Update to Tools of the trade 1 -- Spelling and grammar checkers

Shortly after I posted Tools of the trade 1—Spelling and grammar checkers, version 3.0 of the Hemingway Editor became available. The changes are evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, but provide some useful new features. The update is free to owners of version 2, which is generous for an update of this magnitude.

For scholarly writing, the most important changes are the ability to have multiple documents open at once and to import text directly from Markdown-formatted plain text documents, in addition to Word, which it could already do. I found a few issues when round-tripping a draft article from Word to Hemingway and back to Word. Tables were completely mangled and some formatting was lost. The former is not surprising given Hemingway’s more general target audience and would be easy to work around. Formatting issues seemed, based on quick perusal, to be more common in sections with lots of manual formatting (centering and underlining seemed to vanish, while italics remained). Styles were retained, although the exported document didn’t seem to retain the same definition of those styles. It’s not hard to move style definitions between documents, but having to do so does introduce an additional step. Oddly, although it can only import .docx files (not the older .doc format), it exports .doc files.

Another new feature offers an alternative to round-tripping Word documents. Hemingway can now export a PDF of your document that includes its informative highlighting. One could import a Word document, export the highlighted PDF and edit the problems Hemingway found directly in Word.

Other new features, probably less relevant for scholarly writing, include pubishing to Wordpress and Medium directly from the app and a distraction-free mode that hides unnecessary UI elements.

If you thought Hemingway sounded useful on the basis of my earlier post, you’ll find it equally or slightly more so after the update. It’s exciting to see the product continue to evolve.


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