Which Software?

Eclipse Winter Retreat

In my opinion, at this current time in 2014, there are only three softwares considering. Case and Eclipse have nearly all the same features. DigitalCAT is a tad behind because they are the newest, but they are catching up quickly and are very affordable. All are now keyless. I have ordered them from most users to least users. Obviously Case will have the most as Stenograph has been in business the longest.

A bonus of choosing Eclipse is that I provide free instruction on my blog on how to use Eclipse. I have used all three softwares and am affiliated with none of them. DigitalCAT’s free student software may be tempting, but I don’t recommend trying it out if you ever intend to switch to another software upon graduation. Doing so would will make your first few months of working extraordinarily difficult, as you are trying to remember so many things at that time. Pick one and stick.

Please do not choose a software based on your school or mentor. Case and Eclipse are extremely user friendly. I learned nearly everything I could want to know (other than automatic indexing) within the first six mos of using Eclipse, and I’ve only attended one seminar. I barely even glance through my workbooks. I learned by (1) calling support or (2) posting to the Eclipse board on FB if I had issues. You will learn all the basics on Eclipse with my posts, and there really isn’t a whole lot to cover.

DigitalCAT has a great group and great support, even if it is the hardest to learn (only by a slim margin). Not only that, but most students are in school for a minimum of a year and a half. That is ample time to learn one software. Like I said, you only really need 3-6 months to get comfortable with a software and double that time to become extremely proficient with it.

1. CaseCatalyst by Stenograph

Software Price: $5,473
Software Supports/Updates: 4,045 + tax in all 50 states
Software Hours: 7am-8pm
Other: If you call after hours, weekends, holidays – $210 yearly OR $40 per call
Yearly Support Contract Cost: $619 (minus $40 if paid for online) + tax
Cost if you skip for one year: $619 + 250 per year skipped
Student: $495 (100% toward purchase of professional)

Pros:
excellent features (almost anything you can ask for)
refreshes on iPads in realtime!
produces clean looking transcripts (cleaner than Eclipse even)
most users on Case, so plenty of scopists to choose from

Cons:
costs yearly if you provide realtime – $295 initially, $175 every year thereafter
extreme tax costs, especially in high sales tax areas
so-so user satisfaction (because of nickel-and-diming and so-so support, not as much user enthusiasm as you will find with Eclipse and DigitalCAT)
support is not 24/7 for free
not free for students
penalty for lapsing

2. Eclipse by Advantage

Software Price: $3,995
Software Support/Updates: $595 – tax only in Florida
Penalty for Lapse: $595 + $300 for every year skipped
Other: Students enrolled – $404 + free support.
Upon graduation, if you buy professional version within 3 months, 300 off!

Pros:
extremely easy to use (and esp to create macros)
24/7 support, great support 9 out of 10 times
excellent features and superb artificial intelligence
free realtime software
second largest software, so plenty of scopists to choose from

Cons:
cost if you let support/updates lapse
not free for students
penalty for lapsing

3. DigitalCat by Stenovations

Software Price: $3,495
Software Support/Updates: $399 – tax only in West Virginia
Penalty for lapse in dues: None
Support: 24/7 for professionals
9-5 for students
Student: $0 (if in school)
Other: Software Rent is $80 with free support, can use 12 months of that rent to go toward software purchase!

Pros:
Free student software!
Affordable pricing, esp for first-year professionals
No penalty with a lapse in support!!
24/7 support for professionals!
Some firms now give this software and training free!
free realtime software

Cons:
Not as many features as Case/Eclipse, esp in regard to realtime
Not as user friendly (create macros, etc.)

These prices are based on a call with a customer service rep from each of these companies. If you have any additional information to add, please comment.

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