Tagged With word processors

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So you're still using Microsoft Word. Seems like an odd decision in the year 2017, but I didn't come here to judge. I'm legitimately curious why some people continue to pump their money into the MS Office Suite, despite mounting evidence that the software offers shitty security and a historically terrible user experience. So why bother?

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Microsoft Word is easily the biggest, most popular word processing program available, but it does a lot more than just edit text and TPS reports. If you've been telling yourself that you'll finally learn Word's ins and outs, now's the time to actually learn how to edit styles and add a table of contents.

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Recently, Google released a revamped version of Quickoffice for free to the Play Store. Now, the company has two office suites with nearly identical interfaces. Which one should you use? Productivity blog Make Tech Easier attempted to answer that question.

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Mac: Dumping out all of your ideas into a computer isn't easy. The formatting is often too rigid to just throw down a load of words and make connections later. Scapple is a piece of software currently in beta that works something like a freeform text editor so you can get rid of ideas quickly.

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Windows only: Add-on utility WriteSpace turns Microsoft Word 2007 into a distraction-free writing environment with the push of a button—making productive writing easy. Once installed, switching to distraction-free mode is simple—go to the View tab and click the WriteSpace button to immediately switch into full-screen mode with a slick animated effect. The writing area can be resized by moving your mouse to the left until the divider lights up, and dragging the window to your preferred size. You can always turn Word into a distraction-free editor without additional software, but this utility makes it dead simple. WriteSpace is free and open source, available for Windows only. Thanks, Aaron Parker!

Writespace

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Zoho, the ever-improving online editing suite, is rolling out Zoho Writer 2.0, comprising of a serious overhaul of the menu and writing interface and features pulled from user requests. Along with the new drop-down menus pictured above, the ubiquitous Zoho sidebar now sports a search feature, multiple document selections by holding Control and clicking, and a few other improvements. The documents themselves get auto-insertion of header and footer fields, word and character counts in the status bar. All in all, Zoho Writer now has a striking resemblance to your average word processor, and a lot of the buttons and options explain themselves a bit better.

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Windows/Mac/Linux: TextFlow is an Adobe AIR-based word processor with a new and innovative take on document collaboration. Rather than offer real-time updates when multiple users are working on a document like Google Docs, Zoho Writer, or previously mentioned Gobby, TextFlow imports multiple Microsoft Word documents, analyses all of the differences, and provides robust tools for merging, accepting, or rejecting any of the changes therein by a master editor. Say, for example, you send a document to several co-workers. Even if you track the changes, you'd still need to manually merge all the suggestions and changes into one document once they got back to you. On the other hand, you could drag and drop all of the documents into TextFlow and let it analyse the differences, making it significantly easier to create a single document using the best changes available and without making mistakes. When you're done, just export the final result back to a Microsoft Word doc. If you're still not entirely convinced, check out TextFlow's intro video for a better idea of how it works.

TextFlow

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Windows/Linux: Free application Go-oo is a fork of the popular Microsoft Office alternative OpenOffice.org focusing on speed and greater compatibility. If you've ever used OpenOffice.org, Go-oo's load speed may blow your mind the first time you launch it, and it maintains a relatively small footprint while you're using it. The actual look and feel of Go-oo is the same as OpenOffice.org because it's essentially the same application (it's even still called OpenOffice.org). It is, however, stripped of some of the new features available in OO.org 3.0. Go-oo is free, Windows and Linux only. If you're a frequent OO.org user and you give it a try, let's hear how it compares in the comments.

Go-oo

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Windows only: Jarte is a free portable word processing application built on the framework of Microsoft Wordpad. Don't be deceived by its spartan lineage though; Wordpad serves only as the undercarriage of Jarte's feature set. Jarte is designed around the most frequent needs of the average user. By putting commonly used tools and features in the menus immediately accessibly by the toolbar buttons, users aren't left digging through menus when they'd rather be writing. Jarte supports tabbed based word processing, dictionary files, spell check, and a favourites system for bookmarking favourite folders, files, and fonts. Jarte is freeware, Windows only. Thanks cohomology!

Jarte

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OpenOffice.org only (Windows/Mac/Linux): The Sun PDF Import extension imports and edits PDFs with the free Microsoft Office alternative OO.org. Rather than import the PDFs into the Writer program, the extension works with OO.org's Draw application. Once imported, you can still edit text or other portions of the document. The extension isn't perfect, but it appears to be under active development and could come in really handy under the right circumstances. The Sun PDF Import extension is free, works wherever OpenOffice.org 3.0 does. Want to learn more about whether OO.org can replace Office? Check out our first look at the latest release. Sun PDF Import Extension

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Being on top of your grammar is a skill that takes years of practice to refine into unthinking craft, but even the most word-minded among us can trip up when it comes how keyboards transpose our thoughts. Blogger Christopher Phin releases his inner copy editor and points out 10 errors one sees everywhere in digital writing, mostly due to not knowing what characters go exactly where. As someone who over-uses the "m-dash" a bit, I was glad to get schooling in the finer points of horizontal lines:

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If you're constantly nagged by writer's block or struggle to find the motivation to start your work, the LifeClever weblog has a tip to help you get started. Instead of launching an imposing behemoth like Microsoft Word, call up your humble email program and begin your next writing piece as a simple email...It's my favorite psychological trick for fooling the brain into thinking a writing task is less critical than it is. In addition to being more convenient and relieving pressure, LifeClever argues that using email to begin your work helps make your writing more concise and sound more conversational.
Unstuck Your Writing With an Email

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Typos are bad enough when they result in gibberish like "procedurw," but words that are close together and technically correct—like "manager" and "manger"—will easily slip by Word's spell check. If you find yourself making those kind of situational typos often, the Productivity Portfolio blog can walk you through creating an "Exclude Dictionary" to have Word's checker prompt you whenever it finds certain words. That way, you're the one who decides whether you meant the guy who deploys and manages work or the staple of nativity scenes. What are your biggest spell-check frustrations? Offer up your knuckle-whitening gripes in the comments.
Catch Mistakes with Word Exclude Dictionary

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Windows/Mac/Linux: The OpenOffice.org2GoogleDocs extension imports documents from Google Docs and Spreadsheets to OpenOffice.org and exports from OO.org to GDocs so you can work with your docs both online and off as you see fit. Whether you're primarily a Google Docs or OO.org fan, this desktop-to-web integration seems like an excellent way to take your docs with you whether you're online or off, and if nothing else is a quick and simple way to backup your local documents to the internet. The OpenOffice.org2GoogleDocs extension is free, works anywhere you've installed OpenOffice.org (Windows, Mac, or Linux). Web site DocSyncer is looking to do similar things for your Microsoft Office docs, but right now it's in an invite-only beta. OO.org2GDocs is here right now.
OpenOffice.org2GoogleDocs