WordRake: Automatically Improve the Conciseness of Your Writing

Imagine a tool that would round out the existing built-in spell- and grammar-checking tools in Microsoft Word, but instead of simply correcting errors, this tool would make your writing more concise. This tool exists, and it’s called WordRake.

You can think of WordRake as an automated editor. Gary Kinder, a lawyer and writing expert, codified many of the patterns he saw while editing documents into a set of rules that WordRake utilizes while processing a document.

Here is example of WordRake’s automated editing in action:

WordRake is a powerful add-on to Word, and is one of the only truly useful enhancements to Word’s core functionality that I’ve seen released in the last ten years. Hopefully Microsoft will acquire WordRake and incorporate its functionality directly into Word, but in the meantime you can subscribe to WordRake for $99/year. They also offer a free 3-day trial.

I ran across WordRake while I attended the most recent ABA GP SOLO meeting, and it delivered such an amazing demo that I felt I had to share the tool with Slaw’s readership — I’d be keen to hear what you think of it in the comments.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for pointing me in the direction of WordRake. Although I’m a little worried that widespread adoption might put a dent in my legal editing business (www.legal-edit.com), I’m in favour of anything that automatically deletes “It was this that…”

  2. Alas, it doesn’t work on a Mac.

  3. It sounds like there may be a Mac version planned from what is said on the FAQ page

    Currently WordRake is only supported on PC but we have had customers tell us they can run WordRake on Mac using software like VMWare to enable Windows use. If you are interested in using WordRake before the supported Mac version is released, we recommend trying the Free 3-Day Trial to see how it works on your system.

  4. @Karen / @Connie – I’ve talked to the founder of WordRake and they do indeed have a Mac version on their roadmap. As a Mac user I also hope they’ll release it soon.

  5. StyleWriter – the plain English editing software, recommended by the Plain Language Commission, highlights wordy phrases, wasted words, wordy sentences, long sentences, passive verbs, hidden verbs, jargon and a host of other problems.

    One London legal firm invested around £50,000 in StyleWriter to help its 700 lawyers write in plain English. You can read an account of this at:

    http://www.editorsoftware.com/images/Corporate/Denton_Wilde_Sapte_Success_Case_Study.pdf

    If anyone wants to test their writing style and see how StyleWriter cuts around 30% of words from documents to produce a clear, concise and readable style, download the free trial at:

    http://www.editorsoftware.com

    You can then compare WordRake and StyleWriter and see which is best for you.

  6. Jack,

    I have a LinkedIn group devoted to practicing writing in Plain English.

    It’s called “Really Readable Writing!” And, it’s a lot of fun.

    Here’s a link:

    http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Really-Readable-Writing-4654710/about

    Bring your Windows based software solutions with you.

    Dan