"A sign on the back of a building in spray paint which I pass on
my way to work every day...
GOD DOES NOT EXI___
I often wondered what happened."
SOFTWARE REVIEW: LE REDACTEUR 3.15 BY EPIGRAF
by Richard Karsmakers
No introductory novel here. Why should there? It's a word
processor after all. I would like to write down a remark, though.
This remark is "I am in love". Quite heavily, actually. Head over
heels. Totally, utterly and completely. In a very eerie and
strangely sensational way. I've been in love for years, of
course, but sometimes you've got a day when you wake up and the
air seems to embrace you lovingly, joy leaps at your mind, and
suddenly you re-discover what love is all about - the most
flippin' beautiful thing on earth, the only thing that doesn't
get less when you divide it between two people.
Oh golly I am in love quite a bit. I just thought I'd let you
know (even though you're probably not interested at all). Sorry
folks. I have these kind of oral-hormonal (i.e. 'ormonal')
ejaculations now and again, especially when it's summer.
I want the whole world to know it. I may never succeed in that
goal, but at least you know now.
But let's not stick to this love stuff too long.
In the previous issue of ST NEWS I did a review of Arnor's
rather excellent word processor, "Protext". I was well impressed
by it, but interest has already slackened as I wrote to Arnor
twice with suggestions and they never even bothered to answer.
Customer support is vital if you ask me, and no word processor
can do without it.
"1st Word Plus" was quite limited so I embraced the ability to
review "Protext" with both hands. With the release of the Falcon
and "MultiTOS", however, "Protext" will have to be adapted
quickly (and perhaps rather too extensively) in order to stay
compatible (which it isn't at all). So I was once again glad that
a UK distributor of the French word processing package "Le
Redacteur" (Paul Glover's "ST Club") considered it worth while to
send me that program too. Cheers, Paul!
"Le Redacteur" was already quite famous back in 1988 or
thereabouts. People raved about it, but unfortunately it was in
French only. Later it was translated, and yet later it was
extended considerably. So "Le Redacteur" version 3.15 is
basically one of the top word processors on the market - and it
works with GEM so it cooperates fairly well with "MultiTOS" (I am
sure it will work together fully once the developers get hold of
this multi-tasking TOS).
"Le Redacteur 3" comes with a sizable manual of around 650 pages
which is both well translated, well written and well designed.
The only disadvantage, as opposed to "Protext" and "1st Word
Plus", is the fact that it is glued together instead of supplied
in a ring binder. You can forget about having it lie open on the
table on a specific page.
As "Le Redacteur 3" is a fairly massive package that comes
supplied on a a hefty four disks, a utility has been provided
that allows you to install the thing. The program works on any ST
or TT system (including bigscreens) as long as it has at least 1
Mb of RAM. When installing, the display type you use (monochrome
or colour) is determined as well. During installation you can
also determine which of the auxiliary programs and which
dictionaries should be kept resident in memory, to be loaded
automatically when booting the program. The program path name
will be determined here, too, as well as the amount of memory you
have, the sort of graphics mode your printer supports and the
actual printer driver that the program will load by default. I
missed the utterly handy and totally comprehensive list of
printers and the corresponding driver files such as I had found
in the "Protext" addenda. All things you specify during
installation can be altered later, by the way.
As with "Protext", I decided to actually write this review using
"Le Redacteur 3" - there's no other way to get to know a program
better. So far I have a couple of impressions I'd like to share
1) The screen build-up and scrolling is a lot faster than "1st
2) The program has auto-word-wrap, i.e. editing in the middle of
a paragraph will cause the rest of it to adapt its layout
constantly. This is especially confusing when having right
justify on as well.
3) The cursor commands are different (ALTERNATE pages up and
down, SHIFT goes one line up down, CONTROL goes to the next or
previous paragraph start).
4) I have not yet found out how to do a fixed space.
5) The screen layout if quite familiar for "1st Word Plus"
6) It can important "1st Word Plus" format text, as I had
already written the 'in love' bit earlier. Centred text is not
interpreted properly, though.
7) The keyboard repeat is insanely fast (you quickly delete too
much when you use the backspace key).
8) It has auto-save.
The text window's status bar displays a lot more than that of
comparable word processors. At one glance you get the line on
which you are (seen from the top of the document), the line of
the page you are on, the column you're in, the total amount of
characters in the file, the way the text is formatted (in my case
"" for 'right and left justify'), and the date and time.
The pull-down are different, but I will come to that later. I
would first like to speak of the ruler.
As with "First Word Plus", you can have multiple rulers that
determine (among other things) the page width and formatting type
to be used until the next ruler (or the end of the document).
"Le Redacteur" allows more than "1st Word Plus", however - quite
a lot more. Not only does it allow page width and tabs to be set
according to will, it also allows you to determine the text style
and the typeface (one of a maximum of twenty or so), line leading
(1, 1.5 or 2), character size (double width, double height, or
both) and paragraph leading (the amount of lines between
paragraphs). Potentially it also allows access to a built-in idea
processor (an option that sounds VERY interesting indeed but that
is, unfortunately, still under development). To allow a library
of rulers to be made, they can also be assigned names.
"Le Redacteur" also allows more different TAB types than
"Protext" even. Apart from the usual left TAB, centred TAB, right
TAB and decimal TAB, it also supports the right TAB with lead
line. This is basically a right TAB with the difference that it
fills up the space with dots (though this can be altered to be
"Le Redacteur" has many options which are best explained by
sortof summarizing them.
I will skip the logical ones here (save, save as, close, that
sort of stuff), but it needs to be said that the 'load' option is
far more versatile than it appears to be at first sight - for it
enables you to load other format texts as well, which are
recognized automatically by the load routine. Formats recognited
are ASCII, "1st Word", "1st Word Plus", "Haba Writer 1", "Haba
Writer 2", "Becker Text", "Evolution", "Microsoft Write",
"Microsoft Word", "Word Perfect" and other versions of "Le
Redacteur". By the way, documents can be saved as ASCII,
translated ASCII (translated from or to another machine's ASCII
table), "Redacteur 1", "1st Word", "1st Word Plus", "Microsoft
Word" and "Word Perfect". This is a lot better than the total
lack of this in "1st Word Plus" or the necessity to load an
auxiliary conversion program as is the case with "Protext".
Printing, block merging/writing and running external programs is
also achieved from this menu. Printing is less flexible as
"Protext", but does allow output to disk.
The "Edit" menu is divided in three sections. The first is aimed
at letting you select which default file extensions are to be
used, format a disk (drive A/B, single/doublesided) and do basic
disk management with the built-in file selector (basically this
is a dummy call of the fileselector).
The next section is devoted to searching and replacing. With
searching, the power of "Le Redacteur" is that you cannot merely
search for words (such as "Protext" and "1st Word Plus") but that
you can also search for specific occurrences of texts within
certains fonts, text styles, text size and formatting. You can
also determine the domain (if you want to check only the text
itself, or the headers and footers, or other parts of the text).
A very handy option (not even included in "Protext" I recall) is
that the search string can contain carriage returns (for example
to look for a specific word occurring at the end of a line),
tabulators, jokers and paragraph ends and such. Of course you can
also specify case sensitivity, but you can also specify accent
sensitivity and "part of word" and "whole word". Very powerful
The 'replace' options allows you to replace various strings by
various other strings. The power, again, is that you can have
specific occurrences of specific text styles/sizes/fonts replaced
by other specific text styles/sizes/fonts. Once the 'idea
processor' I mentioned earlier is implemented you can also
specify the 'level' of text you want to have scanned.
The third section in this menu is concerned with notes, footers,
headers, comments, the jumping to pages/lines and the definition
and jumping to up to four markers that may be defined in a text.
This menu allows for sophisticated page layouts to be
determined. You can load and save from/into ruler libraries, you
can define text style/font/size and that sort of thing. Basically
it's the pull-down menu equivalent of the ruler box that is
opened when clicking on the top status line, comparable to that
"q" thingy at the top lefthand corner of a WP document in "1st
Word Plus". These have been described earlier. The commands
issued here are valid for the entire paragraph to which the ruler
belongs or to the entire text.
Whereas the ruler menu is chiefly aimed at paragraph
definitions, the style menu is the thing you'd use if you wanted
one word to be put into bold or subscript or upper case or
something like that. The thing that may be interesting to tell
here is that it does not only allow the usual text styles such as
bold, underlined, italic and light (Yo! I could show off the ST
NEWS pageviewer again!), but it also allows inverted text and
outlined text (unfortunately not (yet?) supported by ST NEWS so
they can't be demonstrated here). Not all printers support these
text styles, but at least "Le Redacteur" is ready for them.
Another interesting option here is the one called "captilatize".
When you've defined a block, this capitalized all initial
characters of words at the beginning of a paragraph or following
full stops, exclamation marks, questions marks or full colon).
This is the sort of stuff that shows you that a lot of thought
went into the program.
This menu groups together all block-associated commands. Like
"Protext" (and unlike "1st Word Plus") you can select either a
standard block or a column-based block. I like the latter a lot,
for it allows you to copy/move/remove columns from a table which
is impossible to do quickly using "1st Word Plus".
A smart thing is that there are multiple ways to select a block.
Of course it can be done with the mouse, and it can also be done
with the "start block" and "end block" menu options as well as
their keyboard equivalents (CONTROL-3 and CONTROL-4
respectively). An even easier way would be to hit F10. If no
block start is defined it will define a block start at where the
cursor is. Hitting F10 again will define the block end (where the
cursor is) and hitting F10 again will hide the block marks. This
is a lot more intuitive than the other two keyboard equivalents,
and it makes you think why nobody else got the idea to have all
of this done with only one key!
Once a block is selected it can be copied, moved, printed (!)
An option not found in any word processor is the ability to make
tables. This means that data entered according to a specific
format can be spaced out into tables of which you can even have
the numeric figures totalled if you want to. I will quote part of
the example of the manual here:
You see that these 'fields' all contain data separated by a
semicolon, with each entry terminated by a carriage return.
Selecting "make table" after this block of text is selected will
give you the following:
ø ø Metro ø City ø 68-75 ø
ø Paris ø 8424100 ø 2290000 ø 0.4 ø
ø Lyons ø 1167300 ø 457000 ø 1.0 ø
The reason why it looks silly here is that it is kept compatible
with the IBM Nr. 2 character set which supports box graphics and
that sort of thing. I could also have the table centred, or have
it use the entire width of the page. The table can also be
The secondary functions included in this menu are the stuff that
make "Le Redacteur" into a flexible and powerful professional
First of all there's the glossary. This allows up to 36 command
and/or key sequences to be stored that can then be performed by
pressing ALTERNATE in combination with A-Z or 1-0. Should you for
example want your address on ALT-A, you can define it using this
option and pressing ALT-A will then merge your address at the
cursor position in the text. Although this is a fairly standard
feature that is present in most word processors (with the notable
exception, of course, of "1st Word Plus"), it's the kind of stuff
that makes the difference.
Second, there's an option that allows you to redefine your
keyboard layout. Unlike with "Protext", where a separate file
serves to do this, "Le Redacteur" has all of this built in.
The third option, "parameters", allows you to specify just about
any parameter that needs to be specified. What about auto-save
time, the way the windows are stacked, the slant factor of
italics, (in)visibility of soft spaces and tabs and the 'hot
zone' with cascading alert boxes? The only thing I found lacking
here was the possibility to switch off the internal file selector
that, although blindingly fast and better than the Atari file
selector, is no competition for alternatives such as "UIS III" or
"Selectric". Of course, there parameters can be saved as well
(the 'save' option also saves various other parameters set by
other options in the program).
The next item in the menu concerns text analysis. A good word
processor needs to have this ("1st Word Plus" doesn't, and
"Protext" does), but the way in which it is implemented in "Le
Redacteur" is both easy-to-use and very fast. Analysis included a
graphical representation of word lengths encountered and average
sentence length. Another option built into this dialog box allows
you to check all word frequencies (sorted on amount of times they
occur or alphabetically).
Following "text analysis" is "archivate". This options allows
for a very short description of a file (12 lines of 30 characters
max) to be put at the beginning of it. Using the "Le Redacteur"
file selector you can quickly scan your files by selecting a file
and then clicking on the "archivate" icon. A very quick and easy
way, but unfortunately the only thing that will probably make it
very difficult for Epigraf to allow use of other file selectors
rather than the built-in one. When not editing a text file, this
option is replaced by an extensive archive management function
that allows archives to be extracted and listed. Do note that the
use of the word 'archive' here has nothing to do with compressing
methods such as used in conjunction with the ARC program!
Next is the "index management" option. You can add words in your
document to an index in a very simple way, and this option allows
these indexes to be edited. Mail merge operations are also
supplied in a separate menu entry, but I want to get down to the
next one: "Hyphenation".
A cascading menu pops up (I do love those cascading menus!)
here. Most word processors allow auto hyphenation to be turned on
or off. That's all. But "Le Redacteur" also allows a block or an
entire text to be (de-)hyphenated, and it also allows you to
switch on permanent hyphenation help. When I type in an
excessively long word I only need to position the cursor on it
then to know that it may be hyphenated like "ex-ces-si-vely". The
hyphenated version of that word will be located in the bottom
window vertical scroll bar.
Hyphenation parameters may also be determined with an extra
option that, unfortunately, only lets an internal (i.e. fatal)
error occur with me (good thing is that your text files are
rescued and saved when such a crash occurs!). I tried to reboot
the program with no accessories and AUTO-folder programs
installed but the result was the same. Too bad. Epigraf will need
to look into that.
Next menu to the right is the "graphics menu". This deals with
the visual representation of the text and the graphical
enhancements. Page layout may be determined here (graphically as
well as with numbers), and the appearance of the total pages may
be checked here with the "full screen" option (which displays two
pages at a time, greatly reduced in size, to see what they will
look like once printed). The latter option was one of the great
positive things about working with "Microsoft Word" on the PC.
Finally there's an ST program that can do it, too.
This menu also allows graphics to be loaded into your texts. An
astonishingly wide variety of graphics is supported: IMG format,
GEM format (from programs such as "HyperPaint" and "Easy Draw"),
"Degas" (both compressed and uncompressed formats of each
resolution), "Pluspaint", "NeoChrome", "Doodle", "Le Dessinateur"
"STAD", "Creator" IMC file format and "Art Director" format.
These formats cater for many (indeed, most) bitmap graphics as
well as some popular vectorized formats. Images can also be
cropped and scaled. Formulae created with the auxiliary program
"SIGMA.PRG" can also be loaded (and/or removed) with functions
from this menu.
I really liked "Protext" because of it's mega-extensive
dictionary options. With its powerful ANAGRAM and FINDW commands
you had the entire English language at your fingertips, ready to
be toyed with in any form you wanted.
Of course, as-you-type spell checking is catered for. A bleep
will be made audible when you have entered a word that isn't
present in any of the resident dictionaries. Once such a word is
encountered you may care to select the "correct/consult" option,
which can also be used with any word you care. With the word
"option", for example, it would say it's a "male singular noun"
that has a singular form of "option" and a plural form of
"options". When any exist, 'neighbouring' and 'similar' words are
listed as well.
It is possible to spell-check an entire text, a paragraph, a
block, or from the current cursor position to the end - options
usually lacking from other word processors.
Another powerful option, sortof analogous to the
"correct/consult" option, is "conjugate verb". This option can be
called either when the cursor is on a verb (in which case that
particular verb will be conjugated) or when not on a verb (in
which can you can enter it from the keyboard). It will give the
past tense, present form, past participle, gerund and third
person, and it will indicate what sort of noun it is (e.g.
regular or irregular). When you've loaded a French dictionary it
allows all sorts of typically French grammatical things to be
done that are left unexplained in the main manual.
Of course, you can also load/save/delete a list of extra words
that are not in any of the dictionaries but that you'd like to
include in the spell checker anyway. You can also set various
parameters to be used during spell checking (for example to
recognize doubletons yes/no, or to treat apostrophes yes/no - a
doubleton is for example "is is" when two identical words occur
after each other).
Though in some ways inferior to the "Protext" dictionary bits,
"Le Redacteur" is very powerful here (the English dictionary has
over 80,000 words whereas "Protext" has more than 110,000). More
about this may be read at the explanation of the auxiliary
The dictionary menu is already prepared for the presence of a
Thesaurus file on disk - which is unfortunately not present on
any of the "Le Redacteur" disks.
This menu allows auxiliary programs to work closely together
with "Le Redacteur", where they can sometimes even interact with
parameters and joined routines. See the bit about auxiliary
A thing that needs to be mentioned separately is the help mode
(context-sensitive) implemented in the program. It's extremely
intuitive and extensive.
Suppose I would want information about the edit keys? All I
would need to do was press HELP and then a cursor key (i.e. a
standard key I would press to do edit a text). A large dialog
will appear instantly, giving you all edit key combinations and
what they do.
Although I believe these programs do not actually warrant full
review, they do get supplied with "Le Redacteur" so it's
important to know what else you will get when purchasing the
package - for there are quite a lot of them, which increase the
all-round character of "Le Redacteur".
This is sortof a full-fledged file management and database
program. Although it can function from the GEM desktop it can
also work from the utility menu. It can export and import data
and it's quite important when doing mail merge stuff. As I am
someone who does loads of word processing and virtually no data-
basing, I would like to spend no more words on this program.
When you read the name "Sigma" the name "Signum" springs to mind
- and quite rightly so. "Sigma" allows the creation of intricate
scientific and arithmatic formulae that can later be important
into "Le Redacteur" using the "insert formula" option in the
graphics menu. It allows several different fonts to be used,
multiple domains, triple constructions, integrals (simple,
multiple, circular, circularly oriented or Cauchy integrals),
vertical strokes, apostrophes, exponents, indices, matrices and
generally everything conceivable so it seems. It has a block
mode, too, that should allow you to easily and quickly create and
edit extensive formulae on your screen.
Graph Print 3
This program allows you to print out texts in graphics mode.
This is slower but looks better, especially when you're fortunate
enough to own a laser printer. As in the main word processor
program, you can select font types. You can further specify the
amount of dots per inch, paper length and most of the things
normally required when printing out texts. Attribute parameters
can be set, too.
The Font Editor
Are the finished fonts not enough for you? In that case you can
use this comfortable font editor to design new ones. It edits
GDOS-compatible fonts. Multiple graphic commands are available,
the liked you have learned to expect in the average drawing
With a dictionary as extensive as that in "Le Redacteur" it is
only logical that an extensive editing program comes with the
package. As each word in the dictionary contains an identifier
with regard to its part of speech, words need to be added to the
dictionary accordingly. The spelling checker even allows the
utterly intricate French grammar system to be implemented with
all verb conjugations - it just show to tell how flexible the
dictionary system is.
Two separate programs allow the editing/checking and merging of
dictionary files. Separate dictionary files with lists for
specific fields of use can be made. It's all quite flexible, and
I really can't wait until someone at Epigraf gets the idea to
make an actual grammar checker (such as the ones that already
exist for "Word Perfect" on the PC). The potential is there -
let's hope it will happen one day, for it will then surely take
word processing on the ST a great step further.
Further Auxiliary Programs
"Le Redacteur" is a staggeringly complete package. It would be
heinously complete already if it only contained the programs
mentioned so far - but Epigraf does not quite stop yet. They also
supply a RAMdisk program, a font file (de-)compressor program, a
first-aid virus killer (that recognozed 49 bootsector viruses, 7
link viruses (?!) and 1 "totally different" virus), three
different screen graphics snapshot programs (among which
CLICHER.ACC), "Turbodos" version 1.6 (for use with 20 or 30 Mb
hard disks and TOS versions lower than 1.2) and a configuration
program that allows you to convert ASCII printer driver files
into printer drivers readable by "Le Redacteur".
The above just about wraps it up software-wise. But let's not
end this review (or, rather, this summary with some opinions
interjected here and there) without paying some more attention to
The part of the manual you'll refer most to when you're working
with the program, the "Reference Manual" part, is clearly written
and easy to read. A minor 'bug' so to say is that the translation
very often finds it necessary to say "it's" when actually
possessive "its" is meant - but I suppose I'm really splitting
The manual also contains elaborate descriptions of all auxiliary
programs, clear installation instructions and a tutorial. Of
course it also contains the necessary appendices but on top of
all that some pages are spent at trying to familiarize you with
writing and how to do it well.
"Le Redacteur" is one of the finest word processors available
for the ST. Certainly at its price (which is £119 RRP) is offers
a lot more than its closest competitor, "Protext". "Protext",
however, does offer more powerful dictionary commands - and I
haven't even mentioned its programming language, ultra-powerful
embedded commands and its Thesaurus (well it should, at over
"Le Redacteur" is more easy to use than "Protext", however, as
it uses quick and easy GEM menus. A disadvantage is the copy
protection - once in a while, perhaps once out of every hundred
writing sessions, it will ask you to type in a word from a
specific page, paragraph and line from the manual). The spelling
checker is also somewhat odd here and there. In "ST User" I read
that it doesn't recognize "perfectly", "authorised" and
"basically". A thing I came across is the fact that it thought
the singular form of "dictionaries" is "dictionarie".
Comparison with "1st Word Plus" is totally useless. The only
commands that "1st Word Plus" has that "Protext" and "Le
Redacteur" don't is the ability to jump quickly to the end or
start of a defined block.
Personally I'd really appreciate a better (and bigger)
dictionary and a Thesaurus. And, of course, I'd prefer a version
with a working "hyphenation paramaters" option. Nonetheless, "Le
Redacteur" is a recommendable purchase - I hope program support
will, in spite of the fact that it's basically French, be good.
It's a wonderfully extensive and exciting program with a wealth
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.