Some of you might remember the old days when writing was done with a typewriter, spreadsheets were big pieces of paper, and slides were printed on film. Thanks to computers, these are old memories, and we can all be much more productive. Software and operating systems continue to advance rapidly, supposedly making our lives as writers easier, but we often do not have time to keep up with the changes and learn all the ins and outs of new software or the most recent versions.
This issue starts with several articles on the Microsoft Office® suite. Some may use alternative software, but in our business, Office is the standard. Office has many quirks and secret functions, and learning about them can help simplify tasks and avoid problems. Therefore, we begin with several articles on Office software. Peter Aitken and Maxine Okazakion, Alistair Reeves, and Alexander Nürnberg describe quirks and secrets of Word®, and Raquel Billiones discusses using templates in Word. Diarmuid De Faoite follows with an article describing the efficient and correct use of the oft-maligned PowerPoint®. Also, Daniel Kraus describes his excellent – and free! – add-in for Excel called Daniel's XL Toolbox, which enables medical writers to store data in one place, eliminating the need to use separate tools for the analysis and presentation of data.
More and more, pharmaceutical companies are going to specialised software to share and track documents. The most common of these is Datavision™. We therefore asked Russell Traynor and Thomas Gegeny to describe Datavision, what it can do, and what medical writers need to know.
Several following articles summarise different software tools. The first of these, by Laura Collada Ali, focuses on software for translators. Jesslynn Ooi and colleagues then describe graphing software, and Shirin Ghodke provides a list of software tools that have proven to be useful to medical writers. Finally, Julie Courraud explains the features and advantages of Zotero, an open-source reference manager.
Françoise Salager-Meyer presents the first in a two-part series on English for Medical Purposes, in which she summarises the research conducted on English-medium written medical discourse. Laura Collada Ali continues her Profile series by recounting her interview with Karina Ruth Tabacinic on some fundamental concerns of medical translation. Finally, Derek Ho tells about his experience as a first-timer at the 2013 EMWA conference in Barcelona.
This issue of Medical Writing includes a new regular feature, News from the EMA, which is the result of EMWA's first steps towards establishing a collaboration with the EMA. This new section will initially include reprints of key press releases and communications with the EMA, but we hope that it will eventually become a mechanism for the EMA to communicate directly with EMWA members.
Medical Writing has evolved into a collaborative team project. Stephen Gilliver has been promoted to Co-editor, and we now have five Associate Editors: Joselita Salita, Raquel Billiones, Anuradha Alahari, Shirin Ghodke, and Barbara Grossman. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the editorial staff for their excellent work and enthusiasm. Putting this journal together would definitely not be possible without their contributions. If you are interested in becoming a member of the editorial staff or contributing to the journal in any way, write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.