Proofreading Software: Whitesmoke
As I continue to proofread my third book, Whitesmoke has again proved to be an invaluable resource. I used Whitesmoke extensively for my second book, Resume Writing for Manufacturing Careers, and knew it would help greatly again. I’m using the 2010 version of Whitesmoke. The newer version is supposed to be better, but I haven’t updated yet.
Whitesmoke is an excellent tool to catch all the mistakes Word misses. I always use Word’s built in grammar checker, but it only catches the obvious errors. Whitesmoke will run circles around it. This does not mean that Whitesmoke is perfect. It isn’t. It will still miss some mistakes, but it is an excellent resource.
When using Whitesmoke, you will quickly learn that the software makes a large number of style choices. For example, it recommends changes when the same word appears more than once in close proximity. This is an easy mistake to make, but it is not something Word is going to address. Whitesmoke is also pretty good at finding missing words. When I type fast, it is not uncommon for me to skip an occasional preposition. For any reader, this will jump off the page as a mistake, but for grammar checkers, this can be a difficult mistake to identify. Whitesmoke does a good job with this.
I also like the ability to check for synonyms. All you have to do is click a word in a document and a box pops up with suggested alternatives. This is great when you need to come up with a high-impact word and don’t want to pull out a thesaurus.
Whitesmoke isn’t perfect. It is supposed to integrate with Word well. I’ve found this integration does not always work. As a result, I copy from a Word document into the Whitesmoke editor rather than having Whitesmoke edit the text directly in Word. This is more cumbersome, but it works. Hopefully, Whitesmoke has addressed this in the latest version, but I haven’t tested it.
In addition to Whitesmoke, I’ve also been tested, and found it to be a very effective grammar checker too. Grammarly is web-based, while Whitesmoke is an application installed on my computer. I prefer having it installed on my computer, although with a web-based solution, Grammarly is always up to date with the latest version.
I’m going to put together some articles on the effectiveness of the grammar checkers on resumes. Check back, those will hopefully be complete in a week or two.