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Category: Liquid | Author

Author 4.5 User Guide

Welcome to Liquid | Author
Please go through this brief document to get the most out of Author since it probably works quite differently to what you are used to.

Read & Edit Modes

Author features distinct modes for reading and editing with different functions available in each mode, as described below. Toggle the modes by clicking the Done/Edit button at the bottom centre of the screen or do the keyboard shortcut cmd /
• Read Mode. Neutral grey tone
• Edit Mode. Warm tone

Read Mode

In Read mode you can use the spacebar to go down a screen–just like on the web–and you can select text and hit the spacebar to have the selected text spoken.

Edit Mode

• To Link to a Website do cmd-k (or ctrl-click) on the text. If you already had copied the link, it will be attached automatically, otherwise you need to type it in manually.
• To Link to a Heading in your document or an image, cmd-shift-k (or ctrl-click) on the text and choose from the list.
• Quick Lookup & Search. To interact with the text in Author and all the text in your macOS applications download the free companion utility ‘Liquid | Flow’ from the App Store. It’s worth getting used to since it will allow you to search, look anything up, convert translate and more so quickly that when you use another computer your hands will feel like they are working in slow motion. To use it select text and ctrl-click and choose ‘Liquid | Flow’ or use the Liquid | Flow keyboard shortcut you have assigned.
• Quick Command Access Most commands are available through keyboard shortcuts and you can quickly learn any new commands since when you ctrl-click on any text you will see the keyboard shortcuts next to the commands.
• Quick Access to Focus Mode. You can toggle in and out of full screen focus mode with the ESC key.

Dynamic Views

Find View (cmd-f)

If you forget if you have used a certain word or phrase, just select it and ‘Find’ all occurrences of it in the document by doing cmd-f which instantly shows only the sentences in the document which has that text. This is also very useful when reading a document–you can instantly see the first time a name or term was introduced which is where it would be explained, without losing your place or spending time scrolling. Do cmd-f again to cancel out of this view or click on a sentence to jump to it.

Outline View (pinch-in)

To collapse the document to only show the headings in an outline form so that you can quickly get an Outline or Overview and jump around the document, pinch-in on your trackpad. To return to the regular word processing view pinch-out or click on a heading to jump to it.
In Edit mode you can also re-arrange your document in this view by clicking and holding a heading, then moving it to a new location.

Concept View (pinch-out)

Pinch-out from the word processing view to change the view to the Concept View. This will be blank when you first enter it and it will have the text, in grey: ‘Double-Click anywhere to add Text’, which will disappear once you add some text. You can now:
• Double-click on the screen to type. ‘Enter’ or ‘Return’ to finish or just double-click on another location to add further text
• Cmd-v to paste any text
• Cmd-t to insert any cited documents. A list will appear, in the same style as the Cuttings dialog. Choose one or cmd-a to choose all, then insert. Cited documents will appear as the name of the document with single ‘quotes.’ Double clicking on a citation in the future will open the citation dialog.
• Click-&-move the text around as you see fit
•  Click-&-move the text & drop it on top of other text to create connecting lines
• Click-&-move the text & drop it on top of other text to create connecting lines, while holding the option key, to make a line with an arrow
• Click-&-‘enter’ or ‘return’ to edit the text
• Ctrl-click on text to choose to make it a:
-Note, which will appear in italic and will not be associated with text in the document (as discussed below)
-Title, which will be larger than the other text. Please note that a Title only exists in this view, it does not show up in the word processing view and is not the same as a Heading
• Any text in the Concept View which matches any text in your document becomes bold. You can double-click on these to enter the Find† View, where only the sentences which contain that text appears. Click on a sentence to jump to it in the word processor view or click in the margin or ESC to go back to the Concept View
• Double-click on any text which is not bold (meaning it’s not present in the word processing view) will instantly change the view into the word processing view, with the double-clicked text copied across, at the end of the document, with cursor eight after it. You can now keep typing or do cmd-1 through 6 to assign this as a heading


To cite, select the text you want to assign as a citation to and do keyboard shortcut cmd-t (or ctrl-click on the text and choose Citation). You can then choose to fill in the citation manually for any material or:
• Books. You can choose to search books by Title or Author will fill in all the citation information for you.
• Scholarly Papers. We are working on an extension for searching scholarly papers. If you have specific preferences or suggestions, please email me:
• Images. Click on any image you have dragged into Author to add citation information.  You can also paste an image into your document which means you can draw on an iPad or take a picture on an iPhone and copy it there and, provided you are near your Mac, simply Paste into Author without any further effort to move the image between devices.
• Web. If you have copied a web address from Safari you can choose ‘Web’ and Author will fill in all the citation information for you.
• BibTeX. When you download an academic paper the page you download from is likely to have an option to show the BibTeX citation information. If you click to see this, then select All (cmd-a) and Copy (cmd-c), without having to select the BibTeX text only, you can go to Author, select text and do cmd-t and now you can choose to have the Citation dialog auto-filled-in.
• Video. If you have copied a URL from YouTube, you will additionally have the option to choose ‘From YouTube URL’ and use it for your citation. While watching a YouTube video you can choose to cite the video from an exact time. To do this, while in YouTube, ctrl-click on the video itself and choose ‘Copy URL from Current Location’, switch back to Author, select the text you want to assign the citation to and cmd-t as usual and choose ‘From YouTube’ (or hit ‘enter’). For example here Doug Engelbart talks about demonstrating his early prototypes (Make sure you are in READ mode when you click, in order to view the video):
“…they never thought about just how quickly and flexibly you could do things…”
Engelbart, 2013, video


On export (cmd-e) Author will (optionally):
• Add a Cover Page based on your personal details (stored from last use)
• Format the Citations inside the document with brackets or superscript
• Appends a References/ Bibliography section at the back of the document
Export formats include:
• .pdf Adobe Portable Document Format
• .doc Microsoft Word
• .rtf Rich Text Format
• plain text
• .liquid native Author document
• Print to Paper
• Publish to WordPress blog


You can change the font for the headings and body text, choose to view your pages in monochrome and manage your WordPress accounts in the Preferences (cmd-,).


Thank you for being a pioneer Author user. These are early days and I look forward to hearing from you. Please email me with any questions/comments/bugs/suggestions at and of course, if you could Rate Author in the macOS App Store that would be very much appreciated indeed – for a small developer like me, it makes a huge difference!!!
Author is designed and produced by me with coding by Jacob Hazelgrove, based on the philosophy of Doug Engelbart as I have interpreted it, and is supported by Vint Cerf. It is dedicated to my father Ole, and my son Edgar, with grateful thanks to my PhD supervisors Dame Wendy Hall and Les Carr at the University of Southampton.
If you like, you can watch the Video Introduction.
Frode Hegland
London 2019
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Future Author User Guide & Feature Additions (citation view and WordPress integration)

Cut from the current user guide:

Concept View WordPress Integration (future feature)

Author will integrate with WordPress to allow you to define your own Glossary Terms and how they relate to other terms. The Glossary Terms are stored on your WordPress blog under the Category of [Glossary Term] and can be created completely manually simply by typing the definition of your term into the body of the post or by defining them via Liquid | Flow where you can add structure to the term which make them much more powerful when accessing them later.

Assign Concept
To assign text with a concept, do cmd-shift-k and choose from a concept listed in the right column. If you have not connected to a WordPress blog then this will only have a button to ‘Connect to WordPress’ and if you have connected more than one blog you will have a pop-up option at the bottom of the screen to choose which one you want to use.

Any text which is assigned or matches a Glossary Term you have in WordPress gets enclosed in [hard brackets] to indicate that they contain more information. You can double click on these for more information, including being able to go into the Find† View.

Define Concept
To define a concept select text and cmd-g or ctrl-click and choose ‘Define Term’. This will produce a dialog where you can describe the term and also connect it with previously defined terms.

Concept Relationships
You can click and drag a concept to move it, if you drop it on top of another concept you will see a dialog where you will be asked to define the connection, same as if you had defined the connection in WordPress or while defining the term in Liquid | Flow. Please note that you will be asked to define the term in both directions since our human grammar can look different depending on which term you start with. For example: “Doug Engelbart ‘developed’ Augment” and “Augment ‘was developed by’ Doug Engelbart”. Technical note: The first connection is stored in the ‘Doug Engelbart’ WordPress post ’ and the second connection is stored in the ‘Augment’ WordPress post. Since Author had been given permissions to add and create WordPress posts for you, it can do this from within Author.

If you click on a concept which is connected to a concept not on the screen (as shown in the definition of that concept) you will see that concept appear in grey. You can click on it to permanently add it. You can also click on a concept and hit the delete key to remove it.



Citation View (swipe horizontally – future feature)

To access the Citation View swipe horizontally with two fingers on your trackpad to flip your document over. You can return to the word processing view by swiping back. All documents you have cited in your document will be shown in a References section, same as you will have when you export your document.

The default view is simply by the author’s last names but you can click on a tab at the top of the screen to choose to list by date in a Timeline view. You can also double click in the margin to type in any keyword and connect the keyword to any of the documents. You will now also have the option (at the top of your screen) to list by Keyword, which re-arranges the document again, based on your keywords. If you drag keywords up or down in this view, the documents will follow.

If you do cmd-f while in this view you can enter a search term and once you hit ‘enter’ lines will automatically extend from the keyword to any document which contain the text, with thicker lines indicating more occurrences. This only works with documents you have copied and pasted the full text of into the Citation dialog. When you use this mode, any documents missing full text will be slightly grey, to help you identify them and also to correct it if you wish.


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Dynamic View : Column VS. Columns

Having gone in circles for how to simplify the dynamic view (less views and nodes) and working on a poster with screenshots as well as the new user guide, it’s clear that columns are useful since rarely in my own work do I have enough sub-headings below level 1 to justify having the columns horizontally across the screen, apart from brainstorming.

How can we then enable the user to toggle between vertical and horizontal layouts?

Can the user maybe brainstorm with a single column?

No, we’ll have a pinch in for single column and pinch out for multiple horizontal columns.

No line at the top of the screen though.

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