mellel 2.8 makeover

Mellel is a word processor for Mac OS X which handles multi-lingual texts rather more effectively than most of the available alternatives. The latest version, 2.8, was released a few days ago. That update includes a powerful new “track changes” option. However, Mellel is in need of a cosmetic makeover, its brushed aluminium appearance and buttons are very much showing their age.

It is possible to go some way towards addressing this issue. My attempt has resulted in this:

To achieve this, download this file, unzip it, and copy the resultant directory’s contents into the Resources of the Mellel application (right-click on Mellel, choose Show Package Contents, then go into Contents, Resources). The images in the ZIPped folder should overwrite the Mellel versions and, next time you launch Mellel, you get the updated appearance!

As always, make a copy of the Mellel app before you mess with the Package Contents!

why i will be upgrading to snow leopard

Well, there are a number of good reasons, but looking through the list of enhancements is this one long overdue feature:

Bidirectional text.
For languages that are written right to left, such as Hebrew and Arabic, Snow Leopard now elegantly handles mixing in left-to-right text. It also has a split-cursor option that shows the appropriate cursor direction at the boundary between right-to-left and left-to-right text.

You can read more about it here. Hopefully this means that inserting RTL text in the midst of LTR text also works, since there’s much room for improvement in the way Mac OS X handles that as well (Pages and Keynote simply do not handle putting Unicode Hebrew into your documets, fortunately we have Mellel to solve our problems).

leopardising mellel

OK, this is a little distraction from foreignising translations. If you have a Mac and write Hebrew (or any right-to-left language) you’ll quickly discover that most of the word-processing software (i.e. from Apple or Microsoft) is not up to the task. One of the best solutions to this problem is to use Mellel which not only supports RTL languages extremely well, but also supports open-type fonts far more completely than most alternatives on the Mac.

Anyway, the point of this post is simply to note that Mellel retains a “brushed metal” look for its palettes which dates it to an earlier incarnation of Mac OS X. I’ve modified mine to make it fit (I think) better with Mac OS X 10.5, and I’m sharing the details here in case anyone else would be interested.

First, before and after shots. Here’s what the palettes look like “out of the box”:

Mellel's default palettes

And here is the updated version:

Mellel palette after leopardising

To achieve this, all you need to do is control- (or right-) click on the Mellel application icon and select “Show package contents” and then open the “Contents” and then “Resources” folders. Then copy the image files below into that folder, replacing the original versions (it’s a good idea to keep a copy of the originals). So here are the two images you need:

titleBarH
titleBarN

The files need to be named “titleBarH.png” and “titleBarN.png” in order to work correctly, so ensure that you’ve used those names.