Nisus Blog

Pronounced "Nice-us"

 
 
 

5G

October 16th, 2020 · No Comments

I watched the iPhone 12 event and I was struck by the number of times the phrase “5G” was mentioned. It seemed to be over the top. Then I found this video:

I didn’t laugh at first but after 30 seconds or so I started to laugh at the absurdity of it.

Happy 5G everyone!

→ No CommentsTags: Dave · General

Nisus Writer Beta Testers Wanted

October 9th, 2020 · No Comments

Do you enjoy using new features before everyone else? Do you like sharing your ideas and feedback? If you’re an existing Nisus Writer Pro user and interested in helping out, please sign up to become a Nisus Writer beta tester. We’d love for you to join us!

→ No CommentsTags: Martin · Nisus Writer Pro

Big Sur Beta Testing

October 2nd, 2020 · No Comments

I have been using developer betas of macOS Big Sur and in my opinion it is less problematic at this point than macOS Catalina. That operating system filled me with rage in a way none has since Leopard. Big Sur does not make me want to chuck my computer in the bin, so I guess that is progress.

If you haven’t already you should familiarize yourself with how Big Sur looks and works. It’s quite a change! There is a distinct iOS-like feel in Big Sur, with its bold colors and translucent menu bar. The new squared app icons only add to that perception. Again, it feels like iOS has come to the Mac. 

Really though, it’s not that different in practice. It still works like a Mac with an updated interface. That happens every few years on macOS. I’m very curious to see this on one of the new Apple Silicon Macs that are coming soon. 

I’ve hit some bugs to be sure, but most of them have already been fixed. I’m sure there are still a few nasty ones out there, but I haven’t hit them yet. I will say that Mail currently is a train wreck, but Mail has always been a train wreck in macOS betas. 

I’m eager to see the final release. I’d prefer it be less buggy than Catalina, and I think that will happen. I can dream, can’t I?

→ No CommentsTags: Dave · General

Nisus Writer’s Improved Document Versioning

September 25th, 2020 · No Comments

Nisus Writer adopts macOS autosave, which means copies of your document are automatically and periodically saved while you’re editing. The system preserves earlier autosaved copies so you can restore prior document versions. These prior versions aren’t kept forever (only Apple might say how long), but they’re incredibly useful if you realize you made a mistake or otherwise need to access earlier work.

Overall this arrangement works very well. However, there is one aspect of it that always seemed needlessly frustrating to us. When you enter Apple’s document version browser to compare earlier versions side-by-side, it’s not clear exactly how many versions exist, nor when they were created. There is only a graphical timeline along the side of the screen that looks like this:

That might look cool, but it’s not a great interface for finding a version from exactly the right date. It also won’t let you compare more than a single prior version at once; you can only compare the current document with a single prior version. It would be nicer if you could open and inspect any number of prior versions, in a space that’s not constrained by the version browser.

To fix these problems we added a dedicated version listing to Nisus Writer Pro version 3.1 and Nisus Writer Express version 4.1. The list shows you exactly what versions are available:

Nisus Writer’s list makes it so much easier to get an overview of what’s available, so you can pick out a significant version. You may open any number of prior versions in read-only mode so you can compare them at your leisure, extract earlier content, or save a copy elsewhere. Nisus Writer’s listing also marks versions that are exact duplicates, so you don’t need to bother looking at them.

We hope this improvement and all the other smart considerations in Nisus Writer help you with your writing!

→ No CommentsTags: Martin · Nisus Writer Express · Nisus Writer Pro · Tips

The Keyboard is Fixed!

September 18th, 2020 · No Comments

Over the past year Apple has updated their entire MacBook line. Some of the line, like the MacBook Air, received updated Intel chipsets that make the machines so hot I worry that your expensive Mac will destroy itself from the inside. Some machines like the base MacBook Pro 13″ received nothing more than a storage upgrade. That’s great, but boring. The MacBook Pro 16″ was revamped significantly. However, the big news is all received updated keyboards that finally ends the reign of terror that is the butterfly keyboard.

The new keyboard now uses scissor switches with more travel. Anyone who has read past editions of our newsletter know how much the author (me) intensely dislikes the butterfly switch keyboards. While I don’t yet own a MacBook with the new Magic Keyboard I got a chance to try one of these new machines for a few days. I have to say that while it doesn’t have as much travel as the pre-2016 keyboards it feels much better. It’s also not loud, which is an added bonus. 

I’m sure it was tough for Apple to admit defeat, but they did the right thing fixing these keyboards. If they fix the thermals on these machines (especially the MacBook Air) I will have to find something else to complain about. 

I’m not quite sure how I feel about that.

→ No CommentsTags: Dave · General

Apple Store in New York During COVID-19

September 10th, 2020 · No Comments

When my wife and I moved back to Manhattan in 2007, the Apple Store on 5th Ave became my primary store. Over the years I had been to the store in SoHo, Chelsea, on the Upper West Side, Grand Central Terminal, and the Upper East Side. But the 5th Ave store, which was open 24/7 was always my go-to store. Others also flocked to this store. In 2011 it was the most photographed building in NYC. People always crowded down and up the circular glass stairwell and used it as the setting for wedding photos.

Sometime by May of 2017 it was closed for renovation. The entire cube was removed. The store shifted to cramped quarters in what had been the FAO Schwartz toy store nearby. And then by September 2019, a new cube, hidden behind white plastic sheets appeared.

A short time later, when the white sheets were removed, iridescent plastic remained to hide what was inside.

The store finally reopened by early November, and then COVID-19 hit. All Apple Stores closed along with everything else in NYC. Months passed and my wife and I rarely left our studio apartment. Most of our contact with the outside world was through our Apple devices… via the Internet. Then in August it became clear that my wife’s MacBook Air needed a new battery.

We contacted the 5th Ave. store and learned that its current hours, from 6:00 AM to midnight, offered the best possibility of avoiding other people. I scheduled a visit for very early in the morning to drop off the Mac. I arrived with my mask on. The ten staff members outside far outnumbered the potential customers and I was second in line in time for my appointment. My identity was checked, then my temperature. I was asked to answer a number of health-related questions. I was able to pass muster on all counts and then I was invited to go downstairs.

The tables were set with hand sanitizer in pump jars along with boxes of individually wrapped sanitizing wipes. I was welcomed graciously and asked to sit and wait for a couple of minutes. Never have I seen any Apple Store with fewer people.

Each of us sat far more than the requisite 6 feet away from one another. Our Mac was received by a “Genius” wearing a mask and immediately wiped down. I was told that the machine would likely be ready within three days. The next day I receive an email notifying me that I could come back to pick up the Mac with its new battery. I repeated the intake process. Approximately the same number of people were present. The technician presented me with my wife’s Mac, wiped it down again and I left… through a stairwell on the far side of the store, again, minimizing contact with any other people.

A friend recently asked if I knew why Apple stores don’t get robbed. It’s not because nobody is there. The answer: too many iWitnesses.

→ No CommentsTags: General · Mark

12″ MacBook Again?

September 4th, 2020 · No Comments

Back when we travelled to places other than the grocery store I owned a 12” MacBook. I loved almost everything about it. The size and weight was perfect for me. It was like carrying a macOS powered iPad.

It was somewhat frustrating, however. I could live with the one port, and that it was underpowered. The biggest problem was the keyboard. The MacBook was the first to use the hated butterfly keyboard. I knew before I purchased the keyboard was a compromise. It wasn’t the reason I sold it, but it didn’t help. Still, I have always thought that the 12″ MacBook would be great with an improved keyboard.

Now, if the rumors are correct, Apple is resurrecting the MacBook. This time, powered by Apple Silicon. This mythical MacBook will have 15 hours of battery life and be more powerful than some current MacBook Pro models. Seemingly an improved keyboard as well.

I know this is just a rumor, but if this turns out to be true all I can say is:

→ No CommentsTags: Dave · General

Call For Localizers

August 28th, 2020 · No Comments

Nisus Writer Pro 3.1 (and Nisus Writer Express 4.1) were just released and added several non-English localizations. We are interested in adding additional translations, so more people can enjoy using Nisus Writer in their native language.

If you might be interested in helping out, please let us know. You can contact us any way you like, including an email to the following address:

This is purely volunteer work. We aren’t able to pay for the translation, sorry.

→ No CommentsTags: Martin · Nisus Writer Express · Nisus Writer Pro

Big Sur, Apple Silicon, and Nisus

August 21st, 2020 · No Comments

We have received a fair amount of email asking us if our applications will be ready for the new Apple Silicon based Macs. The answer to this is that we will be ready when the first of the new machines are released near the end of 2020. Personally I am excited to see what the future will bring with these new Macs. 

We also receive quite a bit of email regarding macOS Big Sur and compatibility with Nisus apps. We have done some testing and so far it seems, apart from cosmetic issues, our apps are compatible with Big Sur, pending the final release of the new macOS. 

For the latest news on both of these issues, please keep your eyes on this blog and, if you haven’t already, subscribe to our newsletter. 

→ No CommentsTags: Dave · InfoClick · Nisus Thesaurus · Nisus Writer Express · Nisus Writer Pro

Academic Discount on Nisus Writer Pro

August 13th, 2020 · No Comments

Nisus Writer Pro offers an ideal writing environment and great features for academics, like:

  • Footnotes and endnotes. 
  • Bibliography management with Bookends integration. 
  • Comments and tracked changes for collaborating. 
  • Bookmarks and cross-references. 
  • Table of contents (TOC) and indexing. 

Did you know that we offer a discount for students, teachers, or anyone who works at an academic institution?

All you need to do is write to us and provide proof like a photo of your student ID, or write from your school’s email address (.edu, for example). Once we receive your email we’ll send you a link to purchase. 

→ No CommentsTags: Dave · Nisus Writer Pro

Stepper Buttons in Nisus Writer

July 31st, 2020 · No Comments

Even if you’re not familiar with the term, you almost certainly know how to use steppers. They are those little up and down arrow buttons you see next to numeric controls on your Mac. For example, you’ll see steppers next to the paragraph spacing controls in Nisus Writer:

As you probably already know (or can guess!) clicking the arrow buttons changes the spacing by ±1 point.

What’s new in Nisus Writer Pro 3.1 and Nisus Writer Express 4.1 is an enhancement for steppers that refines how they react to clicks. By holding down a modifier key as you click, you can increase or decrease the adjustment amount:

• Hold the Control key to trigger smaller changes.
For example, the font size will change from 12 points to 12.1 points.

• Hold the Option key to trigger larger changes.
For example, the paragraph spacing will change from 6 points to 12 point.

The adjustment amounts are sensitive to context and ruler units. For example, changing the paragraph indent using the Option key may result in a difference of ±1 centimeters vs ±0.5 inches.

There are a few mnemonics to help you recall which modifier key does what. You will notice that the relative order of the Control/Option keys on your keyboard matches that of the minus/plus keys. This is in harmony with the Control key triggering smaller changes (minus), and the Option key triggering larger changes (plus). Another way to think about it is that the Control key gives you greater control over the measurement, since the adjustment is finer.

We hope this improvement helps you dial in exactly the measurement you want, and reduces some repetitive clicking.

→ No CommentsTags: Martin · Nisus Writer Express · Nisus Writer Pro · Tips

How to Change the Font Size of Comments

July 24th, 2020 · No Comments

Nisus Writer Pro users often write in and ask us how they can increase the font size of comments in their document. The good news is that it’s easy to change the font size (and other formatting) of all comments in your document en-masse.

Whenever you add a comment to a document, Nisus Writer Pro will automatically apply a paragraph style called “Comment” to your new comment. By default this single style controls the formatting of all comments in your file. So to change the font size of all comments you need only edit this style like so:

1. Switch to your document’s style sheet, eg: use the menu View > Style Sheet
2. From the list of styles on the left, select the “Comment” paragraph style.
3. Edit the style’s formatting by using any available tools, eg: the menu Format > Size, the Character palette, etc.

In most situations that’s all you need to do. Once you switch out of Style Sheet view you should see that all your comments have been updated to account for the edited style’s formatting.

Manual Formatting and Comments
One potential complication is manual formatting, which is merely formatting that is not enforced by a style. In other words, the formatting was applied directly to text. That kind of formatting will override formatting in the “Comment” paragraph style.

This is an infrequent occurrence for comments, but you may encounter it in files imported from other apps. If your comments don’t react to your style changes, you may need to remove manually applied formatting. Luckily that’s easy too.

To remove manual formatting from all comments in your document:

1. Place the insertion point (caret) inside any comment.
2. Select the entire comment using the menu Edit > Select > Select All.
3. Use Select All again to expand the selection to all comments in your file.
4. Remove all overrides via the menu Format > Remove Formatting Except Styles.

After removing all non-style formatting, the formatting enforced by your “Comment” style should shine through as intended.

→ No CommentsTags: Martin · Nisus Writer Pro · Tips

How to Batch Rename Files

July 16th, 2020 · No Comments

Have you ever wanted to rename more than one file at a time? Me too. So how do you accomplish this?

  • Switch to the Finder.
  • Locate the files you want to rename.
  • Select all the files you want to rename.
  • Use the menu File > Rename X Items, where X is the number of files you’ve selected, eg: “Rename 2 Items”.
  • A dialog box will appear. Choose from the many options as desired and click the “Rename” button.

That’s it! Your files will be renamed the way you chose. 

If you have a tip or a trick please let us know. We would love to feature your tip in our newsletter and our blog.

→ No CommentsTags: Dave · Tips

Quick Tip: Hide the Menu Bar

July 8th, 2020 · No Comments

Did you know you could hide the menu bar on your Mac? You can! Open System Preferences > General and checkmark “Automatically hide and show the menu bar”.

Bonus tip: you can customize the order of icons on the right side of the menu bar. Hold down the command key as you click an icon to start dragging it. If you drag the icon off the menu you can eliminate it altogether.

→ No CommentsTags: Dave · Tips

New Nisus Writer Pro Review

July 1st, 2020 · No Comments

Lulu.com has posted a review of Nisus Writer Pro.

As a Mac based word processor, Nisus Writer seems like a solid investment if you want a feature rich writing tool that can also perform most of the formatting and page layout functions you need to publish. It’s not as potent as Scrivener for research or plotting out a story, but Nisus Writer’s focus on being a writing tool shows.

Thank you Paul@Lulu for your thorough review of Nisus Writer Pro.

→ No CommentsTags: Dave · Nisus Writer Pro

SummerFest 2020

June 26th, 2020 · No Comments

Spring is gone, and I don’t think many of us will miss it. It’s now summer, a time of warm weather, lounging around (socially distanced of course), and SummerFest savings!

SummerFest is a collection of independent software developers who are creating great tools for organizing, writing, and delivering your thoughts and ideas. These are tools created with care, and refined by experience. This is high quality software, on sale now for a limited time.

As part of SummerFest, you can save 25% on InfoClick and the newly updated Nisus Writer Express and Nisus Writer Pro by using the coupon SUMMERFEST2020 at checkout in our store. You can also save at least 25% on the other apps in this year’s SummerFest by using the same coupon. There is a great collection of software this year, and the official SummerFest page has all the details.

→ No CommentsTags: Dave · InfoClick · Nisus Writer Express · Nisus Writer Pro

Nisus Writer Pro 3.1

June 16th, 2020 · 2 Comments

We are happy to announce the release and immediate availability of Nisus Writer Pro 3.1.

Nisus Writer Pro 3.1 is a significant update that:

  • restores non-English localizations (Danish, French, German, Italian, Polish and Portuguese),
  • improves compatibility with macOS 10.15 Catalina,
  • adds several enhancements, and
  • fixes many important bugs.

The complete list of fixes can be found on our Nisus Writer Pro release notes page

Nisus Writer Pro 3.1 is available now and is a free update to all users of Nisus Writer Pro 3. You can update from within the app using the menu Nisus Writer Pro > Check for Updates, or download from our Nisus Writer Pro update page. Mac App Store users can download the update directly from the Mac App Store app. 

For those who have not purchased the upgrade to Nisus Writer Pro 3, you can do so from our store for only $45. Users of Nisus Writer Pro versions 1 and 2 are eligible for upgrade pricing. A full version is available for $65, or $55 for academic users. 

Upgrade pricing is not supported on the Mac App Store. If you would like to upgrade a previous Mac App Store purchase you can do so using these instructions

Nisus Writer Pro 3.1 requires macOS 10.11 or later.

→ 2 CommentsTags: Dave · Nisus Writer Pro

App Store reviews and an odd request

June 12th, 2020 · No Comments

Submitting your app to Apple for sale on the Mac App Store is always a roll of the dice. You never know if your app will sail through the App Store review process in a matter of hours, or if you’ll be dealt a setback that takes you days to resolve.

These days App Store review delays and outcomes are pretty good. There’s still the occasional significant setback, if Apple decides to disallow the use of certain system resources that were previously permitted. Finding replacement solutions and rewriting your code can be non-trivial. But mostly there are minor changes to make, if any.

During a recent App Store review, we were given a strange request: please submit a video of your app using the Touch Bar. In all the years we’ve been releasing on the App Store we’ve never been asked for any kind of video before.

We do indeed support the Touch Bar in Nisus Writer, but its basic usage is obvious; you press buttons to take built-in actions like creating a new document tab. Some of our available Touch Bar items are actually straight from Apple and macOS, like the ability to fix spelling mistakes in your text. It didn’t make any sense that Apple would need a video to confirm this. They could simply test the Touch Bar during review like any other feature.

The only aspect of Touch Bar support in Nisus Writer Pro that’s more involved is a unique feature that lets you create custom Touch Bar items. You can turn any menu into a new Touch Bar icon.

This is nice if you have certain commands that you want to access frequently.

Whatever the reason for Apple’s unexpected request, there was no getting around it. You can’t release an app on the App Store without approval. We were going to have to make this video.

I don’t currently have access to a MacBook with a Touch Bar, now that I’m working from home full time because of COVID-19. Luckily there are other ways to interact with the Touch Bar, like the simulator in Apple’s developer tools, or the Touché utility app that allows anyone to use the Touch Bar on any Mac.

Ultimately it didn’t take long to produce the video and pass review, but it was strange. Jumping through Apple’s hoops and satisfying their fancies is just something you have to accept if you’re developing apps for their devices.

→ No CommentsTags: General · Martin · Nisus Writer Pro

Nisus License Lookup Tool

June 5th, 2020 · No Comments

There are times, for whatever reason, that you need to find the license for your Nisus app. For example, you would like to upgrade to the latest version of Nisus Writer Express or Nisus Writer Pro. Perhaps you’re moving to a new computer and you need to install a fresh copy of InfoClick. How do you find your license?

Our Nisus License Lookup Tool, located on our main support page, will allow you to find your license and have it emailed to you. You just need the email address you used when you purchased your Nisus application and you will receive an email containing your license.

→ No CommentsTags: Dave · General · InfoClick · Nisus Writer Express · Nisus Writer Pro · Tips

Letter Case Conversions

May 28th, 2020 · No Comments

Sometimes you need to fix text with the wrong letter case. Maybe you copied text that’s all uppercase letters, but you need lowercase letters (eg: change “EXAMPLE” to “example”). Nisus Writer has two ways to help you convert such text.

Character Conversions
Most often you will want to do a one-shot conversion of your text using the menu Edit > Transform Text. For example, using the To Lowercase command. That will convert the underlying characters to their lowercase counterparts (eg: “A” to “a”) at the single moment in time when you activate the command.

Text Display Conversions
Instead of converting the underlying letters, Nisus Writer can also display a converted version of your text. In this way your text remains unchanged; it’s just the display that changes on screen (and in PDFs and printouts).

You enforce such display conversions using the menu Format > Letter Case. Commands on that menu operate like other kinds of text formatting (eg: bold font) in that they are continual. If you retype the text to which that formatting is applied, what you see immediately undergoes the same transformation. The newly typed text will be converted for display automatically, without reapplying the command.

Typically these kinds of display conversions are employed via styles. It’s nice when (for example) your headings have consistent uppercasing, no matter what’s been typed in your document. This also makes it easy to change your mind– just edit your style and all your text will be updated as needed automatically.

Small Capitals
One very popular kind of text display conversion is small caps. That’s where all letters in your text are displayed using capitals, but lowercase letters appear smaller:

Nisus Writer supports small caps for all text and fonts. Proper typographic small caps will be used if a font provides them. If a font lacks typographic small caps Nisus Writer will synthesize their display by shrinking the font size like so:

The above screenshot shows a “faux” small cap for the Zapfino font. It’s somewhat surprising that Zapfino lacks typographic small caps considering all its other font features like crazy ligatures.

You might wonder, what are proper typographic small caps? Aren’t all small caps just shorter versions of uppercase letters? Typographic small caps may have been customized by the font designer, usually so the small caps are more distinctive. Here’s a screenshot showing Adobe Garamond Pro:

The small caps F (rightmost blue) may look like it’s simply a smaller version of the capital F (leftmost yellow), but it’s not. The middle image above shows a shrunken capital F overlaid on top of the small caps F. You can see the small caps F is actually quite a bit heavier.

Hopefully this shows you some of the many ways Nisus Writer can help you process your text and the intricacies involved. If you have any questions please let us know by commenting below, joining our forum discussion, or contacting us directly.

→ No CommentsTags: Martin · Nisus Writer Express · Nisus Writer Pro · Tips