Left Is A Minimalist, Distraction-Free Text Editor For Writers

Left text editor for writers

Left is a free and open source distraction-free text editor for Linux, Windows and Mac.

The main goal of Left is to get you to focus on writing. It comes with writing essentials like autocomplete, synonym suggestions and writing statistics, but it doesn't support text formatting, and doesn't have all the bells and whistles found in applications like LibreOffice Writer or Microsoft Office Word.

This minimalist text editor may not be particularly exciting, and it's not for everyone, but if you're working on a long writing project, a clean interface that allows you to focus exclusively on your work may be for you.


  • Autocomplete
  • Shows synonyms as you type
  • Writing statistics (lines, words, vocabulary - unique words, and characters)
  • Fullscreen mode (Ctrl + Enter)
  • Markup navigation and a toggable navigation sidebar
  • Speed reader
  • Quick Inserts: quickly insert the date, time, path, header, sub-header, comments or lines
  • Themes
  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • Basic text editor features like find and replace, change font face (choose between 3 fonts) or size and more

Speed reader related: Read Ebooks Quicker With This Spritz-Like Fast Reading Command Line Software

This is a quick guide on using some of its features:

  • Synonyms: The synonyms of every word you type appears at the bottom of the screen. Press and hold the Shift key, then press Tab to cycle through available synonyms.
  • Speed reader: highlight some text and press Ctrl + k to enable it. Words will appear at the bottom of the application window, allowing you to read the selected text faster. Press Esc to stop.
  • Themes: besides the 3 built-in themes, you can also download a theme pack in which you'll find some SVG images. To apply any of these themes to Left all you have to do is drag and drop the SVG image onto the Left application window.

I also have to mention that Left uses Electron, since I know many of you are not exactly fans of the Electron software framework.

If you're looking for a Markdown editor instead, here are two suggestions:

Download Left

While Left is free and open source software, only its source is directly available on GitHub. To download the binaries you must visit its website (linked in the button above), where a donation box will pop-up upon clicking the download button. You can choose to pay any amount you wish for the tool, and you'll need to enter your email address to proceed. Once you reach the download page, you'll find Left binaries for Linux, Windows or Mac (64bit only for all), and a theme pack.

On Linux you'll need to unpack the downloaded ZIP archive and double click the Left binary to launch it. You can create a menu entry for Left using a tool such as MenuLibre or Arronax.

Special thanks to Panzer for the Left link!