To improve the content of my websites I looked into writing tools recently. It is easy just to hit the “ABC” button in WordPress or copy your text in Word, but that won’t tell you if your text has style errors. The first tool I stumbled upon was Grammarly, but some digging suggests they have a terrible privacy policy. Next, I stumbled upon Hemingway Editor. It seemed to do everything I wanted (at first). As I wanted the ability to save files locally, I forked over the cash ($19.99) for the desktop app (Windows version).

I’ve now tried the Hemingway Editor for a few days, and well, it’s not bad nor great. One of the biggest issues is that it checks only for style errors. It doesn’t check spelling or grammar. So you inevitably end up having to copy your content into another editor (like Word) to do that. Having to copy text back and forth is a bit of a drag. So for this issue alone I will try something else next, probably ProWritingAid.

But core functionality isn’t my only gripe with the Hemingway Editor. When you open the app, it shows an empty document that for some reason is automatically marked “unsaved.” Which means it asks you to save the empty & unchanged document if you try to close it, and if you open a file it’ll do so in a new window instead of the existing window. Opening existing files is also a bit of a drag: there isn’t a “Recent Files” menu option.

More indefensible is that .hemingway files aren’t associated with the application during installation, and if you try to associate them manually, it turns out the app has no support for that! Meaning, if associate the app with .hemingway files and try to open them, it’ll just open an empty document instead. Something else I found out while trying to create the file association for the app is that it installed itself into the “AppData” folder. I’m not an expert in Windows software development, but I doubt that’s the right location.

So in conclusion, would I recommend it and is it worth its money? No. But of course you can still use it for free online.

Edit: I ended up going for Grammarly after all (but using the standalone app and not as browser plugin). And ProWritingAid too. I’ll probably end up using all three tools together. What made me reconsider Grammarly was: in the original text of this review (I used it to test all three), I accidentally wrote “expect” instead of “expert.” That’s not an easy mistake to spot, yet Grammarly did it. ProWritingAid isn’t bad either though not as smart, and it sometimes makes suggestions that make little sense. There is no substitute for your brain as the best proofreader.