Liquid | Author



Author provides a minimalist environment with powerful controls, giving you more credibility when writing, and more clarity when reading.






Author Features


  • Pinch to collapse Headings into a Table of Contents using your trackpad and re-arrange your document at will


  • Dynamic View to view your document in a powerfully new way


  • Reading/Edit Modes for specific interactions to make both modes more powerful and pleasant, such as spacebar to move down a screen in Read mode and select text and spacebar to have the text spoken to you


  • Quick Citation Creation. Select text and cmd-t  to add citations for academic papers, books, web and video citations
  • Quick Citation Check. Click to see the source, including having video citations play inside Author, from the moment cited
  • Cuttings. Cut anything and cmd-shift-v shows you everything you have cut, though not anything you have deleted or copied or even cut then immediately pasted
  • Instant find with cmd-f on selected text which changes the view to only show sentences with the searched for text
  • Comments for authors
  • Annotations for readers
  • Document Cover with the document author's details. Two finger horizontal swipe to flip the document to see this document 'cover'. This is saved as 'About This Document' so other applications can use this information too.
  • cmd- / cmd+ to scale all the text. You cannot change colour or size of specific text in Author since Author is a writing application, not a layout application
  • Modern Architecture including auto saving and everything else you would expect from a modern, native macOS application including iCloud Drive (sync with Author iOS in the future)
  • Warm background to reduce eye strain. Note that in full screen mode your eyes will quite quickly adjust to the cast so you will enjoy the benefit without really noticing anything different.
  • Fast and innovative keyboard interactions:
    • Triple click selects the sentence, not the paragraph, since testing shows you are more likely to select a paragraph with stripe select.
    • Double click between words to select both words.
  • Import from RTF and DOC
  • Export to DOC, PDF and RTF
  • Rich Interaction Document Format (proposal & approach for a Smart PDF s)
  • Academic: Student/Teacher Document Dialogue Support
  • Collaborative Writing with Roles
  • Rich Tagging
  • Text Analysis
      • Analyse documents for sentiment, such as as:
        • Level of writing, as done by
        • Style
        • Suggestions for simplifications
        • Reading time
        • Sentiment



 Have a look at the Video User Guide on YouTube





To be able to point to material which supports your assertion is crucial for credibility and to be able to point in a way which allows the reader to instantly refer to the sources is all the more powerful.


As Doug Engelbart put it in 1975:


For a true dialogue to work within this system, careful conventions must be followed about citing previously published items. An important value derived from the above storage and access provisions is that when one author wants to write about the work of another, he can cite it explicitly in his text with assurance that his reader has a straightforward way to access the cited work. Where this cited-work accessibility is dubious, an author is considerably burdened.

Doug Engelbart




The Genesis of Author


The desktop version of Author might be thought of as being a bit old fashioned in a world of small devices. However, I believe that size matters.


I strongly believe that there still is, and likely always will be, a special 'space' for the seated, fully engaged knowledge worker and that this space is roughly the size of a large modern computer monitor. Larger than this and it's not a simple eye-movment but a neck movement as well to use the space. Smaller than this and, well, we mostly work in smaller spaces and know the limitations of this reduced thinking space.


Author is is built on the foundation of Doug Engelbart's thinking of augmenting the knowledge work professional  and, I have to admit,  the emotion shown in this classic commercial:



Your only limits will be the size of your ideas and the degree of your dedication




Inspirational stuff - this is indeed an exciting time to be alive, with incredibly powerful machines, far beyond even what existed when the commercial above was shot. Large retina displays are such a huge leap in what a computer can be that I would go so far as to say that a retina display machine is pretty much another medium than the previous generations:


real power, let's use it...




You may think this is way too much power for a simple word processor, but I believe that the written word is worth as much as a thousand pictures - and even more so when you can interact with the text in rich ways.


The initial interactions are powerful, but they are only the very smallest snowflake on the top of the iceberg - Author aspires to become ever more powerful for the thoughtful knowledge worker who wants a clean work environment with powerful interactions. We are at early days still, but it's an exciting journey!



Tablet/Phone & Desktop 'PC'


Author was born as a prototype on macOS on a laptop but was re-born when that project could not come to fruition. On the iOS side there was real work in trying to make it a native experience for a tablet with a rich set of gestures to give the user more of a feel of interacting with the information in the document.


The notion of a table of contents being made from separate type than the headings themselves, seemed very odd and paper-bound, so this then became the pinch to collapse the document into a Table of Contents feature. This feature has now made it over to macOS, where the user can pinch using the track-pad, something I likely would not have thought of if the project did not come from a tablet medium.


The architectural power of the desktop environment gives the opportunity for cross-application utilities, such as Liquid, which is integrated with Author macOS. In the iOS environment this is not possible so the iOS version has an extended black iOS menu for Liquid-like commands.


Author iOS and macOS are different, trying to use their physical media as natively as possible, but with the same goal, to augment deeper literacy.




Why Support Author