Classic Computer Magazine Archive CREATIVE COMPUTING VOL. 11, NO. 1 / JANUARY 1985 / PAGE 75

State-of-the-art spelling checker; CorrectStar. (evaluation) Russ Lockwood.

CorrectStar, a spelling checker, is the latest addition to the MicroPro family of "Star" software. It works with the WordStar word processor, MailMerge file merger, and StarIndex index creator.

CorrectStar uses a 65,000-word main dictionary based on the American Heritage Dictionary published by Houghton Mifflin. MicroPro boasts that CorrectStar contains 99.2 percent of the most frequently used words in the English language. For speed, a 9000-word subset of the main dictionary loads into RAM.

Of course, some words, especially industry-specific terms, are included in that .8 percent not contained in the main dictionary. Not to worry. CorrectStar allows you to create a 1500-word personal dictionary.

Like other spelling checkers, CorrectStar flags misspelled words. However, CorrectStar also offers alternative spellings based on phonetic and linguistic algorithms developed by a research team uner Henry Kucera of Brown University.

CorrectStar uses a menu-driven format. Your options include: replace a word with the suggested alternative spelling, show another alternative spelling, show another alternative spelling, enter a correction from the keyboard, bypass the mispelled word, and add the word to the personal dictionary. The section of text containing the mispelled word is displayed at the bottom of the screen so you see where the word is used and in what context.

Loading in the sample text, we were amazed by the efficiency and ease of finding and changing misspelled words and typos. "Afishal" became official, "garrulus" became garrulous, and a host of common and not-so-common words were inserted in place of the mispelled words.

Of course, CorrectStar performs flawlessly with a sample provided by MicroPro, but does it work with actual day-to-day writing? How about a different sample with simple, but premeditated, gaffs, goofs, and good old fashioned typos?

In tests, CorrectStar scanned tens of thousands of bytes of documents and flagged every misspelled word quickly. CorrectStar flags every word that is misspelled and even some that are not.

Unique words were quickly entered into the personal dictionary, and alternative suggestions took care of the rest.

Next, we gave it an especially tortuous sample. We deliverately kept the words simple and included some words that were spelled correcty but used incorrectly. The first alternative spelling displayed, whether it was right or not, was accepted. The result appears as Figure 1. Plusses

CorrectStar flags every error and generally offers a correct alternative. It is fast, complete, and very easy to use. It includes a word counter, soft hyphens, and on-screen help.

One especially handy feature is the automatic reformat. If you make a spelling change that either increases or decreases line length, the program automatically reformats the paragraph and presents you with a ready-to-print WordStar file. A Minus

CorrectStar requires two disk drives, one for the main dictionary, and the other for the file. Unless you have a third disk drive for WordStar, you must either pull out the WordStar disk and insert the CorrectStar disk, or have your file on the WordStar disk itself. It takes only a few seconds to switch disks, but if you intend to check many files, this can be a nuisance.

If you own a hard disk, you do not need to worry about switching disks, and there is little to prevent you from enjoying an advanced spelling checker. And In Between

CorrectStar flags every word that is misspelled and even some that are not. For example, in this article, it flagged "mispelled," "bypass," and "incorrectly" as well as names, including its own. Most of the time, CorrectStar provides an alternative spelling, although the program seems at a loss for words when confronted by a name. MicroPro boasts that CorrectStar suggests the single, most likely word 80 percent of the time. As our sample shows, this is a reasonably accurate statement.

One last point. CorrectStar is a spelling checker, not a usage checker. It does not distinguish between "passed" and "past" or "sum" and "some". If the word is spelled correctly, the program will not flag it, even if it used incorrectly.

CorrectStar is an intelligent spelling checker. It flags the mispellings and typos, offers workable alternatives, comes packed with features, and operates from WordStar. CorrectStar should be a welcome addition to your WordStar word processing system.

Products: CorrectStar (computer program)