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I got the student edition of Procat a few years ago when I decided to get started with student software and I didn't like it. I had a very, very difficult time getting started with it; I didn't find it very user-friendly, at least for beginners, or students--and it may be the version I had, also. I recently got Eclipse and absolutely love it. I got started working with it in less than a half an hour. :) My recommendation is Eclipse.
I don't know if procat really is cheaper. Besides, cheaper doesn't = better. Do I want my fiance to buy me the cheapest engagement ring? Do I want to live in the cheapest house? Wear the cheapest clothes? Work for the cheapest lawyers? HECK NO!

Don't cheap out on something so important, Kwanna. It's ok to be cheap about shampoo or papertowels. But your cat software?

You need to consider what all the program can do for you and how that saves you time and the frustration of repetitive tasks and how that ultimately saves you money.

When I was in school, we used catalyst too and the other cat companies came in and wowed students with all kinds of features.

What I realized was that in school, we weren't learning catalyst at all. We were just producing transcripts for our classes using catalyst software.

All these cool features that other companies were showing us, were in catalyst all along. But as a student, I never used them. I never saw them. You are probably running into the same thing.

My advice to you so that you can make a smart business decision is to get a professional demonstration of catalyst and if you still think that there is merit to looking at procat, then look at it too.

But, do you know anyone using procat? Do you know any schools that teach with it? I don't. I'm not saying they aren't out there. I just don't know of any. I think that's something to consider.

I was at the NCRA convention in DC. The seminars for catalyst were jam packed, standing room only, with happy users of catalyst eager to learn more. I don't believe the procat company can say the same and their booth at the vendor hall was dead; but that was true for just about every company except for stenograph.
I love ProCAT. I will never use anybody else. Their support people are timely, professional, and knowledgeable. I also use the Stylus writer. I saw ProCAT when I was in school, and I wanted it. I started working as a reporter, and the firm I started with was using Stenograph software, so I had to purchase that software. Took me ten years to get ProCAT. I have never looked back. I think they are an awesome company. The main reason -- numero uno -- was the fact that at the time I saw the program -- many, many moons ago -- they had the phonetic dictionary. You could actually tell the software how you wrote certain syllables, so when you were scoping, it suggested the word for you. If it picked the right word, you hit enter, and you're off to the next untranslate. No typing. It really was the selling feature for me. I'm assuming the other software companies have that now, but I don't know. At the time, only ProCAT did. They also had the Flash card way before anybody else, which told me they were all about staying abreast on what is current in the computer world. I pay a service fee each year for my software and my Stylus so I can get the new updates for both. Did I say I love ProCAT??? Yes, I did. And, YES, I do! :) Hope this helps in your research.

I have been looking at software myself. I feel very strongly that you should at the very least look at three companies. They basically all do the same thing, but then they each have specialized features that can be extremely beneficial or worthless, depending on your writing. Look to see what each can do to enhance YOUR writing.

I'm licensed; so I am in a bit of a different position, in that I can get representatives to come out to the house for a demo or spend significant time with me on the phone. I met with three, narrowed it to two, and made a decision I am certain I won't regret. Do whatever you need to now before you make a decision that may very well affect the rest of your career.

I write very clean, but I have MANY conflicts. I love technology, and will put in the time to train the software. I found my match. If someone, for example, has a very conflict-free theory but can't program their VCR; then there would probably be a better choice for them. This is why two people you trust can love/hate the same thing.
Kwanna, I've been on ProCat, Case Catalyst, and Eclipse, and I'm going to tell you what I tell everybody. Each person has listened to me and switched and has loved it. I've even gotten reporters who have been on Procat and StenoCat for years to switch and they were VERY pleased. So go with ECLIPSE, ECLIPSE, ECLIPSE!
I've been on Procat since 1987, the year my CR boy was born. That's how I can remember the year so well. (He was four months old.)

I recommend Eclipse and can't wait to take the plunge.
I know a depo reporter and a federal reporter who both use Stenovations DigitalCAT and love it! As one feature, the software allows you to slow down the audio to drag out the word and figure out what the attorney or witness said. Another feature is you make monthly payments around $80 or so, and when you have paid for the software, it's yours. Regardless of the software, a steno machine with a light touch will enable you to write longer and faster. As for the Lightspeed made by DigitalCAT, I have heard both pro and con. Hope this helps!
- Jana
If money is an issue right this minute, Stenocat 32 is $450.00 for six months.
DigitalCat also gives you the first three months free - and free editing for a scopist. So your cost is $240.00 for six months.
About to see what DigitalCat is all about.....
Hi Kwanna,
I am a student also. I purchased the Procat Stylus and loved the machine but hated the software. I thought it was difficult to get started with and use. I also thought it was very expensive compared to some of the other student software. I ended up going with Stenocat. It is more basic, but I think it is really user friendly. I really like their support team and it also helped that 90% of the students at my school use it also. The student version of Steoncat was only $100 for the year.

Good luck in your decision!
Anna Valdez


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