I have been on the search (passively, that is) for some sort of database type tool to put characters in. I would want/need the basic stuff (height, birthdate, skin color, hair color, etc.) but I would also want to have customizable fields for things. For example Hogwarts house, husband/wife, skills, scars, etc. I'd also want to connect characters to one another and preferably ad a specific description to that connection, but not necessarily. Also, I would like to upload text files or write in text boxes for personalized descriptions so I can describe more than a basic bio and go into detail on things like finances and relationships.

The end product would hopefully allow me to pull up lists like "Allen Family" or possibly characters born in a specific time period. Having tags for character would work for this.

Most importantly I am hoping that it will be free, which I know is asking a lot. I'm not worried about privacy, so something on the internet is fine.

I've just found 'Typing Chimp' but there's no logins or any way to upload photo files, and since I've just started with it I know there will be more problems. I've been using Google Sheets but it's hard to keep track of the web that is characters without the ability to search by something other than file name and without the ability to show lists of minimized information.

Any suggestions?

  • 3
    Sounds like a job for Scrivener. Oct 1, 2015 at 18:17
  • 4
    @NeilFein ::plays Scrivener theme song:: Oct 1, 2015 at 18:39
  • Microsoft Access. This is more or less exactly what it's meant for. You do need to know how to run queries and make tables though. Oct 1, 2015 at 21:59
  • Personally i use Evernote for my notes and characters. You can make here notebooks so notes can be helpfully separated and tagged.
    – Ernedar
    Oct 2, 2015 at 7:25

8 Answers 8


If you like the way Wikipedia is organized with respect to the information of the real world and you'd like something akin to that for your world (even if you choose to restrict it to characters only), you'll be happy to know that you can use their software, MediaWiki. To use it, you only need to set up a local HTTP server that supports PHP (with programs like XAMPP or WampServer, this is a matter of minutes) and you can access it through a browser.

MediaWiki allows you to create parameterized templates that you can then place on your page and pass them specific parameters. For example, infoboxes in Wikipedia (the things that appear on the right side of the page for every person, fictional character, movie, company, country, language, etc) are parameterized templates. Regrettably, the markup language used to define these templates is cumbersome, but at least you won't have to do it too often.

And as you probably know from Wikipedia, MediaWiki will also allow you to write descriptions for your pages, link to other pages, create searchable categories, upload media, etc.

  • There is also a guide that tells you out to export and setup Wikipedia's Infobox Template so you can make your own with your own custom fields (like on the Type-Moon Wikia having things like Magic Circuit Quality and Servant Stat Ranks). i'll hunt down where i put that link
    – Memor-X
    Oct 22, 2015 at 21:40

You could try a relational database (like FileMaker, although that's not free), a mind map (I've never used one, so I don't know what features they have), or some kind of wiki. I use Scrivener with a lot of cross-linking and plain ol' Excel.


I created a personal wiki with Tiddlywiki to keep track of my characters. It works for me and it relatively easy to use. I think a wiki is a useful tool because it is very easy to connect characters, events and places.


I learned about an iphone app called 'A Novel Idea' from a friend which might be useful. It allows you to write quite a bit of information on characters, as well as novels, places, chapters and ideas. The app gives you lots of different slots to write information such as like height, age, species, race, fears, abilities, education, current and previous residence etc. But it doesn't restrict how much you write, allowing you to write brief notes or extensive notes. You can also group characters, so that you can see everyone in a certain family or from a certain novel. It also allows you to state the relationship of various characters, as well as link them to novels, places, chapters and ideas. I can't remember if the app is free, but I don't think it was very expensive. It can be a little confusing at times but it is very useful. I don't know if you can upload info into the app, though I haven't tried.


Hiveword is an application built for creating your story background. You can create characters with it, but I believe it has less fields than you're looking for and no way to connect them.


Some really great ideas here already, and I would offer that software specifically for writers like Scrivener, which allows cross-linking and relating functions, might be ideal.

But also, along the lines of Microsoft Access, which is designed for small desktop tasks like this, I would forward WPS Office by Kingsoft, which offers a free version, or LibreOffice or OpenOffice, which are both free.

You can then experiment, free of cost, with using both a database and a spreadsheet, as suggested by Lauren Ispum.

You might also investigate using yWriter or similar. From yWriter's web page:

    Feature list:
Organise your novel using a project.
Add chapters to the project.
Add scenes, characters, items and locations.
Display the word count for every file in the project, along with a total.
Saves a log file every day, showing words per file and the total. (Tracks your progress)
Saves automatic backups at user-specified intervals.
Allows multiple scenes within chapters
Viewpoint character, goal, conflict and outcome fields for each scene.
Multiple characters per scene.
Storyboard view, a visual layout of your work.
Re-order scenes within chapters.
Drag and drop of chapters, scenes, characters, items and locations.
Automatic chapter renumbering.
... And many more

Hopefully, these answers provide enough information for you to choose the tool which works best for you. :)


I was also searching for a similar tool that would help me in organizing my characters. I stumbled upon Charahub in one of the sites that I visited. You can add a lot of things about each character and also connect them to other characters. There is also an option to group your characters (i.e. group them according to family name). Charachub has free and paid plans.


Do draw from the RPG world. The one sentence NPC has always helped me to flip to page 17 and materealise a character within seconds.

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