Software Review – RoughDraft 3.0 (Redux)


I’ve discovered a couple of things about my favorite word processing program, RoughDraft 3.0, that I didn’t know before.

For those who don’t know, RoughDraft (RD) is a tabbed-interface word processor capable of generating straight text or RTF files. This makes the files produced universally portable. Or at least, almost universally portable. It uses your Windows fonts, so you can use whatever your favorite font is. It’s portable, meaning it can be installed to and run from a USBflash drive. It’s very fast, and lightweight from a resource perspective, making it far less cumbersome and memory intensive than an office suite or even just the word processing package of an office suite. (Can you say “feature bloat” and “resource hog”, MS Word and OpenOffice.org? I knew you could.)

It will use any of the available formatting tricks available to the RTF file format. While that’s not a tonof stuff, it’s plenty for formatting scripts for audio or stage, screenplays, or prose. It allows enough formatting for you to have a title, header, sub-header, and body text, and can even go into “typewriter” text mode. Which I don’t like. Just FYI.

It also has a built-in spell check utility, and a live spell check feature so you get the lovely little red squiggle under the misspelled words if you’d like. It does not, however, feature a grammar check utility. If you need that, you’re probably going to want to stay with Word or OO.o, WordPerfect … something large, bloaty and expensive. Something that will hold your hand. RD won’t.

Anyway, the interface is pretty straightforward, it can have up to four documents open at the same time, you can copy and paste to four different “clip” (which are RTF docs created for this purpose), and has a file tree window (sorta like Windows Explorer’s look), and a “pad”, which is a plain text file associated with the RTF/TXT file for your work, and it can contain anything you’d like. I used it as a light-weight outliner in the latter chapters of Ghost Hunters. (Which I still need a title for, dang it.)

It integrates (but not in the portable mode) with WordWeb dictionary, and will use that as its default dictionary if you specify so. You can control the zoom of the interface, which is something nice not all freeware editors offer. (I have poor eyesight and like to keep mine at about 120% to ease eyestrain.)

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