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Subject: Macintosh application software frequently asked questions (FAQ)
This article was archived around: 19 Aug 1997 10:16:15 GMT
Last-modified: September 4, 1995
Frequently Asked Questions about Macintosh Application Software
comp.sys.mac.faq, part 4:
Copyright 1993,1994,1995 by Elliotte Harold
Please see section 5.8 of the general FAQ if you wish to
redistribute, revise or republish this document in any way.
Last-modified: September 4, 1995
Address comments to email@example.com
What's new in version 2.3.4:
1.1: What's the best text editor?
PlainText and Tex-Edit are becoming full-blown editors.
There's a better emacs port available than microEmacs, and
vim is better vi port than Stevie.
Alpha is $30 shareware (up from $25).
1.3: What's the best genealogy software?
soc.roots has become soc.genealogy.computing
Table of Contents
I. What's the Best...
1. Text editor
2. Word processor
3. Genealogy software
5. Integrated application
7. JPEG Viewer
8. Electronic publishing software
9. Drawing application
10. Typing tutor?
11. OCR software?
II. Microsoft Word
1. How can I assign styles to characters in Word 5.x?
2. How can I automatically generate cross-references in Word 5.x?
3. How can I change a Word document to TeX? and vice-versa?
4. How can I depersonalize Word? Excel?
5. Where can I get more information?
1. How can I change the font in TeachText?
2. How do I place a picture in a TeachText file?
3. How do I make a TeachText document read-only?
RETRIEVING THE ENTIRE FAQ
This is the FOURTH part of this FAQ. The first part is also
posted to this newsgroup under the subject heading "Introductory
Macintosh frequently asked questions (FAQ)" and includes a complete
table of contents for the entire document as well as information on
where to post, ftp, file decompression, trouble-shooting, preventive
maintenance and conditions for reproduction, posting and use of this
document outside of Usenet. The second, third, fifth and sixth parts
are posted every two weeks in comp.sys.mac.system, comp.sys.mac.misc,
comp.sys.mac.wanted and comp.sys.mac.hardware respectively. Please
familiarize yourself with all six sections of this document before
posting. All pieces are available for anonymous ftp from
Except for the introductory FAQ which appears in multiple
newsgroups and is stored as general-faq, the name of each
file has the format of the last part of the group name followed
by "-faq", e.g the FAQ for comp.sys.mac.system is stored as
system-faq. You can also have these files mailed to you
by sending an E-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org
with the line:
in the body text where "name" is the name of the file you want as
specified above (e.g. general-faq). You can also send this server
a message with the subject "help" for more detailed instructions.
For access via the Web use
WHAT'S THE BEST... (1.0)
TEXT EDITOR? (1.1)
Available shareware and freeware text editors that can handle more
than 32K of text include PlainText, McSink, Tex-Edit Plus, BBEdit Lite,
Edit II (with grep style searching), Alpha (particularly nice for
working with TeX files), and vim (for fans of vi). The feature
sets of these editors overlap somewhat but are not identical. Since
all are available via anonymous FTP, there's no reason not to try them
all and find the one you like best. See
I use Rich Siegel's BBEdit Lite for the FAQ because it can word
wrap to a specific number of characters and indent lines with spaces.
(You didn't think I did all this nice formatting by hand, did you?)
It's also a very nice programmer's editor. BBEdit has an extensive
interface for adding custom externals written in Think C so if you
need a feature that's not built-in you can add it. Some others
may also miss a macro language that's easier to use than writing
code externals in C which brings us to my second choice.
Alpha ($30 shareware) is a text editor that includes a full
featured implementation of the tcl scripting language and extensive
search and replace capabilities. Emacs users will feel at home
with this powerful program. It's System 7 dependent.
The other feature conspicuously absent from BBEdit Lite is
soft word wrapping. Many people who need this prefer PlainText,
a freeware editor from that can also handle linefeed and smart
quote conversion as well as a lot of the other annoyances of
Edit II has a grep style multi-file search and replace that's
incredibly useful when your boss tells you he wants to change
the format of the copyright notice in 250 HTML files spread out
over thirteen nested folders.
vim is vi-workalike for the Mac. I don't know why you'd want
to use a twenty-year old modal editor on the Mac, but if you
do you can.
Tom Bender's Tex-Edit Plus straddles the line between a text editor
and a word processor. Unlike the other editors profiled here
Tex-Edit Plus includes extensive support for styled text on the
level of SimpleText as well as support for text beyond SimpleText's
Parmet has ported Emac version 18 to the Mac. See
McSink, $45 shareware, is the original Mac text editor. It became the
commercial Vantage, and the shareware version is showing its age, but
it still mostly works. However unlike most of the other editors
here, it still works with System 6. And it has all the basic
features you're likely to need.
WORD PROCESSOR? (1.2)
Word 6.0.1 is big and powerful, and it's going to polarize the market
like nothing ever seen before ( (even earlier versions of itself).
Word 6.0.1 requires a 68020 Mac and System 7. It wants a 68040 or
PowerPC CPU, about thirty megabytes of free hard disk space, and five
free megabytes of RAM (after all extensions and the system software
are loaded). On the other hand Word 6.0 is the first consumer priced
product to provide all the features I need in a word processor
including character based styles, auto-numbering of equations and
figures, a fully programmable macro language and much, much more.
Word is virtually guaranteed to have at least one feature you can't
live without which just isn't available in any other word processor.
For me that feature is outlining. For you it may be styles or
cross-platform support or a mail merge that can be used by
non-programmers. You may not need all the features in Word 6.0, but
chances are good that you need some of them badly. The only
significant capability missing from Word 6.0 is support for non-Roman
Even more importantly between the integrated outliner, fields, active
assistance and the unbelievably powerful style sheets, Word is the
first word processor to do more than merely treat documents as
characters on a page. Contrary to the beliefs of many on the net
and Microsoft's own propaganda, Word 6.0 isn't just "over 150 new
features" tossed in to produce long lists of checkmarks in MacWeek
feature comparison charts. It's the beginning of the first word
processor that more than merely placing characters on the page
actually knows what those characters mean and how they relate to each
other. It is the next step that will take word processors from
helping us type to helping us write. It took me a while to realize
this is what Microsoft was (very quietly) up to. Noone else in the
market is even close to providing this, and Microsoft doesn't want to
tip off the competition. Nonetheless this is the future of word
processing; this is how we will be writing documents in ten years;
and this is the biggest change in the definition of what a word
processor should be since the original MacWrite, and perhaps since
cut and paste.
Finally since Word is the market leader, there's a greater chance
that it will be upgraded and supported in the future, both by
Microsoft and by third parties. Many people have been burned by
committing to word processors that were subsequently abandoned,
leaving them with files they could neither exchange with others nor
convert into better supported formats. Thus it's nice to know that
anyone you send a Word file to will be able to read it, and that any
program which needs to import word processing documents will import a
Word file. And if there is some feature you need that Word just
doesn't have (though I find it hard to imagine what) there's a very
good chance a third party tool exists to provide it. For instance
although the envelope feature in Word is virtually useless, you can
use Easy Envelopes to replace it. On the other hand, there's no
replacement for WordPerfect's imperfect outliner.
Now for the bad news: In the process of creating this completely
new kind of word processor, Microsoft encountered a few problems.
Most glaringly Word 6.0.1 is slow on 68030 and 68020 Macs. The
implementation is causing so many problems for so many people, that
users are abandoning Word in droves. While the Macintosh Word team
at Microsoft continues to attempt to defend their product, they're
pretty much the only ones. Even Microsoft's own technical support is
telling callers "We hate them," (The Mac Word programming team), and
[envelope printing in Word 6] "is proof Microsoft doesn't do drug
testing when they hire programmers."
Finally Word's interface is more like Windows than a Macintosh. (The
menu bars aren't attached to the windows yet, but I'm waiting for
that.) Believe it or not, Microsoft continues to insist that this is
a feature and not a bug, and that their customers want it. By this
they mean that system managers who approve purchase orders for
hundreds of copies of Microsoft products and oversee large,
mixed-platform networks want it. This sort of person is, after all,
Microsoft's real customer. Microsoft has demonstrated little concern
for the individual typing at the keyboard who, after all, doesn't
approve any purchase orders. While making the Windows and Macintosh
versions of Word look and work identically makes technical support
and training easier for management, it makes using the product harder
for the individual Mac user since they essentially need to learn how
to use a Windows program to use Word.
Nonetheless I think Microsoft's vision of word processing is strong
enough to make up for the bugs and the Windows interface. However
that's not a strong enough argument to make up for the snail-like
slowness of the product, so if you don't have a 68040 or a PowerMac
with five free megabytes of RAM you need to look elsewhere. Therefore
since Word doesn't run suitably quickly on my SE/30, I'm still
looking for the ultimate word processor. I hoped WordPerfect 3.1
would be that program but there are still too many bugs in screen
redraw, tables, and the import of Word files for me to feel
comfortable using or recommending it.
WordPerfect 3.1 is close to what Word 5.1 should have been and what
many people wanted from Word 6.0. It's acceptably fast on 68030 Macs
with as little as two free megs of RAM, has just about every feature
of Word 5.1 except outlining, plus a few more commonly requested
features like automatic cross-referencing and auto-numbering of
figures, equations and tables, a macro language, and support for
WorldScript II languages like Korean, Chinese and Japanese (though
not right-to-left languages like Hebrew and Arabic). You can retrieve
a demo from
If you want to upgrade from Word 5.1 but your Mac can't handle Word
6.0 or your stomach can't handle Windows (since Word 6.0, is after
all, just a Windows port) you might find WordPerfect more to your
liking. However be warned that not all of its features actually
work. Many of those that do are incomplete in their current
incarnations. And there are distinctly non-trivial bugs in screen
redraw. Finally Wordperfect Corp. no longer offers lifetime technical
support (though the first 180 days of support are tollfree). As
thrilled as I was to see a real competitor for Microsoft Word, I'm
afraid the initial glow has worn off. I cannot recommend WordPerfect
at this time, primarily because of the screen redraw problems.
Users with limited disk space, 68000 CPUs, or less than four
megabytes of memory may want to consider WriteNow 4.0, a word
processor noted for its speed, small memory appetite, minimal disk
footprint, and small price, about sixty dollars. Unlike the other
products discussed here, WriteNow really is designed first and last
to be a word processor, not a document formatter. It doesn't have an
equation editor, text boxes, an outliner or other features more
associated with desktop publishing than with writing. If all you
want to do is write, WriteNow may be the choice for you. However you
should be warned that after a series of mergers, acquisitions and
product sales WriteNow has found itself in unfriendly corporate hands
and will likely eventually die a quiet death. There are no plans for
any future upgrades.
Users behind the power curve and even those out in front of it may
also want to consider ClarisWorks whose word processing functions are
more than sufficient for basic writing. While more expensive than
WriteNow, ClarisWorks also provides many other well-integrated
features in a small and speedy package.
Almost everyone who buys a computer immediately either buys or
borrows a word processor. Certainly they get one before they get
a modem and net access. Consequently the market for freeware and
shareware word processors is miniscule. Nonetheless there is one.
Datapak's Word Solution Engine Demo 2.2 is a full-featured free word
processor. Don't let the word "Demo" fool you. What Datapak is
demoing is the capabilities of the word processing engine they
license to software developers, not the word processor itself which
is fully functional and free. WSED supports editing files larger
than memory, WorldScript, simple styles and all the standard features
you'd expect in a Macintosh word processor. There's no manual or
technical support, but what do you expect for free? In any case
the program is simple and intuitive enough that neither should be
Among writers of technical documents that include many numbered
equations, tables, and figures, FrameMaker is particularly popular.
This may change now that Word offers all those features, especially
since FrameMaker really is more of a desktop publishing package than
a word processor, and it's priced like one. The educational discount
price for FrameMaker is close to the non-educational, street price of
Word 5.1 or WordPerfect; and competitive upgrades are not available.
When creating a Framemaker document you need to give a lot more
initial thought to the layout of the page than you would with most
word processors. It's much harder to just launch FrameMaker and
begin writing than it is in any of the other word processors.
Finally FrameMaker requires even more RAM than Microsoft Word 6.0!
All these facts convince me that FrameMaker is not well suited to
Many netters swear by (and at) NisusWriter from Nisus Software. If
you're used to almost any other word processor, your first reaction
on launching Nisus may be "What were the programmers thinking?" The
answer is, "Nothing like anybody else in the market." In many ways
Nisus is still trying to catch up with Word 4, not to mention Word 6;
but in many other ways Nisus has been ahead of Microsoft for years.
The feature set of Nisus is almost orthogonal to the feature set of
everything else on the market. For instance as well as the standard
Plain, Bold, Italic and Underline styles, Nisus also includes Lower
Underline, Dotted Underline, Word Underline, esreveR, Strike Through,
Overbar, Invert and more. On the other hand style sheets can't be
based on each other, tables can't span more than a single page, you
can't copy and paste styled text into other applications, there's
no outlining to speak of and the size of the files you can open is
limited by available RAM. It's almost as if someone sequestered a
group of programmers in a lab for the last ten years, and forced them
to develop a word processor with no knowledge of what anyone else
might or might not be doing.
Fancy styles are far from NisusWriter's most important unique
strength. NisusWriter is the only word processor that lets you write
in any or all of Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, English,
Russian, and more. To use non-Roman languages (except Japanese)
requires a separately available ADB dongle (about $100 street); but
if your writing is limited to Roman languages and Japanese, the
undongled edition will serve equally well.
NisusWriter is also renowned for its powerful macro language and
styled-grep search and replace. I've accomplished jobs in minutes
with NisusWriter that hours of AppleScript programming and
WordPerfect macros weren't able to handle. If you have a lot of text
that you want to reformat automatically you owe it to yourself to try
If you're looking for a word processor that can do tables, multiple
width snaking and newspaper style columns, import every picture
format known, and in general double as a desktop publishing package,
you don't want NisusWriter. On the other hand if you need to write
in Hebrew, Arabic, Chinese or many other non-Roman languages you
really have no other choice. You can get a demo from
MacWrite Pro 1.5 is a solid product but has nothing special to
recommend it beyond the name of the company that makes it. If
MacWrite was produced by Friendly Neighborhood Software (tm) instead
of Claris, it would have been eliminated from the market long ago.
After years of abandonment FullWrite has returned to the hands of its
original developers and from there to the retail market. As of this
writing I don't have much information about it but you can retrieve a
demo copy from
What's the bottom line? In open platform competition where every
program gets as fast a processor and as much RAM as it likes, there's
no question that Word 6.0.1 is by far the best word processor for the
Mac. The one exception is if you need to write in non-Roman
languages in which case NisusWriter is the superior choice. However
if we limit ourselves to 68030 Macs with less than three free
megabytes of RAM the choice is a lot less obvious. Word can barely
run on such a system. WordPerfect can't redraw its screen properly
on any system. NisusWriter works but is missing many features users
have come to depend on. All I suggest to Mac users with 68030 Macs
is keep whatever you have now, be it ClarisWorks or an older version
of Microsoft Word, and wait for the next round of releases before
upgrading. You may not have to wait long. As I write this rumors of
WordPerfect 3.5, ClarisWorks 4.0 and NisusWriter 4.1 have just been
released. One thing's for sure: the Macintosh word processing market
is a lot more interesting than it was a year ago.
GENEALOGY SOFTWARE? (1.3)
Leister Productions' Reunion is the most powerful, flexible,
graphical, and easy-to-use Macintosh software for producing family
trees and doing genealogical research. At $115 street it's also
the most expensive. Reunion is available from all the usual
sources of payware software. If all you want to do is chart your
own family tree back a few generations, you may want to consider
the less powerful and less flexible, but considerably cheaper
Personal Ancestry File (PAF for short) from the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter Day Saints (the Mormons for short). It's designed
primarily for easy downloading of data into the Mormons' central
database so it's not as easy to use as Reunion and lacks some basic
features. For instance there's no provision for children of
unmarried couples. PAF is, however, only $35. It must be ordered
directly from the Mormons at
Salt Lake Distribution Center
1999 West 1700 South
Salt Lake City, UT 84104
The product number is #30992 (Macintosh) and an IBM version is also
available. MasterCard and Visa are accepted for a $2 fee. However
your card is charged for a cash advance rather than a purchase so
interest will begin accruing immediately and your credit card
company will probably tack on about a 2.5% cash advance fee.
There are also a number of shareware genealogy programs
including Heritage Genealogy, Our Family Tree, and Gene. See
However these programs are limited compared to PAF and the much more
powerful Reunion. For instance, Our Family Tree's pedigree charts
can only go back five generations as opposed to Reunion's thirty-five.
For more information on all of these programs and many others you
should read the FAQ list for soc.genealogy.computing, available by
sending email to LISTSERV@mail.eworld.com with the words
"GET FAQ MACTOSH" (no quotes) in the body of the message.
Textures from Blue Sky Research is easily the superior
implementation of TeX for the Mac. It's the only TeX for the Mac
that typesets and displays text and equations continuously as the
TeX code describing them is typed, includes PostScript versions of
the Computer Modern fonts, or allows simple copying and pasting of
graphics and formatted pages between TeX and other Mac applications.
If you work with TeX on a daily basis, Textures at $195 student price
is worth a look. Blue Sky Research is famous on the net for technical
support that should be a model for the industry. For more information
send E-mail to email@example.com.
Andrew Trevorrow's OzTeX is not as sophisticated or as Maclike
as Textures, but OzTeX files are somewhat more easily exported
to TeX systems on other platforms than are Textures files. More
importantly OzTeX is only $30 shareware and available from
OzTeX is the most integrated and Maclike of the shareware TeX's.
It's also the only shareware TeX with anything approaching complete
documentation. It's slower than the other programs discussed here,
but does allow background compilation and printing. If you only
need to print or preview an occasional TeX document, get OzTeX.
Tom Kiffe recently released CMacTeX 2.1, a more modular TeX
for the Mac. The different pieces of this full TeX package like
dvipreview, TeX, and METAFONT are all available separately. CMacTeX
is available in both freeware and commercial versions. The
freeware version is available for anonymous ftp at
The freeware package includes information on ordering the commercial
version which costs $25 and adds the "big" TeX and Metafont packages.
Both versions include METAFONT, dvips, and various other TeXie tools.
However both versions require a PostScript printer. Unlike the
other TeX programs CMacTeX cannot print to a QuickDraw printer.
CMacTeX's documentation is somewhat lacking.
Finally Wilfried Ricken maintains DirectTeX, shareware,
$100 for up to three copies, $20 for each additonal copy. It
can be retrieved from
DirectTeX sits on top of and requires the payware MPW. This
provides it with exceptionally strong macro abilities but makes
it by far the least Maclike of the four packages. DirectTeX
supports bidirectional typesetting as is needed for Hebrew and
Arabic. It includes most TeX utilities such as BibTeX, METAFONT,
and various tools for working with .dvi files. DirectTeX is the
fastest shareware TeX and offers the most complete collection of
TeX capabilities and tools.
INTEGRATED APPLICATION? (1.5)
Most software is driven by the needs of power users. Features
are added to sell into the power-user segment of the market since
they're the hardest to please and spend the most dollars. Triple
Omega Paperware Corp. and its competitors need to design cocktail
napkins in 16,000,000 lifelike, mouthwatering colors so
Big Software Inc. has its programmers spend many hours adding
photorealistic color capability to Bloated Draw 7.2. Meanwhile
Father O'Brian finds he needs all the hard disk space on his Color
Classic and more money than he gets in the collection plate on
a good Sunday just to purchase and install Bloated Draw 7.2,
SuperDuperPublisher 3.8, and WhizzyWriter 9.7 so he can make a
brochure with a picture of a hamburger to advertise the upcoming
CYO dinner. Integrated applications provide the tools for Father
O'Brien to create his brochure at a price, both in money and system
resources, that won't require him to rob the poorbox.
Very few Mac users really push our $200 software packages to
the limit. Even people who do use Word 5.1 to the fullest may
not come close to utilizing the power of Excel or Canvas, and
vice-versa. An integrated package omits the 80% of features that
90% of users never touch. Thus we get the 20% of features that
we actually do use in several areas for less than the price of a
full featured application in any one of those areas. Integrated
applications also pack these features into a smaller, faster
package ideal for users with 68000 Macs or small hard disks. The
basic components of an integrated package include a word processor,
drawing application, spreadsheet, database, charting module, and
telecommunications. Some integrated apps also include painting
(ClarisWorks, WordPerfect Works, and GreatWorks), outlining
(ClarisWorks, GreatWorks), and even presentation
ClarisWorks is undoubtedly the best integrated package for
the Mac (which of course means it's easily the best integrated
package anywhere, but you knew that already. :-) ClarisWorks 1.0
did what was previously thought to be impossible. It destroyed a
virtual Microsoft monopoly in a market, something no one had ever
before achieved though many had tried. The virtual dethroning of
market leader Microsoft Works by the upstart Claris ought to
serve as a lesson to any company that thinks market dominance can
substitute for solid, improving products. It also proved for the
first time that even as a wholly owned Apple subsidiary Claris was
capable of turning out a market leading product, something they'd
never done before. With the release of version 2.0 the gap between
ClarisWorks and everyone else became a chasm. Though other
integrated packages like Symantec's GreatWorks and WordPerfect
Works offer a few features not found in Claris Works and vice
versa, (Noone agrees on exactly how much should be included in an
integrated package.) none of the other packages are as well
integrated, well designed, and easy to use as ClarisWorks. I
strongly recommend ClarisWorks as the first software for new
Mac owners, and an essential tool for PowerBook users. See
The best professional's spreadsheet is undoubtedly Microsoft
Excel. While there are occasional reasons one might want to use
Lotus 1-2-3, Wingz or Resolve, they all fall into the "If you have
to ask..." category. Since development has ceased on all three of
Excel's competitors, I recommend that you do not buy any payware
spreadsheet except Excel unless you absolutely must.
However if you're less than a real power user of
spreadsheets, you may want to take a look at two excellent
demoware packages, BiPlane and Mariner which retail for about 20%
of the street prices of their payware counterparts and offer the
20% of spreadsheet features 90% of spreadsheet users spend 100%
of their time using. Both are available from
You may also want to consider one of the integrated packages
such as ClarisWorks. For less than the price of a full-blown
spreadsheet, you get a medium-sized spreadsheet with all the
basic features except macros, and a damned good word processor
and graphics package to boot. See
JPEG VIEWER? (1.7)
Aaron Giles' JPEGView previews JPEG files on Macs running
System 7. Kevin Mitchell's GifConverter, $45 shareware, can read
and dither JPEG's on any Mac running System 6.0.5 or later. See
ELECTRONIC PUBLISHING SOFTWARE? (1.8)
Professional electronic publishers tend to swear by either
QuarkXPress or Aldus Pagemaker, typically because they haven't
tried the other package. The interface metaphors of the two
products are quite different, and forcing your mind to switch
between the two is non-trivial. However many people have made the
effort to switch to Quark. Few have moved the other direction
Quark offers more control over the placement of objects on the
page and various color effects than does PageMaker. This makes
Quark particularly popular for advertising and other layouts
that don't look like traditional books and magazines. For instance
I can't imagine laying out Mondo 2000 or Spy in PageMaker. In
Quark it might actually be fun. This is not to say that such
things can't be done; the MacWarehouse catalog is done with
Pagemaker; but Quark is certainly easier to use for this sort of
free-form layout. Pagemaker fits a more traditional layout like
MacWeek's where everything fits neatly into non-overlapping
rectangular columns and boxes with occasional pull quotes.
Aldus has been playing catch-up with Quark for several years
now, and with the recent release of PageMaker 6.0 they may finally
have pulled even. The two products still aren't equal (Quark's
XTensions are superior to Aldus Additions; PageMaker's book
publishing features like automatic indexing are non-existent in
Quark.) but they are roughly comparable. PageMaker is a little
more expensive, but Aldus provides much better support. For
users just starting out I recommend PageMaker.
Many people choose PageMaker because its simpler interface
makes it easier to use for simple black and white newsletters,
books, and other printed matter that doesn't push the art of
electronic publishing to its limits. However if this is all
you want, you may be surprised at just how well today's word
processors fit your needs. With text and picture boxes,
styles, multi-column capabilities, sectioning, EPS import,
and many other features traditionally associated with desktop
publishing, word processors like Word 6.0, WordPerfect 3.1,
and even ClarisWorks can do a surprisingly professional job
when producing relatively simple documents. These features
may not be obvious (especially in Word 6.0) but they are
present, and for considerably less money than Pagemaker.
DRAWING APPLICATION? (1.9)
For sheer artistic capability MacroMedia Freehand and Adobe
Illustrator have been playing leapfrog with each other for years. As
of this writing I consider the race too close to call. For day-to-day
work most people feel more comfortable with whichever program they
learned first since the interfaces of the two packages are somewhat
different. I will note that Illustrator is by far the more popular
package, at least in the New York City graphic design community,
where jobs that require Illustrator vastly outnumber ones that
Both Illustrator and Freehand are designed for tasks that would
traditionally have been accomplished by freehand drawing. If your
drawing tends more towards the technical than the artistic, you'll
probably be happier with Canvas 3.5 which has a superior interface
for object alignment and drawing to scale. Illustrator and Freehand
can do pretty much anything Canvas can and vice-versa; but having the
right package does make particular jobs easier. If your pictures
will consist mainly of smooth curves, Illustrator or Freehand will
suit you better.
All of the above packages are geared toward serious artists and
professional designers and are priced accordingly. For occasional
drawing by non-professionals any of the integrated packages such
as ClarisWorks or even the drawing modules of WordPerfect or
Microsoft Word will likely serve well for a substantially smaller
investment of time, money, and disk space.
TYPING TUTOR? (1.10)
Almost everyone agrees that Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing
($34 street) is the best typing tutor program though some, including
myself, would qualify that by noting that it's the best of a bad
lot. It includes all the standard bells and whistles one would
expect from a typing tutor including statistics, typing games, and
practice text plus a few extras like a Dvorak mode and a manual
that's considerably more interesting and fun than the program
itself. Mavis Beacon has its flaws (It expects you to type two
spaces at the end of a sentence, and its Dvorak mode doesn't work
with a genuine Dvorak keyboard.) but these are shared by the
competitors as well. Two Hypercard typing tutors are available from
These aren't the equal of Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, but if price
is your only concern download them and try them out.
OCR SOFTWARE (1.11)
OmniPage Professional ($500 street) is far and away the best
optical character recognition package for the Mac. However for
considerably less money ($75 street) Xerox TextBridge does a
perfectly adequate job of basic recognition without all the bells
and whistles of OmniPage Pro.
MICROSOFT WORD (2.0)
HOW CAN I ASSIGN STYLES TO CHARACTERS IN WORD 5.x? (2.1)
Once you've used character based styles it's almost impossible
to imagine document formatting without them. After all, just because
you want equations to be formatted in 10 point I Times Italic or
references to menu choices in 12 point Chicago doesn't mean you want
the entire paragraph in that font; but that seems to be the only
choice Word 5.1 and earlier offer. (Word 6 has true character based
styles.) It's truly a shame that a program that makes
working with styles so easy via its ribbon bar and customizable
command key equivalents that can be attached to common styles doesn't
let the user attach styles to less than a paragraph of text at a time.
There is, however, a work-around. Unless you're one of the
fifteen people who actually use color text, you've got six unused
character formats called Blue, Cyan, Green, Magenta, Red, and Yellow
available in the Format Character dialog box and via user-assignable
Command-Keys. (There's also Black and White but using those two will
mess with the normal appearance of your document.) Pick a color for
each different character-based style you want to use and mark your
text with the appropriate color. Then, before saving the document,
do a global Find and Replace for each color; i.e. find the color and
replace with the style attributes like font and font size.
HOW CAN I AUTOMATICALLY GENERATE CROSS-REFERENCES IN WORD 5.x? (2.2)
Matthew Nodine's WordRef 1.4.1 (shareware, $25) uses some truly
inspired hacks to make cross-referencing and auto-numbering of
figures, tables, sections, equations or whatever else you might care
to count almost simple. (It gets genuinely simple in Word 6.0 where
these features are built directly into Word.) WordRef will also
automatically generate BibTeX style bibliographies. The writer
defines variables for each reference or number series while writing.
These variables can be operated on by various arithmetic and logical
operators (so a little programming experience is helpful though not
absolutely necessary.) When you're ready to prepare a draft, WordRef
will resolve all references and citations into Word PrintMerge
variables. Then PrintMerge produces the final output. The procedure
is more complicated than it would be if Microsoft incorporated these
features into Word, but for the moment WordRef should serve most
users' cross-referencing needs well. See
HOW CAN I CHANGE A WORD DOCUMENT TO TEX? AND VICE-VERSA? (2.3)
Brian Jefferies of the University of New South Wales has
written the program RTF->TeX to convert files Word files saved in RTF
format into plain TeX files. RTF->TeX is less than robust. Among
other deficiencies it ignores paragraph and character formatting
and will not handle equations written with the Equation Editor
(though it will try to convert equations written in Word's built-in
formula setting language.) However RTF->TeX is a useful tool to
handle a lot of the grunt work of preprocessing documents before
finishing the conversion by hand. See
Erwin Wechtl and Alex Viskovatoff have written a similar though
less polished tool called rtf2LaTeX for converting RTF files to
Fernando Dorner and Andreas Granzer have written a UNIX
based program to go in the other direction. See
Design Science's MathType, the payware from which Word's
Equation Editor is derived can convert Equation Editor equations
into TeX (though it can't convert the rest of the document). Call
Design Science at (310) 433-0685 for ordering info.
HOW CAN I DEPERSONALIZE WORD? EXCEL? (2.4)
BEFORE installing any software you should lock all the master
disks, make a backup of all the master disks, and install from the
backups. Since some installers now check for specific bits on the
installer floppy, use DiskCopy to make the backup of the master
disks. DiskCopy also copies floppies more quickly on a one-floppy
system than the Finder. This is especially true for recent Microsoft
applications like Word and Excel that write personalization info on
the master disks. If you need to do multiple installs such as from
the single set of disks Microsoft sends with its site licenses, you
don't need to make a backup for every computer you'll be installing
on. Instead just copy the original, pre-personalization Installer
application onto your hard drive and replace the one on the floppy
with the clean copy from your hard drive after every install.
If the disks have already been personalized, get the freeware
program Anonymity 1.2 from
Make a copy of Word on your hard drive and then "Zap" it with
Anonymity. This removes the personalization information. The next
time Word is launched it will prompt you for the personalization
information. If you're using Word 5.0 or 5.1 you'll then be asked
to insert the "Install" disk. Don't! Instead click Cancel. Word
will now display a dialog telling you how nice it's being for letting
you use your software even though you're obviously a nasty, evil
pirate. Click OK. Then quit Word. Launch Word again, cancel out
of the dialog asking for the Install floppy again, acknowledge the
anti-piracy message again, and quit Word again. Repeat this three
more times. The sixth time you launch Word it should have given up
on ever getting you to give it the master Install floppy and will
stop asking for it.
Depersonalizing Excel 4.0 is a little trickier. You'll need copies
of the master disks to do this. You'll also need Anonymity and some
utility like ResEdit or FileTyper that can change file types. Make a
copy of the first installer floppy. Use your file-typing utility to
change the type of the *installer document* on the new floppy to
"APPL" from its original type of bbkr. (four letters, all caps, no
quotes). Then run Anonymity to depersonalize the installer document.
Next change the filetype of the installer document back to "bbkr"
(four letters, no caps, no quotes). The new floppy should now be
fully depersonalized. This process can also be use to depersonalize
Word 5.x's installer floppies should that ever be necessary.
You can still depersonalize Excel 4.0 even if you don't have the
master disks. To do this you'll need a copy of ResEdit including
the Code Editor.
First make a copy of the Excel application. You're going to perform
some pretty nasty hacks on this and you want a backup if anything
goes wrong. Then launch Excel, and check the serial number (in the
About Box). Write this number down.
Quit Excel and then open it in ResEdit. Open the pcod resources
and open pcod resource 2. Select Find ASCII... from the Find menu
and search for the serial number. It's stored there, unencrypted.
The user and company names are stored just above this, encrypted.
The encryption algorithm isn't obvious to me, but it is one-to-one,
e.g. 86 (hex) is always a space. By permuting the finite number of
possible values you can create a chart mapping the actual characters
to their coded hex equivalents, and then use this chart to write out
the personalization info you want.
HOW CAN I CHANGE THE FONT IN TEACHTEXT? (3.1)
Make a copy of TeachText 7.0 and open the COPY with ResEdit.
Open CODE resource 1. You'll probably be warned that the resource is
stored compressed and that opening it will irreversibly decompress
it. Click OK. Scroll down to address 4A88. You should see the hex
string "0001 A887". A887 is the call to TextFont(). The four hex
digits preceding it (0001) are the font ID. Change this number to
the ID (in hexadecimal) of the font you want. Monaco would be
0004. (It may be something else if Monaco has been renumbered
on your system.)
To change the size go to the next line (4A90) and look for
"000C A88A" A88A is the call to TextSize(). The four hex digits
preceding it are the size of the font to be used. Change "000C" to
the size (in hex) you want. For instance 0009 is nine-point, 0010
would be sixteen point.
Changing the font and size can adversely affect the way
TeachText displays embedded pictures which most commonly occur in
read-only TeachText documents (the ones with the little newspaper
icons) so you may want to finish your modifications by deleting FREF
resource 130 to prevent your modified TeachText from opening those
files. Save your changes and quit.
HOW DO I PLACE A PICTURE IN A TEACHTEXT FILE? (3.2)
I recommend the shareware program Belgian Postcards by
AIGS and Karl Pottie. While the interface is not very well
thought out, it does make placing pictures in TeachText
documents easier than any other utility or technique. See
HOW DO I MAKE A TEACH-TEXT DOCUMENT READ ONLY? (3.3)
Use ResEdit or any other file typer utility to change
the file's type to 'ttro.' The above-mentioned Belgian
Postcards will also save (and edit) files in this format.
Elliotte Rusty Harold