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The program is valued by its users—especially users like book authors—for its reliability and unique features.
First introduced in 1989, the Nisus Writer was the first word processor for Macintosh—long before Unicode was introduced—which was able to handle multiple type systems within one document, e.g. Arabic, Hebrew, Japanese, etc., thanks to WorldScript. Therefore Nisus Writer was an indispensable tool for people who had to integrate passages written in non-Roman script into a regular document, for instance theologians and archaeologists. Other distinguishing features of the program were non-contiguous text selection, multiple editable clipboards, one of the earliest implementations of multiple undo, voice recording, and inline annotations. It also offers powerful search and replace in a user-friendly format that is helpful for non-technical users. It also offers grep searching.
A unique feature of the Nisus file format was that the font and formatting information was saved in the file's resource fork, with the data fork containing only plain text. Thus, if the file were to be opened on a Windows PC the text would be readable (although style information would be lost). This predates cross-platform file formats as used by word processors like Microsoft Word. Contemporary editions of Word had different formats between the Mac and Windows versions and required a translator if the file were to be readable at all. Using the resource fork to store style information was later duplicated by Apple Inc. for the standard Macintosh styled text format as used in SimpleText.
Nisus developed a fundamentally new product for Mac OS X: Nisus Writer Express (see below). It is based on Cocoa and complies with Apple's user interface guidelines. Nisus Writer Express is a compact word processor with good Microsoft Word compatibility. It was originally developed as Okito Composer by Charles Jolley of Sprout Systems. Nisus bought Okito Composer and hired Charles as Managing Director where he oversaw further development of the word processor he had created.
Nisus Compact was an extra-lean word processor, which was especially designed for Apple's 68K PowerBooks. It was designed to fit entirely within RAM to avoid accessing the hard disk on a battery-powered system. It was at first a commercial product but was later given away with various books and magazines as part of a marketing campaign. "Upgrades" were offered to Nisus Writer at a discount.
Current product range
Nisus currently (May 2012) sell two versions of its word processor: Nisus Writer Express and Nisus Writer Pro. Both versions come with more than adequate functionality for most users, although Pro leans more towards business documents, and is designed as a replacement for the likes of Microsoft Word for Macintosh. Pro version supports more file formats.
- List of word processors
- Comparison of word processors
- OpenDocument software
- Office Open XML software
- MathMagic equation editor for Nisus Writer, supporting automatic baseline alignment
- Nisus Writer Pro features ; Nisus Writer Pro 1.2 added ODF export