Q10 – portable dark place for writing

q10_icon I often start my posts with few words on how life led me to the topic for today.

Today I was tired (it’s HOT here lately) and in no particular mood to write so that led me through my research bookmarks to Q10 – text editor that urges to adopt distraction-free writing.

What it does

Q10 has very minimalistic interface - full dark screen (or whatever color you change it to) where you type text.


Personally I find it quite calming but also slightly annoying because it lacks convenient controls. Only thing beside text on screen is status bar on the bottom, that can be configured to display various statistics or turned off altogether.

Most of controls are tied to hotkeys and list of those can be displayed by pressing F1.

Strong features

Q10 is concentrated on writing process and productivity (while many text editors get too busy with making result look cool).

It has a number of very fitting features:

  • display of statistics - from characters to pages;
  • support for automatic corrections;
  • support for text expanding;
  • setting goals as amount of text to write;
  • setting alarms if your time is limited;
  • and it makes charming retro typewriter sounds.

Needs and wants

I can’t say writing in English is challenge for me. However writing quickly, accurately and without misspelling similar words – often is.

While Q10 has version with optional spell checker, check process must be deliberately called. I find that disruptive and less convenient than real time checking in Windows Live Writer.


Tiny and completely portable app that is quite good and what it does - setting right mood for some writing in plain text. I find it charming but for blogging text would require copying it to WLW and post-processing anyway. Which makes process more complex – something I try to avoid.

Still I will definitely keep it around for hot and tiresome days like this. Sometimes a little darkness and calm sounds is exactly what is needed for inspiration.

Home&download http://baara.com/q10/

PS as proper in such cases this post was completely written in Q10 and I overdid my 300 words target by 18 percent :)

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  • Alek Davis #

    This is one of the most elegant apps I've ever tried. Excellent program.
  • Robert Palmar #

    Elegant is the word, Alek, yes. This app is brilliant in its simplicity. Q10 is my favorite "writer" and I use it whenever I need to get in writer mode. One warning Rarst, the app can become addictive.
  • Rarst #

    @Alek Davis Yep, elegant is good word to describe it. "Dark room" editor isn't really new idea but this one gets it quite right. @Robert Palmar Fortunately mess of importing and reformating final text in WLW acts as decent coolant for addiction. :) But I will be in danger if I find something similar with option of XHTML markup (at least paragraphs).
  • Robert Palmar #

    @Rarst I can see how Q10 would not be suitable for site postings as in your example. Importing and reformating into WLW sounds inefficient. Q10 excels as a stand alone writer when you want to concentrate on what you want to write with no distraction.
  • Rarst #

    @Robert Palmar Yeah, that's about my opinion. :) Most of my writing is blogging so I might look into similar editors that are more blogging-friendly.
  • Robert Palmar #

    I have given Q10 its own file extension, .q10, together with the Q10 icon and save all writings from Q10 in that format. This easily distinguishes all Q10 files from other saved documents and Q10 can open them directly. I have added other editors to the right click menu of Q10 files in order to change the files in ways Q10 cannot should I need to including any reformatting.
  • Simple plain text to HTML conversion in AutoIt | Rarst.net #

    [...] had recently posted about minimalistic Q10 text editor for writing. My only gripe with it that for all benefits of plain text it needs cumbersome reformat when pasted [...]
  • Nihar #

    Thanks will check this editor.
  • Rarst #

    @Nihar As Robert warns above - can be addictive. ;)