Hemingway Editor Help

How to use Hemingway Editor

What's the Hemingway Editor all about?

Hemingway makes your writing bold and clear. It's like a spellchecker, but for style. It makes sure that your reader will focus on your message, not your prose.

Too often, our words are like our thoughts — innumerable and disorganized. Almost any bit of writing could use some cutting. Less is more, etc.

So, the Hemingway Editor will highlight (in yellow and red) where your writing is too dense. Try removing needless words or splitting the sentence into two. Your readers will thank you.

Readability grade levels

What makes writing understandable? Researchers have explored this question in a field called "readability." Part of their work focuses on the average grade level needed to understand a piece of writing. Hemingway Editor Plus builds on these insights to help you produce text that is bold and clear.

A common mistake is thinking that grade level defines your target audience. This couldn't be more wrong. In fact, writers like Ernest Hemingway produced novels for adults that score at a 5th-grade reading level. After all, straightforward writing appeals to everyone, regardless of their education level. Skilled authors prioritize accessibility without sacrificing depth or sophistication.

At the same time, writing at a 15th-grade level doesn't make your work more intelligent. Rambling phrases and run-ons inflate grade levels, but they confuse readers. Dense sentences overwhelm your working memory like trying to remember a long phone number. You might have to reread a line several times to figure out what it's saying.

Using long, pretentious words is another way to make your writing less readable. People use complex words to seem intelligent, but it often backfires instead. You don't want to sound like you spent too much time with a thesaurus.

To help you notice sentences that are difficult to read, Hemingway highlights them in yellow. For even more difficult sentences, it uses a red highlight. Don't fret if your text lights up like a Christmas tree, though. With a few changes, you can get your writing ready for even the toughest critics. And, Hemingway Editor's AI can suggest fixes with a single click.

Remember: our highlights and scores are only a guide. They show areas that might be an issue, but you don't need to fix every yellow or red sentence. Instead, focus on the worst offenders and try to bring your overall score down. Some long sentences work well, especially when they're describing a narrative or a chain of logic. Our brains are good at following those structures. Don't feel like you have to aim for conciseness at all costs. Your writing might end up sounding choppy like a news headline. Instead, write clearly and save longer sentences for emphasis or to add a pleasing bit of variety and rhythm to your writing.

Write and edit modes

Begin your document by clicking the "Write" button. This will fade out the editing tools, transferring Hemingway into distraction-free writing mode. Here, you can work out your first draft free from our highlighting.

Once you're finished, click "Edit" to transition back to editing mode. Now you can make changes with real-time Hemingway feedback. Tighten up your prose, clear the highlights, and then share your work with the masses.


Adverbs are like verbs' kryptonite (for non-nerds, they weaken them.) Instead of these verbal atrocities, switch over to a more powerful verb. For instance, instead of saying that someone is “walking slowly” you can say they “tip-toed” or they “crept.” That way, your writing is more vivid.

To help you cut the adverb scourge from your work, Hemingway highlights them in blue.

Words that can be simpler

One of the best ways to make your writing easier on readers is by eliminating words that are too complicated. While many people “utilize” big words to sound more educated, you should “use” more common synonyms if they exist. If you don't believe me, just take Papa's word for it:

“Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words? He thinks I don't know the ten-dollar words. I know them all right. But there are older and simpler and better words, and those are the ones I use.”

If your “objective” is to make your writing less verbose, you can reach your “goal” by checking our purple highlights. Mouse over those little bits of pomposity and we'll give you a better alternative.

Passive voice

When it comes to writing, confidence is key. AND YOU DON'T GET IT FROM WRITING IN ALL CAPS. Instead, removing passive voice can give your writing James Bond levels of swagger. Ensure that the subject of your sentence is doing the action, not being acted upon. For instance, “John threw a ball” is better than “the ball was thrown by John.” The first one has classic elegance; the second sounds like a Jeopardy clue.

While passive voice can deflate your writing, it can also hide deep within. To help you smoke it out, Hemingway highlights every instance in green.


Hemingway comes equipped with a utility belt of formatting goodies. When you click on your writing, you'll see a formatting bar appear at the top.

You can bold, italicize, bulletize, numberize(?), and even turn your a highlighted bit of text into a link. You can also turn paragraphs into different heading sizes.

But what if I want to break the rules?

Rules are meant to be broken. If you know what you're doing, don't let us stop you. View our suggestions as just that.

But, don't think you're above sloppy sentences. They happen to all of us, and a helpful nudge can be all we need to get it right.

Hemingway Editor Plus

What is Hemingway Editor Plus?

Hemingway Editor Plus is an optional, paid add-on for the Hemingway Editor. It fixes your writing using AI-generated suggestions for highlighted sentences. It can also adjust the tone, length, formality, or persuasiveness of a passage.

What is the difference between the Hemingway Editor and the Hemingway Editor Plus?

The Hemingway Editor is our base plan. It highlights wordy sentences and common writing errors so that you know what to fix.

Hemingway Editor Plus adds on new cloud-based generative AI tools to offer suggested fixes for each highlighted issue. With a click you can fix issues or adjust the tone, length, formality, or persuasiveness of a passage.

Hemingway Editor Plus also allows you to adjust the target grade level of the editor. You can relax things for academic and technical writing. Or, make the editor more strict for more accessibility or younger audiences.

Why is Hemingway Editor Plus a subscription?

While the Hemingway Editor can highlight text on your computer, the Hemingway Editor Plus can actually fix them using AI. This cloud-based AI helps you save time and spark fresh ideas. That AI magic requires an ongoing cost, but makes up for it with huge time savings for you.

How do I fix my writing with Hemingway Editor Plus?

To fix a highlighted sentence, first click on the highlight to see an explanation of the writing error. Then, click "Fix it for me" to generate a suggested fix.

You'll see your original sentence in the top box alongside the preceding and following sentences for context. Hemingway's suggested edit will appear in the box below.

You can also fix whole paragraphs at a time. To get started, highlight a passage of text and then click the "AI tools" button in the toolbar at the top. Then, click the "Improve & clarify" tool. This will use AI to improve the readability of all the sentences you've highlighted.

How do I change tone, length, or formality with Hemingway Editor Plus?

A key part of editing is making sure your words strike the right tone for the audience. Hemingway Editor Plus can help.

Editor Plus includes tools for changing the tone, length, formality, or persuasiveness of your prose. You can make it sound friendlier, more confident, shorter, more casual, etc.

To get started, highlight the text you want to change. Then use the "AI tools" menu in the toolbar to pick the right tool for the style you want. You can even use the tools back-to-back for more complex adjustments.

How does the Team Plan work on Hemingway Editor Plus?

The Team Plan allows you and your colleagues to each use Hemingway's AI, but pay a single bill each month or year. The team plan also gives each user 10,000 AI sentences to use per month. You can invite colleagues to your team from the "Team" page, linked from the menu in the top right of the app.

How do I cancel my Hemingway Editor Plus trial?

No action is needed. All Hemingway Editor Plus trials will end on their own, without charging you, after the 2-week trial period has ended. The only way to be charged for Hemingway Editor Plus is if you elect to sign up for a paid plan and enter your payment information.

Why didn't Hemingway Editor Plus lower the grade level of my sentence?

Sentence grade levels are calculated based upon the number of words in a sentence and the complexity of those words. In most cases, Hemingway's AI breaks complex sentences into shorter ones. This makes them easier for readers to follow.

However, some sentences can't be broken apart well. This is especially true for those containing technical terms or long lists. In these instances, we'll provide a message letting you know. We also won't charge you a credit for these generations.

Why does Hemingway Editor Plus mark suggested fixes with red or yellow highlights?

Hemingway Editor Plus simplifies text while preserving your tone and meaning. Some sentences, like those with bigger words or long names, might still be pretty complex even after editing. That's why each suggestion comes with its own reading level score. You can easily check if it's easier to read than the original text, even if it still gets a red highlight.

We recommend treating each highlight as a suggestion rather than a hard and fast rule. Don't be afraid if you see a few highlights in your writing as long as the full text reads as well as it can.

How do I change the editor's reading level target?

Hemingway Editor Plus allows you to adjust the editor's target grade level. You can relax things for academic and technical writing. Or, make the editor stricter for better accessibility or younger audiences.

To change the target reading level, click the settings button next to the "Readability" heading in the right sidebar of the editor. Then, select the target reading level you want to use.

How do I import or export files?

Hemingway Editor Plus users can import or export files to and from the editor. This makes it easy to bring your writing into Hemingway Editor Plus from other apps, or to export your work to Word docs, HTML, or Markdown for easy sharing and publishing.

To import or export a file, click the "File" button in the top toolbar of the editor. Be aware that Hemingway cannot retain formatting from imported files that is not supported, like tables, images, or custom styles.

How do I change the editor's dark mode setting?

Hemingway Editor uses your operating system's dark mode setting by default. Editor Plus subscribers can choose to set the Editor to always use either light or dark mode, regardless of your OS dark mode setting.

To change the dark mode preference, click the Menu button in the Editor's top-right corner. Then, select "User Settings." This will open the settings page, where you can set your dark mode preference.

Need more help?

Send us an email (support@hemingwayapp.com) and we'll do our best to help as soon as we can.