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I put a spell on you

Spell Catcher Plus is good, but hardly flawless. Software review hed: I put a spell on you dek: Casady & Greene’s Spell Catcher Plus is good, but hardly flawless.

Since every major word processor includes a built-in spell checker and thesaurus, you might wonder why you need Casady & Greene’s Spell Catcher Plus. C&G’s target audience is computer users who create text using many different applications, and can proofread in multiple languages, including American and British English, Spanish, French, Canadian French, German, Swiss-German, Swedish, and Spanish. You can switch language dictionaries on the fly without restarting your application or computer.

Spell Catcher Plus works interactively or in batch-correction mode even if your application has a built-in spell checker. When you make an error, a voice calls it to your attention. By using the Settings dialog box, this warning can be changed to a beep or blinking exclamation mark in the system tray. (If you use Auto-Hide, you’ll never see it.)

The late Ernie Mau, reviews editor for CompuServe magazine, created a list of 58 words arranged as 29 pairs to test spell checkers. Mau believed a spell checker’s failure to recognize variations would lead to inconsistency, and he considered a spelling checker excellent if it challenged 25 or more words. A checker was good if it caught 20 to 24, fair if it flagged 15 to 19, poor if it caught a dozen, and useless if it found less than a 12.

Word 97 for Windows flagged 20 words, and Word 2001:Mac caught 15, but Spell Catcher Plus found only five words, ranking it last for any spell-checking program I’ve tested. Nevertheless, Spell Catcher Plus is trainable, and performs better than its score indicates.

Spell Catcher Plus will import dictionaries from your word processors, and, through its replacement feature, will automatically expand date and time, official agency names, e-mail addresses, and technical terms.

Using a collection of built-in modules, such as Form Paragraphs, All Caps, Remove Double Spaces to Single Space/Tab, Tab to Spaces, Spaces to Tab, Search and Replace, and Statistics, you can make corrections and modifications to documents.

Although I use Microsoft Word for most of my writing, there are times when Windows’ Notepad editor or WordPad are useful because they’re small, quick loading, and all I need at the time. Spell Catcher Plus didn’t like working with text that was pasted into Notepad, although any additional typing immediately summoned interactive correction.

I liked having Spell Catcher Plus available on the Taskbar and for applications such as e-mail. Even though Juno’s e-mail client offers spell checking, it does so only after you’re finished typing. CompuServe’s older clients lack spell checking completely, making Spell Catcher Plus an ideal add-on.

Spell Catcher Plus works with Microsoft Windows 95, 98, NT, Me and 2000 and has lots to offer any user that needs medical, legal, scientific, or HTML dictionaries. I try to keep the programs on my laptop simple in features and size–6GB doesn’t go very far anymore–and in this environment, Spell Catcher Plus is a must-have utility.

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