Skip to content

The 5 Best Proofreading Software: For Fiction and Nonfiction

Best Proofreading Software Featured Image

Proofreading is an essential part of the writing process. As a writer, I know how easy it is to miss small mistakes in my own work. That’s why I rely on proofreading software to catch errors I may overlook. In this article, I’ll share my personal experiences using the top proofreading tools on the market.

You’ll learn which features I found most useful for my work, along with the pros and cons of each program. My goal is to provide an inside look at these tools so you can decide which one best fits your needs as a writer. Whether you’re writing short social media posts or lengthy manuscripts, proofreading software can help take your writing to the next level.

In this article, you will learn:

  • The benefits of using proofreading software
  • A detailed review of the top 5 proofreading tools
  • Key features and use cases for each program
  • My personal pros and cons list for the software based on real-world experience
  • Recommendations on choosing the right proofreading tool for your needs

Why Do You Need a Proofreading Software?

As a writer, having a strong grasp of spelling, grammar, and punctuation is essential. But it can be challenging to catch every typo, misspelling, and grammatical error – especially in longer pieces of writing. That’s where proofreading software comes in. These tools act as an extra set of eyes, scanning your work for mistakes you may have overlooked.

Here are some of the key benefits proofreading software provides:

  • Catches difficult-to-see errors like homonyms and commonly confused words. For instance, it can identify when you’ve used “they’re” instead of “their.”
  • Identifies improper punctuation, including misplaced commas, periods, apostrophes and more. Proper punctuation is crucial for readability and comprehension.
  • Flags passive voice and suggests edits for clearer, more direct sentences. This strengthens the clarity of your writing.
  • Provides feedback on readability scores to help improve sentence structure and vocabulary.
  • Catches contextual spelling errors spell check would miss. For example, it notices if you’ve used “peak” instead of “peek.”
  • Helps maintain consistency in areas like spelling variations, capitalization, abbreviations and more.
  • Saves time spent manually proofreading and allows you to work more efficiently. For long manuscripts, it can cut proofing time significantly.

As you can see, proofreading software goes far beyond basic spell check. For any writer serious about producing clean, professional work, it’s an invaluable tool. Next, I’ll share my hands-on experiences with some of the top options.

The Best Proofreading Tools (In Order)

Over the years, I’ve tested out numerous proofreading programs to find the ones that best meet my needs as a writer. Here are my top picks, along with detailed reviews of their key features and capabilities.

#1: ProWritingAid

ProWritingAid is my overall top choice for proofreading software. I use it extensively for editing blog posts, articles, books and other long-form content.

Key features:

  • Contextual spell checker – Goes beyond basic spell check to identify tricky homonyms and context-based errors.
  • Grammar checker – Checks for proper use of punctuation, passive voice, poor readability and more.
  • Style editor – Scans for repetitive words, vague language, cliches and overly complex sentences.
  • Pacing analyzer – Provides graph showing sentence length variety to ensure proper pacing.
  • Multilingual – Available in different forms of English like US, UK, Canadian and Australian.
  • Plagiarism checker – Checks for unoriginal or copied content (included in premium plus version).
  • Compatibility – Works with Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Google Docs, Scrivener and Microsoft Office.
  • Desktop apps – Allows working offline with dedicated Mac and Windows apps.
  • Free and premium versions – Offers limited free features and paid premium options.

Here’s an overview of what I like about ProWritingAid as a proofreading tool:


  • Provides more in-depth writing analyses than any other proofreader I’ve used
  • Encourages strong sentence structure variety to keep writing engaging
  • Highlights overused words and phrases to refine vocabulary
  • Offers helpful visual graphs showing sentence lengths and vocabulary use
  • Easy to use extensions for major browsers like Chrome and Firefox
  • Works with Scrivener and Microsoft Office for convenience
  • Available as a one-time purchase, which saves money long-term over monthly plans


  • More expensive for premium and premium plus versions
  • Can feel overwhelming as a new user with so many features
  • No mobile app, so can’t use on the go

Overall, ProWritingAid is the most powerful proofreading tool I’ve used. The detailed writing reports have helped me strengthen my work tremendously. For writers working on books, lengthy articles or other long-form content, it’s an invaluable tool. While the premium versions are more costly, the value you get is well worth it in my opinion.

#2: Autocrit

Autocrit is another top choice if you write fiction. This software is uniquely designed to analyze creative writing pieces using AI.

Key features:

  • AI analysis – Compares your story against a database of fiction books to provide targeted feedback.
  • Pacing – Checks pacing and momentum of plot events.
  • Dialogue – Assesses believability and impact of character conversations.
  • Writing strength – Evaluates quality of descriptive writing.
  • Word choice – Highlights weak word choices and suggests alternatives.
  • Repetition – Identifies overused words, phrases and ideas.
  • Readability scoring – Provides grade level and other readability metrics.
  • Idea inspiration – Offers writing prompts to spark new story ideas.
  • Community – Provides access to forums and courses for fiction writers.

Here are some of the advantages I’ve experienced using Autocrit:


  • Specialized editing for creative fiction writing
  • Helpful for improving story pacing and dialogue
  • Generates new story prompts and ideas
  • Useful online community for fiction writers
  • Reasonably priced for the value provided
  • 14-day free trial to test it out


  • Not as strong for grammar and spelling errors
  • Requires uploading texts; no browser add-on

For fiction writers, Autocrit provides invaluable feedback you can’t get from other proofreading tools. The AI comparisons against successful books are really useful for strengthening weak spots in your writing. If you write novels, short stories or other creative fiction, it’s definitely worth looking into.

#3: Grammarly

With millions of users worldwide, Grammarly is one of the most popular proofreading programs available. It works well for shorter pieces like emails, social media posts and casual writing.

Key features:

  • Contextual spell checker – Checks for tricky spelling errors based on context.
  • Grammar checker – Scans for grammatical mistakes and improper punctuation.
  • Tone detector – Identifies tone of writing as friendly, formal, confident, etc.
  • Readability scores – Provides metrics to enhance sentence clarity and ease of reading.
  • Style adjustments – Allows adapting tone for different audiences and purposes.
  • Plagiarism detector – Checks for unoriginal writing (premium only).
  • Browser add-ons – Works with Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Edge.
  • Google Docs integration – Makes edits directly in Google Docs.
  • Mobile apps – iOS and Android apps allow checking on the go.
  • Free and premium versions – Offers basic features free and advanced paid options.

Here are some of the key pros and cons I’ve noticed using Grammarly:


  • Works very quickly and is easy to use
  • Provides useful tone and clarity feedback
  • Helpful browser extensions for Google Chrome and others
  • Mobile apps allow checking writing on the go
  • Robust free version with plenty of useful features
  • Works great for shorter pieces like social media posts


  • Analysis not as detailed as ProWritingAid for long-form writing
  • Gets a bit pricey at $30/month for premium
  • Some features like plagiarism checker only in premium
  • Can be too prescriptive at times and offer clumsy suggestions

For everyday writing needs, Grammarly is a great choice that’s easy to use. It works best for shorter pieces, so isn’t ideal for extensive proofreading of manuscripts or books. But for blog posts, emails, social media and more, it’s a handy tool to have in your toolkit.

#4: Ginger Software

Ginger Software is another capable proofreading program I’ve used extensively. It offers some nice features, especially for non-native English speakers.

Key features:

  • Contextual spell checker – Checks for difficult spelling errors based on context.
  • Grammar checker – Identifies issues with grammar, punctuation and more.
  • Text reader – Reads text aloud in a natural voice (premium only).
  • Sentence rephraser – Suggests alternative ways to phrase sentences.
  • Translation tool – Translates writing to over 60 languages.
  • Browser add-ons – Works with Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Edge.
  • Mobile apps – iOS and Android apps allow checking on the go.
  • Free and premium versions – Offers limited free features and paid premium options.

Here’s an overview of what I like and don’t like about Ginger Software:


  • Handy text reader to hear your writing aloud
  • Useful translator to check text in many languages
  • Works quickly and is easy to use
  • Browser add-ons for Chrome, Firefox and others
  • Affordable premium version at $7.49/month


  • Analysis not as robust as Grammarly or ProWritingAid
  • Mobile app can be glitchy
  • Free version has limited features
  • Some translations not fully accurate

While not as full-featured as some competitors, Ginger Software succeeds in its core proofreading capabilities. The text reader is handy for auditory learners, and the translation tool is helpful for multilingual writers. For basic, budget-friendly proofing, it’s a solid choice.

#5: Hemingway Editor

Hemingway Editor takes a more focused approach than traditional proofreading tools. It analyzes writing style and structure rather than grammar and spelling.

Key features:

  • Readability scoring – Provides grade level and metrics to enhance readability.
  • Adverb highlighting – Identifies unnecessary adverbs to remove.
  • Passive voice tagging – Highlights passive voice to change sentences to active voice.
  • Difficult word check – Flags unnecessarily complex words to simplify.
  • Sentence length check – Encourages sentence length variety to improve flow.
  • Formatting suggestions – Recommends ways to strengthen formatting of long paragraphs.
  • Free online editor – Allows editing text right in the browser.
  • Desktop app – Separate paid desktop app for convenience.

Here are some of the key upsides and downsides of Hemingway Editor:


  • Provides helpful big-picture writing feedback
  • Encourages use of active voice and simpler words
  • Identifies areas where writing can be tightened
  • Free online editor is easy to use
  • Affordable one-time payment for desktop app


  • Does not check for spelling or grammar errors
  • Feedback is more vague and not actionable
  • Lacks browser extensions of other tools
  • Sometimes the rewrites sound awkward

I find Hemingway Editor useful as a supplementary tool when writing long-form pieces. It points out areas where my writing could be tightened or clarified. However, I still rely on tools like ProWritingAid or Grammarly for detailed grammar, spelling and punctuation checks. Used together, they provide comprehensive proofreading.

Other Options (but not recommended for most)

There are a few other proofreading tools on the market, but in my experience they don’t stack up against the top five reviewed above. Here are a few other options I’ve tested:

  • WhiteSmoke – Offers decent proofreading features but very expensive for what you get. Interface feels outdated as well.
  • PaperRater – Has limited capabilities focused mainly on checking student essays. Not robust enough for professional writers.
  • SlickWrite – Provides only basic statistics about writing but no grammar/spelling checks or suggestions.
  • LanguageTool – Supports many languages but has accuracy issues and very limited word count for free version.
  • PerfectIt – Focuses solely on checking formatting consistency; no grammar/spelling checks.
  • Wordtune – Uses AI to rewrite sentences but results are hit-or-miss.

For most writers, I don’t think these alternatives provide enough value compared to the top programs reviewed above. The free versions tend to be quite limited as well. However, they may suit more basic proofreading needs in a pinch.

Does a Proofreading Software Replace a Human Editor?

While proofreading software is invaluable for catching difficult-to-see errors, it still has some limitations. The technology for natural language processing is rapidly improving, but it cannot fully replicate the skills of an experienced human editor just yet.

Here are some key reasons proofreading tools can’t completely replace editing professionals:

  • Struggles with context – Software may not understand nuances like irony or idioms that are natural for humans.
  • Can miss intention – Programs may “correct” something that is intentionally written a certain way.
  • Limited style sense – Software won’t revise for stylistic concerns like overuse of passive voice.
  • No content feedback – Tools don’t provide input on structure, ideas and other developmental issues.
  • Not customizable – Software can’t adapt to different publisher style guides or genre conventions.

The bottom line is proofreading software is meant to complement editors, not replace them entirely. For the best results, use a tool like ProWritingAid or Grammarly during drafting. Then, partner with an editor for revisions and final touches before publication. Leveraging software plus human expertise will result in the cleanest, most polished end product.

Verdict: What is the Best Proofreading Software

After extensive use and testing of numerous programs, my vote for top proofreading software goes to ProWritingAid. The depth of analysis it provides goes far beyond any other tool I’ve used. For long-form writing like books and extensive articles, it’s well worth the premium price for the time it saves and improvements it facilitates.

For quick, everyday use, Grammarly provides an unbeatable combination of ease of use and powerful capabilities, even in the free version. It’s ideal for social media, emails, blog posts and other short-form content.

Autocrit deserves special mention as the leading proofreader tailored specifically for fiction writers. The feedback on pacing, dialogue and descriptions has helped strengthen my creative writing tremendously.

In the end, the “best” proofreading software depends on your needs as a writer. By outlining the key features and pros and cons of the top programs, my goal is to help you decide which one is the right fit for your projects. Using the right proofreading tools can take your writing to the next level by eliminating distracting errors and providing insights to tighten and refine your work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *