a software program by Casady & Greene, Inc.
reviewed by Daniel Reed

SpellCatcher is an interactive, universal, spell checker, thesaurus, and shorthand glossary, according to the cover of the User Guide. From what I used and have experience with, it’s right. I started by installing it to my home computer, wondering what would happen with the spell checker that comes with Office97. Once installed, a shortcut was created on my desktop (a big yellow check mark) which you can either click to start SpellCatcher, or once you open a document you will be asked if you wish to start the program.

I started by updating a few of my documents and the first thing I noticed was a voice coming from the computer telling me of a "misspelling". Just like any other program of this type it gave me suggested corrections in a small dialog box. Once the corrections were made the dialog box remained on the screen. I had to physically close the box for it to disappear, which I feel is not an advantage. Click on the correction you want and it updates the screen. What I found interesting was that it didn’t appear to effect the spell checker in Office97. Office97 also indicated the misspelling with the traditional red line under the word, but the Spellcatcher "tells" you of the error. SpellCatcher told me of "capitalization" errors when starting a sentence, however; in this case it automatically corrected this if I kept typing. However, if the program suggested a "capitalization" within the sentence, it did not always make the correction. The program will say "word" for a suggestion in the thesaurus. Try as I did I could not get the program to suggest punctuation.

I then decided to try SpellCatcher at work to see how it performed. After the install, and activating the program everything ran very smooth. I worked throughout the day with the computer "telling" me of my errors. This was neat for the first couple of hours, then it gets old as it tends to distract you, especially in mid thought when you are trying to get to the point, and have something talking to you. I work on some specialized spreadsheets and forms so I quickly found where to turn the "voice" off so I could continue, uninterrupted. The program left the first dialog box on the screen so as I went back and made the corrective action the next box would appear. There appeared to be no adverse effect to the document.

I looked further into the menus available on SpellCatcher. Listed were the usual serial numbers, name, address and phone numbers of the manufacturer, along with links to their websites. This is where I discovered that you could change the sounds so you could have other then the voice, which was better and a lot less distracting. The series of menus gives you many options and ways to customize the program to your needs.
If you use a word processor you most likely have a spell checker installed. However, this program works with NotePad, as well as all the well known suites, and all email (including AOL), not just your word processing programs. It has scientific, medical, legal, and HTML dictionaries, curly quote substitution, em dash conversion, and a thesaurus. One advantage to SpellCatcher is the interactive voice or sounds. Just a hint – turn the volume down on your computer or the world will know how bad a speller you really are!

Back to the top

Home | Special Interest Groups | Business | Calendar of Events | Newsletter Articles | Reviews | Tidbits

This page was last updated on:
February 2003