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Mellel + Bookends


piotrj
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hi there,

I'm testing during these weeks Mellel + Bookends bundle. I found it very stable, straightforward and really doing what I want (without thinking for me as some other editors, if you know what I mean...). to test it I wrote a nearly 8000 words paper and it worked just fine.

 

Bookends has outstanding support. The developer responds after few hours addressing your problem directly.

 

Accordance compatibility 100%.

 

I wonder if you could divide with me some your opinions? I've seen here and there some (if I can remember well, it is from here that I knew about Mellel, praised above all for handling well RTL), but these refer to previous versions...

 

I saw also some here returning to Word... I don't know, seems to me something impossible to do personally, maybe I'm too allergic for that piece of software and it would seem to me as leaving all the comfort and stability I've found in Mac apps (I converted some 2 years ago...) ;)

 

so, if you don't mind, let me know, if someone can divide his experience and workflow, I'll be grateful.

 

piotr

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Hi Piotr,

 

Over the past two years I transitioned from Windows, which I used since it came out, to Mac. I've also used Word since almost its very beginning.

 

Here are a few thoughts:

 

Mellel support: It just so happens I contacted Mellel on Mar. 26 and 29 regarding an issue upgrading to the full version, and I haven't received a response. So far, I'm dumbfounded by this, and I've contacted Apple about it. To be fair, I'll give Mellel credit if and when they resolve the issue.

 

Mellel as a desktop word processor: the best for long documents. Mellel is still crisp and fast at 1500 pages.

 

Word as a desktop word processor: fast and crisp to about 500 pages, starts to slow down with complicated find and replaces, select all and reformat, etc. from 500 pages on, but is still fast for just typing, even on page 1574. Overall, Word can do more, but Mellel is honest on its website about what it can and can't do.

 

Stability: I find Word is more stable in OSX than it was in Windows. Of course, Mellel is stable.

 

iOS: Here, Word handles 1500 page files as well as Mellel. Mellel has some limitations in iOS: at a certain point, when a file gets long enough, and you leave Mellel for another app, say to look up a word in Accordance, and you return to Mellel, you find your file has closed. It takes about 10 seconds to open a 1500 page file again. Word does not do this. You can return to Word and find your file the way you left it.

 

Ease of use: I still find Word easier to use. I wrote this in Word.

 

Regarding Bookends: I have no experience.

 

Regards,

 

Michel

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I use Bookends--initially with Mellel and now with Word. I used Endnote for a while but they are slow to release updates and it's difficult to get technical support from them. Jon at Sonny Software, the maker of Bookends, is very responsive and will communicate with you directly. They also have user forums.

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Mellel can also handle multiple layers of footnotes with separate designations, which is a huge plus in technical documentation. Also, it handles left to right typing in Hebrew far better than Word ever does (or ever will!). While, I grant that it is not as "slick" as Apple Pages, Mellel is an excellent and reasonably priced piece of software that runs well.

 

Also, not only is Mellel 100% compatible with Accordance, it is 100% compatible with Adobe InDesign if you are looking for desktop publishing applications. Pages is not.

 

win

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Hi again,

 

Since we are sharing workflows, I have to say that my experience differs from win's.

 

Word 2016 for Mac solved the Hebrew problems. I have a Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible from a Jewish Studies Department, I use Word and Mellel with Hebrew every day, and I can't find anything Mellel can do with Hebrew that Word can't.

 

But, I have found something Word can do in mixed Hebrew and English that Mellel can't. Mellel has trouble with English end of line in rtl paragraph direction with right justification. For example, there is no way to get a punctuation mark attached to a word at the end of an English line to position correctly - here is an example, where the question mark should be next to "cramp."

 

post-32543-0-37803600-1491237408_thumb.png

 

Word handles this perfectly, as you type.

 

Regards,

 

Michel

 

 

Edit: In fact, I clean up Mellel files by exporting to .doc format, opening in Word, and cleaning up things like this.

 

But, that has been my experience through the decades. No one product does everything I need or want, so I never have restricted myself to one.

Edited by Michel Gilbert
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Michel,

 

Fair enough. It has been close to ten years since I totally divorced myself from Microsoft software for a variety of reasons. Thus, the Word fix for the Hebrew typing is a fix that has taken place since that time. Prior to that, trying to make Word for Mac do right to left typing was a nightmare. I'm glad they solved their problem with handling directional changes to the text.

 

Blessings,

 

w

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thanks guys. I appreciate.

I know that there is not a perfect thing...

 

but on the other way: 

I have quite a big paper to do this autumn, and later probably PhD to start... 

with a lot of hebrew, aramaic, syriac. probably.

so just trying to find my way in terms of optimal workflow.

 

piotr

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Hi Piotr,

 

If it's early in your career, I would suggest you try Nota Bene. The learning curve is similar to Mellel, and those who began using it early in their careers swear by it. It gives total control over publishing, and total access to all you will ever write. It has a trial version.

 

Regards,

 

Michel

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Hi Piotr,

 

If it's early in your career, I would suggest you try Nota Bene. The learning curve is similar to Mellel, and those who began using it early in their careers swear by it. It gives total control over publishing, and total access to all you will ever write. It has a trial version.

 

Regards,

 

Michel

 

thanks.

it seems a whole new and complete ecosystem with seamless integration...

however expensive too :(

 

maybe I'll give a try...

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A brother told me that Bookends does not work as good in some places as Zotero. But he did not have time to show me where at that time. So I gave up learning Bookends, and sticked with Word&Zotero.

 

But Word does not handle SBL Hebrew font well on Mac. The vowels are not aligned well with the consonants. For Hebrew (in Word on Mac), even Times New Roman looks much better than the SBL Hebrew. . .

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Hi Piotr,

 

If it's early in your career, I would suggest you try Nota Bene. The learning curve is similar to Mellel, and those who began using it early in their careers swear by it. It gives total control over publishing, and total access to all you will ever write. It has a trial version.

 

Regards,

 

Michel

hi,

I gave it a look but that say a serious flaw could be a not full ASCII compatibility....

 

all the more: it seems not to be Mac native, has a kind of wine solution, I'm not sure, maybe like BibleWorks has.

I had to many issues with BW on mac.

 

all together, it does not convince me :(

 

piotr

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Hi Piotr,

 

Fair enough. I tried it and wouldn’t buy it unless it was fully Unicode compliant and you could use system wide keyboards. But some are captivated by its enclosed ecosystem. My first HB teacher, Dr. Daniel Block, wrote his books with it and highly recommended it. And many others have followed his lead.

 

There are many discussions about word processors on this Forum. Dr. Holmstedt and others use the free Libre Office to write their articles and books. I find Neo Office more stable than LO, and I use it a lot. Most Mac users use Mellel or Nisus, especially since Word for Mac 2011 and before didn’t handle Hebrew well or at all. Most Windows users, and I would say the majority of OT/HB scholars I know, use Word. Now that Word for Mac 2016 solved the Hebrew issues, many on this Forum are using it.

 

Martin makes a valid point. I checked, and yes, the SBL font doesn’t look right in Word 2016. I didn’t know that because I don’t use it; I think it's ugly. But the two I use, Ezra SIL and Accordance, work, and I don’t type vowels much anyways. I’ve found that some fonts behave strangely depending on which program and operating system you use. The font designer, program, and OS all interact with the kerning in unpredictable ways.

 

My personal opinion is use Mellel and Word, especially if you are going to use several rtl fonts in different languages.

 

Anyways, if you’re going to use rtl scripts for the rest of your life, be prepared for lots of headaches, hard earned victories, and inevitable setbacks when operating systems and programs update and cause problems all over again.

 

Regards,

 

Michel

 

Edited: it's

Edited by Michel Gilbert
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But Word does not handle SBL Hebrew font well on Mac. The vowels are not aligned well with the consonants. For Hebrew (in Word on Mac), even Times New Roman looks much better than the SBL Hebrew. . .

 

The SBL Hebrew font definitely has its issues. You are correct that TNR does look better (even though I'm not fond of TNR in general). Don't forget, though, that we now have a seriffed Accordance Unicode font installed on your system that handles biblical languages better than any other font, especially if you are exporting them from Accordance. 

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What? Was the Accordance font being kept secret? I do not remember hearing about it before. Will have to explore further.

 

Piotr,

 

I have used Mellel for 8 years, and before that Word on Windows. I have had very few complaints about Mellel, and I cannot even remember what they are/were at this moment. I have not used Bookends, not for any principled reason, just never got around to buying it. I have thought of getting several times over the years. I used BibDesk (free) and it works for what I do.

 

The main concern I have heard from users switching to Mellel is document sharing, but this has never been an issue for me. I send documents as pdfs, or if it has to be Word, I export as doc.

 

The top features of Mellel that I use a lot are auto-titles and mentions (to navigate enormous documents), and character styles for multiple scripts. With SIL's free Ukelele I have created keyboard layouts for typing in Ugaritic script, cuneiform (to a limited degree--a friend developed this further than I did), and transliteration of Egyptian, Arabic, etc. Then, I can set Mellel's character styles for when I switch languages so that when I type Arabic it is always Scheherazade point 14, Greek is always Galatia (or whatever) and so on.

 

Regarding the issue Michel showed, I would use tables to get around this. One column would be RTL and other LTR right justified. There is a command INSERT > BREAK > DIRECTION BREAKING SPACE that usually solves problems with using numbers and punctuation with Hebrew, but I could not get it to do what Michel wanted. So tables would be my solution. For commands like "Direction Breaking Space" you can create keyboard shortcuts

https://support.apple.com/kb/PH13916?locale=en_US

 

Every time I have to open Word, I have anxiety attacks. I have not used Pages much. I tried several years ago, but it never stuck. I love using Mellel because of the control I have over how everything looks.  I am using Mellel for my dissertation.

 

A.D.

Edited by A.D. Riddle
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Yes, it is already on my system. Just had no idea it was there.

It looks good--includes Arabic, Coptic and other scripts, critical apparatus symbols, diacritics and transliterated aleph and ayin. With bold, italic, and bold-italic it should work in just about all situations.

 

I beg and plead for the inclusion of Egyptian aleph (U+A722 and U+A723), Egyptian ayin (U+A724 and U+A725), and Egyptian yod (this has not been assigned a Unicode value--would need to stick it in the Private Use Area). These would also need to have regular and italic faces, at a minimum.

 

Is there documentation available on the Accordance Unicode font?

 

Thank you, Accordance!

 

A.D.

Edited by A.D. Riddle
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The SBL Hebrew font definitely has its issues. You are correct that TNR does look better (even though I'm not fond of TNR in general). Don't forget, though, that we now have a seriffed Accordance Unicode font installed on your system that handles biblical languages better than any other font, especially if you are exporting them from Accordance. 

 

Yes. I did not mention Accordance fonts and the Ezra SIL fonts. They work better in Word. But my school requires SBL fonts for papers. So basically all Mac user students who use Zotero and Word are stuck...

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Hi Martin,

 

Maybe you know this: the SBL Hebrew font works in TextEdit, Pages, Libre Office, Mellel (there is Mellel Lite also, $18.99) , and Nisus Writer Express ($20). I use Mellel and Word because they cover every scenario I've come across.

 

Hi A.D,

 

Thanks for trying to solve the problem. I also have a problem with the right English bracket, but I’ll try the direction breaking space. I’m hardly a power Mellel user, so thanks for the suggestion. And yes, tables have been the secret weapon of rtl desktop publishers and academic writers for decades now.

 

I like the Accordance Hebrew font – it reminds me of the old HebraicaII font from Linguist’s Software, and blends in nicely with work I have that is 20 years old.

 

Regards to both,

 

Michel

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Hi Martin,

 

Maybe you know this: the SBL Hebrew font works in TextEdit, Pages, Libre Office, Mellel (there is Mellel Lite also, $18.99) , and Nisus Writer Express ($20). I use Mellel and Word because they cover every scenario I've come across.

 

Michel

Hello Michel,

 

Thank you for mentioning these apps. I brought up the SBL Hebrew font to say that the problem is with the Word. Because of the wonderful Zotero, most people were left with the options between Word and LibreOffice.

Most people (I guess) prefer Word over Libre Office, because a lot of schools offer a free version of MS Office to students (which of course is included in tuition), and the professors, publications, proofreaders etc. may take only doc files. I know most apps can convert the files into doc, but if one works with Hebrew, there is a good chance that something will go wrong in the process of conversion. . .

 

A work around is to write in Word, using the SBL Hebrew font, and then send to a Windows computer to convert it into PDF file for sharing. . . If the recipient wants doc file, and if he/she uses Mac, then they are stuck with the funny looking of SBL Hebrew font. . .

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I thought I understood that the SBL BibLit font replaced both SBL Greek and SBL Hebrew. Or did I misunderstand? 

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I thought I understood that the SBL BibLit font replaced both SBL Greek and SBL Hebrew. Or did I misunderstand? 

In my understanding, it does include both Greek and Hebrew fonts.

There are two problems with using the SBL BibLit font, as I see it.

1. If you use the SBL Greek and SBL Hebrew fonts, and you want to change only Greek or Hebrew font, it is very simple to do so. We can select all words in either SBL Greek font or SBL Hebrew and make change. But if we use the SBL BibLit font, I don't know how to change the font for only Greek or Hebrew.

2. SBL BibLit looks the same as SBL Hebrew in Word. So they both have the same problem, that is, the vowels and accents do not align well with the consonants.

 

Therefore, I don't see any advantages of the SBL BibLit font that I can take by using it...

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I'm writing off the top of my head here, having not verified any of this... but I was under the impression that SBL BibLit was more of a true Unicode font containing multiple alphabets, and thus replacing the previous Greek and Hebrew fonts. The issue with alignment in my experience was not just in Word for Mac but Word for Windows as well (unless this has been fixed since I last tried). Thus, because of the deficiencies in the SBL fonts, many were still using Times New Roman, which has a very expansive character set, and this is also why we created our own Unicode font. 

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Let me give an example:

 

SBL BibLit in Mac Word:

post-32138-0-79048300-1491362533_thumb.png

 

SBL BibLit in Win Word:

post-32138-0-13041500-1491362598_thumb.png

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Yes, definitely looks like it's been fixed in Windows and not in Mac yet. How many times have we seen similar over the years? :-)

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