Once in a while a software company comes along with a product that captures the imagination of its users so much that they stick with that program, even when the program is a bit long in the tooth and showing its age. Nisus is that company, and the original Nisus Writer (originally written in the days prior to Mac OS X), is that product.
For years after the introduction of Mac OS X, users who had used the tiny word processor, with its unique way of doing things and slightly odd interface, wondered if there would ever be a version of the program they could run natively in OS X. Their question was partially answered with the release of Nisus Writer Express, a program which in reality had no ties to the original, but was actually Okito Composer, a piece of software originally written by someone not associated with Nisus (Charles Jolley), who sold the rights to his software, and his coding experience, to Nisus.
Nisus released the software with the caveat that it was not necessarily a finished product, but indeed only the beginning. Nisus Writer Express advanced however, until a few months ago, when a completely new product, build on its foundation, but including features users had been hoping for since the introduction of Nisus Writer Express. The name of the new product was Nisus Writer Pro.
Nisus Writer Pro, at first glance, is quite similar to Express. It uses the same general look and feel, the same configurable drawer and pallets, and the same reliance on Cocoa and features built into the Mac environment, such as spell checking. Nisus Writer Pro also features tight integration with Nisus’ free product – Nisus Thesaurus – which allows users to see, while typing, other word options similar to the word they just used, or have highlighted.
But Nisus Writer Pro also adds a ton of features beyond the basic set of Nisus Writer Express. Among the trumpeted features is the ability to automatically produce a table of contents. Simply tell Nisus Writer Pro what style of table to use, and then how deep into the document to look for headings, and Nisus Writer Pro does the rest.
Nisus Writer Pro can also help with the otherwise incredibly tedious process of setting up an index. Simply tell Nisus Writer Pro which terms to look for, and it automatically does the rest.
Bookmarks are another feature added to Nisus Writer Pro that can come in handy, both in setting up cross-links within the document, or simply to allow easy navigation between document settings. Like most features in Nisus Writer Pro, setting up and using bookmarks is simple.
Another improved feature relates to the search function build into Nisus Writer Pro. In addition to being able to search by strings and perform boolean searches, Nisus Writer Pro now allows you to search more effectively by including formatting. So if you want to perform a search for the word “Section,” but only when it has been bolded and highlighted, then Nisus Writer Pro is the software for you. This comes in incredibly handy when a word like “Section,” which has many uses, is only desired to be found when heading up a section of the document.
And although Nisus Writer Express had support for embedded graphics, Nisus Writer Pro now supports wrapping text around that floating graphic. And there are more… too many to really go into depth about, but widow and orphan control for paragraph formatting, line numbering, support for macros, and enhanced note styles all are features that made it into Nisus Writer Pro.
There will, of course, be users who gripe that Nisus Writer Pro still doesn’t have all the features found in the original Nisus Writer from the days of OS 9, but in my use, I found Nisus Writer Pro to be more than capable. It has so many features I want, and implements them in easy-to-understand and easy-to-use fashion, that for the features Nisus Writer has that Nisus Writer Pro doesn’t… I’m not sure it’s worth the hassle to try and run Nisus Writer in emulation. For my money, and Nisus Writer Pro does cost a bit of it (a full license costs $79.00 while an upgrade purchase from Nisus Writer Express sells for $45.00), Nisus Writer Pro is well worth it. If you don’t need complete Microsoft Word compatibility (although Nisus Writer Pro does include fairly good import/export features, it can never be 100 percent compatible until Microsoft opens up the file format), Nisus Writer Pro may be the word processor for you. There is a 15 day free demo available, so download it here and give it a try!