Ghostwriter is a Spookily Good Distraction Free Writing App for Linux

If you’re looking for a smart, distraction free text editor for Windows, macOS, or Linux, check in with Ghostwriter.

Ghostwriter is now part of the KDE app family proper, and for good reason: it’s a supremely competent, straightforward word processor with markdown support, including a toggle-able rich preview so that you can see your formatting in-situ, as you type.

This app also auto-saves work as you type (so you can work with some ease of mind) and it has several advanced ‘distraction free’ features that help you tune out on what you’re doing. Oh — can I get a woo, please — have I mentioned that it’s open source too?

Ghostwriter is a Spookily Good Distraction Free Writing App
for Linux
Ghostwriter can show as much or as little as you need

I’m going to skip protracted prose about why distraction free text editors can be very useful. Chances are you know why having “less” GUI in your face can be beneficial to your productivity.

But not all distraction free text editors are the identical. They can vary in feature set (which may seem a bit strange given their raison d’etre is not having many features! For me, I need stats about my writing (e.g., word count, character count, paragraphs, etc); I don’t consider those a distraction I need freeing from, so I’m glad they’re present in Ghostwriter.

screenshot of Ghostwriter text editor on KDE Neon
Markdown preview in resizable sidebar

Full-screen mode is another thing I dig, and “focus mode”, which is where the sentence you’re currently writing is more prominent than the text you’ve already written. Ghostwriter has both of those, plus a “Hemingway mode” that disables the backspace key, i.e. prevents you from making edits — personally, I make too many typos to find that mode a boon, but you may prefer to write now, and edit later.

If you prefer Qt apps, and you’re looking for a capable writing tool that will help you focus on writing rather than editing and formatting, Ghostwriter is well worth trying out.

Ghostwriter features at-a-glance:

  • Distraction-free writing experience
  • Fullscreen mode
  • Light and dark themes (plus theme customiser)
  • Autosave
  • Markdown support, preview, and cheat-sheet (press F1).
  • Focus Mode
  • Word count, statistics, and session info
  • Export to Multiple Formats
  • Hemingway mode
  • Drag and drop JPG images into body
  • Supports MathJax

Are there areas it could improve? I’d like to see more bundled themes, for one. The two that come by default are fine, but creating custom colour schemes is very involved. If the app could download or import colour schemes that’d save time.

I’d also love to see the app support more image formats (the app would only render JPGs when I tried); and spellchecking didn’t work on my KDE Neon install (out-of-the-box; it could be an issue with my system rather than the app).

Ghostwriter is free, open source software. You can get the source code on GitHub, or download the release from the project website. If you’re on an Ubuntu-based Linux distro (like KDE Neon) you can use an official PPA to install the latest version of the app.

Run:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:wereturtle/ppa

Followed by:

sudo apt update && sudo apt install ghostwriter

Then launch the app from your application menu.

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