Every once in awhile, I’ll speak with customers who have questions about supplementary software that they can use to help create their family cookbooks.
After a bit of personal trial and error, I have found, and often use, the following very helpful supplementary software programs. Many other software products probably exist and do similar jobs, but I like the ones described below best because they work and because they are mostly free. Thus, my top 4 supplementary software to use with Matilda’s Fantastic Cookbook Software are:
1. ENTERING RECIPES – TinySpell
If you want to use another spell checker besides the Microsoft version we include in Matilda, there is a free product called TinySpell. This software alerts you to wrongfully spelled words while you type, or you can type a word into its tiny onscreen window to catch spelling errors before they happen. (Some days even the word “the” looks weird to me.) TinySpell is a very good find, and it works well with my Matilda software. (I wish more people would figure out a way to use it when making comments on public forums, though.)
2. EDITING PHOTOS – Microsoft Office Picture Manager
When you download digital photo files into your “My Pictures” folder, it is very easy to edit photos using the basic built-in picture manager feature. Right click on the photo to see ways to crop, color correct, and compress the photos so they fit in your family cookbook. You can also use the standard Paint accessory to a degree to manipulate photos with pleasing results. For more sophisticated uses and users, additional and more powerful photo editing software does exist that allows you to be more graphically creative with photos. Check out this About.com Graphics Website for a list of other good photo editing software, which are mostly free.
3. MAKING PDF FILES – CutePDF
This is a wonderful free software that can make PDF (portable document format) files from your family cookbook. PDF files allow others to see documents created on your computer even if they don’t have the exact same software. Use CutePDF to convert your Matilda files when taking your family cookbook to a professional print shop. PDFs are also good to use if you are sending a single recipe or the whole cookbook by email to a friend or relative. CutePDF freeware has many of the basic features of the more expensive PDF-creating softwares such as Adobe Acrobat, so for making a family cookbook it is just fine.
4. SENDING LARGE FILES – YouSendIt
There may be times (such as when you want to send a whole cookbook to someone by email) that a file is so huge that it won’t go through your regular email system. There is a file sending service that you can use for free (up to 14 days free trial) to transmit electronic files up to 2 GB to someone else’s email. You register, upload the file to the yousendit website, and the recipient collects the file from the yousendit site using a password. This service is nice to have when you are in a hurry (such as a deadline to get the family cookbook printed for the family reunion), and emailing the file just won’t work and you’re tearing your hair out (been there, done that ;-).
So there you have it. My top 4 supplementary software programs to use with Matilda’s Fantastic Cookbook Software. I’ll keep checking to see what new software is out there of benefit to us cookbook makers and let you know.
Meanwhile, Happy Cookbooking,