Introduction to WordSmith Tools

This powerful suite of lexical analysis tools can be used by linguists, students, researchers into politics, history, medicine, etc. It runs under Windows 3.x, 95, 98, NT.

The screenshots in the list to your left will show some of the uses to which WordSmith Tools can be put. Just click on the one you want to see.

There's an extensive help system, plus a manual which runs to about 130 pages which you can print out if you download the software. These explain in more detail, but the following screenshots showing settings may be helpful too.

(1)This is the main screen of the WordSmith Tools Controller.

It has four main menu options, a saying (which keeps on changing and which you can edit), an Ideas button (to help you with suggestions), a registration message followed by a statement showing which text files have been selected. At the bottom in blue you can see a link which you can double-click to access a website.

(2) This is the main screen you get if you choose the File option in the main screen.

At the top there's a couple of buttons for saving a selection or retrieving the selection of favourite text files, your regular corpus.

There's a directory listing showing the files available. Two have been selected from i:\text\guardian\ci, but previously 10,805 had been selected. To get rid of the previous selection, there's a Clear Previous button. If you press View you will see the 2 texts chosen.

The files are sorted in Size order as you can see by the dot in the circle marked S near the top right. Naturally you could sort them in other ways.

(3) This is the main Adjust Settings box which you will see if you choose Settings in the top menu.

As you can see at the bottom of the graphic, there are a number of tabs to choose between; the one which is visible concerns colour choices.

At the right you can see a Save box. If this is checked, any changes you make will be saved for next time you use WordSmith.

(4) The Text tab. The same controls as before can be seen at the right.

The choices here show that English is being analysed. Hyphens are to be considered as word-breakers. (So word-breakers counts as two words not one.) Apostrophes are allowed within a word, so don't is one word, not two.

The text is plain text. The user wants sentences to be automatically computed (using .!?). Paragraphs end with </p>. All these settings can be changed to what you prefer, so you could put <Enter> if you wanted to define an end of paragraph as where <Enter> was pressed.

(5) This shows the Concord tab. The user wants to get up to 16,000 concordance lines, and will sort them first in file order then by the search-word itself.

The random box hasn't been activated but if it was it would keep about one in every 3 entries.

Collocates are to be computed too, within a span of 5 words to left & right of the search-word. They will be stored as long as they occur at least 5 times and are at least 1 letter long.

You can access all these settings from within any Tool.

(6) This shows what you see if you press the Ideas button. There's a map at the right showing what each Tool can do and where it fits into the overall toolbox. There are some ideas at the left and explanations of the various buttons below that.

Now take a minute or two to view some of the output from WordSmith Tools using the other menu options to your left.