There are several spelling and grammar-checking programs currently available. After making the decision to purchase one, I had no idea how to choose the best product. Fortunately, Ginger and WhiteSmoke 2011 with the WhiteSmoke Translator both offer free trials. This review will look at the download/installation process, the user interface, accuracy and additional features of each program.
Both the Ginger and WhiteSmoke websites were easy to navigate. The installation for both products went smoothly. Although I had heard rumors of viruses and malware coming with free trial versions of things, my anti-virus scanner found both to be clean.
Ginger will scan text from any Office application. WhiteSmoke 2011 has slightly more flexibility, as it can scan from nearly any text-based application. Aside from Office, it can scan from Firefox, Google Chrome and Internet Explorer, which means you can check emails, chats, blog posts and pretty much anything you will ever write.
For both WhiteSmoke 2011 with the WhiteSmoke Translator and Ginger, all you have to do to check your text is press F2. The WhiteSmoke window opens, with the selected text inside. It highlights spelling, grammar and style errors and even suggests style improvements. WhiteSmoke 2011 also rates your writing and identifies your common mistakes, so you can know where to improve. Ginger scans the text directly in the word processor and makes suggestions. Both programs allow the user to opt out of a suggested change.
Another usage point to note is that both programs have alternatives to the F2 button. They both have floating buttons, hovering unobtrusively in the corner. WhiteSmoke, in addition to the floating button, allows the user to change the setting to several options of buttons.
I ran a number of texts through each program in turn to test for accuracy. The best way to describe the results is to say that WhiteSmoke picked up everything that Ginger picked up, but Ginger didn’t pick up nearly as many errors as WhiteSmoke. Ginger caught all the spelling mistakes, including errors such as “two” instead of “to”, but missed many of the grammar mistakes. It did not pick up on misplaced commas, for example. WhiteSmoke also missed a few things, but all in all, the texts were far more improved after a scan with WhiteSmoke than with Ginger.
As far as the free trial was concerned, Ginger didn’t include any features aside from the spell-check. WhiteSmoke, however, includes a dictionary, hundreds of templates and best of all, the WhiteSmoke Translator. The WhiteSmoke Translator supports nine languages. The WhiteSmoke Translator provides accurate translations and then allows you to check the text for grammar mistakes.
I was impressed by both Ginger and WhiteSmoke 2011 with the WhiteSmoke Translator. At the end of the day, you’ll choose the one that best suits your needs. For me, WhiteSmoke was the better option because I know I overuse commas and Ginger wasn’t so helpful with that. The WhiteSmoke all-in-one solution is truly a complete solution, and I certainly recommend it.
This review was scanned with WhiteSmoke 2011.