Inside The World Of Betas - PolyEdit
Computer Power User, April 2004There's no way a text editor from a little-known software house can possibly replace Microsoft's end-all-be-all Word, right? No, there's not. There's simply no way PolyEdit, a compact, graceful, and elegant word processor, can compete with Word's arguably overgrown, graceless, and cumbersome everything-and-the-kitchen-sink feature set. The fact is, however, that you probably don't use all those features crammed into Word. If you're one of those users, perhaps you should take a good look at PolyEdit. If you do, prepare for the little things to impress you.
For starters, unlike a lot of alternative word processors out there, PolyEdit looks professional. Toolbar buttons, menus, and icons look slick, and the entire program feels very spry. In addition, the app doesn't get trapped into trying to duplicate all those silly Word features that only hard-core, document-creation professionals use. Thus, you won't find such things as revision marks, document tracking, an outliner, or bibliographical tools. PolyEdit does import and export Word documents just fine, so long as the document doesn't use some of these features. For example, an Outline Word document turns into nested, bulleted lists in PolyEdit.
If you can do without such features, PolyEdit feels like a breath of fresh air, mostly because the tools that most people need to complete tasks are actually thought out. For example, to insert a Page Break in Word, you click Insert and Break, choose Page Break in a new dialog box, and then click OK. In PolyEdit, you click Insert and Page Break from a menu or just click the Insert Page Break button at the bottom of the window.
Similar fresh thinking is evident when looking at multiple documents at once. (PolyEdit uses tabs like those in the Mozilla or Opera browsers.) Other examples include pasting unformatted text from a formatted source (CTRL-ALT-V), changing line spacing (you use a clearly labeled toolbar button instead of navigating to Word's Paragraph/Indents and Spacing tab), and using any one of the 100 other tools typical word-processor users need.
There are rough patches with PolyEdit, such as the lack of a Help file. In addition, I was unable to locate a footnotes command, which is a must-have for students. And although there's support for tables, the feature is too rudimentary even for normal users. Still, $25 gets you a word processor that will probably get you excited to use it. The more you look, the more you'll like.