Gone are the days of thumbing through pages of the Associated Press Stylebook, feverishly searching to verify grammar, spelling and style as deadline approaches faster than a clock’s stroke.
The de facto guide to news writing has unveiled AP StyleGuard, new software integrated with Microsoft Word that proofreads documents against AP style for language, punctuation and journalistic fashion. As documents are composed, the software highlights proposed corrections and displays corresponding AP style rules.
AP says StyleGuard is designed to polish writing, expediting style confirmation and even displaying possible errors writers may not think to check. Because AP style is always changing (a la e-mail to email, Web site to website), StyleGuard will help keep writers updated about amended entries.
The product, which is now in beta phase, will be accessible to the general public Sunday, April 1. But it’s now available for users subscribed to the online version of the stylebook, and starting Monday, Jan. 16, it’ll be available to the style guide’s print-publication subscribers. The software is only available for PC users—Windows XP and newer and Microsoft Office 2007 and newer. It’s also the latest installment in the paperless version of the stylebook, which includes online subscriptions, a mobile application and a Twitter account.
Some of the positives I see are that it seems to be an easy and convenient proofreading tool that grammatically stamps documents faster than fingers fluttering through the trusted spiral-bound bible. It also has the potential to become a writer’s best friend because it mimics spell check in Word.
Of course with any new product, it may take some time to settle into a rhythm, so users may still grab their nearest style guide and revert to looking up definitions. Another downside may be the fear that the software could eventually replace copy editors as newsrooms turn to the technology—instead of the human eye—for cost savings.
While we anticipate StyleGuard’s arrival, we’re also expecting the U.S. national elections this year. In honor of the Jan. 10 New Hampshire primary, AP has compiled its list of political terms, essential words, phrases and definitions. Some interesting entries include the following terms: