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Your own blank canvas, ready to be painted with words. This is where the magic happens. You’ll spend most of your time here.

Once you’ve dismissed the Library you can get right down to business, distraction free. Here’s a look at the various elements in the Editor pane.

Setting up the Editor

Writer is designed to get you up and writing as quickly as possible. Most users will simply launch Writer and begin typing.

There are however some settings you can use to tweak the Editor to your own tastes. You can find these by navigating to Settings → Editor:


Font size (drag A ⇄ A slider) iA font and line length can be set here. You can also set how highlighting and completed tasks will look. (Both of these settings also affect how these are rendered when using built-in templates)


Because some Markdown syntax (e.g. code blocks) requires specific indentation, Writer allows you to specify you preferences for how indentation is handled. Here is a breakdown of the settings.

Indent text using: Select between using a single tab or 4 spaces for indentation when issuing the tab key.

Tab key:

Indents – Using tab anywhere within a paragraph will indent the entire paragraph to make a codeblock or create a nested list (sub) item when used in a list.

Inserts Tab – A tab is inserted at the cursor.

Tab width: Allows you to set how wide a tab appears anywhere in the Editor (measured in number of spaces). This does not change the number of spaces used.

Indent width: Number of spaces used (width) to indent when Indent text using: is set to Spaces.

Note that when Spaces is set to 2, indenting paragraphs will not form a codeblock and indenting list items will not create subitems. Markdown syntax requires 4+ spaces for both syntaxes

Wrapped line indent includes:

Whitespace – Wrapped lines include leading whitespace preserving indentation. When disabled, wrapped lines are return flush to left margin. Note that indentation here has no effect on output in Preview, print or exported docs.

Markdown block markers – Wrapped lines are indented to line up with the text above, but not the Markdown block markers (i.e list markers/bullets)

Focus Modes

Allows you to set how Focus Mode behaves. You can also change this using the Focus option button in the title bar. (more on that below)

Syntax and Style Check: Select which parts of speech or patterns are indentified when these options are toggled on. In addition to the built-in patterns you can add your own custom patterns by clicking on Custom Patterns....

For more info on Syntax Highlighting and Style Check be sure to check out our articles here:

Syntax Highlight | Style Check

Spelling and Auto-completion

Writer for Mac makes use of macOS’ familiar Spelling and Grammar functionality.

Writer also supports Smart substitutions

You can also configure these settings while working in the Editor by right-clicking anywhere in your document and selecting the appropriate option. You can even retroactively apply substitutions to text!

Completions: New in Writer 6.0, completions allow you to quickly enter commonly paired opening and closing brackets, braces or parantheses. (e.g { and })

With Wrap selection in typed brackets enabled you can quickly add opening and closing brackets around existing text.

Title Bar


Navigation buttons enable you to quickly move between your most recently active documents. Much like the back and forward buttons in your browser, you can use these to go back to the last document, or forward in your recents list.

You can also trigger these using keyboard shortcuts:


These are great when you frequently hop between documents, as you might when working with (wiki)linked documents.

💡 click and hold on a button to display navigate to recently active documents.

File Options

Here you’ll see the name of your active file. You can click on this to reveal a familiar macOS dialog that lets you:

Rename/edit file name: Great for appending a version number or correcting mistakes in current filename.

Select a new file location: Move the active file to a new folder. Note if you move file to a folder outside of Writer’s Library, you won’t see it in the Organizer anymore.

Lock file: Lock a file in its current state to prevent edits or changes. You’ll be prompted to unlock the file or duplicate it if you want to edit or make changes down the road.


Focus toggle

Writer’s Focus button allows you to toggle Focus Mode on or off. You can also toggle this via the Focus menu or the keyboard shortcut D

Focus options

Focus Mode (scope): You can choose either Sentence or Paragraph focus. You can also toggle Typewriter (scrolling), which keeps the cursor centered in the middle of the Editor.

Syntax: Lets you set up Syntax Highlighting to work for you. You can learn more about this special feature here: Syntax Highlight

Style Check: Lets you configure Style Check to your own tastes. To learn more about this unique feature please see: Style Check

You can also use the Settings → Editor option to configure these features.


Need a quick preview of your how your formatted document will look? Click here to launch the Preview pane. In split mode you can even get back to typing and keep Preview open for a live preview that updates in real-time! To learn more about this pane please see: Preview

Tool Bar


One of the benefits of Markdown and Writer’s support for keyboard shortcuts is that you can type and format your document without needing to take your hands off the keyboard. For those times that you don’t remember a specific formatting syntax, Writer’s toolbar has your back.

Formatting text is as simple as selecting the desired text, then clicking on the desired formatting from the toolbar. If you don’t see your toolbar, and it does not appear when hovering the mouse near the bottom of the window, please check your toolbar settings in Settings → General.


Working with a strict word count? Character limits for social media posts? Just need to know how long your blog post will take to read?

Stats aren’t just for nerds and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to access these in Writer.

Depending on your settings you may see stats in the bottom right corner of your toolbar, or the entire tool bar may be filled with stats.

Default: Click on the displayed stat to see the full list of stats. Click on a stat to have this stat shown at all time.

Stats Only: Click on a displayed stat to see a list of available options. Check the stats you want to see at all times.

In case you missed it, don’t forget to check out our article on Writer’s Libary. Or, keep moving forward and learn about Preview!