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WordWeb Review by DonEc

Many times while I'm reading or writing, I used to find myself wishing I had a dictionary, just to find out what some words mean, if I am using the right word, if the word I am spelling has the meaning I want or if there is a better word. Then several years ago I found the absolute best free software ever and it has only improved with each new version, it is WordWeb Dictionary and Thesaurus. This freeware program will give you all kinds of information on any word in it's database.

It runs on Windows 95/98/2000/NT/Me/XP and it  is only 4.7 MB to download, comes in an exe file extension format so it is very simple and straight forward to install. Once installed it only takes up 6.8 MB on your hard drive.

The WordWeb website talks mostly about their WordWeb Pro version. However the version I am reviewing here is the free version that cane be found in their menu under Free download. The features of the free version include: definitions and synonyms, proper nouns, related words, pronunciations, 140 000 root words, 115 000 synonym sets and it will look up words in almost any program. It is a no SpyWare, no AdWare, no viruses software, works offline and it is free for personal non-commercial use.

It's kind of funny but until I started writing this review I didn't know the window could be maximized to fill the screen as I have never found the need to do so.

The interface is very simple with just 2 items in the menu options and help.

The options menu opens to a drop down menu with seven options one of which is language. This option allows the user to utilize different settings depending on where they are. I always use the international setting which is the default but it also has American, Australia, Britain, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa and Asia. It also has settings for Synonyms and related words which are to hide the locales, flag other locals or show all unflaged. This allows for a tremendous amount of variation in the words it shows you when you search for a word depending on your language settings. The options menu also allows you to set the visual size of font you are looking at in case you can't read small print which the default setting is small and this is quite good enough for me and I often have to increase the size of the text on a web page. Another option that has come in handy while doing this review is the Stay on Top selection as it allows me to have my text editor open to full screen and WordWeb is just a small window that is just setting there for when I need it. Which for this review is especially good for referencing.

The help section is reached either through the menu under help or by pressing F1. I have never had to use the help section as far as I remember. I do know there is a lot of help for their WordWeb Pro version and you must work through the help topics to find the help for the free version but it is there.

WordWeb comes in 2 versions, one resides in the system tray and when you want to use it you just click on it or use the "Hot Key" (Ctrl + Alt + w) to call up the program window. The other version calls up the program window when you click on an icon. I prefer the version that opens the program window when you click on an icon because I like to use a third party toolbar for most of my applications and the click on an icon version automatically places the last word you copied into your clipboard into the WordWeb search box and if the word is spelt correctly the definition and other stuff is setting there waiting for you to read it. With the system tray version you have to paste the word into the search box and click search to get the available information.

The interface is again simple but you don't really want anything fancy or cluttered when you are concentrating on what you are writing and the words you need. Basically you have 4 parts to the interface. The search box, definition box, the related words with synonyms box and the buttons. Example: When looking up the word "run" you see run in the search box with the search button next to it and a small arrow button next to that, if you have looked up a different word before. Next to arrow buttons is another button that says "X-Ref" this button is there so you can look up the word from the search box in an online dictionary or with a web search. Below this button is two groups of buttons. The first group are nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs. When you do a word search some of the buttons may be available and some may not. For the word run we have nouns and verbs showing as available. When you click on the verbs button the definition box scrolls to the portion that pertains to the word run as a verb and when you click on the noun button it scrolls to the definition for the noun run. Below these buttons you see copy and close buttons to copy the highlighted portion and to close the WordWeb window. In the definition box I see the word "run" with the pronunciation next to it and 16 noun with 41 verb definitions showing each used in a sentence. Also there is a scroll bar on the side of box indicating there is too much information to be seen but can be seen by scrolling down. Below that in the related words box there are now 6 tabs that were not there a while ago. They are "Type of", "Types", "See also", "Nearest", "Synonyms" and "Antonyms". Selecting each tab gives a different set of words for your use. If you double click on a word in the definition box that word is automatically placed in the search box and the search is made finding the new word. Then of course if you want to return to the previous word you can just click on the small arrow button to go back to it or you can click on the drop down button and see a list of the words you have been looking up and select the one you want. In the related words box if you click on a word or word phrase it will automatically be placed in the search box and the results of the search will then be shown.

As a complete dictionary and thesaurus, WordWeb has a lot to offer. Under the "Nearest" tab you not only get the spelling of the word, but from the rest of the information shown you get more than just the meanings. You get every thing you expect to get from a big thick desk top dictionary. It is better than any spell checker even though I would not use it as a spell checker. However I do use it when I use my spell checker to make sure the word the spell checker offers me is the word I want or the best word for the moment. I also use it in conjunction with my spell checker for when the spell checker can not find a word then I copy the word I wrote and use WordWeb to see if it recognizes the word and if it does then I add the word to my spell checker and if it doesn't recognize the word it may provide a suggestion or I can look up another word that will have the word I want in it's definition and then I can paste that into my spell checker.

That talks about the good things or pros but what about the bad things or cons. Here I have a problem because I can find no problems with this program in it's current configuration other than you have to buy the Pro version to search using wild characters. However in my opinion that is being very picky as it is something which is easy to do without. In the past there have been some changes I have wanted to see but they have all been taken care of. The only possible exception to this is the help section being mostly for the WordWeb Pro it is a little confusing to tell which help feature is for which version. But remember I have never had to use the help section since the program is so very easy to use and understand. So the help section isn't really needed.

In conclusion WordWeb is a fantastic free program that I literally use every day many times a day just because it is there and easy. I consider it a must have program and recommend it to any and everyone. Thank You WordWeb for creating a program that is what all programs want to be when they grow up.

About the Author:

DonEc is the designer, creator and owner of Best Web Stop ( He has been working with computers since 1974 and been creating websites with WYSIWYG non-HTML web programs since 1992. He is retired and provides No Cost WebSite instruction via Best Web Stop as a service to people that want to have a totally free, no cost presence on the web or just want to avoid learning HTML. In some cases he has been known to build sites for a small fee if asked. However he requires the owner of the site to learn how to create a site so they can maintain the site themselves.

Copy and/or reproduction of this article is allowed as long as it is not altered in any way and the section "About the author" is kept with the article including these instructions. Article Copyright © 2005 by DonEc.