1. psychotick
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    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

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    Microsoft Bookshelf

    Discussion in 'Software' started by psychotick, Feb 17, 2011.

    Hi,

    Not sure if this is the right forum to post this in, but just a quick question. I use microsoft bookshelf when I write, but my version is old - 1997 I think. Its a good programme has a dictionary, thesaurus, encyclopedia, quotes etc, and is very useful. But bookshelf was discontinued I think when Encarta came out.

    Is there another more modern reference programme suite out there?

    Cheers.
     
  2. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I just use Microsort Word and I use online thesauruses and dictionaries when I need them. ;)
     
  3. Midnight_Adventurer
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    Midnight_Adventurer Active Member

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    I agree with Mallory. Word is a good program to use and it had all the features you need, plus you can download book manuscript formats from Microsoft.com which is what I use.
    Hope that helps!
    Good luck with your writing :)
     
  4. hawky94
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    hawky94 Active Member

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    I tend to use Open Office instead of Word. I find it an awful lot better.
     
  5. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    Open Office is also free. :)
     
  6. andrewdj
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    andrewdj Member

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    +1 for Open Office for writing, because it can do pretty much everything Word does, it has spell checking and a thesaurus, and is free. I use Google if I need to refer to anything as it's easy to check multiple sources and viewpoints on things.

    If you're working on a PC with no internet access then you'd want to find an alternative DVD based installation for local references, such as Encyclopædia Britannica 2011 Ultimate DVD.
     
  7. Porcupine
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    Porcupine Contributing Member

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    I am probably the only person here who is using something radically different, but as I mentioned before, I use LaTeX. To quote Wikipedia, because they have written it so well: "LaTeX is based on the idea that authors should be able to focus on the content of what they are writing without being distracted by its visual presentation. In preparing a LaTeX document, the author specifies the logical structure using familiar concepts such as chapter, section, table, figure, etc., and lets the LaTeX system worry about the presentation of these structures."

    It feels a lot like programming, and can output PDF files directly. There are no stability issues, and it is fast. It may not be the ideal tool to create a manuscript in the traditional sense, but I like working with it mainly for these reasons:

    • I can add comments in the text which are hidden in the output file, to remind me to re-write a certain scene or to add additional information I want to refer to later.
    • I can just comment out an entire scene and re-write it, and still have the original intact in the same file. The PDF output will only show the new scene.
    • It has ligatures, hyphenation, kerning. Word only just added this in the 2010 issue.
    • It has no problems at all with diacritics (Word still does).
    • You have more control over your document than you do with Word, which often does things on its own you don't want to be done.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ms word is the lingua franca of the writing/publishing world, so it's best to use that and have good online reference sites handy... you'll find a list of some of the best in a sticky somewhere here...
     
  9. JeffS65
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    JeffS65 Contributing Member

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    Yep....

    I remember when I started in graphic design, I had people tell me that Paintshop Pro was as good as Photoshop.

    Nyet.

    It was cheaper, though.

    If I hear that a program is better then the industry standard, I become wary of it. There are usually reasons why industry standard is industry standard. Ubiquity is certainly one of them but in all I don't think the people that are handling the output of these things (publishers or printers for design) want to deal with the quirks of the unproven application.

    Use what the big dogs use. And truly, now that Office is so cheap, there is no reason to not use it. I get that it was hundreds of dollars before but it's like a hundred bucks now.

    If I want to write, I need to invest in the tools to do so.

    When I switched from PC to Mac (for design), I willingly paid $1400 for Adobe Design CS (...and I got Office for Mac for $150).

    If you want to be a 'pro', gotta have the pro tools.
     
  10. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    OpenOffice is certainly creeping in though - I use it mostly. And like others have said it's free. It also saves happilly in most formats including PDF (which I have been asked for a few time recently).

    The published authors I know tend to use OpenOffice for the writing. They only get MS Word if they have to and it seems to be only the odd awkward editor that cause problems. I used MS Word for first time in eight years last week - wow its cackhanded in comparison lol
     
  11. Porcupine
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    Porcupine Contributing Member

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    It depends a lot on what you are writing and what your ambition is. I don't deny that many professional writers use MS Office, or that most graphic artists use the Adobe Creative Suite backed up by Corel DRAW and its appendages. However, if you just want to have more options and less hassle, there are alternatives. I also like OpenOffice because of its integrated PDF creation. Sure, I know you can buy Adobe Professional and plug it into MS Office and get the same capabilities and much else besides, but most people here are amateurs - why bother? If you just want a simple and fast way to output to PDF, OpenOffice makes it much easier. You also don't have to worry about colour management, which hardly anybody who isn't a professional understands anyway.
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    good point, spiny-one... but i was addressing those who hope to be published some day... i probably should have made that clear...
     
  13. Deleth
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    Deleth Member

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    I just use the built in tools in Word and online resources when I need a better word for something. Tried Open office and didn't like it plus I get office 2007 from my school for free ;)
     
  14. daydreams
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    daydreams Member

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    I use LibreOffice (new branch of OpenOffice) and it seems compatible with MS Word formats. Haven't really tested that part though. I guess if they insist you send your stuff in as MS Word, then there shouldn't be too much of a problem, or if there is I would just convert it somewhere else. But it depends on if you have to focus on the format name more than anything else.
     
  15. evelon
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    evelon Active Member

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    I used OpenOffice for years, until I got laptop. Now using MSWord and I agree, it's nowhere near as good.

    Wasn't a problem to submit ms. in hard copy, but with the option now of email submissions I think MS Word is essential.

    As far as I can remember, even if you work on OpenOffice, you can save to Word, provided of course you have it installed. Not 100% sure of that though.
     
  16. Porcupine
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    Porcupine Contributing Member

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    Well... ;) in some parts of academia, what I use is the standard for publications, and Word is frowned upon, but anyway, let's not argue about this. It's pretty easy to port a text between platforms, once it's written.

    You can always save to .doc format with OpenOffice Writer, regardless of whether you have MS Word. You can even now save to .docx, but not all of the compatibility issues are ironed out.

    I guess the most important issue, and what mammamaia is referring to, is compatibility. Presumably, most publishers use MS Word and are therefore happier about embedding MS Word files into their systems, which will plug in easily. Problems resulting from incompatible software, such as missing declarations, missing fonts, different formatting rules, etc. are or can be a huge headache. If all you (want to) do is write a simple text with minimal formatting, it doesn't matter whether you are using MS Word or OpenOffice. If you do use a lot of formatting options, your best bet is to use what editors and publishers are using, and most likely that will be MS Word. On the other hand, if you are trying to create print-ready files for self-publishing, or can submit PDFs, more exotic options like LaTeX come into their own.
     
  17. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    You can save in a variety of formats including .doc using OpenOffice - I am finding with the email submissions some are now asking for PDF anyway which is easier to do in OpenOffice.

    I have several published friends and they had no bother submitting using OpenOffice the problem has sometimes come with some editors and then they need Word. Each tend to swear about said editor lol :) I no bother when I was submitting bits a pieces to journals and publishers based on my museum work.

    I just send it to myself and double check the formatting at a library when I am done. So far have yet to have any issues. Basically 15 minutes on a library computer every few months is all I need to prevent needing to fork out for MS Word.

    OpenOffice also has the advantage that I can open almost any format.
     
  18. JeffS65
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    JeffS65 Contributing Member

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    I imagine it is also a matter of what/whom you are writing for.

    Four yourself? Anything will do...

    Online? Same, anything...

    Journals? Should mostly be anything commonly used so long as it can be opened since the publications only needs the text and takes care of the typesetting anyway.

    Publisher/Novel? I would think MS Word almost always.

    I think that is key to my perspective. I have about 40 pages of a book written so far. It is, due to the subject matter, a hard one to write. I don't want to go through the work of writing it only to have to move it to Word, reformat and do all that stuff. I wanted to use the standard to write with and use industry standard layout/formatting practices. Easier to contend with only one time.
     
  19. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    Since laTeX has been mentioned, I think you need to clarify that MS Word is the lingua franca of the creative writing/publishing world. LaTeX is very widely used in scientific and technical publishing. I'd be astonished if any fiction publisher accepted it, though.

    And of course, OpenOffice.org supports MS Word format. Although there are some issues with compatibility they only occur if you use esoteric features that have no place in a manuscript submitted for publication.

    It might also be worth mentioning that because of uncertainties over what the new owners of OpenOffice.org are going to do with it, LibreOffice has been released. Initially LibreOffice is just about the same as OpenOffice.org (it uses the same computer source code) but it may develop differently.
     
  20. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you work on OpenOffice then yes, you can save to Word format, even if you don't have Word installed. If you use a lot of maths, bizarre formatting, macros, lots of automatic cross-references or other complications then you might hit problems. If you just have text with chapter heads, indents and so on then the publisher won't even know you weren't using MS Word.
     
  21. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    There are lots of free PDF writers out there. Most of them pretend to be another printer. I use CutePDF, which works fine but tries to install a pile of other junk too -- you have to remember to deselect all the stuff you don't want. Anything you can print you can save as a PDF, whatever software you use.
     
  22. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    From laTeX to MS Word? It must have come on since last time I tried it, because the results used to be terrible.
     
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  23. Porcupine
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    Porcupine Contributing Member

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    Well, yeah, that's a little more tedious. ;) Definitely possible, though. Either by the roundabout (and potentially expensive) route of converting output (such as PDF) to Word, or by taking the source code and editing the non-textual-content bits out (tedious, but not too much if you use search&replace, and didn't put bizarre formatting commands in.
     
  24. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have no idea how it works lol geekery is my husband's domain. What I do know is that all I need to do is file - export to PDF and I have it PDF. It does seem to be a move at least in the UK a number ask for word compatible or PDF.
     
  25. digitig
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    digitig Contributing Member Contributor

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    What I have to do is print the document, and select CutePDF as the printer. It then prompts me for a filename. The nice thing about that is it works for anything that can be printed, from any application. There are lots of programs that do this; I'm not even sure CutePDF is the best, but it works fine for me. But yes, "File | Save As" does probably come more naturally if your program provides the format you want.
     

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