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Journler 2.5.2, by Philip Dow, may change the way you use your computer to write. For most of us, writing on a computer means opening a new file in a word processor, adding our text (and sometimes pictures), and then saving the file somewhere on our hard drive. Most word processors treat each of these documents as its own island; they are separate entities from other files, with no way to link your writing to related documents and resources. Journler allows you to link all of the resources you need for writing—photos, Web links, e-mails, video, audio, other text documents, and even people—and lets you organize them around your written entries, which Journler then indexes for quick and easy searching.
Journler is a solid text editing application. Its central text-editing panel provides standard style, rulers, and type controls, much like any word processor. However, your documents, or journal entries , are all sorted by date, and you have the option of including a title, category, tags, and even a due date. On the left of the window is a list of your entry categories, which allows you to organize your entries into folders. You can import other files (such as Microsoft Word documents, images, music, and video) directly into a journal entry, or attach them to an entry as a resource, allowing you to either view these files in Journler or open them for editing in the appropriate applications.
In many ways, Journler is like iLife for your writing. Just as iTunes keeps track of songs and iPhoto keeps track of pictures, Journler keeps track of your documents. And just like the iLife applications, Journler includes the ability to create smart folders that will help you automatically keep documents together based on their subject and content. Journler can also pull in resources from other Apple programs. This not only includes photos from iPhoto or songs from iTunes, but also cards from Address Book and links from Safari. All of these resources can then be displayed directly in Journler (even Web pages) without having to open the originating application. You can even go beyond importing files from other applications: if you have the appropriate hardware connected to your computer, such as a microphone or camera, Journler can also record audio notes, take photographs, and capture video directly into an entry.
Once your journal entry is complete, you have a wide variety of options for outputting it. You could send the entry as an e-mail (with any documents attached to the entry also being attached to the e-mail message), upload the entry (complete with HTML formatting) to a blog account, and, of course, save the entry in a number of standard word processor formats, including Microsoft Word and plain and rich text. For bloggers, the export-to-blog feature is intriguing, but Journler does not currently support direct export to Blogger. If you have a Blogger site, you will have to export to HTML and then copy and paste the code through your normal Blogger publishing tool.
Journler’s only notable drawback is its inability to sync between different computers. Like many people, I have multiple computers: one at work, one at home, and a laptop for everywhere else. Although I could keep the Journler files on a USB device that I plug into each machine as I use it, that’s a bit clunky. It would be great if Journler had .Mac syncing support.
Macworld’s buying advice
Journler 2.5.2 turns the basic word processor into a tool you can use to connect and organize your thoughts and ideas. Whether you need a tool to keep a daily blog, record project notes, or write a novel, if you own a Mac and use it to write, you should try Journler.
[ Jason Cranford Teague is the creative director for AOL RED and the author of several books about computer design. Jason regularly rants about technology and culture on his blog. ]Journler’s interface places everything you need for writing in one easy-to-navigate window, including other documents, research Web links, images, and important contact information.