LisaWrite Wish List
Part 1, by Nathan C. Myers

Headers and Footers. LisaWrite should have an option to place a unique header on page one, and the top-line and bottom-line positions on the first page need to be independent of those in the rest of the document.

Book Marks. There should be some quick way to mark a position in the text, scroll to some other portion of the document, and return to the marked spot. This is equivalent to what is done all the time when one reads a paper document: you hold a page, flip to the appendix, then continue where you left off. One way to do this would be to remember where the text cursor is and jump back to it, preferably while allowing editing at the new location without forgetting the old location.

Search/Replace. If a word being replaced is capitalized, the replacement word should be capitalized also. This rule may be impossible to generalize for multi-word replacement strings, but the single word case is so common it deserves special attention. The replacement string should, at least optionally, take its typestyle from the string it replaces. Wild cards are useful, but it should also be allowable to denote and use the "found" wild card character in the replacement string. If a replacement string includes a paragraph break, the format of the old paragraph is trashed. There should be a way to set the format of the replacement string. The size of the dialog box for search and replace strings should be adjustable to avoid covering up the scroll controls at the top right corner of the window. The search string default font should somehow relate to what is in use in the document.

Justification. The paragraph justification options do not seem to work correctly with any fonts other than PS Modern and PS Courier. The ability to format a paragraph according to the contents of the clipboard should be made more easily accessible: one should be able to copy the format of a paragraph containing the cursor into the clipboard without having to select the entire paragraph first (the cursor position should be enough, just as it is enough when bringing up the tab/margin ruler).

Tabs/Margins. The tab/margin ruler invariably pops up somewhere it shouldn't, and it jumps the window contents around in capricious ways. The ruler takes up so much screen space that those of us who are inclined to leave it displayed cannot. It should be about half as thick or less and should always appear at the top of the window. It may be useful to allow it to be "dragged" to another place, but it should initially appear in a predictable spot. The menu entry for showing or hiding the ruler should have a check mark at the appropriate spot. If a tab is entered for which no tab position has been set, the cursor moves one space. What should happen is that a normal tab should be automatically set at a position some multiple of eight or ten positions from the left margin and the cursor placed there. This allows a much more streamlined entry of tabs compared to turning on the ruler, setting a tab, shutting off the ruler, and finding your position again. If the tab happens to appear in the "wrong place", the user can always go in later and adjust tab positions. This way the user's train of thought is not interrupted.

Pagination. "Keep On Same Page" is a valuable feature, but it does not provide sufficient clues to identify how large a block is being grouped. If I specify that each of two contiguous paragraphs is to be atomic, how can I tell by looking whether a page break may occur between them? On the other hand, when a paragraph is "Allowed To Cross Pages", there is a special circumstance in which one never wants it split: when there is room for all but the last line. The accepted technique in this case is to "extend" the page layout to allow one extra line of text above the page footer. For some page layouts it may be necessary to "reserve" space for one line of text and never print into it unless it becomes necessary.


Lisa Prices Plummet

David Redhed, a Seattle consultant and Signal reader, called to ask if we had heard anything about Lisa price cuts. In checking with our local dealer, we soon found that because of Apple's new pricing policies, some amazing price reductions had become effective at that retail outlet beginning four days ago on September 12: a Lisa, Profile, dot matrix printer and software is now only $8,490. The six applications have been unbundled, can be purchased separately, and total $1,195. Buying just the Lisa and Profile comes to $6,995. This means that the printer and interface card are only $300 when purchased with a Lisa.