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Tools for Writers

These are some free online tools we use to help us start writing, keep writing, or think about writing in different directions.

Brainstorming and Invention

  • Bubbl is an online brainstorming machine. You can map your ideas in a bubble map that you can save, print, export, and more. This really helps us pull together our ideas and see how they are linked (or how they could be)!
  • Stormboard is a tool you can use with a group to organize ideas and brainstorm. We find the shared whiteboard and “sticky note” features very helpful to communicate ideas during a group project.
  • 750 words is an online word processor that counts your words and keeps track of how many words you write each day. We have successfully used it to motivate us to write more and more often.

Organization and Notetaking  

  • Evernote is a tool you can use on your laptop, iPad, or smart phone. It allows you to create and organize lists of all kinds (from to-dos to quotes you want to remember for your big research project…).
  • Zotero is a tool “that automatically senses content in your web browser, allowing you to add it to your personal library with a single click.” We find it very helpful during research projects. 
  • Delicious helps you save and organize hyperlinks (which you can then access from any computer!). Very helpful when it comes to keeping track of resources you’re using for research projects.

File Sharing and Composition

  • Google Docs is, at its core, an online word processor, much like Word. But it allows you to share your work, in real time, with other writers in order to ask questions, develop, and revise your work. We use Google Docs for our online tutoring. We have also used it for collaborative writing and peer response work.
  • Dropbox is a file sharing system you can use to store your own files, share them with individuals, or share them with groups. You can invite people to view them (check out our handouts links—it uses Dropbox) or invite people to share them, so they can also edit them (great for group projects). Check out the handouts we're sharing with you through Dropbox

Creating Multimodal Projects  

  • Animoto is a tool for making videos set to music with images you select. We have used it to create multimodal projects and to create a specific mood for images.
  • Wordle creates a word cluster based on the text that you paste into its system. We have used this tool to figure out the most important ideas, words, and concepts present in a draft. Plus it makes really cool graphic art!
  • Flickr using a Creative Commons filter when we search, we use Flickr to find graphics we can include in multimodal projects. Want to learn more about Creative Commons? Visit search.creativecommons.org.
  • Prezi, like PowerPoint, Prezi can be used to create slides for a presentation. Prezi incorporates movement and can grab your audience’s attention.
  • YouTube can be a great place to find videos to incorporate into your multimodal project! Vimeo is another place where you can store and share videos you create for multimodal projects.
  • Issuu can be a helpful place to share your work with your audience. You upload a PDF file of your project, and Issu puts it into a platform where it looks like you’re flipping through an eBook. It also generates a URL for your published project.

Blogging and Web Site Platforms  

The following sites allow you to create a blog for free. You can personalize the look to match your tastes. We have used them to stay in the practice of writing and to share our ideas (about writing or otherwise):

The following sites allow you to create and post websites online for free. You can use its templates to create a neat looking website very easily, no HTML knowledge needed. We have used these to create websites for all kinds of writing project.

Did you know that Ball State offers students, faculty, and staff personal web space? Click here to learn more about iWeb. Tech Support can help you get started today!

The Writing Center
Robert Bell Building (RB), Room 295
Ball State University
Muncie, IN 47306


Monday-Thursday 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Friday 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.


Monday-Thursday 10 a.m. - 11 p.m.

Friday 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Saturday 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Sunday 5 p.m. - 11 p.m.

Phone: 765-285-8370
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