Why Isn't NISUS # 1?
Author: Jay Davis
Date: June, 1993
Keywords: software program word processor review application
Text: NISUS is a gem, it's the best word processor around. Period. I began with the Mac in '86 when the only two programs were the original MacWrite, and Word 1.05, both of which were hopelessly inadequate. Then came WriteNow, which was lightning fast and did most things a wordprocessor should. No you couldn't dribble text around your graphics, and you had to settle for footnotes instead of endnotes, but for 99% of the stuff I did, WriteNow was fine. For a book, numerous stories, countless letters, and medical reports, it was all I could ask for. Then I tried NISUS. I was initially hesitant to change word processors. After all, I'd learned all the keyboard commands for WriteNow and felt very comfortable with them. I did not relish the idea of learning a new set of commands. But NISUS lets you customize all your menu commands, so I simply made them the same as the WriteNow commands I already knew, making the transition painless. What's so special about NISUS? First, there's Unlimited Undo's. This alone is worth the price of the program. If you make a mistake, any Mac program lets you undo it with Command Z. But what if you want to get back to what you did before that? Or before that? NISUS lets you go back forever. And I know of no other word processor (or anything else) which gives you that forgiveness. There are so many other features, it's hard to know which to describe next. Have you seen the highly touted ''Drag and Drop'' from Microsoft Word? Just select some text and drag it to where you want it. Well, NISUS already has that feature. And there's more. What if you want to select non-contiguous text...say the first and last sentences from a paragraph, or perhaps the first and fourth stanzas from a poem. With NISUS you do just that. Or, did you ever wish you could select a vertical column of text and lift it out? (Like a column of figures from a table.) Just hold down the Option key and you make rectangular selections. You can also have NISUS sort paragraphs alphabetically, useful for instantly updating your address list, music collection, etc. NISUS also has a great way to edit documents. It lets you create text which you can make invisible. Thus, you edit the manuscript, and when the corrections are made, make your comments disappear. And since it's NISUS, you can always make them reappear and disappear again. Have you ever pushed a document off screen so you couldn't hit the standard Mac size box? Just click in the title bar with NISUS. Or if the down arrow is hidden in the side escalator, just hold down the Option and use the Up arrow. The list of little gems like this goes on and on, which is why reading the manual is like picking your way through a box of Candy: every time you look, you discover some new nugget. Of course NISUS has every type of Tab, and Tab Fill; it can do every kind of Footnote* or Endnote; it gives you unlimited footers and headers. It also does cross-referencing, makes indexes, hyphenates, and produces tables of contents. I haven't even mentioned the Graphics program, mostly because I am not a graphics person. However, NISUS comes complete with drawing tools, and--because you have the multiple Undos--any artwork is far easier to do. In the instruction manual there is an elegant example of the sort of thing NISUS can let you put together. And, of course, you can dribble your text around your pictures. NISUS also has a Macro program and a Search feature which is far more complex than anything I will ever need. Did I mention that you can thicken up your cursor--a real blessing on a Powerbook where it tends to disappear. I haven't mentioned all the features of this program, partly because I haven't even discovered them. But two points are worth mentioning. First, despite its vast array of features, you can operate the program five minutes after you take it from the box. Later you can learn the ''gee whiz'' stuff and really begin to sail. Second, unlike most feature-laden programs, you don't give up speed with NISUS. This program really flies! It feels easily as fast as WriteNow, but it does everything! OK, so why isn't NISUS the Number One selling program? It can't be because of their service. Every time I called--and I even called their 800 number before I owned the program--I was met with polite and informed people. It can't be because the program is deficient in features. And it certainly can't be because it's hard to use. My only guess is that the folks there are not into advertising. Many of the mail-order catalogs don't even list NISUS. If you decide to buy NISUS (and I did: I am not writing this in exchange for free software) be aware that there are 3 versions. The Full Flag is designed for multiple languages, and is overkill for most of us. I own the Limited Flag, and there is NISUS Compact that is considerably cheaper, and designed for PowerBook users and others desiring a smaller sized program. The mail order price for the Limited Flag is about $170, and less for the Compact. Which ever one you get, I am sure you'll be as delighted as I am. Contact: Nisus Software Inc. P. O. Box 1300 Solano Beach, CA 92075
Copyright © june, 1993 by Jay Davis