Dabble vs Scrivener - Which One to Choose?

October 31, 2023 930 views

Are you a writer facing the daunting decision of selecting the perfect tool for your creative journey? The clash between Dabble and Scrivener presents an intriguing dilemma. But fear not, for we're here to unravel this conundrum and guide you through the maze of choices. In this article, we'll help you navigate the path to your ideal writing companion, ensuring your words flow effortlessly from mind to manuscript.

Part 1. Introduction to Dabble & Scrivener

1. What is Dabble



Dabble provides an intuitive and organized workspace for authors, helping them focus on their storytelling. It offers a clutter-free environment, creative tools, and seamless project management.


  • Wide Availability: Accessible on various systems via the cloud-based browser app.

  • Simple Organization: Provides an easy-to-navigate interface with automatic chapter breakdown and plot section.

  • Goal Setting: Built-in goal-setting to track daily word count with customization options.

  • Focus Mode: Enhances concentration with auto-fading toolbars and full-screen mode.

  • Helpful Tools: Includes a thesaurus, "Read to Me" feature, and grammar, style, and spell check.

  • Customization: Customize themes, auto-focus, typewriter scrolling, and more in Preferences.

  • Project Settings: Collaborate with co-authors, choose formatting options, and assign colors for authors.


Dabble offers two pricing plans:

  • Free plan: Includes access to all essential features, including the scene organizer, word count tracker, and cloud storage

  • Three subscription tiers: Basic, Standard, and Premium with annual billing options.

Pros and Cons


  • Simple, Clean Interface: Dabble's user-friendly interface is accessible even to tech novices, making it easy to start writing.

  • Great Goal Setting: Dabble's goal-setting features are practical for planning daily or weekly writing targets.

  • Excellent Plot Grid: Dabble's plot grid feature is user-friendly and ideal for writers who need detailed plot mapping.

  • Focus Mode Is Superb: Focus mode enhances concentration, and users can toggle it on or off with ease.


  • Pricing: Dabble's subscription model may be less cost-effective than one-time purchase options for some users.

  • No Import Options: Limited options for importing MS Word or Google Docs files, although copying and pasting work.

  • No Book Formatting Options: Dabble lacks features for formatting and exporting print-ready PDFs or EPUBs, requiring users to seek additional formatting tools or services.

Supported Devices

Dabble is available on all major platforms, including Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android.

Dabble is a good option for writers of all levels, from beginners to experienced users. It is easy to use and offers a variety of features that can help writers plan, write, and edit their work. The free plan includes access to all essential features, so writers can try out Dabble before they commit to a paid subscription.

2. What is Scrivener



Scrivener is a versatile and powerful writing software designed to assist authors, novelists, academics, and other writers in the process of drafting, organizing, and editing their works. It's known for its feature-rich environment that enhances productivity and creativity.


  • Corkboard and Outliner: Visualize and organize your project with a corkboard and outliner view.

  • Split-Screen Editing: Simultaneously view and edit different sections of your work.

  • Research Integration: Easily integrate research materials and references into your writing project.

  • Compile and Export: Compile your work into various formats, including e-books and print-ready manuscripts.


Offers a 30-day free trial. Full versions for Windows or Mac OS cost $59.99. An educational license for students and academics is available for $50.99. A bundled package for Windows and Mac OS costs $95.98. The iOS app is priced at $23.99. Existing Scrivener 1 users (Windows) and Mac users with older versions can upgrade to Version 3 for $25.

Pros and Cons


  • Comprehensive Writing Software: Suitable for various writing projects, including screenwriting, academic writing, and blogging.

  • Reasonable One-Time Fee: Offers a cost-effective pricing model compared to some competitors, with a free trial available.

  • Highly Customizable: Many features can be tailored to suit individual preferences.


  • Limited Compatibility: Not compatible with all operating systems; requires Windows 7 or later or Mac X. Scrivener 3 for Windows is not yet available.

  • Lack of Dedicated Dictionary/Thesaurus: While it has a basic spelling and grammar checker, it lacks a dedicated dictionary or thesaurus. Users can find alternative resources online.

  • Learning Curve: Users need to familiarize themselves with specific terminology (e.g., folders, binders, compiling) and invest time in learning to fully benefit from the software.

Supported Devices

Scrivener 3 is available for Mac OS 10.12+ and Windows 8+.

Scrivener is a good option for serious writers who need a powerful and versatile writing software program. It offers a wide range of features that can help writers plan, write, and edit their work. However, Scrivener can be overwhelming for new users and has a steep learning curve.

Part 2. Detailed Comparison: Dabble vs. Scrivener




User Interface

Intuitive and user-friendly

Feature-rich but may be overwhelming

Project Organization

Linear and straightforward

Binder system for complex projects

Cloud-Based vs. Local

Cloud-based, accessible from anywhere

Local software installed on your PC

Goal Setting

Built-in goal-setting feature

No built-in goal-setting feature

Learning Curve

Short learning curve for beginners

Steeper learning curve due to features

Exporting and Formatting

Basic export options, limited formatting

Advanced formatting and export options


Subscription-based, annual or monthly plans

One-time purchase with free trial


  • Choose Dabble If:

  • You're a beginner or prefer a straightforward writing tool.

  • You want a cloud-based solution accessible from any device.

  • Goal setting and progress tracking are essential for your writing routine.

  • You value simplicity and a shorter learning curve.

  • Choose Scrivener If:

  • You have complex writing projects with extensive research and organizational needs.

  • Advanced formatting and export options are crucial for your work.

  • You're willing to invest time in learning a feature-rich tool.

  • You prefer a local software solution for privacy and data control.

Part 3. How to Download and Install Dabble & Scrivener


Step 1: Open your web browser and go to the Dabble download website by following this link: Dabble Download.

Step 2: On the Dabble download page, you'll find options for Windows, Mac. Choose the version that corresponds to your operating system (e.g., Windows or Mac).

Step 3: Click on the download link for your chosen operating system. Your browser will begin downloading the Dabble installation file. It's usually saved in your computer's default downloads folder.

Download file

Download file

Step 4: After the download is complete, navigate to your computer's Downloads folder to locate the Dabble installation file. The file should have a name like "DabbleInstaller.exe" for Windows or "DabbleInstaller.dmg" for Mac.

Step 5: Double-click on the Dabble installation file to start the installation process.



Step 6: Once the installation is finished, you can launch Scrivener by searching for it in your computer's applications or by clicking on the Scrivener icon, if available on your desktop.

sign in

sign in


Step 1: Open your web browser and go to the Scrivener download website by following this link: Scrivener Download.

Step 2: Scroll down the Scrivener download page to find the available versions for Windows and Mac. Choose the version that matches your operating system (e.g., Windows or Mac).

Choose system

Choose system

Step 3: Click on the download link for your chosen operating system. Your browser will prompt you to save the installation file. Choose a location to save it, or it may download automatically to your Downloads folder.

downloaded file

downloaded file

Step 4: After the download is complete, locate the installation file on your computer. The file may have a name like "ScrivenerSetup.exe" for Windows or "Scrivener.dmg" for Mac.

Step 5: Double-click on the Scrivener installation file to begin the installation process.

doubclick file

doubclick file

Step 6: When you launch the application, you will be greeted with a notification informing you that you are in trial mode (or that your trial has ended, if you have already exceeded your 30-day restriction).



Part 4. Best Free Alternative to Dabble & Scrivener -  WPS Writer

WPS Office

WPS Office

When it comes to modernized and powerful office tools, WPS Writer stands out as a versatile word processing application. Whether you're a seasoned writer or just embarking on your writing journey, WPS Writer can be your trusted companion. This free application simplifies word processing, offering a seamless experience across various systems. Its modern interface and rich set of functions make document creation and editing a breeze.

Advantages of WPS Writer

  • Free to Use: WPS Writer is free, making it accessible to all writers.

  • Template Variety: It provides a wide range of templates for various documents.

  • Rich Features: WPS Writer offers comprehensive functions for diverse writing needs.

  • Lightweight: Despite its features, it's a lightweight application.

  • Online Compatibility: Easily integrates with online document platforms.

  • Safety: Ensures the security and stability of your work.

WPS Office- Free All-in-One Office Suite
  • Use Word, Excel, and PPT for FREE, No Ads.

  • Edit PDF files with the powerful PDF toolkit.

  • Microsoft-like interface. Easy to learn. 100% Compatibility.

  • Boost your productivity with WPS's abundant free Word, Excel, PPT, and CV templates.

5,820,008 User
Algirdas Jasaitis


Can I use Dabble or Scrivener for academic writing?

Both applications are suitable for academic writing, but Scrivener's rich research and organizing capabilities may appeal to academic writers who must handle a considerable quantity of research material and citations.

Can I switch between Dabble and Scrivener if my needs change?

Without a doubt. Both systems enable you to import and export your work, so you may switch between them as your writing needs change.

Can I collaborate with others on a writing project using Dabble or Scrivener?

Both of these software programs offer powerful collaboration features that allow you to share your work with others in real time, track changes, and communicate with your collaborators.

Can I import/export my work from Dabble or Scrivener into other writing software or formats?

Yes, you can easily import and export your work from both Dabble and Scrivener into various formats, providing you with the flexibility to work with your content in different writing tools or share it in the preferred format for your specific needs. This feature allows you to seamlessly integrate your writing into your workflow or collaborate with others who may use different software or formats.


In this comparison of Dabble and Scrivener for writing in 2023, we've explored their features and suitability for different writing needs. Dabble is user-friendly and goal-oriented, making it ideal for beginners. In contrast, Scrivener is a robust, versatile tool best suited for complex projects.

Additionally, we've introduced WPS Writer as a powerful, free alternative, offering a modern and feature-rich word processing experience. With this, you have a range of options, and for those seeking a free and dynamic writing tool, WPS Writer stands out.

15 years of office industry experience, tech lover and copywriter. Follow me for product reviews, comparisons, and recommendations for new apps and software.