SAVVY COMPUTING
Boosting the Power of Your Word Processor

February 2004
by Reid Goldsborough

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In the competitive world of personal computers, software companies act like little empires, conquering related programs and gobbling up the territory they once held. Programs continually add features, causing other software that once consisted of only those features to go away.

The most commonly used office-type program, the word processor, is a case in point. Popular programs such as Microsoft Word now include a spelling and grammar checker, thesaurus, clip art, hyperlinking, page layout, envelope and label creation, mail merge, and other tools that you once needed other programs for.

New Enabling Add-ons

But niches still exist where enterprising third-party companies can provide add-ons that enable you to do useful things that Word alone can’t. Two good ones released relatively recently are Word Menu and GuruNet, both of which you can download and try out for free.

Word Menu is an idea thesaurus, similar to the older and still existing program IdeaFisher, though at $34.95 it’s less expensive. The program, in essence, is a database of words organized hierarchically into categories, or menus.

The simplest way to use the program is to browse through its 76,423 words in their 984 categories (new words are added periodically through Web updates). By browsing this way you can, for instance, learn the lingo of an unfamiliar field, from banking to dance. Terms are accompanied by short definitions.

You can also use the search f…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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