NovelWriter is a simple, open-source plain text editor designed to write novels. It has a minimal markdown syntax for Formatting Text, making it easy to use and learn. NovelWriter is written in Python 3 (3.6+) and Qt 5 (5.3+) for cross-platform support. NovelWriter offers a full-screen mode that hides all menus and toolbar buttons for writers who prefer a more distraction-free environment. In addition, the software automatically saves your work every few minutes, so you can always pick up where you left off. NovelWriter is the perfect tool for writing your next great novel, whether you’re just starting or a seasoned pro.
For additional information before installation, I recommend visiting the official website’s features page.
The following tutorial will teach you how to install novelWriter on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS Jammy Jellyfish using a LaunchPAD APT PPA with the command line terminal.
Table of Contents
First, update your system to ensure all existing packages are up to date to avoid conflicts.
sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y
The best APT package manager method is to import and install the PPA by Veronica Berglyd Olsen. Currently, two PPAs exist where you can import the stable repository or the pre-release for those that want bleeding-edge software.
Please note that both repositories share the same installation, so if you import both the PPA with the latest version, which should typically be the pre-release will always be selected.
Import novelWriter Stable PPA
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:vkbo/novelwriter -y
Import novelWriter Pre-Release PPA
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:vkbo/novelwriter-pre -y
Before you continue, run an APT update to reflect the newly imported PPA.
sudo apt update
Now install the software package.
sudo apt-get install novelwriter
How to Launch novelWriter
Launching can be done in a few ways now that you have the software installed.
First, the software can be launched using the following command.
Most desktop users may elect to use the application icon to open the application, which can be achieved using the following path.
Activities > Show Applications> novelWriter.
The first time you load novelWriter, you will come across an “Open Project” default screen, where you can manage your projects. As this is a fresh installation, the tutorial will quickly demonstrate the process of creating a new one.
Click on the New button to proceed.
When you arrive at the “Create New Project” tab, the fields are self-explanatory; fill out the project name, novel title, and authors.
Click on the Next button to proceed.
The next tab lets you select the “Project Path,” where you can also choose a folder to save the novels. I advise creating a destination you can back up to a cloud storage network. Depending on the size, you can even use Github or similar.
Once you have selected a path, click on the Next button to proceed.
Moving on from the project path customization, you will now come to a pretty important tab as this will let you set the template for your new novel project. Depending on how comfortable you are at writing novels, “Fill the project with example files” or the “Show detailed options for filling the project” are strongly recommended for first-time users until you are comfortable with how to layout a novel and use the software.
Select your choice, and click on the Next button to proceed.
In the last tab screen, you will see a summary of the project you have created. From here, you can select the “Back” button to re-do any settings you are not happy with.
Once done, click the Finish button to complete the new project setup.
Next, you will arrive at your novel project template. From here, you can further customize the UI and much more. The screenshot below is the template with the pre-filled novel layout.
How to Update/Upgrade novelWriter
The best method to ensure your installation of novelWriter is up-to-date is to open the command line terminal and run the following command.
Depending on the method of installation used, the following commands can be used to update.
sudo apt upgrade && sudo apt upgrade
The command will also ensure all other packages that use the APT package manager, including your system packages, are up-to-date. I suggest that users new to Linux run this command frequently to ensure your system works as intended, even if you have automatic GUI updates or notifications.
How to Remove (Uninstall) novelWriter
Use one of the following commands to suit the original installation method for users who no longer require the application.
sudo apt autoremove novelwriter -y
Next, you should remove the PPA for users who will not use the software again.
Remove novelWriter Stable PPA
sudo add-apt-repository --remove ppa:vkbo/novelwriter -y
Remove novelWriter Pre-Release PPA
sudo add-apt-repository --remove ppa:vkbo/novelwriter-pre -y
Comments and Conclusion
If you are looking for a simple and easy-to-use novel-writing tool, look no further than novelWriter. It supports a minimal markdown syntax for formatting text, so you can focus on writing your masterpiece. It is also cross-platform, so you can write on any device you choose. What are you waiting for? Start writing your novel today with novelWriter!