Ready-made packages and installers for novelWriter are available for all major platforms, including Linux, Windows and MacOS. See below for install instructions for each platform.
You can also install novelWriter from the Python Package Index (PyPi). See Installing from PyPi. Installing from PyPi does not set up icon launchers, so you will either have to do this yourself, or start novelWriter from the command line.
Spell checking in novelWriter is provided by a third party library called Enchant. Generally, it should pull dictionaries from your operating system automatically. However, on Windows they must be installed manually. See Spell Check Dictionaries for more details.
Installing on Windows#
You can install novelWriter with both Python and library dependencies embedded using the Windows Installer (setup.exe) file from the main website, or from the Releases page on GitHub. Installing it should be straightforward.
If you have any issues, try uninstalling the previous version and making a fresh install. If you already had a version installed via a different method, you should uninstall that first as having multiple installations has been known to cause problems.
The novelWriter installer is not signed because Microsoft doesn’t currently provide a way for non-profit open source projects to properly sign their installers. The novelWriter project doesn’t have the funding to pay for commercial software signing certificates. You will therefore see an additional warning about this when you download the installer.
Installing on Linux#
If you prefer, you can also add the novelWriter repository on Launchpad to your package manager.
You can add the Ubuntu PPA and install novelWriter with the following commands.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:vkbo/novelwriter
sudo apt update
sudo apt install novelwriter
If you want the Pre-Release PPA instead, add the
Debian and Mint#
Since this is a pure Python package, the Launchpad PPA can in principle also be used on Debian or Mint. However, the above command will fail to add the signing key, as it is Ubuntu-specific.
Instead, run the following commands to add the repository and key:
sudo gpg --no-default-keyring --keyring /usr/share/keyrings/novelwriter-ppa-keyring.gpg --keyserver hkp://keyserver.ubuntu.com:80 --recv-keys F19F1FCE50043114
echo "deb [signed-by=/usr/share/keyrings/novelwriter-ppa-keyring.gpg] http://ppa.launchpad.net/vkbo/novelwriter/ubuntu noble main" | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/novelwriter.list
Then run the update and install commands as for Ubuntu:
sudo apt update
sudo apt install novelwriter
You may need to use the Ubuntu 20.04 (focal) packages for Debian 11 or earlier. The newer Ubuntu packages use a different compression algorithm that may not be supported.
If you get an error message like
gpg: failed to create temporary file when importing the key
from the Ubuntu keyserver, try creating the folder it fails on, and import the key again:
sudo mkdir /root/.gnupg/
For other Linux distros than the ones mentioned above, the primary option is AppImage. These are completely standalone images for the app that include the necessary environment to run novelWriter. They can of course be run on any Linux distro, if you prefer this to native packages.
novelWriter generally don’t support Python versions that have reached end of life. If your Linux distro still uses older Python versions and novelWriter won’t run, you may want to try the AppImage instead.
Installing on MacOS#
You can install novelWriter with both its Python and library dependencies embedded using the DMG application image file from the main website, or from the Releases page on GitHub. Installing it should be straightforward.
Download the DMG file and open it. Then drag the novelWriter icon to the Applications folder on the right. This will install it into your Applications.
The first time you try to launch it, it will say that the bundle cannot be verified, simply press the Open button to add an exception.
If you are not presented with an Open button in the dialog launch the application again by right clicking on the application in Finder and selecting Open from the context menu.
The context menu can also be accessed by option-clicking if you have a one button mouse. This is done by holding down the option key on your keyboard and clicking on the application in Finder.
The novelWriter DMG is not signed because Apple doesn’t currently provide a way for non-profit open source projects to properly sign their installers. The novelWriter project doesn’t have the funding to pay for commercial software signing certificates.
Installing from PyPi#
novelWriter is also available on the Python Package Index, or PyPi. This install method works on all supported operating systems.
To install from PyPi you must first have the
pip commands available on your
system. You can download Python from python.org. It is recommended that you install the latest
version. If you are on Windows, also make sure to select the “Add Python to PATH” option during
To install novelWriter from PyPi, use the following command:
pip install novelwriter
To upgrade an existing installation, use:
pip install --upgrade novelwriter
When installing via pip, novelWriter can be launched from command line with:
Make sure the install location for pip is in your PATH variable. This is not always the case by
default, and then you may get a “Not Found” error when running the