Review by John E. Shreeve
from an article published in the EDP Business newspaper, August 2003[...] The fact is that Microsoft Word is a very powerful documentation tool. Great for writing complex technical manuals or for creating colourful brochures and corporate newsletters. But not the best choice for everyday office correspondence or general writing.
Being chock-full of features (most of which you'll never need) makes it not only distracting, but difficult to use.
What's more, most of the features available in the program are not well targeted to the business user - and certainly not to the online marketer. Saving a document as a web page, for example, is a disaster.
MS Word inserts a mass of unnecessary code and the web pages it generates don't usually work in the Netscape Navigator browser, only in Internet Explorer (so you lose a percentage of your potential audience).
To be fair, if you publish an e-zine in plain "ASCII" text, MS Word can help - a little. But it's like trying to win a Formula One race with a Robin Reliant.
I've long been dissatisfied with MS Word and with all the other top-name word processors such as WordPerfect, Lotus, and Sun Microsystems' StarWriter. I've tried them all, along with many of the lesser names. Not one had the features I need as a copywriter, online marketer, and journalist.
I operate small. Just me and an assistant. So I need a writing tool that is fast, intuitive and genuinely compatible with the web and e-mail marketing.
I thought I'd never find such a tool. But then, a month or so back, I got an e-mail from a Canadian programmer friend saying, "Check out this WP - it could be just what you need." The program was called PolyEdit (www.polyedit.com) and I duly downloaded an evaluation copy. Even though I respected my friend's judgment, I wasn't expecting miracles. After all, I'd been through so many word processors and found them all wanting.
But within minutes of test driving PolyEdit my jaw dropped. I was awe-struck. At long last, I'd found what I was looking for and knew I could use PolyEdit for all my work - be it writing articles, business correspondence, publishing e-zines, writing sales letters and building web pages.
I also realised that PolyEdit is a must-have tool for online marketers and writers everywhere. A single-user licence costs a mere $24.95 and at 1.2 megabytes is incredibly compact compared to the big-name word processors.
Plus it will seamlessly import Word, Excel, WordPerfect and Lotus documents; and will export to Word, WordPerfect, HTML (web pages), Macintosh, and Unix files.
The native format used by PolyEdit is Rich Text Format (RTF), which is readable across the various computer platforms, including Macintosh. And the export to HTML feature really does beat anything the name word processors can do.
You get a perfect web page with no excess code. So you can either use it as is or paste the copy into one of your web page templates.
PolyEdit also offers big advantages to e-zine publishers. For one, you can split lines at the click of a button. This means you can wrap the copy of plain text e-mails at between 50 and 75 characters, which stops it running across the width of the monitor screen and makes it easier to read.
You can also re-join the lines, which is handy if you need to re-use copy for a web page or in a word processing document. [...]