6/3/219:00 am 13 Writing Tools That Come With Your Mac If you use your Mac to write, then here are some tools that can help, including ways to outline, keep notes, check spelling, look up words, collaborate, and much more. Want to know more about how to use Pages on your Mac?Check out this MacMost course! Video Transcript: Hi, this is Gary with MacMost.com. Today let's look at the writing tools that are already installed on your Mac. MacMost is brought to you thanks to a great group of more than 1000 supporters. Go to MacMost.com/patreon. There you can read more about the Patreon Campaign. Join us and get exclusive content and course discounts. So one of the most common things people use their Macs for is writing and there are a lot of great writing tools on your Mac. Whether you're writing an essay for school, a report for work, or the next great novel you can use these tools to make your writing better. Let's start off with the most basic one which is, of course, Spell Checking. There are actually several different types of spell checking on your Mac. As you type text you get Auto Corrections. You can also Auto Complete words and of course you can use the built-in spell checker. It will highlight words that it thinks are misspelled but you can also manually use the spell checker to check your words afterwards. So notice there when I misspelled brown it underlines it in red really quickly and then autocorrected it. It kept it underlined in blue to draw my attention to the fact that the word was changed from what I typed. Now notice here I've mistyped the word but I haven't hit the space yet. It's going to give me suggestions underneath. Now it's automatically going to change to those suggestions or I can click it to accept the suggestion or hit the X if I want to keep the word even though it thinks it's misspelled. I'll just hit the space here to have it automatically change. Now here I'm going to autocomplete a word by using the F5 key on my keyboard. You may need to use the fn key in conjunction with the F5 key depending upon your settings. When I do this I get a list of words and I can use the down arrow to go to the correct one. Then simply hit Space or Return and will accept it and even put a space afterwards. Now you've got Settings for these under the Edit Menu. They are different for different apps. So here in Settings I've got Settings set to Check Spelling While Typing which is what I was experiencing with the red and blue underlines there and Correct Spelling Automatically which was changing things even if I didn't click on the word that was there. You could also Check Document Now. If you've got these turned Off you can use Check Document Now to go through it or Show Spelling and Grammar which will bring up this little Control here and allow you to go through any errors it detects. Now notice there's also Check Grammar here. You've got a setting here under Edit, Spelling and Grammar, to Check Grammar with Spelling. So you have to have Check Spelling while typing turned on and then Check Grammar with Spelling to also have Grammar checked while you're writing. Now the grammar checker built into macOS isn't as good as you would think. It doesn't really catch many grammar mistakes. So watch if I type something like this. So here you can see it didn't catch any grammar errors. I can force one, let's make that a lower case r there and then we put a dash there and then you'll see I've got two grammar errors here but one is a capitalization error and one is a punctuation error. So if I go to Edit, and then Spelling and Grammar, Show Spelling and Grammar you could see it highlights the first one here and tells me that the r should be capitalized and I can make that correction. It also tells me to consider an m- instead of a n- here. So it catches some things but not others. It is not nearly as good as some third party tools that look a lot more in-depth into the grammar of each sentence. Now one of the things you need to do for writing sometimes is create outlines and you can do that in Pages. If you use the Template Chooser here in Pages under Basic there's a Note Taking Template which is basically an outline template. So you can use this template to create an outline to base your writing on. Now an even better tool for creating outlines is Keynote. Yes, Keynote is a presentation tool but you can use it for outlines. For instance let's go in here and use a basic white theme and I could create slides that could contain information on them. It's kind of like using index cards to organize your thoughts before writing something. So, for instance, I'll use Title and Bullets here and maybe I want to create a card for each chapter or maybe one for each character. So something like this. I could create a bunch more. With these character cards here it's easy to rearrange them as you like in the sidebar there. You could also change to Light Table and then you could see representations of each card. You can even enlarge them to make it easier to read and you could rearrange them like that. You can link from one card to another. So, for instance, here I could create a link to another slide here and even, of course, print these out if you really want to. There's also an outline mode here as well so you could see everything here as an outline and sometimes it's a lot easier to edit. You can actually change the text right here. So creating all these cards in outline mode here on the left you can expand this to take up some more space and then when you're done with it going to the Light Table mode to be able to move those around and quickly refer to the information in those cards. It an be useful as a writer. It definitely is a technique a lot of writers use but with physical cards. Here you can do it right on your Mac. Also there's the Reminders and Notes apps. So the Reminders app, you may think it's more for a To Do list or adding timed alerts that pop-up to remind you of something. But you can use it to create lists. So you can use it for character ideas, plot ideas, all sorts of things. You can put them in the Reminders app as a list of things and you could also use the Notes app for the same thing. You could create a list there or a table if you want or just any format for Notes and things. It's great because it will also be with you, thanks to iCloud, on your iPhone so you can add to the Notes or Reminder's lists whenever inspiration hits you. So you also, of course, have a full Dictionary app on your Mac. Dictionary is, of course, a very useful tool for writers. So you can use the Dictionary tool to look up words and get definitions to figure out whether or not that's the right word. But the Dictionary app also has a few other useful things. There is the Thesaurus and also Wikipedia. Wikipedia is very useful as well for spelling of names of places and people and events. Also for looking up information to make sure you get facts right. You can also use the Dictionary information right inside of Pages and other writing apps. So, for instance, you want to look something up you can select it and Control click on it, two-finger click on the trackpad or right click on your mouse, and then use Lookup or you can use the keyboard shortcut, Control Command D, and it brings up the Dictionary. In many cases you also get the Thesaurus here. So, for instance, this word here should give us, yes, Thesaurus. Then you get to pick different words. Very useful for writing. Also notice Wikipedia is available. So, for instance, you can select something like this. If you want to get more information about it to add more color to your writing you can bring it up. You could see here this comes right up with Siri Knowledge which comes from Wikipedia so you get information right in here without having to go to the web and search for it. It's also important to get a Distraction-Free writing environment. Pages can help you with that. So here you could go to Full Screen Mode and now it takes up full screen. I can, of course, turn off the sidebar. I can turn off the thumbnails. Go to Document Only. I could even turn off the Toolbar and really get things down to just an environment like this. Also you may want to switch using Control Center to Dark Mode. Of course that won't really change your text here. You've got a white background with black text. But of course you can always make the text of your document white and background black or some other combination of colors if you really wanted to. Pages also has some great editing tools, ones that you could use either on your own or when you're collaborating with somebody. So, for instance, say I wanted to add a note. I can do that using the Comment button up here. That will create this comment. I could add whatever I want. Maybe a note for later on. I could change the left sidebar here to include Comments and you could see I've got that comment there and I'll see whatever comments are on the current page. Once I add a Comment I get Comment and Highlight here so I could actually select something and highlight it. That will also allow me to add a Comment but I don't necessarily need to so I can just kind of save that for later on. Now if I'm collaborating with someone that's also very useful and their name would appear next to whatever comment or highlight they would leave. So if I'm writing with somebody they could leave a note for me. I could leave a note for them. Also if I'm writing and somebody else is going to be editing what I'm writing they can see my notes, they can add notes that I can see, and make changes based on what they say. But for serious editing there's also Change Tracking. You can see here Track Changes and you can turn it on and you can turn it off. It's also under Edit, Track Changes. What happens here is whenever you make a change it's not permanently in there. So, for instance, I can delete a word and you could see the word is crossed out and there's a change here. I can accept it or reject it because somebody editing my text doesn't necessarily need to make changes, changes I may not know are there. They can turn on Tracking and then make the changes and I can go through and accept or reject or decide to reject and then make my own change if I want. All of this really works well if you decide to collaborate with somebody using iCloud. So I click here and then start collaborating. I can add people using their Apple ID or just anybody with a link. Even if they're not using a Mac they could use iCloud.com and there's a Pages Web App there which they can use on any web browser. They can have permission to make changes or View Only. I can send them the link by Messages, Copy it and send it to them some other way or email it. They can work on the document at the same time I'm working on the document or I could write one day and they could edit another day. Anyway you want to work it you can have multiple people working on the same document whether it's multiple writers or writer and several editors. Now another thing you could do is you can export as a PDF and let somebody annotate a PDF. So here I can export to PDF and then using Preview you can annotate in Preview as well. So I can turn on the Annotation tools and you could add all sorts of things. Textboxes, circles, lines, highlights, and these will all be saved in the PDF. So if you'd rather not give somebody your Pages document or using another word processor or something you could always export as a PDF or print as a PDF, give them the PDF. They can automatically use Preview to mark it up and give the PDF back to you and then you could go through that and make changes to your original document. Another tool you've got, of course, is Dictation. You don't have to type everything. You can actually speak to your Mac and have it take dictation for you. There are two different ways to do that. One is in System Preferences under Keyboard you can go to Dictation and turn that On. Then use the keyboard shortcut, I'm going to use Press Control Key twice, and this is very simple dictation. (The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog period). The idea is maybe you do one sentence at a time or a paragraph at a time with this. But you've got the more complex kind of dictation. I'll go ahead and turn Off this dictation here and instead go to Accessibility and Voice Control. With Voice Control you've got a lot more that you can do. First of all you've got a lot of commands that you could use. Not only commands to navigate around but things that you could use already texted. For instance, typing letters, selecting text, leadiing text, changing text, all sorts of things. This also works really well to combine typing and speaking. So you could type somethings, speak some others, without having to turn things on or off. You can also have your own vocabulary list to this so you can add things that you use all the time, maybe having to do with your topic or just names and things like that. This works really well, (The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog period And this is yet another sentence period). So you can see how I can combine typing and speaking. Now another thing you may want to do while you're writing is to hear something back to you. Like you write a paragraph or a page and you kind of want to hear it back to listen to it. So you can select Text. You can Control click, two-finger click on a trackpad, or right click on a mouse. Use Speech and Start Speaking. This is also available under Edit and then Speech, Start Speaking. Now this functionality has been built into macOS for a long time and it's kind of old. It uses old voices and things like that. There's actually a new way to do this. If you go to System Preferences and then back to Accessibility and then to Spoken Content you can turn on Speak Selection. You could then choose the Siri voice that you want to use and you can change the speaking rate. You can select Options for it and you could see here there's a keyboard shortcut, Option Escape. It will even highlight things as they're spoken. So this one, I think, works a lot better. You can even see the controls that were there. So once you have enabled that it's really easy to do Option Escape with anything you've selected. Kind of hear it back to see if it sounds right. Using those more advanced Siri voices does make it sound a little bit more natural so you can hear what you're writing and then maybe make changes based on that. So if you use your Mac for writing hopefully you know about some of these tools but maybe I showed you some new ones you could use. Thanks for watching. Related Subjects: Pages (208 videos) Related Video Tutorials: No related posts. Comments: 7 Responses to “13 Writing Tools That Come With Your Mac” John Jung 3 years ago i have high sierra and under Accessibility there is no "voice control" option, only dictation and voiceover. i avoid Dictation, which occasionally pops up even though I did not activate it. Gary Rosenzweig 3 years ago John: Voice Control was added after High Sierra. Margaret 3 years ago Hi Gary, this was a good reminder of some of the accessibility features of speech etc but covered rather quickly. I know many solutions have been shown in other videos but would like to suggest a tutorial for people finding their sight is not as good as it used to be - perhaps a basic one to start with followed by something more advanced later. Thanks Margaret Jeff 3 years ago The grammar checker also failed to note that "who" should be "whom" in the sentence "Remember whom you are typing for." Gary Rosenzweig 3 years ago Jeff: Yes, that's what I was saying: "So here you can see it didn't catch any grammar errors." Robert 3 years ago Hi Gary, thanks for another useful video. You mentioned third party grammar checkers. Are there any you could recommend, please? (I am using Grammarly, it told me I should put the comma after recommended). I an concerned that Grammarly might be harvesting my information. Gary Rosenzweig 3 years ago Robert: Sorry, I haven't tried any so I can't recommend one. Comments Closed.