said, the features you get with it make it well worth a try, regardless of your use case.

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    Similar features set to Ghostwriter, open source, too and you can save your notebooks encrypted in your cloud storage of choice.