Liquid | Author User Guide

This is the release version of the user guide for Liquid | Author, incorporating Liquid | Flow (which is no longer a separate product).

Welcome To Liquid | Author

Author is a different kind of word processor with a minimalist work environment and powerful controls. Please have a look through this introduction to learn how to get the most out of Author:

Full Screen

Exit full screen and enter full screen view with the ESC key (normally you can only use the ESC key to exit full screen views).

Read/Edit Modes

Author features Read and Edit modes which are optimised for each type of activity. When you are in Read mode the text button says ‘Edit’ and when you are in Edit mode the button says ‘Done’. In Read mode Author behaves much like a text reader application, where you can do spacebar to go down a screen or select text and do spacebar for text-to-speech.
Toggle the modes with cmd/

Instant Outline

Pinch in on your trackpad to collapse the text to only see headings. You can then click on a heading to jump to that section or pinch back out or ESC to return to normal view.
Re-Order The Outline
If you are in Edit mode you can also click to the left of a heading and drag to re-order.  Assign Text As Heading
To assign a line of text as a Heading select the text and Ctrl-click on it and choose ‘Heading’ or use the keyboard shortcuts cmd-1 for level 1, cmd-2 for level 2 and so on.

‘Liquid’ Interactions

For advanced text interaction with the text in Author and all the text in your other macOS applications, use the Liquid utility:

To Use

To use, select the text and execute a keyboard shortcut (you will have to set this up yourself, see below). This will copy the text across into the Liquid bar. You can then choose a command; either through clicking in the menu or through using keyboard shortcuts such as ‘R’ for ‘References’ and then ‘W’ for ‘Wikipedia’.
It’s worth getting used to this since it will allow you to look anything up or do any of these operations in less than one second: •  Search Google, Google Images, Reverse Image Search, Google Maps & more•  References Wikipedia, IMDB, Etymonline, Google Definition & more•  Convert Currencies and other units: Area, Speed, Distance, Volume & more•  Translate over 100 languages•  Copy with Link, as Citation which will then be automatically recognised in Author & more•  Share via Email, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, WordPress & more

To Set The Keyboard Shortcut

To set the keyboard shortcut takes a minute because of macOS security:
1) Go to the System Preferences (under the Apple menu, top left on the screen) and click on the ‘Keyboard’ icon and then choose the ‘Shortcuts’ tab. 2) (IF you want to use cmd-space you will first need to disable that keyboard shortcut for Spotlight. You can do that by clicking on ’Spotlight’ in the column on the left and then giving Spotlight another shortcut or no shortcut.)3) Finally, in the column on the left click on ‘Services’ and then choose ‘Liquid’ in the column on the right, then assign your keyboard shortcut.
Liquid In Other macOS Applications
To launch Liquid you will need to launch/open Author (but you can quit Author and Liquid will keep running). If Liquid is not available choose ‘Liquid’ from the Help menu in Author).
You can also click on the horizontal Liquid bar in the macOS menu to enter text rather than launch it through selecting text and doing the keyboard shortcut.


Assigning Text To Be A Citation

To cite a reference; select the text you want to have cited then cmd-t. You can now choose; Manually (keyboard shortcut ‘enter’), Mendeley (keyboard shortcut ‘m’)  Amazon (keyboard shortcut ‘a’) or Web (if you copied As Citation using Liquid, as described above).

Once you have done so, whatever you had previously copied will be automatically added to the search dialog, which you can, of course over-write if it’s not what you are looking for. You will then be presented with a list of search results of which you can choose one and all the relevant information will be copied across to the Citation Dialog where you can also choose to add further information.

Video Citation via YouTube

Assigning a YouTube citation is a bit different but very very cool; You can choose to cite video from the exact time in the video when your citation is spoken, for example, Doug Engelbart talks about demonstrating his early prototypes (make sure you are in Read mode when you click on this to view the video and Edit mode to edit any details:

“…they never thought about just how quickly and flexibly you could do things…” (Engelbart, 2013)
To assign text with a YouTube citation go to YouTube and Ctrl-click in the video itself and choose ‘Copy URL from Current Location’. Switch to Author and select text and cmd-t as usual and choose ‘From YouTube’ (or hit ‘enter’) and fill in the ‘author’ field since the system does not know who is speaking in the video.

Search Document / Find

When you search with cmd-f and you have selected text, the document will instantly change to show only sentences which have the selected text in them. You can then click to jump to any of the occurrences shown or ESC or click in the margin to return to regular view


Share your documents as native Author documents or export them as .DOC or .RTF files which are accepted by most word processors: Choose ‘Export to…’ in the File menu. Documents will automatically have a References section at the end, where all Citations will be listed. The style can not be edited currently but we will be adding Citation Styles over time.


Thank you for being a pioneer Author user, I look forward to hearing from you. Please visit for more information or email me with any questions/comments/bugs/suggestions at

Frode Hegland
London 2017