Nisus Book Review

The Nisus Way - The Authorized Guide!
reviewed by Phyllis Evans

I've been a devoted fan of NisusWriter for more than a year now, but because the documentation is a bit overwhelming (five spiral bound volumes!) I know I'm not using it to it's full potential. If you want to look for a specific piece of information, it's generally not that hard to find, but how much have I missed because the manual are dull reading?

The Nisus Way is not just a comprehensive guide, it's interesting reading that starts with the history of Paragon/Nisus Software. There is nothing dry about it. You don't find yourself rereading a paragraph over and over to be sure you understand it. The book is loaded with quick tips, shortcuts and, where necessary, warnings.

Author Joe Kissell started using NisusWriter while working on his Master's Degree, then when the opportunity arose, went to work for Nisus Software. But, being on the Nisus payroll doesn't mean he's a yes-man. He doesn't minimize NisusWriter's shortcomings. At the same time, he has some very creative workarounds for some of them.

The CD that is bundled with the book is a great bonus. It contains, among other things, a self-running demo of NisusWriter 4.1, a fully-functioning 90-day trial version (register it for $79!) and a free copy of Nisus Compact 3.4.7. This is a scaled down version of NisusWriter that has been optimized for PowerBook usage. While it doesn't have the text-to-speech, macro and glossary capabilities of NisusWriter, it will work in only 512K and loads completely into RAM to minimize HD spinups and conserve precious battery time. Save documents in any format for which you have a Claris XTND translator.

The CD also contains extra macros and toolbars that are detailed in the book. There are also examples of many of the shortcuts and macros that Joe discusses in the book, with sample documents including HTML pages. Additionally, there are demo versions of TSM Passport, a Japanese-English bilingual dictionary, and MailKeeper, an internet note/mail/address database.

I normally confine my bedtime reading to murder mysteries and science fiction, but I found myself taking this to bed instead. It's not just well written, it's beautifully laid out and pleasing to look at. If you use NisusWriter or are considering it, or if you need a good word processor for your PowerBook, you need this book. It's the bargain of the year.

The Nisus Way by Joe Kissell
MIS: Press (ISBN 1-55828-455-9) $29.95 (Book/CD)

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