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Mellel 4 released


R. Mansfield
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Although I admittedly haven't been using Mellel in recent years as much as I used to, I always keep it current as I have hundreds of documents from previous years created with it. I would guess that it still probably handles right-to-left languages on the Mac better than anything else, even with MS Word improving tremendously (finally!) in the most recent version. 

 

Mellel 4 has been released in the last couple of days, and it's worth looking at if you're doing any kind of academic writing on the Mac or working with Hebrew, Arabic, and other RTL languages a lot. 

 

If you have the Mac App Store version, it is not a free upgrade, but is considered a separate release. However, MAS users of Mellel 3.x can get an upgrade price by clicking on the link here that will install a non-MAS version of Mellel 4 and will migrate all your v. 3.x settings and content over to v. 4. 

 

Mellel has always had a little bit of a learning curve because it's never been "just another word processor," but instead a word processor rethought from the ground up. In other words, don't expect that because you know Word or Pages that you can just jump in and get going. You need to invest some time in learning. That's not to suggest Mellel is complicated; rather, it just works differently. Fortunately, they have really beefed up their tutorial section for Mellel 4, including quite a few new videos

 

Mellel also works really well with bibliographic management software, Bookends, which I have continuously used for over a decade, even as I have bounced around at times to different word processors (Bookends works with just about everything). If you want both programs and have neither, there is a discounted combo purchase price available. If you already have Bookends and want a discount on Mellel, you will want to fill out this form

 

This is a totally non-compensated endorsement--I have no direct ties to Mellel or those behind it (or Bookends either). However, looking at the new version of Mellel, I admit that I am tempted to go back to using it more regularly. 

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Rick,

 

I will be returning to school early in 2018 (starting my D.Min). Does Mellel export to docx or doc? Do you know if it opens those files or RTF?

 

Thanks!

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Rick,

 

I will be returning to school early in 2018 (starting my D.Min). Does Mellel export to docx or doc? Do you know if it opens those files or RTF?

 

Thanks!

 

There is a 30 day trial available

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Does Mellel export to docx or doc? Do you know if it opens those files or RTF?

 

It can open and save to .doc Word files. If the Word file contains footnotes, you want to export to RTF from Word first and then import the RTF file. 

 

As Alistair mentioned, there is a free trial available. Not only can you try out some of these features with the trial, you can also look at the very detailed PDF manual which will give you much more information. 

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Thanks to both of you!!

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  • 4 weeks later...

I upgraded to Mellel 4 during the 20% off sale. I'm still using Nota Bene as my go-to academic word processor even though it runs in WINE on a Mac. Nota Bene is too luxurious to totally give up.

 

However, I still have a use for Mellel in my toolbox. I use Nota Bene, Nisus Writer Pro, Pages, and Mellel. So far I haven't found a need for Word anymore.

 

In terms of word processors, Nota Bene is still going to be my go-to word processor for academic research and writing (I love the integrated workflow). Pages has been great for when I need to create print-worthy documents or do high collaboration with my iPad since it all syncs with iCloud. Nisus Writer Pro has been great for every day word processing, and I see no reason to mess with Word when I work with Nisus Writer Pro. I still installed Mellel on my Mac and iPad for the occasional times when I need to do a little more intense writing on my iPad Pro. I can take my iPad Pro with me and start research and writing on the iPad Pro using Mellel since it's more powerful than Pages, then have it sync the documents with Mellel back on my Mac, then when I get back to my Mac, I'd likely export the documents into Nota Bene and fold everything into Nota Bene. 

 

Interestingly enough, I fired up Mellel after installing v4 and took a tour of the interface, and I seem to "get it" better than I did in the past. Maybe spending extensive time with various word processors in general clicked something in mentally where I get it better. :-)

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Nathan and above writers,

This is a call for help. For thirty years I wrote lectures, every day theological reflexions, exegesis, etc. on Word, Now for the last two weeks, having consulted with the Answer Desk with 6 o 7 different people, and having tried everything from formatting the hard disk, rebuilding the Mac with the system and reinstall Office 2016, I still meet with big problems with Templates and every time I restart the Mac I loose all my preferences (styles, shortcuts to styles, etc…). I even fear not to be able to open some docs as it happened at the beginning of this. I thought - for the last two days - I was free of this, in particular by eliminating the use of Outlook. In vain. So I need to go to another processor and I am at loss her. Mellel, Nisus or anything else you would recommend. I understand that I will have to work hard to get used to a new processor after so long a companionship with Word, but this seems inevitable. Of course, I need Hebrew, Greek and Syriac writing form time to time. If you can help, I will be very grateful. 

Blessings,

Yohanan

Edited by Yohanan
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I use Nisus Writer Pro as my “Word replacement” and love it. It is also a little easier to use than Mellel. Mellel offers better Hebrew support though (although Nisus is still great with Hebrew) and syncs with an iPad if you needed that functionality.

 

Nota Bene is solid as well, although it’s a Windows app that runs in WINE on a Mac.

 

Pages I only use for basic stuff. I’m also integrating Scrivener into my workflow and can’t wait to use it.

 

Take a trial of Nisus Writer Pro, Mellel, and Nota Bene, plus I’d recommend a trial of Scrivener as well.

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I use Libre Office (FREE!) for old Word files, even old Clarisworks and Appleworks files, it has excellent import filters and can open up pretty much everything i have thrown at it. I even prefer it over the current Apple Pages for opening .doc files.

 

https://www.libreoffice.org

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Thank you very much for the advices. I tried again this evening (European time) but everything was unsuccessful with Word. I opened a doc with Pages and it was not too bad, though I probably need something more complex. I have scrivener but never used it and I fear that it might not be so flexible with working on styles and the presentation of the page on the screen. So probably Nisus for a beginning. I guess it is a little less complicated than LibreOffice ? But I am aware that with LibreOffice I can open even old Word docs that the more recent versions of Office could no longer open.

Thanks a lot again!

Edited by Yohanan
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Scrivener is in the process of giving me a free upgrade to v3 since I purchased v2 right before v3 hit (I couldn't take it any longer, I had to have it). LibreOffice is going to be more of an office suite, so you'll have all the stuff the whole Office suite has.

 

If you're wanting just a simple, powerful word processor with good language support, try Nisus Writer Pro. They also offer 50% off if you're an academic user.

 

While I use Nota Bene for academic documents now, I still keep Nisus Writer Pro around for my everyday use, and I have successfully done many a paper in Nisus Writer Pro. It's powerful, simple, and will make you forget Word even exists. If you email the company and get Dave, tell him Nathan Parker sent you to him. He'll remember me and glad to see another person get Nisus.

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Hi Yohanan,

First, I wonder what version of Word you are using. I have the latest Insider/beta, and I don't have problems opening files, most of which were made in Word for Windows over the last 20 years. When I tried other word processors, I kept Word to be able to export my files in other formats.

I tried many others, with Unicode Hebrew/rtl languages and English/Greek in mind. Here is what I found (in High Sierra):

I tried Nissus Writer Pro, and it kept on crashing when I switched to Hebrew, that is, to my Apple Hebrew keyboard. It was unusable to me. I tried more than once, and always got the crashes. I heard others had that problem too.

With Libre Office I had problems with stuck menus. LO is good, but some things are overly complicated, e.g., restarting footnote numbers at 1 in every chapter in a document, which takes five seconds to do in Word. Actually, I never quite figured it out in LO.

TextMaker in SoftMaker Office can open just about any file from any program from the last 20 years. They have a Mac version coming soon. But, in the Windows version, it couldn't place Hebrew vowels, accents, etc. correctly. Otherwise, I would use it. What I have done is open documents with it, saved them as .doc or .odt files, whatever, and opened them in another word processor, and Hebrew displays correctly in them.

I have Scrivener, but you have to compile your document into some file format for your preferred word processor. So it is a middle man. I love it, but use it for other things, i.e., making millions of notes in millions of files, so my office isn't littered with millions of pieces of paper like it use used to be.

I had lately decided on Mellel in combination with Word for my needs. If you are interested in making text critical editions, Mellel allows three levels of footnotes. Mellel handles long documents well (2000 pages), except for selecting text somewhere in a long document, when it begins to crawl. Mellel also has other quirks. I wouldn't use it alone, but A.D. Riddle swears by it, and is writing his dissertation with it.

There is another English word processor coming out for Mac soon, Papyrus Autor. Fabian swears by it. I tried the German Mac version, and it didn't copy and paste Unicode Hebrew correctly. Too many rtl/ltr paragraph confusions. But you could type Hebrew in it and it worked.

I move to different word processors based on my current work flow. So I finally bought Nota Bene. Its Mac bottled Wine version works well. Its advantages: make your own custom keyboard for any language, three levels of footnotes, with an advantage over Mellel, invisible markers in the text for notes (when I don't want to mark the Hebrew text), mixing rtl/ltr is never a problem, it handles long documents better than Mellel (no crawling when selecting in 2000 page documents), and of course, all of its academic capabilities, with many styles to choose from, its search engine, etc. Version 11.5 finally handles Unicode reasonably well (depending on the font) for Hebrew, so I made the plunge.

So, long story short, use the trial versions. Decide on which features you want. See if they work. Then buy.

Regards,

Michel

Edited by Michel Gilbert
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Thank you Nathan for the advice! and for mentioning people there at Nisus.

Thank you Michel. I discovered on the web that Office 2016 has troubles with the last versions of the Mac System (last of High Sierra for me) and I could not go further with it. It even refuses sometimes to open some rather recent documents. On the advice of Nathan here above, I downloaded the Nisus Writer pro today for a period of essay. I have to prepare a little communication on text criticism about a text of Exodus for some colleagues next week and I immediately began on Nisus. It crashed very soon, which was not very reassuring, but the for the rest of the day I could work without any complication. Sure I will have to learn styles and style sheet, but the menus are rather simple, for example for the shortcuts for fonts or any thing in characters. I am tempted by Mellel, but I guess I will have to wait till I have a minimum time to get acquainted with it, I have heard it is very different and takes time to learn.

I have tried Pages earlier this morning, but it seems somewhat rigid. By the way, I had the same problem on both Pages and Nisus: I could not place a patah vowel correctly under a dalet, though I used the same American keyboard as usual when writing in the Hebraica font (when I was in Word). Could it be that these processors prefer some other font, like Yehudit, for example ?

In any case, thanks a lot for the support I found here. Changing after so many years (I wrote my dissertation on a MacPlus…) is not an easy thing, though my master Dominique Barthélemy used to say that one should change regularly smartphone and keyboards, etc. in order to keep flexible and intellectually fit  :unsure: So a little bit of exercise has been sent by the Providence it seems.

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. . . I could not place a patah vowel correctly under a dalet, though I used the same American keyboard as usual when writing in the Hebraica font (when I was in Word). Could it be that these processors prefer some other font, like Yehudit, for example ?

 

Different word processors do handle the same Unicode font differently. There are many posts on this issue. The best program for Hebrew vowel placement is Nota Bene - you can move vowels, accents, etc. to wherever you want, e.g., you could move a ַ   . But there is a big learning curve with NB.

 
I used to use Hebraica II, a non-Unicode font from Linguist's software. The equivalent Unicode fonts are now at https://www.linguistsoftware.com/lhebu.htm. Free Ezra SIL is almost as nice as the equivalent at LS.
 
I partly moved to NB to rid myself of the headache of which font works in which program. Ezra SIL is beautiful in NB, I can move anything if I want, and I'll buy the LS Unicode Hebrew fonts for my next publication.
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I actually didn't get that far in Nisus. I tried to customize it by matching HE and my preferred keyboard, and it constantly crashed changing from English to it. I would just try דַ וַ זַ רַ in Accordance, Ezra SIL, SBL Hebrew, and whatever other Unicode font you have. Here they are in NB and Mellel for comparison:

 

post-32543-0-94419600-1511307184_thumb.png

 

post-32543-0-32679800-1511307194_thumb.png

 

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Scrivener is in the process of giving me a free upgrade to v3 since I purchased v2 right before v3 hit (I couldn't take it any longer, I had to have it). LibreOffice is going to be more of an office suite, so you'll have all the stuff the whole Office suite has.
 
If you're wanting just a simple, powerful word processor with good language support, try Nisus Writer Pro. They also offer 50% off if you're an academic user.
 
While I use Nota Bene for academic documents now, I still keep Nisus Writer Pro around for my everyday use, and I have successfully done many a paper in Nisus Writer Pro. It's powerful, simple, and will make you forget Word even exists. If you email the company and get Dave, tell him Nathan Parker sent you to him. He'll remember me and glad to see another person get Nisus.

 

Dear Nathan Parker,

I am just experiencing a little bit of Nisus Writer Pro and I am a bit perplex. On one hand it is very attractive by its simplicity (the videos tutorial are good) but It crashed also already once on the MacBook 12 yesterday and now on the Imac (both last version of High Sierra) where I am exploring it right now. If this is not a recurrent problem, I will be very pleased with this (though I have still to experience what kind of Hebrew font it can manage). Actively wait and see…

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I recommend you try Mellel also, which does not crash (it is solid), and the learning curve is in my view somewhat exaggerated by some users.

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Sadly enough, because the processor seems very user friendly, I will not buy the Nisus Writer Pro, it crashes regularly like you mentioned Michel. I did buy Mellel yesterday night because of the opportunity of the special discount, and will have to follow the hard path of learning a fully new environment if I understood correctly what has been said. I was also a bit surprised by the not very well organised website of Nisus.

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Hi Yohanan,

One thing is for sure, Mellel will not crash. I've had a file open for over two months, and it only closed when the power went out. But it autosaved my work, so I didn't lose a thing.

In case you haven't already, to get started quickly, click Window > Palettes > Toggle Palettes, and in the Palettes Window choose top left Attributes, and Character near the top right. Then you will see your Fonts, etc.

Then, right click in the top toolbar in an empty space and Customize Toolbar, and drag your preferred items into it, including Toggle Palettes.

The hardest part is figuring out styles, etc., something that others on the Forum are probably better at than me.

Regards,

Michel

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