The following review written by one of the Software Informer contributors applies to version 5.0
Everyone who has, for some reason, written a book or a really big text, knows the difficulties involved with the organization and correct distribution of ideas that sometimes come up. Sometimes, at the time you are writing about a particular subject, comes an idea that is related to another one that should be dealt with later, or has already been started, or even finished.
In that case, you have to add this new text so that you won't forget it, but the time you spend to find the appropriate place for it (in the same file or in a different one) usually provokes you to forget this new idea or an important part of it. And the worst part is when you come back to the text you were originally writing, and notice that you have lost the entire context and cannot return to the task of writing with the same liveliness... it is really frustrating.
Simon Haynes is a writer and programmer that knows well the needs and problems that a writer must deal with. Based on that, he developed yWriter, an excellent tool for organizing and administrating texts during the writing process. YWriter is such a complete tool that it is nearly impossible to describe it in a simple review; so I am only including its use and the use of its most representative basic functions.
First, although it is a free tool (the author accepts voluntary donations), its GUI has an appearance that a lot of paid applications would dream to have. When you open yWriter for the first time, you see a wizard that will help you with the creation of your first project in three simple steps: giving the project a name, author´s name, and setting the save path (the default path is C:\Documents and Settings\UserName\MyDocuments\yWriterProj - it is advisable to add here one more level, to avoid confusions if there are several texts in process). If the destination path does not exist, the program will ask if it is okay to create one. There is also a window asking if it is required to open the Quick Start Guide - I suggest reading it carefully. Also, during this first use, it will ask you if you would like to enable the automatic weekly check for new versions, the option that can be changed later in the Options menu.
Once the preparations are finished, the program opens a dialogue panel indicating that now chapters, character and scenes can be added to the newly created project. To do that, you can start writing directly in yWriter using the menu Chapter --> Create new chapter, which opens a window where a name and a description of the chapter are assigned, and scene summaries (read only) are present. Then it is necessary to add a scene and start writing in the program's internal processor. If you want to, it is also possible to add characters, using a Character Sheet with the tabs Name, Bio, Notes, Goals, and Picture displayed. The main window of yWriter is divided in two panes: the left-side pane shows the content summary by chapters, and the right-side pane has 4 tabs in order to show Scenes, Project notes, Characters, Locations and Items.
You can also take advantage of your ready texts and import them into yWriter, either adding them to the project that is being used or to another new one. In order to do that, it is necessary to prepare the files that contain the original text with a suitable layout (clearly outlined and with numbered chapters, scenes separated by three asterisks with a space between them - * * * - marking the characters, if there are any, etc.) and saving it in rtf format. It also admits of the use of .txt files, but in that case it does not recognize chapters, scenes or characters. With the files ready, use the Project menu --> Import into current project --> Scenes, and select the files that are going to be imported, and that´s it!
But if all of this was not enough, yWriter allows to manage all the introduced text, either by chapter, scene, character, location, etc. in blocks . It also has multiple options to totally or partially preview and print the text. It can read out any portion of text using the “text-to-voice” feature (API or SAPI required). And its import feature allows the writer to use his favorite text processor. It is definitely a one-of-its-kind tool and obviously unbeatable!