Despite its appealing simplicity, I gave up on using FocusWriter early on in my NaNoWriMo project because I didn’t like the way it rendered on screen. As reader Dave quicly pointed out, you can make the software more to your taste with a little tweaking. Here’s how to do it.
I do think FocusWriter is missing a trick by making its default display 8-point text on a grey background (who on earth wants to squint that much?) and by not making the option to change the appearance a little more obvious. There’s a very long word-processing tradition of seeing your font information on the main screen, and while I know FocusWriter is aiming for a distraction-free environment, offering a Themes link on the main toolbar could help.
Anyway, to alter the options, point your cursor to the top of the screen so the menus appear, select Settings, pick Themes and choose Add. I went with 18-point Times New Roman on a white background, and instantly felt much more at home. I don’t normally write in such a large font, but when there’s nothing else on screen it feels more comfortable.
Having made those alterations, I’ve now returned to FocusWriter, since its word count abilities have become increasingly important as the novel-writing project has continued. It’s still not quite perfect — there’s no built-in Australian or British English dictionary and there’s a bug where text suddenly switches into a much smaller font size occasionally — but it should do nicely up until the point when I’m editing for spelling and consistency rather than worrying about producing lots of words.