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1st March 1996 at 00:00
WRITE AWAY! Black Cat Software. The Barn Cwm Camlais, BreconPowys LD3 8TD Tel:01874 636835 Write Away! is another program from Black Cat Software, the publisher of Counter, Sketch and Information Workshop. This comprehensive but easy-to-use talking word processor is for use on the Primary Partner PC from ICL and TAG computer, but is also available as a standalone product.

Write Away! has all the features you would expect from sophisticated word processors, like changing the font, its colour and size, and merging pictures and text. The menus give clear instructions, with some extra features to help children with their writing. The View menu can give a word list that children can just click on to add words to their stories. There's a notebook to assist children with creative writing, and a planner which works in conjunction with the text and which can be saved individually. In this menu you also find the Zoom command. This enables you to view text in different sizes - the control is a slider which you can move with the mouse pointer.

The drop-down menus, located at the top of the screen, use the slide-and-drag method for choosing the sub-options required. Underneath the menu bar is found the now customary icon bar, which gives short cuts to commands used most frequently.

The icon bar also has the added advantage of being able to set the entry levels from the "change level" icon (RM users will be familiar with this approach). The Yellow level gives large icons and a restricted menu set and menu bar. The Green level brings up the word list at the bottom of the work area - this area has four coloured switches, leading to different word list contents. It also has a mouse clickable full-stop and a carriage return. Coloured backgrounds, pictures, frames and images which act like water marks, can be added, and all these features can be previewed. And Write Away! can read back words and phrases just by highlighting them or by clicking on the talk icon to read the whole document.

Formatting is made simple by the use of "sliders", (rather like creative mixer), for colour, size and fonts. In fact, all the menus give access to visible and simple-to-understand choices. All in all this is not just another word processor, it is an uncomplicated piece of software that children should find fun to use.

For details about the TAG computer tel: 0800 591262.

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