Post, 22 Aug, 11:55

Author features a minimalist work environment with powerful controls. Since the controls are not visible as buttons please have a look through this interactive introduction to learn how to get the most out of it. For more information, including a video walkthrough, please go to 

Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 11.51.24.jpg

Post, 22 Aug, 11:54

Welcome To Liquid | Author

Author features a minimalist work environment with powerful controls. Since the controls are not visible as buttons please have a look through this interactive introduction to learn how to get the most out of it. For more information, including a video walkthrough, please go to 

Full Screen

You can enter and exit full screen with the ESC key.

Read/Edit Modes

Author features a Read and an Edit mode, which are optimised for each type of activity and which which will become more optimised for each activity over time. 

Tap the centre bottom of the window to toggle the modes:


  Read – the button says ‘Edit’

  Edit – the button says ‘Done’

To toggle Read/Edit modes:  cmd/     

Read Mode

Instant Table of Contents


Pinch in on your trackpad to collapse the text to only see headings. You can then:

  Click on a heading to jump to that section

  Pinch further to see less levels of headings

  Pinch back out or ESC to return to normal view



  Spacebar to go down one screen 

  Click on a heading to have it jump to the top of the screen 

  Select text and activate Liquid for advanced control 

  ESC to toggle full screen (also works in Edit mode) 

Text to Speech

  In Read Mode, select any text and hit spacebar for the text to be spoken. (Make sure you are in Read Mode; otherwise you will simply delete the text!)

Edit Mode

Instant Table of Contents


Just as in Read mode, in Edit mode you can also pinch in on your trackpad to collapse the text to only see headings. You can then:

  Click on a heading to jump to that section

  Pinch further to see less levels of headings

  Pinch back out or ESC to return to normal view

In Edit mode you can also: Click in the left margin to select a heading and drag to re-order (tab and shift-tab to decrease or increase heading level)

Creating Headings for the Instant Table of Contents/Outline

To assign a line of text as a Heading:

  Select the text

  Ctrl-click on it and choose ‘Heading’, then a level (1-6) 


  cmd-1 for level 1, cmd-2 for level 2 and so on


A central purpose of Author is to give you more credibility wen authoring and clean and clear citations play a central part in this. You can cite from any source which can somehow be addressed, but Author provides particular support from citations from Academic Articles (through Mendeley), Books (through Amazon), Video (on YouTube) and the Web.

Please note that you add and edit citations in Edit mode and view them for presentation in Read mode. 

In Read mode you can click on the Full Citation to get a Google search so that you can see if the reference is cited correctly.

Assigning A Citation 

To cite a reference:

  Select the text you want to have cited

  Cmd-t or ctrl click and choose Link/Citation

  Choose Manually, Mendeley, Amazon – or if you have copied a valid YouTube URL; YouTube


Book citations can be entered manually or by searching Amazon, such as this quote from the book ‘The Information’: 

 A “file” was originally—in sixteenth-century England—a wire on which slips and bills and notes and letters could be strung for preservation and reference. Then came file folders, file drawers, and file cabinets; then the electronic namesakes of all these; and the inevitable irony. (Rheingold, 18 Aug 2017)

Video Citation via YouTube


Assigning a YouTube citation is a bit different but very very cool; You can choose to cite video from the exact time in the video when your citation is spoken, for example Doug Engelbart discussing demonstrating his early prototypes: “…they never thought about just how quickly and flexibly you could do things…” (Frode Hegland, 18 Aug 2017)

Please make sure you click on the above citation when you are in Read Mode (it should say ‘Edit’ at the very bottom of the screen)

In YouTube

  Ctrl-click in the video itself and choose ‘Copy URL from Current Location’

Switch to Author

  Select the text you want to add a citation to


  Choose ‘From YouTube’ (or ‘enter’)

  Fill-in further information including the author since YouTube knows who produced the video but not who is speaking at any particular point in time


In Edit Mode you can assign tags to your text by selecting the text and ctrl clicking:


  Heading Tag the text as a heading which you can then pinch to collapse the document into a Table of Contents

cmd-1 through cmd-6 to assign. Cmd-0 to un-assign

  Link Allows you to add a Web Address Link or Citation

cmd-k for a weblink, cmd-t to assign a Citation Link

  Format Here you have all the usual suspects with all the usual cmd-b for bold and so on

  Not in version 1.0: Comments will be used as a way for you to add further information to your text. ‘Annotations’ will be developed later for you to annotate a document someone else wrote.


Search Document / Find


A different and, we hope, a more powerful way of choosing what to see in the document where you change the View of the document based on what you want to see:

If you have not selected text

  cmd-f and enter a keyword

If you have Selected Text



  cmd-shift-f when you have selected text to search and you want to modify your search with further text/edits


The document will instantly change to show only sentences which have the keyword in them. You can now:

  Click on sentence to ‘jump’ to it in the document

  ESC or click in the margin to return to regular view

Keyboard Shortcut Power Tips

Keyboard shortcuts in Author work a little differently from what you might be used to, but they are all optimised to save you time and make you more efficient – to give you a smother flow when working with your text.

When you have selected text AND you have copied text


•  Cmd-k if you have copied a Web Address will immediately make the text a link. If you want to edit the link just click on it

•  Cmd-f immediately shows you all sentences with the selected text

•  Cmd-t and select Amazon or Mendely and your copied text will automatically be in the Search Box


Share your documents as native Author documents or export them as .DOC or .RTF files which are accepted by most word processors: Choose ‘Export to…’ in the File menu. 

Documents will automatically have a References section at the end, where all Citations will be listed. The style can not be edited currently but we will be adding Citation Styles over time. 

Liquid | Flow

One more thing: To get the most out of the text in Author and all your text application, I strongly suggest you download the companion application Liquid | Flow from the Mac App Store and install it.

Through Flow you can select any text in any application, hit a keyboard shortcut and you get useful options instantly, given you a much greater mental freedom of movement when you work:


  Search Google, Google Images, Reverse Image Search, Google Maps, Google Scholar, Amazon, Mendeley, YouTube, Spotlight, Contacts, Email and Spotlight Contents

  References Wikipedia, IMDB, Etymonline, Google Definition, Oxford English Dictionary, Wolfram Alpha and Wordnik

  Convert Currencies and other units: Area, Speed, Distance, Volume, Weight, Data and Power

  Translate over 100 languages

  Copy with Link, as Citation, As Plain Text, Copy only Sentences with Keyword, Copy to Edit and Copy to show as Flow Outline

  Share to Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, via email Google Mail or posting to WordPress


Thank you for being a pioneer Author user, I look forward to hearing from you.

Please visit for more information or email me with any questions/comments/bugs/suggestions at

This is only the beginning. 

Frode Hegland

London, 2017

The Future 

If you are interested in the future of Author please have a look at the list of potential future features and please get in touch should you have any ideas:–author-future.html 

If you are interested in the future of text in general, please join us at the annual Future of Text Symposium: 


Doug Engelbart

Author is inspired by the work of my mentor Doug Engelbart who pioneered richly interactive computing. As he said on the morning of the 9th of December 1968, when he presented interactive computing to the world for the very first time: 

“The research program I am going to describe to you, is quickly characterisable by saying: “If you in your office, you as an intellectual worker, were supplied with a computer display backed up by a computer that would be alive for you all day and was instantly responsive to every action you had – how much value could you derive from that?” (Engelbart, 20 Aug 2017)

That is a powerful question and one we need to continually ask ourselves – how can we keep improving the usefulness of computers? Author aims to continue this work  but it’s quite clear that there is still a lot of Doug’s work which has not been realised in Author or anywhere else, including high resolution linking – this release of Author is just a start, there is a lot left to do to implement his legacy and to move as far beyond his work as we can in his spirit more than simply by looking at what he actually implemented almost 50 years ago: Doug was not interested in computers, he was passionately interested in how we work together to solve urgent, complex problems collectively by using the power of networked computers.  

By the way, the name Author has the same etymological roots as his system which was named Augment and that is why I chose it. Previous to Author I built Liquid | Flow to only later realise that it is basically copied from Augment’s command bar, with all potential commands listed hierarchically. Hopefully you will get to be so fast using Liquid | Flow that you won’t need to use the menus just the keyboard shortcuts, as Doug Preferred. You can see Doug discussing an early version of Liquid | Flow, when it was called Hyperwords

I miss you Doug.


I would also like to thank my father for his invaluable reality checks when the philosophical side of my work went a bit, well, vague, Sarah Walton for the co-development of the Liquid philosophy in the first place, Vint Cerf for his support, Ted Nelson for friendship and dialog and my former teacher Ed Leahy who helped me learn how to question, think and focus and has been a tremendous influence and support over they years.

I would also like to point out, with gratitude, that the work I do would not have happened without Howard Rheingold and his Tools for Thought.  Thank you for your writings and for walks along the North Bay.

Without Jacob Hazelgrove all this would be just words (irony, I know). Thank you for joining the project and coding this amazing build.

I am currently working on my PhD at the University of Southampton, under the watchful eyes of two of my prime inspirations; Dame Wendy Hall and Les Carr, whose support and insights makes my life magical. The work I am doing is an extension of Author, adding what I call a ‘Liquid | View’. For more, please visit 

Lastly, the crowning jewel of my life, my wife Emily Ballard-Hegland who not only supports my work with love but also with hard work. 


This software is dedicated to our son Edgar Kazu Ballard Hegland, born 8th of May 2017. 









(Left blank so you can tap on Table Of Contents to jump to the Headings lower down in the document such as the Acknowledgement)

Deep PDF

“A serious issue for innovation is how to deal with legacy document formats. In the case of development of new word processors the current document intermediary format is Microsoft Word’s .DOC format and Adobe’s .PDF (Portable Digital Format). PDF documents are prevalent in the academic world and it is very useful that the PDF document can act as a wrapper for other data, which is what makes this new approach possible:”

3.0 Beta!

Yes, it’s live! Go get it!


Hyperwords for Firefox Release 3.0 (HWFF3?!) is coming along well. Hopefully a public Beta will be out Monday. In other exciting news, we may have a new office soon! Fleur and I have been trying out Enamul’s studio and there is space there…..

Office Maybe


For years now I have thought about how to use the Hyperwords menu when writing. You cannot have it come up on selection, since that is annoying when you are editing.  I had an idea for a little icon that would come up that you could mouse-over.

I pretty much ignored the context menu though (Windows: right click, Ma: control click) since I for some reason felt that it was a rigid system and that we just couldn’t use it very flexibly.

But then Fleur and I discussed it over Eggs Royal at Mike’s this week and I remembered that Rob has his test at the top level, maybe we should think about this. Anyway I sent this to Mikhail and now it’s part of 3.0  🙂

From:       frode
Subject:     Context menu
Date:     2 August 2007 13:51:13 BDT
To:       mikhail

I just played with Hyperwords in the context menu and saw that it is exactly the same, including tooltips!

My ignorance and technological prejudice had prevented me from really ‘getting’ this before.

Keyboard shortcuts still do not work on the mac.

I would be exceptionally grateful if we could take all the Hyperwords items out of the sub-menu and put them on the root level of the context menu, as discussed. This will be very powerful indeed.

If the menu can be the same based on what the user has turned on in ‘Preferences/Layout’ then great, if not, make all the top level items visible.

If possible, get rid of the standard copy and only use ours. If not, have ‘copy’ and ‘paste’ above the Hyperwords items, ‘Search’, ‘References’ and so on, and keep our ‘copy’.
Also as discussed, in Preferences, not a check box for ‘Add Hyperwords Menu to context menu’, but a pop-up:

Hyperwords in Context menu:

Takes over menu, keeping other commands (default)
In sub-menu

Flow text.

Mikhail just finished a version of flow text that works on selections. Just beautiful.

The Evolutionary Brain Glitch That Makes Terrorism Fail

The Evolutionary Brain Glitch That Makes Terrorism Fail
Terrorism doesn’t work.

Very good piece from Wired. But I have to say the precise same point can be made for state-sponsored violence.

State of the art

2.8 is out. Fleur and I are working on Hyperwords Views and Mikhail is working very hard on implementing it. We are also putting together Hyperwords Mobile which will be exciting…

Hyperwords 2.8 seems to have been a tipping point.

User numbers are going up very nicely. Finally.

Now it’s time to get views out, get a good 3.0 launch and make this a real business  😉

2.0 Launch. Thank you!

HyperTeam, HyperFriends.

Only today did I realize how happy I am with Hyperwords 2.0

And how grateful I am to you for your help in making it happen.

I have thought of this release as working for the balance of features vs. intrusiveness to make more users enjoy it as mostly a business problem – it’s time for Hyperwords to start paying its own way.

But then, walking home from seeing Letters from Iwo Jima (excellent movie by the way, a true work of art) and thinking of words and letters in various forms. I remember the first time I was captivated by the printed word; I was reading a book at our old summer place in Norway and I just couldn’t get over how beautiful the printed characters were, the ampersand, or ‘&’ in particular.

Besides the information words carry, they are to me at least, also objects of great beauty. Seeing Letters today somehow brought this home again, even though there were very few actual letters on the screen. It reminded me of how the Japanese used to treat the printed word, with a respect to the point of burning written paper when no longer needed. Not simply discarded.

And in the middle of all this artistic letter-stuff I have always, well for many years now, wondered why we leave characters on computer screens for dead. As we write on ‘word-processors’ we can delete, spell check, change type sizes, insert the odd hyper-link and so on.

But then we hit the ‘Save’ button and freeze the text. The only interaction now is what is provided by copying the text, searching for it or the few options available on the right/control click menu.

And I have moaned about this and written about this and told people over countless coffees how this is such a waste.

And I had the opportunity to study this more in-depth through my masters. And I built a prototype. And started a company.

But today something different happened. Today I finished the demonstration video on and Mikhail, whose friendship and hard work has been the midwife for this work, has almost finished 2.0. There are are a few very strange bugs left on certain systems, but it’ll be done by tomorrow, Wednesday, lunch time.

Today my dream of richly interactive text is real. It is not perfect. It is simply real. It exists without excuses, without the need for explanation.

I started out as an artist and as an art piece, Hyperwords 2.0 is the first incarnation of real interactive text.

I don’t know about the future, about the business, about users, but as a piece in itself, I am happy.

And for this I thank you.

I sent this as a group letter but there is a reason you received this, I quite simply could not have made Hyperwords without you.

Thank you.

Frode Hegland
The Hyperwords Company