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Use Nisus Writer Express to read Unicode PC Word files Apps

There's a hole in Mac word processing, at least on an international level, in that Word X doesn't deal with Unicode. A file from Word on a PC can use Greek, Russian, etc. and display on (at least reasonably modern) Windows operating systems. The same file viewed on Mac OS X, under Word v.X, will show underscores in place of most Greek or Cyrillic characters. Disappointing to say the least.

In the past, a PC had to be used to save the Word document as an RTF or Unicode text file. TextEdit could then open the file without any problems. However, the new Nisus beta will open PC Unicode Word files and can save them as RTF. It can also copy and paste directly, though further problems can be avoided by pasting into TextEdit first, then copying and pasting from there. There's a clash when pasting text with multiple fonts directly from Nisus to InDesign.

BTW: On the layout side, InDesign will deal with Unicode text, but Quark and vanilla OS 9 will not. Create an outlined EPS from InDesign or Illustrator if you must use Quark.

So far, I haven't tried Hebrew, Arabic, or even Cyrillic text, and the translation engine is still new and somewhat immature. Right-to-left support is spotty, though improving. Still, I suspect the new Nisus could soon be a major help to international Mac users who need to interoperate with PC Word users. And if you've never seen Nisus before, check it out. GREP with a GUI, fully customisable key commands, and now rewritten in Cocoa. Nice stuff that should mature quickly.

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Use Nisus Writer Express to read Unicode PC Word files | 4 comments | Create New Account
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Use Nisus Writer Express to read Unicode PC Word files
Authored by: dhayton on May 15, '03 11:09:56AM

If you haven't tried NisusWriter Express, I recommend it. I've been using the beta release for a few weeks now because I need access to the Greek unicode. For a beta release, it works quite well. I'm hopeful that the few kinks (most notably rather slow file opening times) will be ironed out in the final release.

Another alternative, though I can't speak to how well or if at all it opens Windows Word files, is Mellel. It sports many of the same benefits as NisusWriter (Unicode, right-to-left typing, etc). I don't care for the appearance as much (it has the brushed metal look of the iApps), but it works well.

My 2ยข.

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Pasting different fonts into InDesign
Authored by: hamarkus on May 15, '03 12:32:47PM

A few days ago a new text-pasting update for InDesign 2.0.2 came out. Maybe the problems with pasting from Nisus into InDesign have been fixed by this?

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Use Nisus Writer Express to read Unicode PC Word files
Authored by: thanar on May 15, '03 02:50:17PM

There's been lots of comments on the disability of Word X to read Greek documents, in the HelMUG (Hellenic Macintosh Users Group) Forums.

If you are interested in the issue and can read Greek, visit for further information.

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Authored by: bedouin on May 17, '03 03:03:24PM
Unlike Word, Nisus can display Arabic letters (not just underscores and strange characters). The problem is, it still doesn't know how to connect them properly -- so it is essentially non-functional. I'm assuming Hebrew will have the same problem. Supposedly Microsoft is going to update word to handle right to left languages. I guess they're too busy working on crappy MSN clients, though.

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