FocusWriter bugfix release

I have made a new FocusWriter release, version 1.3.1. Although this is primarily a bugfix release with fixes for over a dozen bugs (most of which were minor), I also added typewriter sound effects due to popular request.

Thanks go to Jérôme Borme for updating the French and Portuguese translations, as well as to Jakub Kowalski for adding a Polish translation, Luis Osa for adding a Spanish translation, and Márcio Massula Jr. for adding a Brazilian Portuguese translation.


31 Responses to FocusWriter bugfix release

  1. Gilles says:

    Wow, FocusWriter keeps getting better and better! It’s already the most beautiful word processor ever and with the addition of RTF support a while ago it’s become a very useful tool for creative writers.

    There is, however one feature that would make it even better for the creative process. I am wondering if there is any chance a of including an outlining function. I’m thinking of a widget that can be placed either to the left or right of the editing area.Each heading in the currently open tab would be there and if clicked, it should bring the cursor to the section in question. This would make it very easy to navigate and oversee large texts. The problem with wiki-like note-taking and outliners like Zim or Wikidpad is that they make separate files or pages for each note. When writing a novel it is nicer to have the whole text in one piece so you can see everything in context.

    When working on a novel this could be used of course to quickly navigate the text itself, but also to help navigate a large body of research text. Maybe this could be done in text mode too, using some sort of wiki syntax (like in Zim or Wikidpad).

    I have no knowledge of programming, so I don’t know if this could be done in FocusWriter. Besides, this may be outside the scope of what you want FocusWriter to do. If it’s not possible I will still use this wonderful processor as is, in conjunction with other outlining software.

    Whether you will concider this or not, I am already very thankful for FocusWriter the way it is.



  2. Paulo Gomes says:

    Where can I get those themes? 🙂

  3. Graeme says:

    Gilles: You’re in luck, this kind of feature is something I’m already planning on adding as on option to the next major release of FocusWriter. I’m still working out the details of exactly how I want to implement it, so keep an eye out for future news. 🙂

    Paulo: Right now there are no official themes online. The screenshots are for illustrative purposes. I’m considering putting a couple of “theme packs” online, but I haven’t gotten to it yet.

  4. Gilles says:

    Awesome news 🙂 thanks!

  5. Gilles says:

    As for themes, if you make it possible for users to upload their own in some central repository through your website, we could easily share.Another way is to make it able to up- and download themes straight from FocusWriter. Another, maybe more viable option would be to change the file extension to something more easily identifiable with FR, then people could share them through sites like gnome-look or

    @Paulo: Check out, which has a huge amount of beautiful wallpapers (all free). You can use some of those as a basis for your themes.

  6. Paulo Gomes says:

    Thanks Gilles 😉

  7. bekay says:

    Is it possible to deactivate the jumping to the last line when opening a file? Would be great, because the FoucsWriter is a good FocusReader too…! 🙂

  8. Graeme says:

    Gilles: Beyond the difficulty of writing the code to host themes, my biggest concern about adding a central themes repository to my site is legal responsibility in case users upload content that violates DreamHost’s terms of service or US copyright law. I don’t want to take the time to police the themes myself. 🙂

    I could change the export file extension in a future version so that somebody else like could host themes, but there would still be many copies of FocusWriter that export themes with the wrong extension.

    bekay: There is no way to turn of the jumping to the last line, but you can right-click on the scrollbar and tell it to scroll the document to the top (or simply middle-click it in Linux or option-click it in Mac OS X).

  9. Gilles says:

    Graeme: I was thinking the same after I posted my comment. Many backgrounds I use in my themes are free to download, but not creative commons or similar. But since FW is so easy to theme, I personally don’t think the whole theme-packs and sharing thing is that important a feature, especially with the while licence headache that would accompany it. I can’t speak for others of course, but I’m quite happy with the theming the way it is.

    I’m looking forward to the next release 🙂



  10. Bluegray says:

    Hi… I really want to try out Focuswriter, however I’m running Fedora 14 and an attempt at installing focuswriter-1.3.1-1.1.i386.rpm is failing due to the dependency on Is there any chance there might be a F14 version coming up?

    Thanks and cheers,

  11. Zyg says:

    I stumbled across your focuswriter after searching for a suitable lightweight, distraction-free writer and I have to say that out of all the writers I tried for windows; Q10, darkroom, textroom, jarte, writeroom, writemonkey and others, i prefer your application.

    It is stable, as far as i’ve used it. (Not extensively, but some couldn’t load my 800 page manuscript.)
    The bookmarking of the last spot on restart is great.
    The configurability is also nice and, of course the support for rtf takes the cake.

    If I could add a few things i would love to see in focuswriter, they would be;
    An option to keep the status bar visible, with a configurable color so it is not an eyesore.
    Adding the current page you are on to the status bar.
    A list of the most commonly used words in the document.
    And the ability to change the spacing of the words a little more.

    All in all its a great app, keep up the good work!

  12. Where can I fill a bug?

  13. Bluegray says:

    Legend! Thanks so much for the quick F14 release. Very much liking what I’ve seen so far. Will leave a more detailed review later.


  14. Graeme says:

    Zyg: Thanks for the suggestions! Most of these would be pretty easy to add, so I expect that at least some of them will appear in the next few releases.

    Michele: There is an issue tracker at github (, but people seem to prefer to use blog comments or emailing me directly. My email is on the website if you would like to discuss your issue in depth.

    Bluegray: You’re welcome. I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts on FocusWriter.

  15. bbananas says:

    You can’t hear me right now, but I’m singing “The wind beneath my wings” and it’s for you.

  16. Bluegray says:

    Let me just say that focuswriter is an excellent little piece of software. It is absolutely perfect for creative writing, etc. The daily goal is actually very useful. At first I thought it a bit gimmicky, but anyone who’s into writing short fiction, etc, will know that daily writing consistency is vital in developing good writing skills. Another important writing tip is having no distractions when writing. Both these things are handled very well by focuswriter. I am always a fan of software (and hardware), that do only a few things, but do them very well, (this is also why I prefer a kindle rather than an ipad when it comes to reading books… but I’m not going to get into that here 🙂 ).

    Thankyou kindly. I look forward to future updates.

  17. jero says:

    Hi. Thank you very much for FocusWriter, a great program.
    I have a question:
    After downloading FocusWriter for Windows (I have Windows 7 ultimate 64 bit), the file extracted to the FocusWriter_1.3.1. folder.
    But there was no installing at all.
    The FocusWriter.exe file opens the program directly.
    So I cannot access FocusWriter through StartButton / All Programs, because no shortcut for FocusWriter has been put there.
    Is this normal?
    Or have I just missed the correct way of installing FocusWriter inn Windows?

  18. Graeme says:

    bbananas: Thank you, I’m glad that FocusWriter is proving to be helpful.

    Bluegray: You’re welcome, and thank you for the kind words.

    jero: That’s normal. I know that you can create “shortcuts” to the exe, and even add it to your Start menu, but I’m not really that familiar with Windows. At the very least, before Windows 7 you could right-drag it down to your quick launch area and say “Create shortcut here”.

  19. Oliver says:

    Hi Graeme,

    I’ve already requested a few of these, but thought I should post them here so that others can comment or perhaps expand on them.

    Enhancement requests
    * Quick theme – on the top bar, have foreground/background/text buttons which would drop down colors to quick-switch to
    * Quick theme switch dropdown – like above, but with your saved themes on a drop-down menu
    * Preferences and Themes buttons on top bar
    * the option to overlay the bottom progress information on an always-visible bar on the bottom of the page. Preferably, this would be the same colors as the theme (or perhaps it could be customized?)
    * Built-in Thesaurus (aiksaurus!)
    * I’d like the mis-spelled words to have the option to have a solid line, squiggly line, or a highlighted background with your color choice
    * automatic contrasting color for highlighting text, based on your text color
    * Notes + autocollapsing – I need to explain this one. I like to be able to insert notes into my text, specifically at the beginning of a chapter or section. I was thinking about the other poster’s suggestion regarding an outline and I thought this could go hand-in-hand with that. Perhaps, when you create a Heading of type Notes (the text could be whatever you wish), anything indented or a list element beneath it could be collapsed and hidden by clicking on the heading. It could be a toggle so that you could hide/show it at will. When read in another RTF program, it would be visible as normal. Just an idea.
    * I’d like the option to auto-indent the first line in a paragraph.
    * Left sidebar. I’d like to see the find and replace dialogs embedded in this and perhaps the timers dialog as well. These could be docked at the bottom, perhaps, so the top part could be used for the aforementioned outline info.
    * New tab/file button on the bottom popup bar. Also, this should work like all other programs – middle click closes the tab/file.
    * perhaps a popup file list when you ctrl-tab with multiple documents?
    * This is stretching the feature-set somewhat, but perhaps you could have a document merge feature for people that write their chapters or sections in multiple files? It’d be much easier than opening them all and then copy/pasting them together.

    Minor bug
    * every so often, after typing, I hear a faint click sound. It seems to be reasonably random, but it does happen regularly.

    Thanks again for such a wonderful program.


  20. Chizari says:

    Dear Graeme,

    Today is my first day with FocusWriter and I love that. And I completely moved to it. However I am wondering if it is possible to add a command line execution hot-key for that. For instance, I write in TeX format and I would like to compile document with LaTeX during type to see the output. Moreover, for programmers, it is a good idea to compile their code and see the result.

    The other suggestion I have is to creating a small dictionary to highlight the word with another colour. Everyone could have his own highlighted words or upload/download it.

    Once again, thank you for your great job.


  21. Warren says:


    I just wanted to let you know that FocusWriter is the program I’ve been desiring for the past few years. I’m a professional writer who really appreciates the simplicity of FocusWriter, yet it still has most of the features I need to earn a living. For example, most “minimalist word processors” won’t let me italicize a word – that’s just critical when copying and pasting stuff into Word, which, let’s face it, is what any Editor is going to use to review one’s work.

    Anyway, I would like to humbly make a few suggestions for future versions:

    1. Make the word count status bar always visible, and themable too. For example, my FW theme is a classic green-screen, even going so far to use an Apple II 80-column font (I’ve been in this game for a loooong time), and frankly, I’d love it if the word count/page count was always visible and updated as I type in the same font and size and also in green. Or inverse green, like an old word processor.

    2. Spell-check as you type always underlines a word as it is being typed. Honestly, almost every word is mis-spelled as you type it, so FW decides to underline almost every word until I hit the spacebar and it finally makes up a recognized word. This is very distracting for what is otherwise a distraction-free writing environment. FW shouldn’t be underlining a word in the belief it is mis-spelled until after the word is finished, that is, when the spacebar is pressed.

    3. When I press Alt-F (Windows user here) to pull down the File menu, the menu itself appears, but not the Menu bar (you know, the bar that says File, Edit, Format, etc.) Also distracting.

    4. Any way to display hidden characters? Is that a tab-stop or a mess of spaces? Is that a word wrap or a carriage-return? A “Show/Hide Hidden Characters” command or toggle would eliminate this source of confusion.

    I know a lot of commenters are asking you for outlining and such. To these people I recommend a non-free but not expensive program called Scrivener (Google it). It will do all that you ask and more, and it can be configured to be a simple writing environment too.

    Ok, that’s it. Keep up the great work.

    -Warren Ernst

  22. Gilles says:

    @Warren: Scrivener is the reason I requested an outlining function in FW :). It is mac-only, I use Ubuntu, don’t own a mac or have enough money (yet) to buy one. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t use FocusWriter because I am a wannabe Scrivener-user. FocusWriter is my writing tool of choice. It is as beautiful as you can make it and you can theme it according to the mood of your writing. Working in an aesthetically pleasing environment also enhances productivity.

    FocusWriter with the addition of outlining can improve the workflow of a creative writer drastically. I do like the idea of having the word-count (or page-count)always visible and themable, but only as an option, so I can choose to work with only text on screen. All your other requests, if implemented, should also be optional (but easy to find and select).

    My two cents



  23. Warren says:


    FYI: Scrivener is out for Windows in beta, and it works fine with Wine. The beta is free (for now) too. Doing an outliner properly is no easy task, and I would expect any programmer, regardless of their talent, to need a fair amount of time to do it well. I suggest Scrivener not to dissuade Graeme from going forward with the idea, but to give those who want a good outliner and fairly good writing environment an option that they can use right now.

    Another good stand-alone outliner I’ve been using for years is BrainStorm. Yes, also Windows-only, but it too works under Wine. It doesn’t look pretty and it can directly trace its lineage to its DOS days, but it is deceptively simple yet astonishingly powerful, doesn’t need the mouse if you like keyboard commands, and has a kind of internal linking that is mind-blowing when you grok it.



  24. Gilles says:

    Thank you Warren. Wow, there is even a way to install Scrivener 1.x beta in Linux without using wine! See if anyone is inerested in checking it out.

    I mean no disrespect to Graeme and hope posting that posting the above link is not construed as such. Having checked out the beta version on my netbook, I can say the beta works well. But I’ll stick with FW, I think that it can grow into a viable competitor to Scrivener, if Graeme wants it to be that is. I keep going back to this, but FW’s theming solution just makes it an absolute pleasure to work with. Not even all the tools Scrivener brings to the table can make up for that feature, in my opinion.



  25. Oliver says:

    I would like to second Warren’s request for the spell check to not highlight mis-spelled words until the spacebar is pressed.

    In addition, I’d like to request a basic Heading 1, Heading 2 for the rich text options.

    Thanks again,


  26. Oliver says:

    I feel dumb for continuing to chime in here, but I keep forgetting to ask this – I’d very much like mousewheel zoom with CTRL+mousewheel zooming in/out on the text. The font size could remain set as configured in the theme, if possible. That would really be fabulous!


  27. Graeme says:

    Just wanted to let you all know that I’ve been reading your suggestions, and I’m finding a lot of them interesting. Several things that have been requested are already in my planned features list, including optional outline support.

    @Oliver: Feel free to keep chiming in as much as you want. Even if I don’t end up implementing all of people’s ideas, I welcome any thoughts on the project!

  28. Oliver says:

    Awesome news, Graeme.

    And thanks for all the hard work you do on this – FocusWriter is awesome and I appreciate that you welcome feedback to hopefully make it better.

    As for my request for inline notes; check out how Q10 and/or ImmersEd do them. Both are quite similar, but I like how ImmersEd makes them collapsible.

    I found another bug in the Windows version (running on XP, not tested on 7 yet). When you’re in windowed mode, if your toolbar is too large to fit the window (too many buttons added), you need to press the >> button to show the buttons that don’t fit. When you do that, the toolbar no longer hides and… breaks. Sorry to not give more detail, but it’s hard to explain – just the outline of it stays at the top of the screen.

    Other features I’d love:

    * adjustable line height, along with adjustable padding after a paragraph.
    * the ability to minimize FW from fullscreen (hotkey?)
    * Quicktext / text replacement – this is pulled obviously from Q10.
    * Ability to change the sound scheme quickly (sound themes?). Plus, it would be nice to be able to attach the sound scheme to a theme.
    * Highlight all occurrences of text. This could either be a hotkey or activated as soon as text is highlighted. I’ve not seen this anywhere but in Notepad++, and in that program, I use it all the time. Basically, when you highlight a word, it immediately highlights all instances of that word in a different color. I use it for coding (to see where if I’ve ended a tag, for instance). But here, it would be useful to see where I’m overusing a phrase. Ideally, since FW is designed to be distraction-free, this would be best implemented as a hotkey, or optionally to activate automatically upon word highlight.
    * Since it does rich text, I’d like to see a super-basic implementation of approximate page breaks (perhaps a very faint line across the document?). This would also mean that a page break feature would be necessary so I could start a new chapter on a new page.

    Thanks again. I have to say, the fact that FW acts like a “normal” program with a standard UI keeps it head and shoulders above similar editors.


  29. kenny says:

    First off, thanks. This software is AMAZING! I feel very guilty asking for anything becuase what you have already produced is fantastic…but…would it be possible to add functionality in for a transparent background. That way I could make it pretty opaque and overlay it on, say, MS Excel. If my boss walks past it will be very hard for her to spot. No worries if this is something you don’t fancy doing or is hard, as I said, focus writer is the best writing software I’ve ever used, thanks again

  30. I recently ran across FocusWriter and like it very much. I’ve also been pining for Scrivener to come to Windows and Linux.

    But my personal preference would be for FocusWriter to remain the simple, focused, distraction-free writing program that it is, rather than become a full-blown competitor for Scrivener.

    I plan on using both programs: FocusWriter for cranking out first drafts of scenes/sections and chapters/articles, then import into Scrivener for the revision process. I’ll also use Scrivener for managing larger in-progress writing projects.

    I’m also using Springpad for quick, light-weight research and notetaking while I’m browsing the web; Zim Wiki for long-term, heavier, research and notetaking.

  31. Graeme says:

    I’m not sure exactly what the future of FocusWriter looks like. I do have interest in adding a few more advanced features, but I doubt I would get to Scrivener level mostly because I don’t want to maintain something that complex. That said, whenever I do add a feature I always try to make it so that you don’t have to use it and can continue running FocusWriter as a barebones word processor.