Spell Catcher version 1.5.6
Company-Casady & Greene
By Russ Walkowich
I’m Impressed! It’s not often that you will hear that from me, and this time I mean it for sure. Writing for a living or for the fun of it (as with My Mac) is a time consuming affair at best. Put editing on top of that and suddenly you’re at wits end trying to remember how to spell a particular word for your article or trying to figure out how someone else has spelled it in theirs.
Enter Spell Catcher by Casady & Greene. Formerly Thunder 7, Casady & Greene bought it from Baseline Software and made it their own. Spell Catcher is a control panel which includes an interactive spell checker (working while you’re typing), a full-featured thesaurus, and shorthand glossaries that expand previously defined abbreviations as you type them. The Spell Catcher Utility, part of the package, is an application that allows you, the user, to modify your main and supplementary spelling dictionaries. You can even convert one of your own dictionaries from another program and place it into Spell Catcher as a supplementary dictionary. And the dictionary that comes with the package is thorough, also covering abbreviations, computer terms, additional words, contractions, medical terminology, legal terms, engineering/scientific terms, even a HTML dictionary.
So, what does it all mean for you? Set up Interactive Checking and as you type, and if you make an error, Spell Catcher will let you know immediately with a simple beep or whatever system sound you designate. Now, you can keep on typing, ignoring the warning and correcting the error yourself or let Spell Catcher make a suggestion for the correct spelling and make the correction itself. Or, you’ve finished typing the letter to Grandma and you want to make sure that you don’t wind up getting a failing grade for spelling, you can select the text and choose “Check Selected” and let Spell Catcher scan it and make suggestions for corrections, plus paste in the properly spelled words if you wish. Use the Shorthand Glossary and you can set up frequently used abbreviations that will expand to your predefined proper wording. You can also use the Shorthand Glossary to handle and correct frequent typo or spelling errors, like typing “teh” instead of “the”, or “recieve” instead of “receive.” No problem, because as you type, the program will correct the word as you continue to type on with your sentence. And, are you notorious for forgetting to “save your work” like you should? No problem if you use the Ghostwriter feature, letting it save your keystrokes to a SimpleText file log in the Spell Catcher folder. Plus you can turn it on and off using a keyboard sequence as you’re typing your masterpiece.
So, what can you use Spell Catcher with? By using the Control Panel, you can add an application to the list of programs that Spell Catcher will be accessible in, or add a System 7 Desk Accessory. If you want, you can even add the Finder as an application, making Spell Catcher accessible anywhere. And for everyone who types their email too quickly to check spelling, no problem anymore. Add your email program to the list and you’re all set to go.
The good points that I liked about Spell Catcher was that it was there when I needed it (as in any application that I had set it up to monitor), there was no fumbling out of a program to bring up Spell Catcher to do the checking, and it was quick, easy and simple to use. The manual is thorough and covers all aspects of the program. The ability to program your own sound as part of the error warning can be fun, if you have the “correct” sound to fit the proper error warning. The only bad point that I found was that the program did not automatically suggest a correction if you misspelled a word or come up as a dialog box to let you pick. You have to go up to the menu, click on the exclamation point and go to “Suggest Spelling.” Of course, that’s being really picky on trying to find something wrong. If you’re a normal Mac user, typing a letter, email or your homework, Spell Catcher is just what you need to get an “A” in spelling. But please remember, if you’re writing a paper on “World Peace” and you type “World Piece,” Spell Catcher will not warn you that you have an error in spelling. That will be up to you to find your error!