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Text Tools

*Applications using "Cocoa" technology are indicated by an asterisk. Cocoa programs are usually easier to use than others, their text is usually easier to read, and they send files to one another more handily.

†Applications supporting LinkBack are indicated by a dagger. If you copy and paste something from one LinkBack program to another, then double-clicking on the pasted object will bring up the original file in the original application, and editing that file will cause the copied version to change. Several graphics applications work with LinkBack.


The latest version of Apple's word processor is fully compatible with Word but is simpler and more sophisticated. It is comparable to Word for writing but is better for fancy page layouts and has the same user interface as Keynote and Numbers.

Nisus Writer Pro*†

This is a native Macintosh word processor that keeps its files in a generic format (RTF) and can read WordPerfect files as well. This is simpler than Pages but it cannot create such fancy layouts and, unlike Pages, it will not work with Word's "Track Changes".


Scrivener is a book or thesis processor, not a word processor. It provides more tools than any other product for organizing your thoughts and piecing together your prose. Scrivener does not do fancy formatting—you export the document to a word processor for the final copy—but for writing a long document there is nothing like it.


This is more than a word processor, it is a complete office suite that includes spreadsheet, database, drawing and presentation programs. The word processor looks and feels like Word but it will work with generic formats, so that work done one year will not be lost the next, as proprietary formats change. Although NeoOffice uses generic formats, it will also read and write all of Word's formats and will work with Word's "Track Changes". Although its menus are different from Word's, NeoOffice's menus are similar in every mode of the program, so that word processor, spreadsheet and presentations all work similarly. This makes the package as a whole easier to learn. NeoOffice is a variation for the Macintosh of OpenOffice, which is available for every operating system and is an open-source product that is free for the downloading.


Pages is preferable in every way. If Word cannot open a Word file that somebody sent you, try opening it from within Pages or NeoOffice.


A text editor that allows several users to work on the same file simultaneously across the Internet.


A text reader that displays text in columns. This is useful for reading long documents.


A small Oxford dictionary and thesaurus that are supplied by Apple. The dictionaries available through OmniDictionary ere better.


The Web offers a number of free dictionaries and a thesaurus. This accesses them more quickly and conveniently than a web browser.

Nisus Thesaurus*

Accesses the previous version Princeton's WordNet, which is both a dictionary and thesaurus. This is built into Nisus Writer, where it is modestly useful. A newer version of WordNet is available through OmniDictionary.

Taco HTML Edit*

A nice HTML editor with syntax checking.


Typing tutor.


VueScan will perform optical character recognition (OCR) on a bit-mapped graphic to convert it to text.


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