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Author | Future Plans



First, what Author is not: Author is not a page layout program and does not attempt to compete with Microsoft Word or Apple Pages for layout options. Author is also not for the general user; there are no easy-click icons - Author provides a clean and clear workspace for basic writing but places demands on the user to become proficient with their reading and writing tools, promising greater productivity benefits for the investment.


Author so far supports writing and reading, but has not ventured far into editing and collaboration.



The Story So Far : Reading & Writing


The initial version of Author supports a work-flow where you can research, add deeply linked citations, write text, format your text, and export. When reading you can instantly check the text and citations.



Next Steps : Editing & Collaboration


To develop Author's editing and collaboration features will require collaboration with the communities which can benefit from innovation in those areas. Please get in touch to help us develop Author to support your work, either via email or by joining us at a Future of Text Symposium.



Future Opportunities


List of features for future development of Author being considered:







  • Text Analysis
    • Analyse documents for sentiment, such as as:
      • Level of writing, as done by
      • Style
      • Suggestions for simplifications
      • Reading time
      • Sentiment


  • Rich Interaction
    • Interactive LiveText where you can make sentences conditional. For example, if the sentence contains a date you can choose to have a different sentence after that date (initial sentence: "In June we will...' and post-June sentence: "In June we planned...". This can also be done with numbers in sentences, where a % number change can result in a different result when clicked and edited (sliding up and down), as Brett Victor has demonstrated
    • In Table of Contents mode (pinched out view) when reading, mouse over a heading to see the first sentence in that section
    • Backwards scroll with companies and people being automatically replaced with pictures or logos for visual search
    • Final Cut Pro style 'Auditions' for paragraphs so you can write and re-write and decide later which version you want to keep
    • Ability to collapse lists
    • Write and edit mathematical equation
    • Key-logging - log all your keystrokes in a separate part of the document so that you can come back to view any part of your earlier writing.
    • Optional quiet sounds effects to make interactions feel more substantial, including on pinching the document
    • 'Insert Current Location' command to quickly geotag entries
    • Assistant Mode: Choose a type of document and Author will ask you questions to fill out the document (AI implementation of Templates)
    • Move command. Same as Cut & Paste but with previous clipboard being restored


  • Rich Media
    • Support for images, video, audio and interactive charts. Click to expand full screen and arrow keys to advance, for instant slideshows
    • Easy multimedia such as inclusion of maps reflecting data
    • Tufte Sparklines integration with live feeds for various data sources
    • When importing images they are automatically OCR'd for any text in the image which will then be tagged to the image for searching/views


  • Deep Citations support to give your work even more credibility
    • Statistics and analysis of citation in the citation dialogue to instantly get a feel of the cited source
    • Integration with Amazon, Mendeley, Zotero & EndNote


  • Advanced Timeline
    • Views using meta-data to extract relevant timelines from the text such as the name of a king would automatically be tagged by his birth, death, marriage, children and possibly location changes
    • Turn on external timelines for context, from Wikipedia or the users own data


  • Helpful Utilities
    • Live Word Count with Goals (time based and word based)
    • Text Expander integration
    • Taptic support for new Macbook and future devices
    • Built in basic vector illustration functionality
    • View as Slideshow for simple presentations
    • Safari/Chrome/Firefox Extension for Copy As Citation and Open in Author


  • Rich Linking
    • Link Types
    • Link Analysis
    • Linking to other, local documents using relative addressing
    • In-Document Link. User chooses text and in the ctrl-click menu and chooses Tag/Link/In-Document and in a sub-menu is presented with all the headings in the document. Choosing one makes this a link to that location. The bottom of the list is 'Un-Link'.
    •  & more since links are as important as what they link


  • Advanced Document Management
    • Keep track of your documents with quick and powerful visual tagging in the Open and Save dialogue boxes: Choose which documents you want to see by clicking on the associated tags
    • Tag document by visual types for visual framing to make them look like notes, books etc in the Finder.
    • Visually connected documents, as inspired by Ted Nelson's Zig-Zag and Xanadu
    • When documents are longer than screen (roughly) the name becomes bold in listings, to indicate it's size


  • Advanced Voice Interaction
    • Text to speech in Read mode in macOS on selected text with space bar. Space bar again to pause text to speech. Smart play allows you to then press the space bar again to continue where you left, but at the start of the current sentence. Arrow key left to go back one sentence and start from there.
    • Text to speech in iOS so the document can play as a podcast
    • Easy to add voice Notes into document, saving voice audio and transcribed text. Picture listening to a document, from a colleague or from a student, while commuting and being able to insert your comments as both transcribed audio to text & as the actual voice, to show your real emotion behind what you are commenting on...


  • Apple Watch /General Smartwatch Integration
    • Read Documents with easy Headings Zoom
    • Quick-Comment
    • Voice Transcription (tagged as such) for quick insertion into document
    • In classroom and similar situations the watch can track student engagement


  • Customization
    • Themes for text and colour styles, editable in Preferences


  • Cloud Based
    • DropBox backup and synchronization across devices
    • Evernote integration


  • Richer Export Opportunities
    • Automatic Bibliography with multiple citation styles
    • Export with Paragraph Level Addressability
    • User-Configurable Templates
    • Export as plain text, rtf, html, ePub, .doc, .pdf & more, optionally using markdown
    • Share to WordPress, Facebook, Twitter & more
    • Plagiarism check to make sure your references are cited