Spell Catcher X

Casady & Greene's Spell Catcher is a respected writing tool beloved by many writers - and now it's available for Mac OS X. If you often type too fast for your own good, or if you use OS X programs that don't have spelling checkers, this program will be useful. But while its new face is lovely to look at, this isn't a very exciting update: aside from OS X compatibility, not much is new. Spell Catcher X is undeniably good at what it does, and it caused no noticeable slowdowns in other applications while it ran in the background. (We used a 600MHz iMac G3 for our evaluation.) It either checks spelling as you type, or inspects selected text. It works in almost any text-entry environment, from word processors to instant-messaging programs. And it offers dictionaries, thesauruses, and reference guides for English and several other languages. Its best features are its extensively customizable Shorthand Glossary and Learned Words dictionaries: if you work in a field that involves non-standard words - medicine or technology, for example - and use several programs, Spell Catcher X can certainly make your life easier. And you can import your dictionaries from previous versions to this version. We found a few shocking grammatical errors in the help documentation - surprising in a program that promised to help us write better - and the help was somewhat hard to follow for such a simple application. Also, Spell Catcher still has no grammar checker.

OUR VERDICT

Checking your written work for spelling errors is always a good idea. Although Spell Catcher X is no replacement for a sharp eye, a good dictionary, and plenty of time to carefully re-read your text, most writers have very little of that last item. They should consider this sturdy tool.

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