Double Software Review: Visuwords and Thinkmap Visual Thesaurus

I normally don’t do double review, but Visuwords and Thinkmap Visual Thesaurus are so similar, I’d just be writing virtually the same thing in both reviews.

Visuwords is actually an online piece of software. A little tidbit from the website:

Visuwords™ online graphical dictionary — Look up words to find their meanings and associations with other words and concepts. Produce diagrams reminiscent of a neural net. Learn how words associate.

I found Visuwords after trying out a program called ThinkMap Visual Thesaurus, which can be used online or as a plugin for MS Word. A quick description of the program:

The Visual Thesaurus is an interactive dictionary and thesaurus which creates word maps that blossom with meanings and branch to related words. Its innovative display encourages exploration and learning. You’ll understand language in a powerful new way.

In my opinion, both products are far superior to the MS Word thesaurus. The way it works is the user inputs a word. Then the program creates a network of associated words. The user can click on one of the associated word and form an extended network. Pretty cool.

Now the reason I really like its is because I often have a vague glimmer of a word I want to use, but can’t exactly pinpoint it down. A similar word might pop in my head, but not give the exact meaning I want. Usually the word I want shows up in the web the program creates or leads me to another word more similar than the concept I want.

So what’s the difference between the two programs. Thinkmap comes in two version–an online version and a desktop version which can be used as a plugin for programs such as MS Word. Visuword online comes in an online version. The other difference is price. Both versions of Thinkmap require a subscription fee after the trial version.

My two cents is, if an online version works for you, go with Visuword. If you need something a bit more portable, go for Thinkmap. Of course, you don’t have to take my opinion, try them for yourself.