WriteRoom 4 Development Starts Today! Put in your requests!

I’m starting WriteRoom 4 development today.

I’ve got some pretty concrete ideas on what I want. Been “thinking” about starting it for a few years at this point. But before I get to deep into my own ideas I would love to hear what you think. What would you like to see in the next WriteRoom? What would you like NOT to see?

Brainstorm away. Nothing’s too small or big. I’m just looking for ideas at this point. Then will consider how they fit in with my own ideas and how to put it all together into a final app.

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Congratulations, and best of luck.

Personally! What I would like to see:

  1. Publishing system to major platforms (Medium, Tumblr, Wordpress,…)
  2. Versioning
  3. Publish Markdown to any platform
  4. A service to capture input from any software to write in Writeroom, for example compose email in Writeroom.
  5. Media embedding
  6. Collaboration
  7. Cloud sync
  8. Integration with Evernote
  9. Grouping to build stacks of documents.
  10. Export to all major formats (pages, docx, PDF, ePub, Mobi)

Those are some ideas I have on mind…

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Excellent! I’ve been waiting for this! Now, Jesse, I know I might be a bit of a corner case here, but as a prefessional novelist and fan of Writeroom since 1.0, here’s my dream set of features:

  • Document navigation – A way for me to easily move between headers, see a document structure, or otherwise deal with documents that are usual around 130,000 words (roughly 500 pages). Whether that is a TOC feature like Fletcher’s Multimarkdown Composer, or breaking chapters down into seperate files to be compiled later on export like Ulysses and Scrivner, or folding headers like Folding Text, or something else entirely, I need some a way to manage the size.
  • Export control in RTF, Doc, or DocX – For better or worse, editors only take MS formats and we may never see a day when they will accept anything else. And yet, formatting a 500 page manuscript in Word for Mac is fairly torturous with lots of hanging and crashes. So ideally, I would like to spend as little time as possible in it. The more I can set ahead of time before export, the better. It doesn’t have to be super granular. Editors aren’t all that picky about such things. Mostly centering and spacing headers, and the ability to add page breaks on export, either setting them to insert at Header 1, or doing it manually with markup.
  • Word count - Ideally, I’d like some markup to exclude certain text from the wordcount. Word count goals would be neat as well. Like a percentage of completion thing.
  • Some markup for adding annotation or comments - Maybe an implementation of Fletcher’s track changes markup?
  • Typwriter scrolling of course
  • I don’t need a lot of theme options, just a dark and light theme depending on where I am and what time it is.
  • If you plan to implement the libary view, some way to manage multiple large projects, like folders and subdfolders or tags. Something like what Bear does too would work for me.
  • Some cross functionality with Taskpaper. In an ideal world, I would like to manage granular taskpaper lists on large projects within Writeroom itself.
  • An automated time log on how much time was spent writing, or a way to mark time spent in writing sessions. I feel like WR had something like that at one point, didn’t it?
  • An iOS app :slight_smile:

Feel free to email me if you want to dig deeper on any of these.

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Document/library navigation. Typewriter scrolling. Focus mode: paragraph or sentence highlighting. Wiki-style links between documents (nvAlt/marked). Some kind of option (even hidden) for a template or yaml header. Not much else.


Hi Jesse,

A good number of these requests appear to mirror things Taskpaper/FoldingText can do, or requests that crop up in the development of those two apps. Alongside that, the other apps can do much of what WriteRoom does.

As someone who sort of ‘graduated’ from WriteRoom to those apps, can I ask what the distinctives behind a new version of WriteRoom will be, versus the other two apps? But of course … perhaps you’re planning to tell us only once you’ve heard from a few more of us!



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@jtth’s list is pretty good.

I use Sublime Text to write (though occasionally I switch to Ulysses, when I want to change it up a bit). Writing in Sublime is pretty hard-wired for me at this point and I’m unlikely to switch to other apps. But I’ve been finding Taskpaper to be a darn good plain text outliner. The hoist/focus feature is the clincher. I would like to use Taskpaper more, especially for outlines, GTD project support material, notes and general brainstorming. There are already apps that do plain text writing fairly well. As @mjknght seems to suggest, maybe making Taskpaper a more capable editor is the more interesting approach.

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  • Publishing to WordPress.
  • A sidebar to select the active document from a list of favorites.
  • Keep WriteRoom’s launch time lightning quick.

Well, I was never really a user of Writeroom, but one thing I wouldn’t mind seeing is better support for outlining. Currently, TaskPaper is more for tasks and Folding Text for well, just about anything under the sun related to plain text :slight_smile:

I wouldn’t mind seeing Writeroom become a great outliner and hopefully see it come to iOS too. We need a great plain text outliner that also works well on iOS.

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I thought this was already in beta, because I have a writeroom 4 beta on my Mac. The icon is black and green.

It’s true I started that version of WriteRoom 4 a number of years ago, but have since abandoned that approach. The next WriteRoom 4 will be a new start.

The three things I would want to se are:

  • Export to rtf, doc, pdf, HTML, and epub
  • Publishing to various web services
  • Tools to effectively manage large documents, either through the library view you’re already working on or an ability to quickly navigate to a particular header.

I would also suggest not getting too carried away with features, that’s what FoldingText is for. WriteRoom should stay simple.

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Just really really wish you’d go back to something like 2.5. It gave me a lovely, simple, page-like interface that I have not been able to duplicate with 3.0, which I find cumbersome and unpleasant to use.

Hey Jesse,

i personally don´t need another “minimal writing” environment (there are tons of apps that do that, and some very good).

FoldingText is fanstasic as a scriptable/minimal editor, i would hope you focus on it and Taskpaper.

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I’ve just posted a follow up that answers some of the “Why” questions:

What would be interesting for me :

  • left panel with working folder for project (one project many files of many types .png, .pdf)
  • second left panel with current doc header outlining
  • githhub multimarkdown support if not already
  • math blocks support
  • figure support
  • easy table creation (with rules attribute modification)
  • easy legend creation (figure, table) and intext citation (cf. fig. 1)
  • easy bibliographic data citation (ex. papers)

I love LaTex, and markdown is great but too simple for scientific purpose. I would love to use this kind of soft like a LabNoteBook

I ve started tu use folding text this way (and scheduler was great for experience planification) but lack of citation, table, figure was critical

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There are so many minimal editors, and most seem to embrace markdown. I personally liked the approach that Ulysses 2 (now called Ulysses Legacy, I think) had before the company switched it to a markdown-centric program. Users could define their own markup and customize export options. With updates to OS X, now MacOS, that program became pretty unstable, and I think there’s a gap for a text editor that does what the old Ulysses used to do. I would like WriteRoom 4–or some other product–to resurrect and include the features that made the old Ulysses great. (Update – found that there was a compatibility update for Ulysses Legacy & Sierra, but I still like the idea of this feature in future versions of WriteRoom…)

Hey, Jesse –

Steve here; fellow Cocoa developer from North America – happy to find this news just now. I was on board with your pining for WriteRoom’s minimal customizable text editor back in the day. I bought a couple of versions, and from what I can tell, you helped set what is now a trend of similar apps. Congratulations if so. ^ _ ^

My main use case for WriteRoom (many times a day) has been a quick alternative to TextEdit for typing random stuff in window that I’ve previously tweaked to perfection, rather than a brash white one. I use it less lately because performance seems to falter under load, and I was about to finally say goodbye before learning you had set out to resurrect it. I also played with the theme-making a lot, but found the image rendering behaviour hard to predict when resizing; so I decided to settle for solid colours and have been content ever since.

Speaking for myself, if WriteRoom had overcome those little things, then my conception of it would have been “a better TextEdit,” and I’d probably keep using it for years. It wouldn’t have to do much for me to continue loving it in the aforementioned way, but it would have to be as quick and reliable as TextEdit is.

On the contrary “what would you not like to see” – I see people asking for Markdown, cloud sync, et cetera… which reminds me of other apps including the near-essential Ulysses, championing a lot of that stuff. Speaking again for myself: if WriteRoom tried to be Ulysses and fell short, then I’d just continue using Ulysses – the only reason I can think to aim for that would be to actually exceed it (a real challenge) or to be a lower-cost competitor.

My general complaint about the current trend of minimal editors is that they’re good, but… sort of quirky – it’s reminded me that I’ll take meticulous polish over bells and whistles when I’m really picking software companions. (It’s certainly inspired my own devopment philosophy too.)

Anyway. Best wishes with the project. ^ _ ^


  1. A theme which allows more text to fit on my large, 4K screen when I want to review long documents
  2. Don’t crash (WriteRoom crashes on startup about 50% of the time for me)

Nice to have:

  1. I often write blog posts on WriteRoom (as plain text), and I have to manually add links after pasting into WordPress/Blogger. Would like an easier way to add links within WriteRoom.
  2. Faster/better handling of very large files
  3. Any kind of Evernote integration

TP3-style text filtering by tag and search - everything else is secondary.

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Be great to have a publish to micro.blog setting in WR 4.