Auto complete text

I never understood, why I haven’t seen a single text editor / writing program capable of this, while it is the main feature of every modern cellphone or even a code editor.

It would be extremely great to have word suggestions pop up and not having to type the whole word. Especially interesting if it’s a learning system like with cellphones.

Let’s see if Merlin Mann can top that! :stuck_out_tongue:

Word has autocomplete. (User programmable, not learning.) I use it for frequently misspelled words, especially technical terms.

The problem is that general writing has a much larger vocabulary than either cellphone messaging or code, so it’s much more difficult to write a completion function that is smart enough to be useful without bogging down the system.

The other problem is that a decent typist on a full size keyboard is much faster than someone keying a cellphone. By the time the autocomplete finds its candidate word, I’m already halfway into the next sentence. That makes autocomplete less useful, while also setting the bar for accuracy much higher.


NeoOffice has word complete too, and it drives me mad, 'cos it’s rarely the word I want, and even if it is I find typing the rest of the word easier than trying to remember which key it is I’m meant to press to insert that word as opposed to cutting it off however far I’ve got.
Or are you thinking of it being implemented like URL complete in a web-browser, with a drop down list … you then get into huge arguments as to what order they should be in …
No, please … Keith, IMHO you have far better things to do with your time than running with this one (er … novel? :wink: )

Ummm… Scrivener has auto-complete, just like the rest of the OS X text system. Just type the first letter(s) of your word and hit alt-Esc or cmd-period. Voila. :slight_smile:

Thanks for the tip Keith, not as intuitive or userfriendly, but doing the trick! As to xiamenese en kewms: is your bad experience calling for something better? Or you don’t see any future in auto completing text.

My idea would be to have a suggestion be displayed while typing, hitting the arrow to the right, making it non-obtrusive with Space or Enter. Only frequently used (longer) words are displayed, based on a learning system.

Maybe this could be a seperate plugin, as to a feauture of Scrivener, as any Mac OS X program could benefit from it. Just brainstorming here.

No, I don’t see any future in it. I find it profoundly irritating … just like the way Word thinks it can second-guess what you are trying to do all the time.
Having the wrong word come up every time you type the first two letters after a space is thoroughly distracting. All-in-all, it just slows down the writing process. And I agree with kewms, the range of words I use is probably far too great to make it of any use.
That said, I sort of find it useful on my mobile phone where text entry is so much slower. But even then, I am either continually having to spend time entering new words into the dictionary if I think I am going to use them again, or else enter the words in short chunks to get round the auto-complete. And as I am mixing in Chinese words and names (in Pinyin when I’m texting in English) my dictionary would soon take up the whole of the phone’s memory. In point of fact, I very often ignore it completely, as entering the rest of the word is as quick as scrolling down to see if it is on the auto-complete list.

Precisely. Anyone that can type over a very rudimentary speed will be able to finish typing the average word length long before any sort of selection process could be made. The problem with any selection process is that even if you are reasonably sure the right word will come up first, it still requires a moment of mental effort to gauge the accuracy and further seconds to correct the program if it is wrong (which is quite often, I have found).

For people who have a physical disability; mobile devices; and limited-pool entry situations (like QuickSilver/Launchbar, and tagging systems), then auto-completion makes sense. Anything that has a full response keyboard attached it it is not going to benefit from it much, unless the person really does not know how to type (and then a few lessons would probably be a much better use of time than all of the time wasted hunting-and-pecking and auto-completing).