FocusWriter 1.4.3 released

I have made a small FocusWriter release to fix a data loss bug with the emergency cache: FocusWriter had not been restoring from cache for brand new files that did not have a name yet. This release also improves the Qt 5 support by properly migrating the data from the Qt 4 version. Enjoy!


19 Responses to FocusWriter 1.4.3 released

  1. David says:

    Thank you, Graeme!

    One question: I added the Ubuntu repository using Synaptic (following ferrosan’s suggestion under your last post) and was able to install 1.4.3. However, when I run sudo apt-get update in the terminal, I get the following error message:

    W: GPG error: Release: The following signatures couldn’t be verified because the public key is not available: NO_PUBKEY E429CCF86CE33D20

    Is there a fix for this?

  2. Graeme says:

    @David The Linux download page does include instructions for the apt keys, but I don’t know if they work with sudo. If you are using Ubuntu 12.10 you could try and download and install the key by running this in a terminal:

    wget -q -O – | sudo apt-key add –

  3. David says:

    @Graeme Thank you so much. I hadn’t read the download page fully — my own fault. I’m running 12.04 LTS — the instructions for the apt keys worked perfectly and solved the problem. Today’s lesson for me: RTFM! Sorry to waste your time on this!

  4. Graeme says:

    @David It was no trouble at all! I’m glad to hear that the instructions worked.

  5. Matt says:

    Hi Graeme

    Thanks for creating Focus Writer. I write for a living and it does pretty much exactly what I need. A couple of suggestions though:

    – attaching themes to documents. For instance, I often write scripts and I can use FW to create text files which work with John August’s Fountain protocol to format screenplays. However I’d prefer to write the script in one theme, and have the prose notes (also open files) in another. Is this do-able? Or horrendously complicated to programme?

    – related to that, have you looked at Fountain? It’s a markup protocol for text files to create documents that screenwriting progs like Trelby can format, and would make FW a great programme for screenwriters too.


  6. Graeme says:

    @Matt I’m glad to hear that FocusWriter works so well for you!

    Unfortunately, the way FocusWriter is written it would be very difficult to switch the theme with the document. Also, where would it be stored? Plain text files for one do not allow you to store any kind metadata. I also personally feel that the theme is part of the session concept.

    I am willing to add support for screenwriters if I can and it doesn’t interfere with users who don’t do screenwriting, but I’m not sure what exactly you would want me to add FocusWriter to support Fountain. What interface features are you looking for?

  7. Matt says:

    Thanks for responding.

    Fair enough regarding themes. I thought it might be complicated.

    On fountain – I guess a couple of things. Firstly, make .fountain a suffix in the ‘save as’ box; and secondly allow Fountain’s ‘synopsis’ tag, which is an ‘=’ sign, so that if it followed the ## tag, only the text in the same line as the = appeared in the synopsis. It’s a comparatively minor thing though, as obviously just using = followed by text gets nearly the same result.

  8. Graeme says:

    I’m sorry, I’m still not sure what you are asking for. What is it exactly that you want FocusWriter to do? Make some text bold, indent it, etc?

    Update: I should be clarify that I am not willing to add page layout to FocusWriter.

  9. raducu says:

    Maybe what Matt wants is a way to export text written in FocusWriter, using the Fountain markup language, to .pdf or .txt or .fountain (or other extension), formatted as a screenplay? In other words, that Fountain would be included in Focuswriter.

    This would be nice, I suppose. I am “forced” to use Trelby when writing screenplays, and this is almost a punishment, from reasons that should be obvious.

    Anyway, maybe Fountain is not the best solution, as one would have to learn the syntax, and the formatted output would not be visible until the document would be exported to other format.

    On the other hand, I would love to be able to write screenplays in FocusWriter, so maybe one day you would find the time and the practical solution to implement such a feature.

    I wish you all the best, and thanks for creating this wonderful software.

  10. Matt says:

    Graeme –

    I’m not asking for page layout, or making things bold/italic – it’s about using Focus to create files which Trelby and other screenplay apps can then format. Being able to choose .fountain as a suffix would be convenient for that, as it tells Trelby to treat what is essentially a .txt file as one marked up in Fountain.

    The other point is more about ease of use when creating those files in Focus. One of the features I like in Focus is the Scene Summary, and it would be useful for me if this could incorporate a paragraph of Synopsis as well, perhaps marked up by starting with an ‘=’ sign. (I know the next sentence automatically follows in the Summary, but marking up a specific line feels cleaner to me and the ‘=’ plays nicely with Fountain’s markup for a synopsis paragraph).


    Fountain’s actually far more simple than, for instance, MMD (it’s designed for screenwriters after all 😉 ). Basically, you just type the script without formatting, apart from caps for slugs and character names, and aligned left. Fountain importers can sort it out from there. There’s minimal markup for section headers (##), synopses (=), dual column dialogue etc,

    It’s spelled out here:

  11. Graeme says:

    I don’t feel comfortable adding Fountain as a listed file format format because that would imply FocusWriter supports vieweing it. However, you can already save files as plain text with the “.fountain” extension if you select “All Files” in the save and open dialogs.

    I am open to making the scene list more configurable. One minor point that I am not quite clear on is if you want it to still show the beginning of the scene or just the synposis if a paragraph is marked that way.

  12. Matt says:

    Fair enough re .fountain.

    I’d prefer just to show the synopsis, though I guess it could default to the first paragraph if there’s no synopsis marked.

    I really appreciate the time you’re taking, btw.

  13. Deane Saunders-Stowe says:

    I have to say that I absolutely love FocusWriter. I started writing a novel back in January and had only been using which ever basic text editor came with the Linux distros I use to write it in. I had no desire to switch to using a proper word processor until the last part of editing after the final draft, but FocusWriter’s ability to indent, use smart quotes and set custom fonts has made the plain text editing a dream.
    My book looks like it will when printed – whilst still editing it in plain text. Being able to use the font EB Garamond, have the indented line at the beginning of a paragraph and set margins has made a world of difference. It’s just a shame that there isn’t something like this for Android.
    Well, there are similar programs, but none of them are good enough!

  14. J Andy Kane says:

    I love, love, love this program. I am like a FocusWriter preacher, going around converting anyone who will listen. I am pretty critical of the distraction-free word processors out there, and FW literally has every feature that I need.

    Here’s my issue: I am trying to switch from laptop to tablet and FocusWriter is not Android. The Android alternatives have a clunky UI, lack writer-specific features, or are web-based (Google Drive). I am pulling my hair out. I have installed and uninstalled EVERY app out there. Nothing matches the powerful simplicity of FW.

    So, is FW for Android in the works? This may be my non-coding naivete, but isn’t Android Linux’s close cousin?

    There is a giant hole in the Google Play Store that FW would fill with ease. The “Office-Suites” in the Play Store are $15 for a frustrating UI experience and a one-size-fits-all feature set. I would pay $15 just for FW. I would leave glowing reviews and get all of my friends to do the same. I would put a link in my email signature. Etc…

    What would have to happen for you to move in this direction?

    Also, if anyone else reads this post and agrees with me, give a hoot. Let GG know what’s up.

  15. Graeme says:

    I’m happy to hear that you love FocusWriter so much!

    I am aware of the lack of good writing programs for Android. Unfortunately, it is not a simple matter to add Android support. While Android does use the Linux kernel, absolutely nothing else is shared with desktop Linux for regular GUI programs. It is not just a matter of compiling for Android, I would have to completely rewrite my programs. Regular Android apps are written in Java, and FocusWriter is written in C++. You can use C++ through Android’s NDK, but the NDK doesn’t provide the same API as the toolkits on desktop Linux.

    Qt, the toolkit I use, has finally added preliminary support for Android. However, it is done through a completely different framework (QML) than what I used to make FocusWriter (QWidgets), so I would still have to rewrite a lot of FocusWriter. It would be a lot of work, but less work than rewriting in Java and I could continue use a single codebase to support all platforms (albeit with platform specific QML files thrown in for interface layout).

    Eventually I would like to rewrite FocusWriter using QML, but I don’t know how long that will take as I am not that familiar with QML. I also don’t know if QML provides a match for everything I used from QWidgets, so that may also delay things.

  16. Hi
    Thanks so much for creating this program. I have downloaded it & sent 5$ .

    I have previously been using Scrivener but think Focuswriter will be my main prog for now. I like the minimalist approach.

    There is a bug with the spelling. Only way to activate it is through previously shared workaround: create data folder.

    I like it the way it is, no need to expand it with too many features. The only addition I can think of, that still follows the small approach, is support for chapters. we currently have scene tags ##. Would be cool to have chapter tags (like &&) and have scenes be hierached under those.

    Maybe also add a simple user manual. I would like to know how to sync through dropbox.

  17. Graeme says:


    This bug is going to be fixed in 1.5 by replacing the spellchecking framework. As it is an extensive change, I did not feel comfortable putting that in a bugfix release of the 1.4 line.

    I’ll have to give the chapter idea some thought. I was originally toying with a hierarchy when I was creating the feature, but I couldn’t come up with a way to make it feel natural.

    There is no way in the program to sync with Dropbox, you must set that up externally. I’m not sure exactly how to do that as I do not use Dropbox, but I think it can be done by saving to a folder that you have synced with Dropbox.

    A user manual is coming… sometime. 😛

  18. erdosain9 says:

    FocusWriter seems perfect. Except do not write the “tilde” … I mean this á é í ó ú — symbol used in Spanish. As eg. Andrés, Camión…
    How could I fix it?
    Greetings and thanks!
    My OS is Kubuntu 13.10
    This is a translation of google

  19. Graeme says:

    I’m sorry, I’m not sure what you mean. What exactly do you normally do to type diacritics? And what happens when you try this in FocusWriter?