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REVIEW: FINAL WRITER 3.0 BY SOFTWOOD
William Near firstname.lastname@example.org
SOFTWARE: Final Writer 3
MANUFACTURER: SoftWood Inc.
P.O. Box 50178
Phoenix, Arizona 85076
DESCRIPTION: Word processor/desktop publishing program
PURCHASED FROM: SoftWood Inc.
PRICE: I paid $5 U.S. direct from SoftWood Inc. I only paid this much
because I had just purchased Final Writer 2.1 a month beforehand.
SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS: Amiga running Workbench 2.x+, a hard drive and at
least 1.5 MB of RAM
SYSTEM TESTED ON: Amiga 2000 (Rev 4.4), ECS chip set, GForce '030
accelerator @ 50 MHz., 2 meg CHIP + 6 megs FAST memory,
Quantum LPS270S hard drive with Trumpcard Professional
controller, Workbench 3.1
PACKAGING: The envelope contained one floppy disk and a 19 page addendum
to the Final Writer 2 manual
INSTALLATION: The update disk uses the Commodore Installer program to
create the new version of Final Writer (FW) on your hard drive. The
Installer program will create new versions of: the Final Writer program,
ARexx macros, system data files and system libraries. Once the updated
version was placed on my hard drive I used DOpus to move the old FW2.1
fonts and my documents to the new FW3 drawer.
NOTE: I am only going to cover the differences between Final Writer
versions before 2.1 and the newer 2.1 & 3 versions in this review. It
would make the review quite lengthy if I were to cover every feature of
the Final Writer program. Basically, I'm using the addendum as a
reference for all new features in FW 2.1 & 3. Those of you who have older
(pre-2.1) versions of FW can see what differences there are in the newest
FW3 program. Those of you with version 2.1 can skip the parts of this
review which cover the features you already have and just read the
sections that cover new features only found in version 3.
CHANGES: These are the changes from pre-2.1 which can be found in FW2.1
and/or FW3 according to the addendum (menu choice and/or icon equivalent
will be shown in parenthesis):
* Undo/Redo Commands (Edit/Undo & Edit/Redo) - Selecting Undo will erase
the last command or action performed on the active document. This
information is stored in memory so that the Redo command may be selected
to restore the document to its state before the Undo command was selected.
The Redo command can only remember one level of action at a time.
* Font/Style Strip (View/Command Strip/Font/Style Strip) - This command
strip can be displayed instead of the Tool strip at the top of the screen.
The Font/Style strip allows you to: select paragraph styles, fonts, font
sizes, change text position and case, and set the text style to any
combination of bold, italic and underline.
* Easy Bold, Italic and Underline - The Font/Style strip contains icons
for: plain, bold, italic and underline. By selecting any combination of
these icons, the highlighted text will change to reflect your choices.
The current font must support these options for them to take effect. In
older versions of the program you had to highlight the text and then
select a bold font in order to change the text to bold. These options
will only work with NimbusQ and Type 1 fonts -- not Compugraphic fonts.
* Floating Palettes (View/Show Button Palette/Show Tool Palette/Show Style
Palette) - Floating palette boxes can be displayed on the screen. There
are three different palettes that can be displayed: tools, user buttons
and paragraph styles. You can position the palette(s) anywhere on the
screen and resize them. Palettes are shared between document windows.
Whenever you switch to a different active document, the palette(s) will
change to reflect the current status of the active document. All palette
positions and sizes are retained when you quit and then run FW again.
* Selective Display of Master Pages (Layout/Section) - Master pages can
now be displayed on all pages, only the first page or on all pages except
* New Page Formats (Layout/Section) - Page numbers can be automatically
placed on the page with the word "Page" in front of the number or a
section name can be placed before the page number. The latter option is
sensitive to which page the section and page number is being placed on
(left or right hand.)
* Auto-Save Without Requester (Project/Preferences/Document Save) - Now FW
will automatically save your active document without displaying the
requester first. The time interval can be set by the user and the
requester can still be made to appear, if desired.
* Triple and Quad Click Commands - These mouse click options are
Single click = sets insertion point in text
Double-click = selects the current word
Triple-click = selects the current sentence
Quad-click = selects the current paragraph
* SHIFT Key Extended Selection - Clicking the insertion point and then
shift-clicking an ending point will automatically highlight all text
between these two points.
* Enhanced Text Selection - Dragging the mouse to select text can be made
sensitive by first using one of the mouse button click sequences. If the
triple-click were used to start highlighting, then you could keep dragging
the mouse before letting off of the third button click and all subsequent
sentences would be selected regardless of where you left off within the
* Drag and Drop Text Editing - Instead of using Cut & Paste options to
move blocks of text you can now select a block of text and hold the left
mouse button down and move the insertion point. When you release the
mouse button the block of text will be placed in the new location.
* Easy Header/Footer Creation (Layout/Easy Header/Footer) - You can make
text automatically appear on each page without setting up a Master Page.
You can specify a Page Number, Section Name or Text to appear on each
page. The positioning of the new Header/Footer information can be in the
left, center or right.
* Easy Page Numbering (Layout/Easy Page Number) - This option allows the
selection of the page number's location and positioning on the page. You
can also select whether the page number should appear on all pages, only
the first page or all pages except the first.
* Final Data Interface - The print merge feature will now accept data
directly from a Final Data or plain ASCII file.
* Polygon Graphic Tool (icon) - Use this tool to draw polygons and, when
completed, the text will flow around the shape.
* Special Graphic Shapes (icons) - There are two special rectangle and
oval tools which can be used to draw special shapes using a rectangle,
rounded-corner rectangle, oval or filled arc as starting shapes. You can
adjust all aspects of the shapes such as: line thickness, text flow etc.
You can also resize the graphic after it has been drawn. Empty and filled
arcs may also be drawn with these tools.
* The following requesters and menu choices have been modified to allow
for new options and to make using FW easier:
Selection Setup requester (Master Page items, Number by, Format,
Text, Prefix, First #)
Page Setup requester (removed the page numbering objects and placed
them in the Section Setup requester)
Display Preferences requester (use button strip, command strip
Speller Preferences requester (Hyphenation options removed and placed
in their own requester)
Hyphenation Preferences requester (method of hyphenation - Algorithm,
Dictionary or a combination of the two)
Layout menu (supports new features described earlier)
Document Preferences requester (turn on/off various typing and
editing features, language choice for the speller, thesaurus and
* Type and Spell (Project/Preferences/Speller) - FW will flash the screen
when you have typed a word that it does not recognize. You can turn this
feature on or off.
* Multiple Language Support (Project/Preferences/Document) - The following
languages are available for FW3's Speller, Thesaurus and Hyphenation
options to use:
Any or all of these alternative languages can be purchased directly from
* The last section of the manual covers Troubleshooting for various
problems and their possible solutions.
SUMMARY: I like Final Writer 3 much more than Final Copy II (also by
SoftWood) because it has all of the features of Final Copy II and much
more. Your Final Copy II documents will load into FW3 perfectly, so
there's no need to worry about loss of formatting etc. The program seems
a little sluggish in some areas (even with my accelerated A2000),
especially when loading the program or opening a new document. The print
quality is very good, but it's still slooow. The icon bars (user
definable too) and floating palettes are a nice touch. I would have liked
to have received a completely new manual with the new release, but at
least the addendum isn't a ditto copy like I've received from other
companies! This is definitely one of the top two word processors for the
Amiga and it's the best $5 I've spent in a long time. Although the
upgrade will cost most of you more than what I paid, it's well worth it if
you're into serious word processing or light DTP.