Scrivener vs Microsoft Word

Natalie: We have a visitor at our humble blog today. Please welcome unicorn, my very good friend, and writer extraordinaire Aly to Writerly Conundrums!

Aly: *bows* Why, thank you ever so much! I’m happy to be here.

Natalie: Today, we’re going to be debating the merits of Microsoft Word versus Scrivener (which I can never spell correctly on the first try) as the ideal writing program. I’m defending Word, and Aly’s speaking for Scr—I can’t even be bothered to look up the right spelling. Because apparently, she likes complicated things no one can figure out.

Aly: Scrivener for life.

See, Microsoft is incredibly finnicky. It crashes, it dies, documents crash and burn and your life’s work disappears into a cloud before you can press CTRL+S.

Scrivener eliminates that problem by having an automatic back up and save system so your documents are always safe.

Natalie: Two words: Auto-save and Auto-recovery.

Aly: I have lost many a manuscript to Auto-save and Auto-recovery because it never saved my just-written pieces.

Scrivener saves and backs up every other word, so you don’t have that problem.

Natalie: Word Auto-saves every few minutes, so the most you’ll lose is a few sentences.

Plus, unlike Scrivener, it’s user-friendly. I downloaded the trial version a few months ago and spent ages looking for the ‘New Note’ button in the Characters tab. It’s too fiddly and unnecessary.

In Word, I simply add notes at the top/bottom of each chapter. Or paste sticky notes on my desktop.

Aly: That’s what’s so cool about it! Each project you start has one file, with character profiles, scenes, settings and backgrounds in one place so you can click back and forth easily. Unlike Word, where everything is separate and temperamental.

You don’t need to fork out hundreds of £££ to get the latest edition either. Scrivener is a one-off cost of $40 (half price if you complete NaNo) and it updates for FREE.

Natalie: But Word comes in a bundle with PowerPoint and Excel and other programs. Normally, people buy it WITH their computers as teenagers for essays and such, so you don’t have to spend money at all. It has five licenses, so it’s great for value. Why get a fancy program when you can open a new Word document for characters, places, etc?

Aly: Not EVERY laptop has that feature. Sometimes, you need to buy a cheap replacement and it doesn’t come with Word. Sometimes, you don’t have the cash to pay more for Word. With Scrivener, once you buy it, you can use the same licence on a number of different computers, as long as they run the same operating system.

I’d also like to mention that the more Word documents you create, the more space you consume on your computer. Scrivener doesn’t have that problem. So if you’re an avid gamer like myself, and want to buy the new edition of Skyrim, the last thing you want to do is have to shift some Word documents (or, gasp! delete them entirely) to make more space

Natalie: A 90k manuscript is at most 600+KB. A ten-second audio clip is larger than that.

Aly: Never say never. KBs add upAll it takes is 1000,000 Kbs to make a GB. On a Scrivener folder, you can also add a password to save it from viruses. Whoever tries to hack into your computer needs the password to get into the folder. 

It’s a fort.



Natalie: Pfft, Word comes with a password and read-only option, too. I like it because it’s minimalist. You can’t procrastinate by creating fancy folders and notes.

Aly: Actually, Scrivener is pretty minimalistic too. It offers you the option to create character profiles etc. but you don’t HAVE to do it. Also, Scrivener has a playlist option.

Natalie: Which means writers will waste time matching songs to their OTPs instead of, you know, writing.

Aly: NOPE. Because you do that before you start writing. As in, at the beginning of the novel. Before your baby becomes a baby and is only a writhing cell.

Scrivener has another really cool feature. A lot of writers set themselves goals. 1,000 words a day, 20,000 words a month, you name it. You tell Scrivener, and it’ll set you that goal you desperately want/need. You can then check your progress bar (red for ‘not yet’, yellow for ‘almost!’, green for ‘you did it!’) and it’s super motivational. Thanks to Scrivener, I once wrote 40,000 in two days.

Natalie: Okay, fine, I’ll admit that’s pretty cool. But ANOTHER motivator is the all-mighty refrigerator. I stuff myself with cheese sticks as a reward for completing my word count.

Aly: Scrivener keeps the weight off and the mind full. (You can quote me on that, guys.)

The only feature of Word I liked was how it would turn my novel into a book when I finished, so it made it easier to read through. But that’s it. Everything else was too fiddly and temperamental for me to even bother dealing with.

Scrivener is designed solely for writers and their novels. How cool is it that someone out there thought of a program like this? If you use the tutorial when you first download it, it’s quick and easy and you’ll be a pro in no time.

Natalie: *strokes screen* Shh, baby, she just doesn’t understand you. 

I think we have to agree to disagree on this one. ALL HAIL BILL GATES.


Aly: I think so, too. I will never stop fighting for Scrivener rights hahaha.

Natalie: Thanks again for being here! (Even though our debate threatened to tear our friendship apart more than the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. #notreally)

Aly: Thank YOU for having me!


You can check out Aly’s writing on Wattpad: It’s dark, sexy, and poetic, and I have no idea why you’re still here reading this when you could be checking out Last Winter.


8 thoughts on “Scrivener vs Microsoft Word

    • There’s a 3-month free trial. Or maybe it’s one month. I don’t really remember hahaha. I tried it out and it’s too fiddly. I get distracted easily while writing and those features are—LOOK A BUTTERFLY!


  1. I have heard about Scrivener, but never even tried it for myself. I have to admit, having all those things in one place does sound epic, but then again, I am a Microsoft lover myself. I can imagine myself being someone to use Scrivener for all the character profiling, setting stuff, and then actually writing the novel on Word. Don’t ask me why >.> You both have such valid arguments though, and I LOVE this post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • “I can imagine myself being someone to use Scrivener for all the character profiling, setting stuff, and then actually writing the novel on Word.” <– That's a great idea!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. YOU MUST GET SCRIVENER. I was pretty happy working with Word, and then I found out about Scrivener and was like, ‘Sure, Word but for writers, Bring it on!’, and… I sucked at it. Really, I couldn’t figure out all the options, even though I was overwhelmed (in the positive way) by all the possible ways this program could make everything easier and that I had yet to master. So, then I was a Nanowrimo winner, and I said ‘nope’, you gotta do it. So I bought it, and comitted myself to figuring it out and now I can’t imagine going back to writing my novel in Word again.

    I’ll always use Word for all my college works, but Scrivener is my go to tool for creative writing.

    Liked by 1 person

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