Suggestions: What would get me to leave Word...

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scottwhitlock
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Suggestions: What would get me to leave Word...

Post by scottwhitlock »

I was a long time user of NWC but switched to Word a while ago. I have been using the demo of Nisus Writer Express 2.0.1 for a few weeks now, and I have to admit that I am very impressed. Typing is responsive, pages scroll fast, text looks amazing, and it is, in some ways, the best alternative word processor on the Macintosh today. I especially like the customizable palletes and the intuitive interface. I read a review that NWE just feels right, and I'll admit, it has the best feel of any word processor I have ever used.

However, I can't leave Word just yet, although I want to because it has this horrible thing where when you type, there is a slight (and sometimes not so slight) delay after you hit the key. This might sound anal retentive, but it drives me up the wall, and it distracts me when I'm trying to write. NWE, thankfully, does not.

And back to NWE. What keeps me from switching:

1. No outlining support in NWE. Say what you want about Word, but outlining in the program is easy and intuitive: tabs work the way they do in OmniOutliner and creating a quick or complex outline is equally easy. I believe it's even better than AppleWorks, which has a great outlining feature itself. I wish that NWE would provide full support for outlining that is both intuitive and powerful (Melell has failed miserably at this).

2. Some way to do an automatic Table of Contents. Word's is easy, because it is based on styles. Melell's is counterintuitive (I still haven't figured out how to do it, even after reading the manual time and again).

3. Recording Macros. Can you record macros in NWE? I don't know Perl. I don't want to learn Perl. I just want to create a macro easily. (I could live without this feature, but I don't want to).

4. When writing my syllabi for classes, I rely heavily on tables. Some of my tables need to stretch over multiple pages (one table, many pages). Word can do this, NWE cannot.

5. Hyphenation in NWE is iffy sometimes. I believe this is a bug that is being worked on, though. I would also like to have hyphenation options (how many lines between hyphenation), but first, I would just like it to work.

6. Image support. A lot of people may argue that a word processing program should not be a page layout program, but I would argue that in some simpler respects it should, especially on the insertion of images. I know that NWE has this feature, but there's no wrapping options at all that I can find.

To me, these are basic things that a modern word processor should have, and I don't think it would "bloat" the package at all. Although the features above would get me to switch, here are a few of my dream features:

1. What happened to the mini layout buttons just above the ruler that were prominent in every Classic program except for Word? Buttons like justification, drop down menus for font, style, and size, and dropdowns for paragraph style. I miss those buttons. :)

2. A built-in dictionary, with definitions and everything.

3. Comments, comments, comments (particularly, importing Word's comments). No one else can do this, can Nisus?

4. A paragraph control that would allow me to "keep with next".

I know this is a pretty extensive list. However, I do want to reiterate that you have so much right in NWE. It is a damn fine word processor. I would like it to be a perfect word processor.

Scott Whitlock
Last edited by scottwhitlock on 2007-09-19 00:28:08, edited 1 time in total.

charles
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Post by charles »

Hi Scott:

Thanks for your interest in Nisus Writer Express and for your great feedback about what features are important to you. Mostly all of the things you have mentioned are on our to do list here and we want to get to them as soon as possible! There are a few things on your list I think we already do. In particular:

<ul><li>Tables can stretch across multiple pages in NWE. Are you having trouble making this happen?</li>
<li>For english, you do have a dictionary with definitions: its Nisus Thesaurus! Just stop on a word in your document and wait for the red thesaurus icon to appear in the Language palette then click on it. This should bring up thesaurus with your word selected and definitions showing.</li></ul>

I hope this little list helps. We continue to work on the other features you mention so hopefully it will not be too long before we have something out that will let you switch entirely!

Cheers,
-Charles
[/list]
Charles Jolley
Nisus Software, Inc.

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scottwhitlock
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Post by scottwhitlock »

Ahhh! I stand corrected on both. I never have clicked on the red icon...I don't know why. And yes, my tables did stream across multiple pages. I could have sworn I tried this before and it didn't happen.

Well, that's two down...:)

WattsM
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Post by WattsM »

While I'm sure you're probably working on some kind of internal outliner, have you considered adding OPML support along with that? Once NWX has the concept of outline levels, it'd be very easy to support that kind of import, which would work with most outliner programs -- and unless you got into some really serious outlining functionality, I'm sure I'm not the only one who'd probably keep futzing around with larger outlining documents in OmniOutliner or Hog Bay Notebook. :)

Blain Hamon
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Post by Blain Hamon »

At the risk of Me-Tooing, I have to second the request for good outlining software. I must admit that I downloaded NWX for that sole purpose, and when searches in the help for 'Outline' found nothing, I quit the program and unmounted the disk image.

OmniOutliner and Hog Bay Notebook have both suffered similar fates, as both have the same 'dealkiller' aspect: By separating plaintext from the structure, I can no longer have a way to overview the entire outline, and can no longer tell which sections are finished as opposed to incomplete. The best behavior I have found so far is Word 5.1(!) but it is more than showing its age. Currently, my workaround is to use BBedit Lite with plain text far-indented. To hide the plaintext from the structure, I turn off word wrapping.

Ideally, I would like it to have not just outline support but a way to divorce structure from format akin to HTML and CSS. A very useful bonus would be the ability to make certain styles 'hidden'. I would use an outline/brainstorming-friendly style sheet to hierarchically organize my thoughts. All levels/styles showing and collapsable.

Then, without changing the document, bringing in a different style sheet that would change the layout to one more befitting a white-paper. Chapter headings would remain visible, albeit not indented, but subsection headings would be hidden, leaving the underlying plaintext directly visible.

After printing or outputting to web page (Which probably would have a different style sheet), I could then apply a presentation style sheet, which hides the plaintext levels, and the subsection headings (that were redundant in the white paper) would become key-points in slides.

This is my must-have feature.

WattsM
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Post by WattsM »

While I don't know what NWX may have in its future, for better or worse, there aren't many outliners or word processors that do what you're looking for, no. In my experience many word processors use "outline" as a synonym for "numbered list." Word's outline mode is something distinct from that--a separate view of the document, treating different styles as structure elements.

I've read that Inspiration and Tinderbox are both outliners which can place note text directly under their headers, which is what it sounds like you're looking for. OmniOutliner 3 will also have this ability, according to what I've read. (I've been reading about it for nearly a year now, mind you, so I have no idea when the Omni Group is going to get around to releasing it.)

Francois_75015
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Post by Francois_75015 »

As I like me-tooing, I add my voice to this request

Sure, a good Outliner is missing in NWE ! I have to admin that Word manages outline and TOC in very intuitive way : you define your text levels (Heading 1,2,3, etc.) in a stylesheet, you use it in your text...And building a TOC is as simple as a single clic (or so ;)


Francois
Francois - from Paris

I bought an iMac G5 just for using Nisus Express ;)

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