Technical writing with Mellel

Mellel offers a compelling set of tools for technical writers. Those range from a smart find and replace to a wonderfully flexible style system, going through a top-notch index tool and the Outline of your dreams.
All that, and there're the Auto-titles, allowing you to build your headings and sections to your liking: from using multiple parts and multiple styles within each header, to leveraging the headings you've created with running headers, the ToC, the outline and just about anything else. Objects work. For you, this time.
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An Outline is one of essential tools when working with a complex document. And the more complex your document is, the more essential it becomes. The Outline allows you to orient yourself within the document, navigate it, and perform global changes.
Mellel's Outline is the perfect tool for this task. Using a sophisticated auto-title mechanism, it allows you to add headings easily, navigate between them, add comments, tags and markers to headings, and use a smart filter to easily locate a heading based tags or content.
More important than this: Mellel's Outline allows you to move headings up and down the document or up and down the document hierarchy: For example, you can simply drag to switch the order of chapters, turn a chapter into a sub-chapter (or the other way around), and Mellel will automatically change the headings numbering, styles, and so on to fit the new location.
An just for kicks: you can use the Outline as an Outliner, creating all your headings from within the Outline. They will be automatically added to the document.

To learn more about the Outline in Mellel view our special videos: Creating and Using the Outline and Outline Layout.
Word processors started out as no more than glorified typewriters. Their initial 'claim to fame', so to say, was their ability to use styles: that is, a set of formatting options that can be applied to a piece of text, thus saving you time and hassle applying things one-by-one.
The only problem was: it didn't work. Styles were ill-defined, inconsistent, and clumsily implemented, and writers were left to fend for themselves with various style "brushes" and other gadget.
Now, go "brush" a 500 pages manuscript.
Mellel is all about styles, and in a good way. It was written with efficient styles in mind — and delivers the unthinkable: a style system that works.
Styles in Mellel are clearly defined, and do not trespass into each other's territory. A Character style is applied to characters, A paragraph style is applied to paragraphs, and so on with Page, Section, List, Note or Index Styles.
This clear definition allows for a clear implementation. For example, with a character style in Mellel you can use up to 8 variations (for bold, italics, background colour or whatever). You can apply a paragraph style to this text, and the character variations do not get mangled. Ever.
And, of course, there's the thing about recycling. Mellel recycles. If you have a set of styles, they are saved within a Style set. This style set can be local (i.e., used with a certain template or document) or global — that is, available for any new document. So, if you've invested several hours designing your styles, you can easily re-use them with any other document.

To learn more about Styling in Mellel view our special videos: Formatting Characters, Formatting Paragraphs, Formatting Sections, and Formatting Pages
Mellel offers an advanced bibliography tool, rich in features, fast and reliable.
Using a reference manager (Bookends works wonderfully with Mellel) you can add a citation (or a buch of citations) into Mellel, scan and unscan to generate a bibliography and turn citations from draft to final format. Citations will be listed in your Bibiography palette. To automatise things a bit, you can activate Live Bibliography, so you don't have to press Scan anymore (unless you want to).
The division of labour here is quite clear: Your reference manager will store your references and to the heavy lifting with MLA and Turabian formats. Mellel will play nice with your reference manager — and using its own style mapping mechanism will make sure that everything will also look nice.

To learn more about Bibliography in Mellel view our special videos: Introduction to Bibliography, Inserting Citations, Managing Citations, Scanning the Document, and Formatting Citations and the Bibliography
Find and Replace
Find and Replace serve two purposes. One is obvious: finding stuff and replacing it with something else. Another, less obvious, purpose is to keep tabs on linguistic and stylistic issues in your manuscript.
To find and replace, Mellel offers you an excellent set of features: it allows you to search your manuscript for a specific string, for a more generalised category (like an alphanumeric character, a character range, and so on), to set where the find will be performed, limit it by styling, and use a Regular expression-like search language which allows you just about anything else.
But that's just half the story. The thing about Find and Replace is that it is very often Find, Replace and Repeat. If any part of your work involves editing, you're probably painfully aware of that. And here is where Mellel is one of a kind.
The simplest repeat task is re-using a find expression (find anything in parentheses, any word, anything in bold, etc.). Mellel allows you to save such expressions as Find Expressions. More complex is saving a Find and Replace action, which you use often (e.g., eliminating double spaces and other gremlins). To facilitate this, Mellel also allows you to save Find Actions you can run at any time. But then again, you probably need to run 10 or 20 or 300 of those with any text, or run a different set of Find Actions with different tasks. And Mellel does that too! All your saved Find Actions can be managed, organised in sets and run all at once via the Find Sets dialogue. A Find session that would have lasted for hours can be squeezed into 2 minutes of running the entire set all at once.

To learn more about Find and Replace in Mellel view our special videos: Basic Find Actions, Advanced Find and Replace Actions, Find and Replace Expression, Managing Find Actions, and Managing Find Sets.
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