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Software for Writers CD

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Frequently Asked Questions

StyleWriter

Will StyleWriter cure all my writing faults?

Is StyleWriter the same as my grammar checker?
What word processors does StyleWriter work with?
Are there different versions of StyleWriter?
Does StyleWriter explain the editing techniques fully?
Does StyleWriter look at different writing tasks?
Is there a 30-day, money-back guarantee?
What’s the technical support?

Will StyleWriter cure all my writing faults?

It will cure the common poor writing habits found in most writing. However, StyleWriter does not replace your spelling checker or your grammar checker. We assume you’ll have your word processor’s spelling checker running when you draft your document.

Instead of duplicating the features you have already built in to your word processor, StyleWriter concentrates on finding thousands of style faults and checks for good English usage.

There are other areas StyleWriter cannot help with—no computer program can. For example, StyleWriter cannot tell you how to plan your document or arrange your sections. It cannot tell you if the content you have chosen is good or bad. One reviewer of StyleWriter summed it up well: “StyleWriter will show you how to write anything in a clear, concise and readable style. However, if you write nonsense, it will show you how to write clear, concise and readable nonsense.”

Order our Software for Writers CD and you'll have a full demonstration and tutorial for StyleWriter and a 30-day trial. If the program scores your style at anything less than 'excellent', we're sure you'll benefit from using StyleWriter.

Is StyleWriter the same as my grammar checker?

No. There’s no need to replace the spelling checker and grammar checker in your word processor. Although using these programs may pick up one or two mistakes, they do not make you a better writer. Besides, we all know how annoying grammar checkers are to use.

StyleWriter, uses a sophisticated and comprehensive database to match patterns in your writing style. Because it does not parse the sentence, the program is quick, working through about a page of text a second and displaying and analyzing all style and possible usage problems throughout the document. This also means there are few, if any, false errors highlighted.

“StyleWriter especially impressed me in flagging only a handful of false errors that are so common with grammar checkers. Its advice was intelligent, and it came across as a practical and effective aid to good clear writing.”
PC Plus Magazine

What word processors does StyleWriter work with?

StyleWriter works with all versions of Word for Windows. It also works with WordPerfect. You can also use StyleWriter with any Windows application through the clipboard. It works with all versions of Windows, including Windows XP.

Are there different versions of StyleWriter?

We have United States, United Kingdom and Australian versions of the program. Each international version of StyleWriter reflects the English usage of the area. Each entry in the program, its advice and help screens are consistent with the following authorities.

  • USA — Webster’s Dictionary
  • UK — Oxford Dictionary
  • Australia — Macquarie Dictionary

When you install StyleWriter, you can choose the US, UK or Australian versions.

Does StyleWriter explain the editing techniques fully?

Yes. The program advises you of the style problem it finds and offers you some immediate advice. For example, if it highlights the word ‘utilize’ it says it is a complex word and you could replace it with ‘use’. You can click on the category ‘Complex Words’ and the program will offer you more advice on why you should prefer simpler words to complex words.

Click to see sample help screenshot 1

For more advanced editing techniques, such as editing passive verbs, the help screens are essential when you first use the program. You can look at the help screen for specific advice on the editing techniques.

Click to see sample help screenshot 2

The help screens, which you can also call up from within your word processor when you are drafting your document, also include writing tips of writing tasks and writing style.

Click to see sample help screenshot 3

Does StyleWriter look at different writing tasks?

Yes. You can select from 12 different writing tasks depending on your document. When you choose a task, StyleWriter adjusts your writing score ratings.

Click to see sample help screenshot 4

Is there a 30-day, money-back guarantee?

Yes. If you have a genuine reason to return the program, we’ll refund your money. However, you should be happy with StyleWriter because you can try the program for 30 days before you buy. When you order the Software for Writers CD, you can run a StyleWriter demonstration and Tutor. Use the program to analyze and edit as many documents as you want before you decide to buy it. The trial copy lets you use the program for 30 days.

Although the Software for Writers CD costs $30 to cover the cost of administration, postage and packaging, the $30 is refundable if you decide to buy StyleWriter.

What’s the technical support?

If you need technical support, e-mail us and we’ll do everything we can to help. A new page will be on this web site soon.


Electronic Writing Course

How does an Electronic Writing Course compare to a conventional one-day writing course?

How much does a customized Electronic Writing Course cost?

Can I buy an Electronic Writing Course as an individual user?

If we have an Electronic Writing Course, do employees need StyleWriter?


How does an Electronic Writing Course compare to a conventional one-day writing course?

Although nothing can replace an inspiring tutor in the classroom, the Electronic Writing Course has certain advantages.

  1. You can learn much more in one day using the Electronic Writing Course. You would probably learn three to four times the information, tips and ideas as you would get on a conventional course.

  2. You can learn at your own pace, spreading the training over several days.

  3. You can revisit any part of the course to brush up your skills whenever you wish.

  4. In large organizations, everyone receives the same training based on their own documents. You can also train thousands of employees quickly and cut the cost of training.

How much does a customized Electronic Writing Course to train all our employees cost?

The typical cost is $125,000 for a licence to use the Course to train all employees. This makes it economical in organizations of over 2,000 employees. However, the larger the organization, the cheaper it becomes to train each member of staff. In a large, global accountancy firm, the cost for training each of its 140,000 employees was less than a dollar a person.

There are two Course formats available, both shown in demonstrations on the Software for Writers CD. The Windows help screen format (shown on the CD as the Corporate demonstration) has the advantage of taking up little memory and uses a familiar format. We can set it up to run from the Windows desktop or even place a icon in Word's toolbar so it's always available. The multimedia format (shown on the CD as the Individual demonstration) takes more memory, but uses software specifically designed to design and run educational courses. Corporate clients can commission either type of course.

Can I buy an Electronic Writing Course as an individual user?

Yes. We have an Electronic Writing Course designed for the US Federal Government. There is a full demonstration on the Software for Writers CD. We also distribute this Course on the CD so you can install it and run it for 30 minutes before you decide if you want to buy it. A single-user licence costs $75 (UK £50 + VAT).

If you want to discuss your organization's need for training in effective writing skills, please e-mail us.

If we have an Electronic Writing Course, do employees need StyleWriter?

We recommend your staff use both programs. The Electronic Writing Course teaches staff how to write clearly; StyleWriter puts theory into practice. In one organization they tested both programs. Those who used only the Electronic Writing Course only improved their writing style (as measured by StyleWriter’s Style Index) by 10 percent. However, those using StyleWriter after working through the Electronic Writing Course saw their writing style improve by 50 to 90 percent.


Electronic House Style

What is an Electronic House Style?

How much does the Electronic House Style service cost?


What is an Electronic House Style?

Our Electronic House Style service is a way to put your organization’s writing style preferences into practice. While StyleWriter guarantees clear writing, a house style sets a consistent style for staff to follow. There are usually two main areas to a house style:

  1. Most organizations have rules for the way to lay out reports, memos, e-mails and so on. Although you can set these up as templates in your word processor, many organizations ask us to design pop-up help screens in your word processor. These show how the finished document should look and act as a quick reference for any employee.

  2. Most organizations have preferred ways to write dates, product names, weights and measures and so on. We can code StyleWriter to check for thousands of such problems and guarantee all employees write these consistently in all documents.

How much does the Electronic House Style service cost?

We usually design an Electronic House Style for our clients who take out a StyleWriter site licence. In these cases, we design a house style as part of this licence agreement. However, as a guide, an Electronic House Style to check for 2,000 problems in StyleWriter with a dozen help screens typically costs a one-off fee of $25,000.


Plain English

Will using plain English make all writing sound the same?

Where can I find out more about the savings of plain English?

Is plain English or plain language too simple for my readers?

No. Many people think plain means simple, boring or childish. Plain English means clear English. Think of plain English editing as cutting out the complexity and redundancy in your writing to leave a clear, streamlined and flowing style your audience can read effortlessly. It’s the writing style of the best professional writers and communicators.

Will using plain English make all writing sound the same?

Using plain English does not mean everyone’s writing must sound the same. Writers will express ideas differently, but all writing, especially business and government writing, must still be clear. Writing in plain English means keeping to commonsense principles to produce a clear document.

Variety comes from writers keeping to clear expression, but choosing different content, vocabulary, examples and analogies and so on.

Good editing simply removes the bad style habits so your individual writing style can shine through. There’s plenty of room for individual style, rhetoric and imaginative writing. So let StyleWriter help you get rid of your poor writing habits and let you express yourself in your own words.

Where can I find out more about the savings of plain English?

Try looking up the US Government’s Plain Language Action Network at www.plainlanguage.gov where you’ll find Professor Joe Kimble’s article: Writing for Dollars.

 


 

Find out how StyleWriter can help you with: Technical Reports, Journalist Writing, Advertising Copy, Minutes of Meetings, Writing Memos, Writing Policies and Procedures, Legal Documents, Essays and Research Papers, Business Letters
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