WhiteSmoke 2009 Grammar. Spelling, Style
Pursuant to the numerous book reviews and other articles I have composed over the years and the time committed to proofreading these articles, I decided that the moment had arrived into investing in a good proofreading and editorial tool.
After reading a number of evaluations as regards assorted products in the marketplace, I purchased the Executive Version of WhiteSmoke, because it did have for the most part favorable comments. The package came with a grammar, punctuation, style and spell checker, a dictionary-thesaurus, letter templates, error explanations, English Lesson, auto correct, and a notifier.
I paid for the software via Paypal, which is one of the options. Shortly thereafter I received a welcoming email explaining how to install WhiteSmoke. There was a link to click and follow as well as a registration code number. I followed the instructions and voilà the software was installed without any difficulties in my laptop. Speaking of which, there are separate instructions if you have a Mac.
Now for the test. I am always skeptical about newly installed software, and I questioned if this one really would works. Will it perform all the tasks as advertised? I decided to experiment with three different word processors, Word, OpenOffice and Google Documents. The first two worked. However, Google Documents didn't.
The procedure was quite straight forward. Once I had typed my document into Word or OpenOffice, all I had to do was click F2 and the WhiteSmoke petite window appeared, automatically extracting my document. Suggested amendments appeared and these were segmented into green for grammatical errors, red in spelling blunders and blue for style recommendations. One caveat, however, you may not concur with all the proposed corrections and here is where more than a smattering understanding of English grammar, spelling and style is useful. In fact, I did come upon some recommendations to be inaccurate and there were also occasions when a slip up in my punctuation was not pointed out. However, on the other hand, it did prod me to take a second look at some of my phrasing and sentence structures. When I did accept a particular correction or modification, all that was required was clicking WhiteSmoke's suggestion in order to integrate it into the text. There were occasions where I wanted to go a little further and find out why a particular recommendation was made, and thus I positioned my cursor over the word and up popped another little window where at the bottom, there was a clarification box. I just had to click this box and the explanation appeared. Once I was satisfied with the modifications, I clicked the apply button at the bottom of the page. You can click here to find out more about WhiteSmoke's User Guide.
I found the program's thesaurus quite decent, although I have to admit that some of the free ones you can find on the web are much more encompassing and offer many more alternatives. Insofar as the templates and tutorials, I found these to be helpful and there is a sizable diversity of topics for almost every circumstance. After testing a few documents, I can vouch for this product's utility, and it is a time saver. However, it should also be mentioned that we still have not reached the point where this type of a program can replace the human eye and input.
You can find an “online demo” and the company does provide a 30-day refund policy. You may also want to check out WhiteSmoke's email policy before registering your personal details.