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SmartEdit

By Bad Wolf Software Free to try Editors' Rating

Editors' Review

Download.com Staff Jun 24, 2012

Shopworn expressions and trite phrases can spoil a piece of writing before it's finished, but even the best-turned phrase falls flat when it's overused. Bad Wolf's SmartEdit is a free tool that scans your writing to identify the words and phrases you've used and abused, not only giving you the chance to correct them but also pointing out your bad habits so that you can "nip them in the bud." It's not meant to replace your word processor but to help you in the editing and revision stages. It checks for common and overused words and phrases and also for sections of dialogue or phrases you designate. If you come up with a particularly colorful metaphor or turn of phrase, SmartEdit can prevent you from overusing it.

SmartEdit's subtitle promises to "speed up the editing process and catch mistakes early." A simple, compact interface with an efficient layout divided vertically into three sections makes a good start on keeping that promise. The program uses tabbed sidebars to either side of the main text window; on the left, Cliches and Dialog Tags; to the right, Repeated Phrases and Repeated Words. Each entry displays its own counter; for instance, under Cliches, a Count column tracks the number of times each cliche is used. Under the main view, SmartEdit displays Monitored Words and Sentences. The toolbar's Scan Options button let us configure our scans, while the Edit Lists button produced a dialog with tabs with lists of Monitored Words, Cliches, Dialog Tags, Ignored Phrases, and Ignored Words. We could easily add, edit, or delete entries. An Online Help link offered excellent resources, including advice for writers and demo videos.

SmartEdit is easy to use. We loaded a Text file (the program also opens RTFs) and ran the scan, which turned up no cliches but multiple repeated phrases. We could save our scan report as a text file, a useful feature that lets you return to previous checks without rescanning material. While SmartEdit is aimed chiefly at aspiring fiction writers, it can help any writer avoid bad writing and learn from his or her mistakes.

Full Specifications

What's new in version 3.301

New user options to fine-tune the results.

General

Release November 25, 2013
Date Added November 25, 2013
Version 3.301

Operating Systems

Operating Systems Windows 8, Windows Vista, Windows, Windows 7, Windows XP
Additional Requirements None

Popularity

Total Downloads 2,897
Downloads Last Week 0
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Developer's Description

SmartEdit is an automated tool that scans your finished novel or your work in progress and highlights areas that might need closer attention. It runs five individual checks, such as highlighting words or phrases marked by you for monitoring, counting the different dialog tags you have used, and searching out over-used phrases, words and cliches. It's not a word processor--its sole purpose is to assist you when you edit your work, much like a grammar or spell checker. The results of a scan can be saved to an external file and referenced later when you are editing your work in MS Word or some other writing software.