Enso Words is a free program for Windows XP and Vista that puts the tools writers need the most — spell check, word count, dictionary, and thesaurus — a few keystrokes away no matter what application you happen to be writing in. It’s an ingenious little program that deserves a place on every writer’s hard drive.

Enso Words lives in your system tray (the little icons next to the clock in the lower right corner of your screen) and most of the time stays out of your way. To bring it up, you hold down the Caps Lock key while typing a command, like “word count”. That’s the theory, anyway; in reality, Endo Words usually knows what you’re asking by the first or second letter; on my system, just typing “W” with the Caps Lock key pressed is enough. When you release the Caps Lock key, the command is activated, and a window pops up with the results.

Enso Words works on whatever text you’ve selected, so you can spell check part of a document, or get a word count just for the paragraph you’re working on. You can get dictionary definitions from Answers.com (Caps-d), thesaurus entries from the same site (Caps-th), a word count (Caps-w), or spell check (Caps-s). If you don’t like using the Caps Lock key for this, you can change this to the Alt, Ctrl, or Windows key in the preferences (I use the Windows Key).

Enso offers a more complex program (also free) called Enso Launcher that can launch programs and open files using the same Caps Lock-keystroke combinations; the two programs play verynicely together. I tend to prefer opening my applications the old fashioned way, with mouse clicks, but you might like using Enso Launcher. For writers who do a lot of writing on different websites or in different interfaces besides their word processor, Enso Words is a really nice tool to have available.

Enso Words (Free)

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