I was as a student and currently using CaseCAT (3 years on CAT) and need to upgrade to professional software. For someone who is just coming out of school, I cannot even wrap my mind around the cost of the software and new machine that I need to purchase. Can anybody give me any insight on buying used software and or equipment? Can I even buy used software from somebody? Is it just about an equal cost if I were to buy it new?  I am also strongly considering switching to ECLIPSE.  Before I start calling reps, I don't want to be completely clueless.

Can anybody recommend a good, honest rep ;)?

I really appreciate any feedback from the community. 

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You think the prices are high??? Keep in mind when CAT came out in the 1980's it was about $30,000.  Then a few other companies came out.  There came a point it came down to about $10,000.00.

I had to do  a lot of research regarding software and writers.  I was an old (1980's) manual writer.  I came back to reporting four years ago.  And wow, I had to get smart fast.  CaseCat and Eclipse FROWN upon selling software. They make it difficult via the cost to do so.  With CaseCat it will cost you waaay tooo much to transfer.  So you are better off buying brand new at the $4,000 dollars.  You will also be getting the year of support.  Eclipse is nicer!!!  They charge (last look) $350.  You also have the problem of dictionary conversion. 

Since you are already on CastCat, you're better off staying with that.  Have you checked the website to find out what deals they have?  Did you call a representative?  Can you qualify for a loan?  If money is truly a problem, go cheap.  Gigatron Stenocat .32 is like $1,000 for first year lease.  Stenocat is a very good product.  If you are absolutely at the very bottom in money, you can get Stenocat Open Write.  It is realtime only. It works off your Word program.  I am using Open Right (about three months now).  And I tend to like it.   The Open Write is $360 for a year lease.  So, you spend $360, got something working in CAT.  When you are making steady money, then get the CaseCat. 

Keep in mind, an agency may ask you what software you are using.  They may want you on one of the two (CaseCat or Eclipse).  And if that is what determines if you get work, then figure out a way to get the software.  If you could afford school, you should be able to afford software.  Call CaseCat and see what they have to offer. 

The quick solution is Stenovations DigitalCat.  You can lease that for like $80 a month - with no upfront money.  They give you the first three months free.  But don't piss them off.  Looks they are a small family with family values.

And don't forget the dictionary conversion.  That is a big deal.



I am curious.  How exactly does open right work with Word?  What I am envisioning is you  write straight into Word and then you have to replace everything as you go along - there's no globaling?  or am I wrong?

Hi, Adriana.  With used software, you do have to pay a transfer fee and support has to be paid up to date.  Eclipse has a 20% off software sale that ends today.  That brings the cost down to $3,196.  When I originally went on Eclipse, I didn't have the money to purchase the software outright.  Eclipse offers leasing to make it more affordable.  You may want to give them a call today and just check it out.  You should contact all of the CAT vendors and see what they offer. 

It's much easier to buy a used steno machine without all of the added costs.  Good luck!  I hope you're able to get up and running soon.

Go to www.stenosearch.com.  Click on Steno Buyers Guide.

That Eclipse for $3,100 is a great deal - and it is high qualify software.

Since you are already familiar with CaseCATalyst and have a dictionary, why would you consider changing?  If you stick with what you know, you will be able to get your work out much more quickly than if you were to change.

As far as Stenograph and Advantage frowning on selling software, I've never seen that mentioned ANYWHERE.  Yes, there is a transfer fee for both.  However, I believe that if you upgrade to the professional software, you get a good trade-in for your student software.  If you go to Eclipse, you're not going to be able to trade in your CC student software; you will be out all the money you put into it.

I have been on CaseCAT since it first came out.  It's awesome software.  I would never switch.  It does everything I need it to do and more.

As far as a rep, Stenograph has reps assigned to different areas of the U.S.  They may be listed on their Web site.  I'm not positive.  As a reporter for 27 years now, I'd highly suggest with sticking with CC.  You've been on it three years; you're familiar with it.  Your workload will be easier to handle on something you're familiar with.

I agree with Rhonda.  If you know how to work CC, you should stick with it.  There is a learning curve when you switch and it takes time.  We all know time is money in this business.

Good luck to you,


She's got a money issue.  Hopefully, you can get a lease, or a loan, or dad.  They frown upon buying used software in the sense it is so costly.  But Rhonda is right, if you can stay on the CaseCat, you avoid a lot of problems (dictionary conversion,  learning new software, slow-down time).  You are a lot more valuable to an agency if you have CaseCat or Eclipse and are "up and running."   None of us said it here, you are better off buying new because you don't save much money buying used (maybe $500 - but that is not worth it).

Thank you so much to every one w/ the advice. It is great to go somewhere for help w/ questions as such. But yes, I agree. After having been on CC for 3 years I'm FINALLY improving on maneuvering around it, and I don't want to lose out on that trade in $$. I just hear such great things from the professionals on here about Eclipse. That aphorism "time is money" rings true in my case.

 I believe if there's a problem and I call in for assistant, I'm gonna get hit with some exuberant fees? What's the usual cost for a service agreement for tech support? Can anybody say they got a great deal on that?

Did anybody also get any training included when they updated? I could always use a little one-on-one training to really make me hot salsa :)

As you can see, I'm trying to get the most bang for my buck; I also want to be able to negotiate a great deal.
Whatever the outcome, Ill be sure to update this discussion when I finally do purchase. I would hope this helps any students or new professionals coming into the field. Thanks again everyone!!

Adriana, if you are now looking for a position, you should have professional software like yesterday.  You need to visit the website for Stenograph CaseCat and talk to their sales reps.   If you're waiting for a "great deal", it might not happen.  (Although that Eclipse for $3,100 was a real great deal).

You can negotiate a great deal when buying a car, as there are many out there and many dealerships.  Making CAT software look years of experience of great people, with a lot of trial and error.  There are only a few choices out there.  And if you want the best, it has a price. 

Again, go to CaseCat's website.  Good luck.


CC has built-in tutorials you can do to help yourself that don't cost money.  I am a BIG proponent on saving time and working efficiently -- something I unfortunately cannot seem to get across to other reporters and scopists..sigh...

Stenograph was offering very good deals around the holidays.  Considering what I paid for my first set of software and my second and third, I could have bought 2 Porsches easily.  PLUS with updated software, you can be more efficient. (-:


Adriana, I just saw a posting from Stenograph where reporters can upgrade to the latest software AND get a Diamante for as low as $147 a month.  I believe that was the figure.  I'm sure with your student software trade-in, a similar arrangement could be made for you.  Highly suggest checking into it!

I know Eclipse will set up a payment plan for you so you can make monthly payments and not have to come up with the money all at once.  That's a great option for just starting out.


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