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Every article I write from home is composed on my DavkaWriter Platinum word processing program, and with this review I have graduated from version 5 to 6. Now doesn't this look better! In actuality, you won't be able to see any difference on this page, which was created by newspaper production software - but I quickly noticed more than 50 enhancements and improvements over version 5.
Most welcome is an auto-spellcheck that underlines unrecognized English and Hebrew words in red, squiggly lines, making it unnecessary to click a button and endlessly press enter until you go over all the "suspicious" items and decide whether to correct them. In the new version, you just click the right mouse button over an unrecognized word, and a menu of spelling suggestions and other options pops up. Spell-checking also defaults to accepting all Hebrew words from the Bible, including both the full and short spellings.
The new version also offers a much more comprehensive English dictionary and thesaurus (10,000 new definitions, usage examples for most words and pronunciation guides) as well as a Hebrew dictionary that translates any word when you press Shift-F7. As promised in the accompanying leaflet, my old files from version 5 were automatically stored during installation, and they reappeared in the directory without any effort on my part.
Another innovation is a new macro editor, which simplifies complex and repetitive tasks. Some useful sample macros are provided, and users can share macros with each other for even greater productivity. No printed user's manual comes with the disk, but it is unnecessary because the index Help menu is encyclopedic. An improved and easily accessible table menu can convert tables to text, insert multiple rows, select whole tables and easily carry out a variety of other commands.
This word processor can handle everything from short documents and memos to long articles and full-length books either in one language or combinations of the two, including boxes of text, footnotes, multiple columns, drop caps and graphic images. Another fresh feature for those writing a book or other long piece of work can divide a document into chapters, each with its own title in Hebrew or English. Then, with the press of a button, you can create a table of contents listing all the chapters in the document and the pages on which they begin.
Many of these features are available in Microsoft Word - so why davka buy DavkaWriter? This product is a Hebrew word processor built from the ground up, not translated into and adapted for Hebrew. It thus offers many extras useful for people who frequently use Hebrew - including religious texts and an integrated Bible, complete set of Mishnayot and the Siddur (Jewish prayer book), along with the option of purchasing other add-on texts such as a CD-ROM of the Pentateuch with Rashi commentary, the Passover Haggada, the High Holiday Mahzor and Slichot prayers.
In addition, you can can position nikud (Hebrew vowels) and trop (cantillation signs) properly so they don't overlap and produce them in colors different from the letters and in up to 80 fonts. You can also make Hebrew or English concordance searches in religious texts, number pages, paragraphs and footnotes in Hebrew, and use a Jewish and/or Gregorian calendar written out in Hebrew.
An archive of 250 Jewish photos and clipart images are on the disk and can be added to any text. Users who write for scholarly journals will appreciate the feature that enables easy addition of a dot underneath the English letter "h" to signify the Hebrew letter het.
Unlike DavkaWriter 6, Word does not offer a Yiddish keyboard option, toolbar and menu, phonetic and on-screen Hebrew keyboards, integrated export of files to PDF format or the sorting of Hebrew words in alphabetical order. DavkaWriter is also cheaper than Bill Gates's product, which is sold here as part of a Microsoft Office package containing spreadsheet and other software you may not need. So if you want a really Jewish word processing program, this is the one for you.