Posted by: Sean | April 23, 2008

Buzzword Rocks My Socks Off

Seriously, church bulletins are driving me crazy! This Pastor keeps changing the copy and my designer is sick of getting something that is half-proofed, a quarter edited and, at best, the rough draft. (Enter Buzzword…)

There is a bit of a buzz about Buzzword, the slick, new, online word processor built in Adobe Flash. It’s so slick, in fact, that Adobe has just bought Virtual Ubiquity, the company behind it, while it’s still in beta.

If you’ve used the word processor in Google Docs, you should find Buzzword impressive. Google Docs is clunky, hard to use, and looks awful; Buzzword is smooth as silk, has a much nicer user interface, and the results look as good as Microsoft Word, if not better.

Indeed, if you maximize Buzzword and go into Full Screen mode (hit F11 in Windows), nobody would suspect it was an online application running in a browser.

Obviously it has far fewer functions than a full desktop word processor such as Word, however, it offers a choice of fonts in sizes ranging from 8pt to 72pt; you can insert lists, tables and images, and it spell-checks (without auto-correction) as you type. Buzzword also supports headers and endnotes, notes and pagination. If you move or resize a picture, text flows around it, though it can’t do columns yet.

More features are being added, but I reckon you could already write a decent term paper in Buzzword, as long as it’s for one of the softer subjects such as English or History. (I couldn’t find a way to enter equations.)

Buzzword features a somewhat novel menu system. The toolbars are stacked on the top right of the screen, and when you click on the one you want — Paragraph, List, Image, etc. — Buzzword fires it across the screen. If you need to go back to an earlier toolbar, it’s now stacked on the left, so you have to fire it off to the right.

ADOBE says this about the future for Buzzword: “Buzzword will integrate with Adobe’s document services in stages. The first step is to extend support for PDF output and gradually integrate with future releases of Acrobat Connect, Create Adobe PDF Online, and Adobe Document Center. Buzzword currently imports and exports Rich Text Format (RTF) files, Microsoft Word DOC files, and Word 2003 XML files. Adobe plans to add support for standard open file formats such as PDF, Open Document Format (ODF), and others over time.”

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