Wednesday, September 1, 1999

WordComplete, a Graffiti helper


By Bob Freud

When professional organizer Bonnie Kravis, owner of PaperChaser, decided to get organized, she naturally thought about using a Palm device. However, frustration with Graffiti turned her initial enthusiasm to irritation. Her new Palm device soon took up residence on a shelf. "I wanted to like the Palm III," Kravis told me, "But even when I learned the shapes of the letters, input was still too slow for me." The Jot program from CIC helped a little by letting her use letter shapes that were more like the English alphabet, but Jot seemed to slow recognition speed. For a recap, visit my review of Jot in the September 1998 issue of PalmPower at

"This article was entirely written using WordComplete in the Palm MemoPad application."


An announcement about WordComplete, also from CIC, encouraged Kravis to give her Palm III one more try. WordComplete, shown in Figure A, is what is known as "word prediction software".


WordComplete word prediction software helps you bypass Graffiti annoyance.

Originally developed to aid people with conditions like Cerebral Palsy or MS, word prediction software minimizes keystrokes and improves accuracy. It does this by trying to figure out which word you want to write while you are in the process of writing. When you write the first letter of a word, a box with up to five choices pops up. When you see the word you want, tap on it in the box and it will be completed automatically. When I took WordComplete out for a spin, I was pleased to see that most of the words I was trying to write usually appeared on the first or second letter.

A Macintosh program, Type It for Me, does something similar but WordComplete is much more powerful. A truly wonderful DOS program, Mindreader, from Brown Bag Software did virtually the same thing as WordComplete back in the 80's. I wish someone would put out a version for Windows 98! In recent Palm history, an extremely crash-prone program with the same goals as WordComplete appeared at least a year ago on the various Palm-related web sites. The program was never updated and its creator did not answer email, so I do not know if there is any relationship between it and CIC's new offering.

To understand why WordComplete may make a big difference to you, just start counting the number of Graffiti strokes you can save. A common three-letter word like "the" appears after the writing just the "t". The words "like" and "more" both appear when their first letters are written. A ten-letter word such as "understand" appears when two letters have been written. You do the math.