Cut'n'Mix Version 5.4 New Features
- On-the-fly edits to words in the Virtual
Shuffle (text randomize) is no longer limited to words as the
only units acted upon: now the user can select a group of
words (snips of size 1-4 words) as a shuffle unit.
Sentences can also be designated as units to be randomized. There
is even an option to randomly shuffle the word positionings
inside each sentence of a text sample.
Statistics is a new function which counts the frequency of
words in the output area
Section 1: Cut'n'Mix Basic Theory of
The Cut 'n'
Mix application helps creative writers generate new ideas through
the use of different methods of text randomization and manipulation.
Back in the early 1990s, the early precursor version of the
application (then called "Word Demon") simply tried to automate the
"cut-up" technique: a process whereby individual words are cut out
of the original context and reordered (either randomly or
intentionally). In 1997, the first version of Cut'n'Mix to include
multi-source text mixing was released. The intention was to create
the same kind of look-and-feel you might find in a 4-track audio
cassette recorder but with the capability to mix text instead of
sound. Subsequent versions added word shredding and gluing,
morphing, swapping, random word fill, web page fill and a "custom
wordbook" function to allow users to store their own word databases.
Version 5.3 added a new section called "ROBOPOEM" which uses
poetry-generating algorithms to rearrange user text into robotic
How to use Cut'n'Mix
as a Text Randomizer
There are an unlimited number
of different ways in which Cut'n'Mix can be used. To use Cut'n'Mix
as a basic, automated cut-up engine, type or paste some text or load
a text file into the main text area "Output". As of Version
5.4, you can now select which type of shuffle you want to apply from
the dropdown placed next to the shuffle button. The options are:
- Inside Sentences
Quick Links to explanations of other
text processing functions of Cut'n'Mix:
|| Click the [shuffle] button (from the "Output Effects"
section). Words, word groups or sentences will automatically
be rearranged into a new random sequence. Each new click will
produce a completely new random rearrangement.
- for help using the ROBOPOEM functions, read the
ROBOPOEM help page
- to find out how to use Cut'n'Mix word shredding and
gluing to help find new names for products, businesses or
rock bands, read the Naming
- to find out how random word pools can be used in creative
writing, read about Shakespeare's
- Text mixing and effects processing are described below:
Cut'n'Mix now includes a word counting algorithm which can show how
many occurrences of a word are found in a given text sample. ONLY
THE TOP 100 WORDS ARE REPORTED. The standard report lists each word
followed by the number of times the word occurs and what percentage
this represents of the total word pool. Percentages can be helpful
to writers of online content who are trying to achieve SEO (search
engine optimization) objectives. The "words only" option does not
display a report, rather it replaces the word pool provided in the
main "Output" area with only the top 100 most frequently occurring
words, repeated the number of times counted from the original text
sample. The remaining option "Filter" means that the counting
algorithm will ignore a preselected batch of commonly occurring
words like "a","the","to","it" etc. as these words do not generally
indicate anything very interesting about the text sample.
Cut'n'Mix Mixing and Output
relationships between the different Cut'n'Mix text mixing components
are illustrated below:
- Open and fill input track(s): Any number or combination
of the four tracks can be used.
Click on the track view
to open the track viewer for a specific track. Placed next to the
track view button, the track indicator
button is green when words are to be drawn from a given track.
Even when the track view window is closed, words will continue to
be drawn until the track indicator button is clicked to the off
Each of the four input tracks and the
output mix text area can be filled with words in a number of
- File or paste: either opening a file or pasting text from
the Windows clipboard. (Only plain text files can be loaded,
but you can paste directly from word processing applications.)
- Web Page Fill: if your computer is connected to the
Internet, clicking the
"GO" button will grab words from the web page specified by
whatever URL has been typed or pasted into the "http://" text
input. This function strips out as many formatting codes as
possible from the fetched page to try to get a clean sample of
the content words.
- Random word fill:
A random selection of words are inserted into the track text
- Author text fill:
The author text fill gets a pool of random words from any one of
a number of different preloaded "wordbooks". There are two
dropdown selectors which will determine where the random fill
will come from: either from a "Classic Author's Text" or
from a user - created "Custom Wordbook". Cut 'n' Mix is
preloaded with 50 wordbooks containing random samplings of texts
by authors such as James Joyce, Coleridge, Plato and
Shakespeare. Cut 'n' Mix users can also create their own
wordbooks from text files. Creating a custom wordbook has
advantages over filling tracks directly from text files:
The simple text file import only reads text from the first 100
lines of a file, whereas a wordbook can contain the whole
contents of a novel. (The size of a wordbook is really only
limited by your patience, as the database load process can be
time consuming for very large text files.) When a text fill
is requested from a custom wordbook, the random word selections
will be made from any point from throughout the whole length of
the original file. Once a wordbook has been loaded, the text is
permanently stored in the Cut 'n' Mix database across different
sessions, (or until the user chooses to delete it).
- Adjust the input track settings: The way in which words
will be drawn from each track is influenced by two settings,
snip size and probability fader: The
"snip size" determines how many consecutive words will be included
in each cut. The "probability fader" increases or decreases the
probability that random picks will be made from the relevant track
(when weighed against the probability settings for all of the
other active tracks).
- Execute Mix: Each time the mix button is clicked, a new,
unique mix of all open tracks is created. Words (or word
clusters in cases where snip size is greater than 1) are
randomly drawn and inserted into the output text area.
Alternately, the random selection process can be defeated and
replaced with sequential selection by toggling the "sequential
mix" indicator underneath the mix button. The sequential process
draws words or sentence fragments from tracks 1 to 4 in sequence
(ignoring the probability fader positions).
- Output Effects: The contents of the main text area can
be processed with the use of different output effects:
Individual words, multi-word clips OR sentences from the main
"Output" text area are randomly rearranged. Hint: The
larger the unit to be shuffled, the more likely the output will
tend to retain some semblence of "meaning".
Slightly skews the meaning of text by replacing each word with a
randomly selected synonym (a word which means the same thing or
at least something similar).
- This effect analyzes each word in the output area and
assigns it to one of several predefined categories. From within
the identified category, a randomly selected replacement is
Cut-up Board - Works like the popular "fridge magnet
poetry". The first 100 words from the main text area are sent to
a different interactive window where they can be dragged around
with the mouse. Click and hold down the left mouse button over a
word to drag it around the cut-up board.
provides a quick way of intentionally reordering the
words (or word fragments) in any output mix. In the top right
hand corner of the board there is a button to take a snapshot of
the reordered words in the sequence which they are currently
Clicking this button will trigger a read-only popup window
containing text ordered in the same way as it has been arranged
on the screen (a standard clipboard cut or copy method won't
work in the Cut-up board because the new sequence is not
recognized). Do a Ctrl+C keboard sequence
(standard Windows hotkey for "copy") to get this text
into the Windows clipboard. After closing the cut-up board, the
copied, reordered text can be pasted back into the Cut 'n' Mix
output text area or into another word processing application.
On-the-fly edits: As of Version 5.4, the first
letter of each word is also a link which triggers an edit
window. You can click on this link to change any word on the
Cut-up board. (Unfortunately, due to technical limitations, each
word can be edited only once in a single session).
NOTE: Other Cut 'n' Mix functions are not accessible while the
Cut-up board is open
Note Builder - Creates a "ransom note" out of the OUTPUT
area words. (Words are rebuilt in a graphic format where each
letter is represented in magazine or newspaper cutout fonts.) A
browser is launched to display the ransom notes to allow for
easy saving or printing of the results.
- because computer resoures are heavily taxed by these effects,
only a limited chunk of the output text is processed each time.
(Allowing large text samples to be effected would tie up the
computer's CPU for long periods of time).
- Output functions: The input tracks and the main text
area have several common text editing options. Aside from the
familiar cut/copy/paste there are three functions that will work a
little differently than in a regular word processing
- Fonts - Any font changes apply to the whole output
area. Because the words are rearranged constantly, it is
technically beyond the capabilities of the application to
maintain multiple font formatting options within the output text
- Printing - The output area is routed directly to
your default printer. No formatting options are available.
- Open file - Only plain text (.txt) files will load.
If you want to use files saved in other formats, you can resave
them first as plain text from within your main word processing
application. Only the first chunk of large texts is loaded into
the output (and input) areas - this prevents excessive wait
times for processing functions.
- Saving - Files can be saved either as plain or rich
text. If you want to retain the font formatting for further
editing in other word processing apps, save as rtf . If you want
to keep an output for further processing in a future Cut 'n' Mix
session, it is preferable to save as txt . (You can also paste
back into the output area after reloading rtf into another
application to retain the font formatting).
Next Section: Cut 'n' Mix ROBOPOEM