Classic Computer Magazine Archive A.N.A.L.O.G. ISSUE 78 / NOVEMBER 1989 / PAGE 121

A Look at WriteNow 2.0

by Clayton Walnum


    Since the release of the Magic Sac cartridge, ST owners have become more and more interested in running Macintosh software on their computers. The Spectre 128 cartridge, which was released by Gadgets by Small last year, has increased this interest enormously by allowing the ST to emulate a Mac Plus and thus run many software packages not usable on the Magic Sac.
    Because Macintosh emulation on the ST has become so popular, we have decided to take a little space each month to give you a quick preview of the most interesting Macintosh software. Each piece of software we recommend here will run on an ST equipped with a Spectre 128 cartridge. We do not guarantee, however, that they will run on the Magic Sac. Some will, some won't.

Introducing WrlteNow
    No one can disagree that word processing is the number one use for a home computer. For that reason, our first ST Macintosh column will give you a preview of one of the top word processors for the Macintosh. WrlteNow 2.0 from T/Maker Company has taken the Macintosh world by storm, giving MacWrite serious competition for the Mac word-processing blue ribbon. Which of the two programs is better depends on whom you talk to, but every day, more and more people seem to be choosing WrlteNow.
    WriteNow is a graphics-oriented word processor, which actually comes close to a simple desktop-publishing program. It combines the now-standard WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) screen display with the ability to import pictures and have up to four columns of text per page. Fonts and font sizes, as well as text styles (bold, italic, underlined, shadowed, etc.) can be easily selected from the menu bar and will appear on-screen exactly as it will look in the final printout. Font sizes can be from four to 127 points. When a new font is chosen, the FontSize menu will show, as outlined text, the point sizes that look best for that font, eliminating much trial and error.
    While most word processors limit you to a certain number of headers or footers (sometimes only one), WriteNow can accommodate as many as you choose. For added flexibility, headers and footers can be set to appear only on odd or even pages. In addition, time and date "variable markers," which are autotrtatically replaced with the current time and date both on the screen and at printout time, can be placed in the headers or footers (or anywhere in a document, for that matter), assuring that your correspondence is always properly dated.

The Ruler
    WriteNow formats each paragraph in your document according to a "ruler," which you may modify to whatever specifications you like. Each paragraph has its Own ruler, and although most paragraphs will share the same style, any number of diflcrent rulers may he used within a document. Margins and tabs are set by dragging them with the mouse from the tab "toolbox;' or from their current position on the ruler, to their new settings. Four types of tabs are available: left-justification tabs (the type you're accustomed to using), right-justification tabs, centering tabs and decimal tabs. Decimal tabs will align numbers at the decimal point.
    Also available on the ruler are line-spacing and text-alignment icons. A simple click of the mouse on one of these icons will cause a paragraph's text to be left-justified, both right- and left-justified, centered, or right justified. Line spacing is changed similarly.
    Changing a paragraph's ruler is a simple process. Place the cursor anywhere in the paragraph you wish to modify, and click on the ruler window. The selected paragraph becomes highlighted, and its ruler appears. Any changes made to the ruler will be reflected immediately on the screen display.
    Rulers may be copied and pasted, allowing you to use a specially formatted paragraph style in scattered places throughout a document without having to redo the ruler each time. This capability offers some of the advantages of "style sheets;" which are usually available only in desktop-publishing programs. Clearly, WriteNow's ruler is one of its most powerful features and is what sets this program apart from its competition.

More Features
    I mentioned previously that WriteNow allows the importing of graphics into your documents. In addition, any graphic element may be resized either proportionately or nonproportionately-another feature typically found in a desktop-publishing program.
    Of course, no full-featured word processor would be complete without a spelling checker. WriteNow's spelling checker sports both a 50,000- and 100,000-word dictionary. Which dictionary you load depends on available memory. The spelling checker is fast and will quickly find suggested spellings for unrecognized words. The program also has the ability to learn new words.
    Above and beyond the major features, WriteNow boasts more helpful functions than you can shake a stick at. The search-and-replace function can operate on "nonprinting" characters, such as spaces and carriage returns, and even supports "wild card" searches where a question mark can represent any character. A "Select All" function allows you to mark instantly an entire document in order to perform global changes. With the "Revert to. . ." function, you can abandon the current document in favor of one of its previous versions up to two generations past. The intelligent Undo feature will not only undo your last action (if it's undoable), but will tell you what that last action was. You can "Show Markers" to see exactly where you've placed items, like headers and footers, "Show Space" to show non-printing characters, including spaces and returns, and "Hide Pictures" to speed up the display by not forcing the program to redraw complicated graphics. WriteNow also has full footnoting capabilities.

The Manual
    No software package is complete without a manual, of course, and WriteNow's manual is terrific. The first few chapters comprise a hands-on tutorial that takes you through the program's main features step by step, with the rest of the volume giving a more detailed description of the program and its many functions. The manual is clearly written in a friendly, disarming style and includes a glossary and a complete, usable index.

If you've got a Spectre 128 installed on your ST, you might want to check out WriteNow 2.0, the winner of MacUser's Editor's Choice award and the program about which Steve Jobs said, "This is the word processor that we designed and built the Macintosh for."
T/Maker Company
1390 Villa Street
Mountain View, CA 94041
(415) 962-0195