MasterType's Writer For Apple
Stephen Levy, Book Editor
Requirements: Apple IIc or Apple IIe with 128K RAM and a printer. A Commodore 64/128 version is scheduled for release this spring.
Does the world really need another word processor? After all, MasterType's Writer does all the things most word processors do. Using direct commands or on-screen menus, you can write, edit, save, search, move, change, find and replace, and print just as you can with most full-featured word processing programs.
So what makes MasterType's Writer special? If you're using it with an Apple IIc/IIe and an Imagewriter or Image writer II printer, and if you need multiple fonts-including some very large print styles-Writer is worth a closer look, even if you already have a word processor. With an Imagewriter or Imagewriter II, Writer can dump an exact copy of what's on the screen to the printer. Writer comes with eight fonts which can be loaded from disk and saved with your text. Among the styles are fonts that print very large type to the screen, quite suitable for use by young children just learning to read; proportionally spaced fonts of various sizes; and a style that is quite suitable for use on a monochrome monitor.
Each font can be edited, so you can modify those provided or design your own completely new font. And once created, you can use the screen dump feature to duplicate text written with the new font on paper.
If you have an Imagewriter II with a color ribbon, it's a simple matter to print text in color-simply underline the text to be printed in green with a green line, blue text with the blue line, and so on. Again, you get an exact copy on paper.
Some Nice Touches
In addition to the fancy printing features, MasterType's Writer includes a few other extras. For example, the on-disk tutorial is well done and is a good introduction to using the program. Many people will return to the tutorial a second or third time even after they've started creating documents.
With Writer's dual windows, you can work on two documents at the same time. You can have an outline in one window and the text you're writing in the other. If you've never used this kind of feature before, you might not miss it; but once you've tried it, you'll wonder how you got along without it. Writer's dual windows have the added advantage of allowing you to decide how much of the screen each window will occupy at any time.
The manual is arranged in alphabetical order with entries for most of the terms you're likely to look up. Usually a term refers you to the appropriate instructions. If you're the type who likes to jump right in, you may find the manual a bit frustrating. But if you've tried the on-disk tutorial, you'll find the manual easy to use. And once you've been using Writer for awhile, an alphabetically arranged manual makes locating information a snap.
Another powerful feature of MasterType's Writer is keyboard macros-you can recall a series of instructions with one or two keystrokes. Macros are especially handy for storing a series of often-used words. If you're writing a book report, for example, you might need to type the author's name or the book's title many times throughout the report. By defining these phrases as macros, you can type them simply by pressing two keys.
Since macros can include program commands as well as ordinary characters, you can create macros for such pur poses as saving your document on disk. Then, whenever you want to save the current copy of your work, you just press two keys.
Ease Of Use
MasterType's Writer gives you the choice of using direct commands-usually accessed by pressing CONTROL and one other key-or menus. Moving through the menus is easy and fast and saves you the trouble of memorizing commands. The menus are ideal for those new to word processing. Direct commands are faster for some functions, but for others save little more than one or two keystrokes. Most people will probably use a combination of both menus and direct commands.
If you revise text often, one aspect of MasterType's Writer you may find annoying is its text entry and editing line. Writer doesn't allow full-screen editing; all text must be entered and edited on the bottom line of the current window. That means you must press the cursor keys to move the line you wish to edit to the bottom of the window. This isn't a problem when first entering text, but later, when editing, you can't see what comes immediately after the line you're trying to alter without continuously moving the text up and down.
For whom is MasterType's Writer most suitable? It should be strongly considered by those who have never used a word processor, teachers or students who plan to use it in schools, Apple users with an Imagewriter printer, or anyone who is unhappy with their current word processing program.
Scarborough Systems, Inc.
55 South Broadway
Tarrytown, NY 10591