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CamGuides: Software for Academic Use


Writing software

Using a specific writing app can help you to avoid distractions when writing, and can assist in structuring ideas and writing. There are plenty of options available to you, but these are some recommendations.

However, many students will find that Microsoft Word, or Google docs is perfectly fine for their needs. The University has a lot of additional software that students can use/buy cheaply so don't forget to make the most of the resources available to you here. 


Evernote is probably the best known note-taking app out there, and it's really useful not just for writing but also as a way of keeping organised. In Evernote you write notes, organised in notebooks - these can be really versatile, including writing, files, clippings from websites, images - and if you also use Scannable and Penultimate, handwritten notes and PDFs of printed handouts.

Everything on Evernote is searchable, and with the free version you can use it across two devices, so it's a good all round tool for organising your work, making notes and writing assignments.

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Scrivener logoScrivener is a writing app that will help you to focus on the planning and structure of your writing, allowing you to gain a real overview of what you want to write and what you've written. It has a neat corkboard feature where you can jot down and rearrange your ideas so that you can plan how an assignment ought to be structured. As a word processor it'll probably feel quite familiar to you, and everything you produce in it can be exported easily to Microsoft Word and other word processors. If you also use Zotero, you can set it up so that you can cite in Scrivener as you're writing (more on that here).

Scrivener isn't free, but it comes with a really generous trial period so you can definitely try it out before you buy it.

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Gingko iconGingko is a way of writing that relies on an index card approach, allowing you to see, map and track the development of your ideas and your writing through a project - if you're writing a report, essay or longer project it might be the ideal thing for you.

The cards are arranged in 'trees', ranging from general to specific, and you can add images, text and other types of markup to these cards. It's therefore really useful for planning as well as the writing itself. It isn't quite a word processor - it relies on you knowing a little Markdown language before you can use it, but it has lots of support available and this isn't hard to learn. It's free to use on a limited basis, and after that you essentially pay for what you use, so you can try it out before spending any money on it. 

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