Thesis Writing 101: Essential tools and apps to make your life easier

Writing a thesis requires careful planning, organization, and execution. Fortunately, there are numerous tools and apps available to help streamline the writing process, increase productivity, and ensure that your thesis is well-crafted. As a student wrapping up the experiments and writing the master’s thesis, today I will write about the tools that I’ve been using that helped and supported me a lot during the last few months.

Reference management

Keeping track of references and citations is an essential aspect of thesis writing. Reference management software like Zotero, Mendeley, or EndNote can help you efficiently organize your sources, create bibliographies, and cite references in your thesis according to your preferred citation style. I use Zotero which is free, easy to use and has an add-on for Microsoft Word. Personally, the add-on has been a life-saver, as I don’t need to keep track of the citation numbers or style and can change all these things with a click. All of these tools also offer features such as PDF annotation, and collaboration options (if you want to share the articles you have found with your supervisor).

Writing and editing

Most KI students are international and most of us use English as our second language, so it is normal to make grammar or spelling mistakes. However, writing a thesis requires clarity, coherence, and precision. Writing and editing tools such as Grammarly, Hemingway Editor, and ProWritingAid can help you with these kinds of mistakes. I use Grammarly to catch these mistakes early on. However, all these tools offer suggestions for sentence structure, grammar errors, and word choice, allowing you to refine your writing and convey your ideas more effectively.

Mind mapping

If you are stuck in your writing process, mind mapping can be a valuable technique for this. I use it while brainstorming ideas with my supervisor, and structuring my thesis outline. There are numerous tools like XMind, or Freeform (free app on Mac). However, I usually use paper and a pen (not always have to be Gen-Z 😂) to sketch ideas and have a mind/road map. I definitely recommend this technique if you are struggling with how to structure your thesis or ideas in your head.


A good calendar is always needed to be time efficient. It is good to not forget your tasks, but also it is a good indicator of whether you are living a balanced life or not. I use my calendar daily and add everything I might forget immediately. There are lots of calendar apps out there, however, I got used to Google Calendar and now it is my lifesaver. I suggest trying out apps or writing down your daily schedule.

Backup and sync

Protecting your thesis work from loss is essential. Backup and sync tools like Dropbox, Google Drive, or Microsoft OneDrive (KI students have a subscription to this) provide reliable cloud storage solutions for backing up your thesis documents and ensuring that your work is securely stored and accessible from anywhere. These tools offer automatic syncing and version history, so if you accidentally delete something you always have a way to save it :). In addition, I use these tools to file share with my supervisor as some of the data that I produce are too big to store on my own computer.

Note-taking apps

Gathering and organizing research materials is an integral part of thesis writing. Note-taking tools like Evernote, OneNote, or Notion provide a centralized platform for capturing ideas, taking notes, and storing research findings. Notion app can get a bit complicated, so try to learn how to use it efficiently before the project starts :). For easy use, I use Google Docs to take notes since I’ve discovered some add-ons that are very helpful on that app and it is also directly synced to my accounts. It is very important to utilize note-taking tools as you don’t want to miss out on anything you did 3 months ago while writing your thesis.

Hope you will find some of these tools useful and write a great thesis! Good luck with your experiments/writing!

If you have any questions you can drop a comment below or send me an e-mail.

See you in the next blog!

Yagmur - Molecular Techniques in Life Science

Yagmur - Molecular Techniques in Life Science

My name is Yağmur, and I am from Turkey. I am a student on the Master’s Programme in Molecular Techniques in Life Science. Living in Sweden and studying at KI started as a dream, yet here I am (my life motto “everything is possible” still holds until further notice). In my free time, I like watching movies and listening to music from all around the world. I enjoy sharing my experiences in life. So, if everyone is ready, welcome to my blog and let’s begin the journey…


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