The Writer's Tool / word processor / commercial

From: Michael Current (aa700@cleveland.Freenet.Edu)
Date: 04/21/92-07:45:15 PM Z

From: aa700@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Michael Current)
Subject: The Writer's Tool / word processor / commercial
Date: Tue Apr 21 19:45:15 1992

Reprinted from the A.C.E.C. BBS (614)-471-8559

Software Review -- The Writer's Tool
     by Dr. Warren G. Lieuallen
      Reprinted from Fuji Facts
the newsletter of the Atari Computer
       Enthusiasts of Columbus

    The Writer's Tool, by OSS, Inc.
is one of the newer word processors
available for the 8-bit Atari
computers, and luckily is also one of
the better ones.  The program is
supplied in two parts, a ROM
cartridge and a floppy disk, and also
includes exhaustive documentation
(tutorial, reference guide, and a
quick reference card), bound in a
classy yellow binder.

    The Writer's Tool functions
through a variety of menu and
sub-menu systems, which include
Search, Disk I/O, Print, and several
External Functions.  Many of these
system menus are very easy to use,
and contain important information
about the program and the text file
being edited, such as number of
words, total length in bytes, cursor
location, printing format values,

    When booted on an unmodified
Atari 800 XL, the program leaves 23,
219 free bytes in RAM.  This is the
equivalent of nearly 15.5
double-spaced pages.  Text entry is
very similar to any word processor
program--you simply enter the text
from the keyboard, and let the
computer worry about margins, spacing
and the like.  Both "typeover" and
"insert" text entry modes are
supported, with different cursors so
each can be easily distinguished.
Numerous text formatting commands are
available, such as:  automatic line
centering, hard spaces and soft
hyphens, headers and footers, margin
justification, etc.  Other printer
specific features include:  italics,
bold-face, underlining, double-width
printing, sub- and super-scripts, and
more.  One nice feature is the
inclusion of "triple-printing" for
sub- and superscripts, in which the
characters are printed full size, and
either lowered or raised one-half
line.  This may not sound like much,
but no other program that I am aware
of does it, and it really does look
nice on the printed page.

    Many of The Writer's Tool's
printing commands take some getting
used to, as they are distinctly
different from other word processors
you may be familiar with.  This is
not necessarily bad, just different.
First of all, there is no direct way
to control the top and bottom
margins; headers and footers
containing blank lines must be used
to leave some "white space".
Secondly, The Writer's Tool will
begin and end printing wherever the
printer happens to be on the page;
page ejects must always be forced at
the end of the document, and the
paper alignment is slightly more
crucial at the start of a document.
However, these differences are
quickly accomodated (and will not be
noticed at all if The Writer's Tool
is your first word processor), and
should not hamper anyone in the use
of this program.

    Perhaps more importantly, the
print preview function is present,
but somewhat limited.  Activated by a
command from the Print System menu,
only the left 38 columns are visible,
with no screen scrolling available.
While still useful to judge placement
of material on the printed page, this
feature is more limited than in other

    Although not mentioned in the
documentation, an added bonus is the
ability to include graphics within
the body of your text.  With a
special "link-printing" command, any
file(s) with the extender ".GGG" will
be included byte-for-byte as graphics
data, if your printer can handle it.
Although not included with my copy of
the program, a graphics driver to
convert graphic files from Koala Pad,
Touch Tablet, B/GRAPH, etc.  is now
available from OSS.  Unlike some
other programs, by including one byte
to tell The Writer's Tool the size of
your graphic, the page formatting
will not be disturbed, and multiple
graphics may be included anywhere
within your text, with no additional
modifications required!

    One of the External Functions
available is the spelling checker.
This feature alone make The Writer's
Tool a stand-out word processor.  The
spelling checker, which includes a
20,000 word dictionary, is one of the
slickest I've seen.  It begins by
first alphabetizing your text file,
and then searches through the
dictionary.  This process eliminates
looking up repetitions of the same
word, and greatly decreases the
amount of disk access, since
everything is alphabetized.  Many
options are available to add to the
dictionary by creating your own
personalized dictionary, mostly
through a separate External Function
called, appropriately enough,
Dictionary Management.

    A "Mail-Merge" feature is also
available, which accesses the
mini-Data Base included with The
Writer's Tool!  Multiple fields and
records are easily created and edited
to serve a variety of needs.

    There are still lots of features
to The Writer's Tool--this is one of
the more powerful word processors
available for the Atari Computer
Systems.  If anyone missed the
demonstration at the February
meeting, or would simply like more
information, just contact me.  I'd be
happy to discuss The Writer's Tool at
length, and can certainly have a
complete demo at a SIG meeting

 Michael Current, Cleveland Free-Net 8-bit Atari SIGOp   -->>  go atari8  <<--
   The Cleveland Free-Net Atari SIG is the Central Atari Information Network
      Internet: / UUCP: ...!umn-cs!ccnfld!currentm
     BITNET:{interbit} / Cleveland Free-Net: aa700

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