Tagged With word processing

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My favourite thing about Graphite, the new blockchain-based Google Docs competitor, is that it's so much faster. Docs used to be the lightweight alternative to MS Word; now it feels similarly slow and bloated. While I still use it for collaborative work, I've been leaning toward Apple's Notes app in all my solo writing; it's much faster but has some stupid design choices, such as a bad default font and bright yellow link text. (My second favourite thing about Graphite is that it looks crisp and handsome.)

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OS X: When you copy text, sometimes -- if not most times -- you don't want to copy the font choice, colour and other formatting options. You just want the text. TextScrub gives that to you, taking away annoying styles and even replacing commonly-occurring words or characters you don't desire.

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Word processing apps are one of the longest-established categories of software, but developers are still finding new ways to make them better. While traditional word processors opt to pack in as many features as possible, smaller developers aim to perfect the simplicity and ease of writing so you can get more done. That brings us to Write 2, our new favourite word processing app for the Mac.

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The Mac is not lacking in word processing apps, and many aim to serve a specific niche. Nonetheless, we feel Mac OS X's TextEdit is your best option thanks to its focused and helpful feature set, good document format support, and free price tag.

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There are free desktop alternatives (OpenOffice) and online alternatives (Google Docs), but Microsoft Word remains the king of the word-processing pack. Here's five tricks for working with text in Word that you may not know about but that can help make your life simpler.

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Windows only: SoftMaker Office is a free, lightweight office suite consisting of two fast, simple applications. The first, TextMaker, is a Microsoft Word-compatible word processor that runs lean (using around 12MB of RAM on my system) and is surprisingly feature rich. The second, called PlanMaker, is an Excel-compatible spreadsheet app that likewise offers impressive functionality, speed, and an equally light footprint. As if all that wasn't good enough, SoftMaker Office can run off your thumb drive, so it's a no-brainer when you need to open a Word or Excel document on someone else's computer. If you need an occasional word processor or spreadsheet app but don't need all the extra bloat of Microsoft Office, OpenOffice.org, or even previously mentioned Go-oo, this one's worth a try. SoftMaker Office is a free download, Windows only. Thanks johnsmith1234! SoftMaker Office 2006

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Word processors might check your spelling and point out obvious grammar problems, but they can't do much about ambiguity, inappropriate tone or incorrect vocabulary. If you want a real live human to fix up the awkward prose in that assignment or work report, Edit My Text, which offers a pay-as-you-go editing service based in Australia, might fit the bill. Pricing starts at $5.95 to edit 250 words through to $49.95 for a 3000-word piece, with a promised turnaround of 24 hours during the week. We haven't tested it out ourselves, but Lifehacker reader Sasha says it delivers on what it promises: "Heaps of people who don't write well would find this a God-send!"

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Microsoft Word and I have a love/hate relationship that consists of mostly hate—but one feature that does help redeem the bloated word processor is Track Changes. When you're passing a Word document back and forth between, say, author and editor, enable track changes to make Word keep detailed notes about who's done what to the document. Then, the boss can select edits and choose "Accept Changes" to make 'em final. As I slog through the last stage of editing the new Lifehacker book, my various editors and I have been tracking changes all the way. After the jump, get a screenshot of track changes in action.Note: this is Microsoft Word running on my Mac.

You can see there that deletes are shown with strikethroughs, and inserts are underlined. You can also select text and add a comment to it—comments are displayed in the bottom pane.

Tracking changes is one of those advanced Word features most users probably don't touch, but when it comes to version control, it's really useful. How and in what context do you track changes in Word? Let us know in the comments.

How to track and manage changes in a Word 2002 and a Word 2003 document Track changes while you edit in Microsoft Word 2007

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OpenOffice.org has identified a highly critical security vulnerability in its open source word processing package OpenOffice 2.3 and prior versions. In the security advisory OpenOffice.org warned of a security vulnerability in HSQLDB, the default database engine shipped
with OpenOffice.org 2 (all versions) which could allow attackers to execute
arbitrary static Java code by manipulating database documents to be
opened by a user.OpenOffice.org has asked users to update to version 2.3.1 which is unaffected by the security vulnerability in the previous versions. You can download OpenOffice 2.3.1 here.

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Getting Things Done author David Allen calls any kind of productivity trick or system "advanced common sense"—using the smart part of your brain to help out the dumb part in its most feeble moments. The Getting Things Done weblog lists some of its best "advanced common sense," like writing things down, ubiquitous capture and setting up to-do's in their right contexts. For me, hanging up the car keys on the keyrack is the advanced common sense that keeps my dumb future self from running around the house looking for them when it's time to go.

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Reader Harold has kindly informed us that our site's link to the US edition of Lifehacker isn't working, and it seems the other tool for Aussies wishing to navigate to the US site (us.lifehacker.com) isn't working either.
Please rest assured this isn't a conspiracy to keep you from visiting Lifehacker US - it's gremlins at work. We're speaking to the Lifehacker US folk to work out the problem, and hopefully both those tools will be back and running soon. Apologies for any inconvenience.
Update: I should also point out that anyone reading Lifehacker AU is getting *all* of the US content, as well as the extra Aussie content, so you're not missing out on any of the US posts. But if you want to jump back to the US site for any reason, you'll be able to do so once we get the gremlins out of the system. :)

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Webapp TwitterNotes separates notes to yourself from all the other chatter on Twitter. Simply log on to Twitter and type a note to yourself prefixed by the + sign, and check TwitterNotes to retrieve it later. Organise your TwitterNotes with tags by surrounding tag words in the tweet with asterisks, or listing tags at the end of the tweet. For people who love and live on Twitter, this a great way to separate notes to self from other status messages and conversation. If you're looking for a scheduled solution or a way to get consistent reminders, you can try the Twitter timer or Remember the Milk. Otherwise, TwitterNotes should do wonders for those who might be, ahem, tweeting during class or a business meeting.
TwitterNotes