Big day on Monday. We’re launching a new product — SmartEdit for Word — aimed at writers who use Microsoft Word as their primary word processor and writing tool.
Why the new product?
The current version of SmartEdit is a standalone product. It’s not tied to any other word processor, though it does work with MS Word, Open Office and RTF files. This is not an ideal situation, as it means the writer needs to turn to a secondary tool once editing begins — SmartEdit. Most writers are comfortable writing in only one software package. It may be Word, it may be Scrivener, it may be something obscure such as PageFour or Q10.
A huge proportion of writers who might be interested in giving SmartEdit a try are deterred by this. They don’t want to use another product to edit their document. They want to continue working in Word, editing a document directly that they can then send to their editor or publisher.
SmartEdit for Word is our answer to this problem. It incorporates most of the features of the standalone version of SmartEdit directly into the MS Word interface. Take a look at the screenshot below.
Once installed a new SmartEdit menu bar appears on the ribbon at the top of Word. The extra sections at the bottom and to the right or left only appear when the user runs SmartEdit.
It’s not identical to the standalone SmartEdit product. We’ve left some things out, and we’ve been able to make improvements to other areas due to the accessibility of certain features in Word.
What did we leave out?
The external reports — PDF, Excel, and HTML reports have been excluded. These options were added to SmartEdit a year ago as a first attempt to handle the very problem outlined above. Writers could load their document into SmartEdit, run the various checks, then output a report that they could use when editing their document in Word.
SmartEdit for Word does not incorporate these reports, as there is no requirement to use the results elsewhere. The SmartEdit for Word results are displayed directly inside Word. We’ve also left out the report printing options, for much the same reason. Printed reports were used to interact with other writing tools just like the report files, and are no longer necessary when using the Word Add In.
I mentioned improvements.
There are two areas that make SmartEdit for Word more powerful than the standalone SmartEdit. Firstly, we’ve expanded on the Punctuation checks, opening up full results lists for a range of possible punctuation issues. The screenshots below illustrates the range of checks now available, as well as one of the new results lists.
On top of this, the results lists now update in real time as you edit your work. This means that if you make a change in response to a displayed result, that result will appear greyed out in the user interface, making it easier to identify areas that you have already addressed.
The screenshots above are taken from the SmartEdit for Word Add In for Word 2013. The interface conforms to that version of Word. If you use an earlier version of Word — 2010 or 2007 — the interface will adjust to fit in with the style of that version. Unless you are using a pink or other unusual theme — we couldn’t get pink to work, but then we didn’t try too hard.
What are the system requirements?
As with the standalone SmartEdit, any version of Windows from XP SP3 on up. This includes Windows Vista, 7, 8 and 8.1. As this is a Word Add In, you need to have a version of Microsoft Word installed on your PC. Supported versions are 2013, 2010, and 2007. If your version of Word is older than 2007, you cannot install SmartEdit for Word. And, it’s still Windows only. If you’re running Word on a Mac, the SmartEdit for Word Add In will not work.
What about Open Office and Scrivener?
Sorry, but no. These sorts of Add Ins only work with one product at a time — a little like apps built for iPhones and not for Android or Windows devices. The mechanism to build Add Ins does not exist across products or operating systems.
Despite the popularity of dedicated writing software such as Scrivener, Word is still the dominant tool for professional writers, which is why we built SmartEdit for Word.
When will it be available?
We’ll be releasing it from this website on Monday, September 18th. A 10 day trial will be available. The download and purchase pages will all be updated to show both products side by side. A license for one will not work on the other. Users will have a choice to make over which of the two better suits their writing environment. Word users will no doubt seek out the new SmartEdit for Word. Open Office or Scrivener users will still be able to use the standalone SmartEdit product.
Existing users of the standalone version of SmartEdit will be offered a large discount on the Word version. Details on this are still being worked out.
If anyone is interested in downloading an early beta, drop us an email and we’ll send you a link. Otherwise, come back on Monday and try the real thing.