WordSmith Pro 2.0 review:

WordSmith Pro 2.0

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CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Seamless integration with Microsoft Word; includes spelling checker and thesaurus; lends its features to Palm Memo Pad; supports high-resolution screens and TrueType fonts.

The Bad Not adept with tables; spelling checker runs slowly; no font scaling.

The Bottom Line WordSmith superbly bridges the gap between Palm and Microsoft Word, turning your handheld into a bona fide word processor.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

8.0 Overall

Palm's stock Memo Pad applet works fine for creating and reading short documents, but it's no word processor. If you want to write in different font styles and sizes, spell-check your text, and share documents with Microsoft Word, you need Blue Nomad WordSmith. It's the missing link for anyone who envies the Pocket Word application bundled with Pocket PC handhelds. And it's not only much less expensive than Documents To Go, at just $29.95, it's more versatile.Palm's stock Memo Pad applet works fine for creating and reading short documents, but it's no word processor. If you want to write in different font styles and sizes, spell-check your text, and share documents with Microsoft Word, you need Blue Nomad WordSmith. It's the missing link for anyone who envies the Pocket Word application bundled with Pocket PC handhelds. And it's not only much less expensive than Documents To Go, at just $29.95, it's more versatile.

All Word, all the time
Indeed, much of WordSmith's appeal lies in its ability to simply and seamlessly synchronize with Word. It automatically keeps documents updated on both your handheld and your PC. Better still, WordSmith retains most basic Word formatting, including bullets, page breaks, indents, color fonts, and backgrounds. Its only Achilles' heel: it doesn't handle tables well. When you tap the icon that indicates a table, you see only the raw text, no table, and you can't create tables using WordSmith. Blue Nomad plans to add support for table creation and editing in a future release. By contrast, Documents To Go currently features full support for tables.

Nonetheless, WordSmith delivers a raft of other useful features. You can underline, italicize, justify, and bold your text; modify line spacing; and add bookmarks, footnotes, and comments. The program includes an optional but well-integrated spelling checker and thesaurus, although these components require a lot of memory: about 1.5MB for the large dictionary (175,000 words) and 600K for a smaller version (80,000 words). Fortunately, WordSmith supports the Palm OS's Virtual File System, so you can offload documents and program components to memory cards.

Seamless font support
One of WordSmith's best assets is FineType, a Windows-only utility that converts TrueType fonts for use on your handheld. You'll appreciate the tool even more if you own a model with a color screen, as the software employs antialiasing to smooth the fonts' edges. Alas, WordSmith limits you to three sizes per font, and FineType fonts preclude the use of color text.

WordSmith functions not just as a word processor, but also as a Memo Pad replacement and DOC viewer, letting you take full advantage of WordSmith's editing and formatting features for both new and existing memos. (DOC files have become something of a standard for the Palm platform, with thousands of public domain documents and e-books available for download in this format.)

Skimpy support; ultimate word processor
Sadly, Blue Nomad doesn't offer phone support for WordSmith, instead relying on the Web and e-mail for documentation and tech support, respectively. Fortunately, the company maintains an extensive FAQ page with thorough answers to myriad questions and makes it easy to send e-mail to a tech.

While DataViz's Documents To Go Professional may offer superior integration with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, its text-editing capabilities pale in comparison with WordSmith's. In short, there's no better word processor currently available for your Palm-powered handheld.

Take me back to the roundup

Formatting, color text, fonts--it's all there in WordSmith, the best Palm OS word processor yet.

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