Writing Tools and Tips
The following are some tools and tips to help make the writing process easier. Unless otherwise stated, all these websites and functions are available online for free, or as a built-in part of most word processors/computers.
Writing Assignment Calculators
These webpages allow you to input the date you receive an assignment and the due date, and then break the writing process into a manageable set of tasks, each with their own suggested due date. This can be a good way to figure out an order and schedule for tackling a large writing assignment, as well as figuring out roughly how much time you should spend on each step. Many of these webpages can also direct you to further resources to help you complete each of the steps (research, brainstorming, drafting, and editing).
Here are some writing assignment calculators developed by different institutions:
The Tomato Timer
The Tomato Timer, and other similar timers, are based on the Pomodoro study method, which alternates between study periods and rest periods. Using these timers helps you take regular breaks during your study process and keep your mind fresh. You can also change the timing on most of these timers to suit the work/break schedule that works best for you.
Here are some online study timers:
Mendeley is an open-source citation management software. It is pre-installed on all GPRC Learning Commons computers, but you can also download it for use on your personal computer for free. It's a great tool to help you keep track of the sources you're using for a research paper. Mendeley allows you to:
The software can be downloaded from the Mendeley website here.
Keyboard Shortcut Tools
These are just a few of the keyboard shortcuts that can help you accomplish writing tasks more quickly/easily. Note that "Control" (Ctrl) is used on PCs - if you are using a Mac, you will need to hit the "Apple" button instead of "Control" to use these shortcuts:
Using The "Cite" Button
Most academic databases will include a "cite" button, which automatically generates article citations in various styles (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.) While this can be a very useful, time-saving tool, always be sure to review the "cite" button citations carefully alongside a verified example and make sure all the formatting is correct. Here are some common mistakes to watch out for among "cite" button citations:
When using Microsoft Word, you can customize the Spelling and Grammar Check tool to check for a wider range of grammar and style errors/suggestions:
Additional Spelling and Grammar Check Software
There are some other programs out there that offer additional layers of spelling and grammar checking. Many of them work in both internet browsers and word processors. Here are some popular ones - be aware that many of them have both free and paid versions: