The Tools tab contains the tools and options you are most likely to use on a regular basis. This is where you can set user options, edit users, modify display settings, add subject lists, Manage subject list categories, and compare lexicons. The Word Judge tool is also included here, as well as in the program menu, and as a shortcut in the Start Menu. The less frequently used settings dealing with databases and lexicons are in the Settings tab, as is the forms for adding definitions (see Add Definitions), and the Prefix/Suffix Editor.



Options include a set of user options, the known word manager, and the User editor. Some of the options are saved in a user config file and are reloaded each time you use Hoot. The Options window is divided into several sections.

Display Options

The Display Options include settings to enable/disable showing the welcome screen when starting, and showing Inner Hooks. The Welcome screen is helpful if you use more than one lexicon, database or tile set. If you are always studying the same database and lexicon you may want to disable the welcome screen. You can also do that on the Welcome screen itself.

Hoot provides inner hook indicators. An inner hook is a letter than can be removed from a word to form another word. The inner hook is indicated with a bullet on whatever end the inner hook is on. For example, the word ATE will be shown as ATE• indicating that the E can be removed to form the word AT. The word AHA is shown as •AHA• indicating that either the first letter or the last letter can be removed to form HA, AH respectively.

If Inner Hooks have not been indexed, hooks will be calculated on the fly and there may be a slight delay in showing results. Hoot defaults to having the option enabled since it doesn't cause much delay on English lexicons. Using the 360,000+ word French lexicon, however, will be slower and some users may want to disable it.

List Options

List Options include limits for results and word lengths. The list limits option allow you to limit the number of words shown in a list. While the default is not to limit words in a list, copyrighted lists may override this setting. This will generally not yet speed up searches with more limited number of words. You can also limit the length of words being returned in a search. The default is 15, but you can increase that to 21 for Super Scrabble™. You can also limit it to 9 or 10 as some dictionaries do. Words longer than 10 letters may not be of interest to you. Setting a smaller limit may also spend some of the longer searches.

Tile Sets

Hoot uses Tile sets to determine how to calculate probability and word score. Each tile set contains information about letter values and letter distribution. Hoot uses Tile sets selected here in two ways.

If the lexicon has been indexed with a different tileset, the probability will be overridden with the indexed value. If it is overriden it probably means the probability indexed were not calculated correctly. You should always make sure to select the correct tile set.

Select User Folder

Hoot will normally install the database in the Hoot folder in the MyDocuments folder, and create a collection of subfolders for Searches, Lists, Lexicons, etc. Users have the option of selecting a different folder as the user folder. This is useful if you want to keep Hoot resources close to other study tools and resources.

Each time you specify a different folder, Hoot creates new subfolders for Lexicons, Lists, Searches, etc. in that User Folder. Hoot does not delete folders of previously designated user folders, or move files from one user folder to another. It is recommended that you title the base folder 'Hoot' to be better able to identify it in the future. While Hoot will create the necessary subfolders, it is up to the user to create the folder AND copy the database to that folder if desired. The user will also have to copy any previously saved Searches, Lists, Lexicons, etc. The option is saved as a part of the Windows user profile, not on a Hoot user basis.

History and Bookmarks

This section controls how Hoot handles Search History. Search History is limited to searches done through the Combination window. By default Saving Search History is on, and is limited to 100 searches. After that older searches are deleted. You can also manually compact the History folder or Clear History. The Bookmark feature has not yet been added.


The navigator includes shortcuts links to open Windows Explorer to Program and User folders. If you are using multiple databases this can help you manage them. This also includes an option to display the Hoot log. Although entries are currently limited, they may eventually be used to track your use of Hoot in order to troubleshoot problems with the program. The New Log File button will delete all old entries and start a new log file.

Known Words Manager

The Known Words Manager enables the current user to edit his list of known words. This list applies to all lexicons in use, although you could user alternate users for different sets of known words or different databases. See the section on Slide Shows for more information about Known Word Management.

User Editor

The User editor allows you to add multiple users to the program. When a user has logged in, Hoot can save known words for future study. You can also use different user names in preparation for different tournaments or for different lexicon studies.

Card Management


The Card Management tool can be used to manipulate words in the cardbox quiz system. With it you can move cards and list, reschedule, and delete words and questions. You could also add/create lists from this tool. This tool is somewhat cluttered, so you can expect to see some changes here, although most users may never want or need to use it. 


The cardbox databases are stored in the Cards folder of the Hoot user. 

Display Settings

Basic display customizations are available. You can customize the program background, default text color, the button colors, the tile color, and the font to use in search results. See Display Settings.

Other Tools

Subject List Editor

The Subject List Editor is the tool to create customized lists. The Category Editor is a simple editor where you add categories you can use to categorize Subject Lists. This editor is also accessible from the Subject List Editor. See Subject List Editor for more information.

Word Judge

This word judge displays an screen to adjudicate Scrabble plays. See Word Judge for more information about how it is used.

Other Options

Other options are changed elsewhere. For quick access, the bottom of the main program window allows you to change

A Note on Saved Settings

Hoot saves user settings in two ways, application settings and Hoot user settings. Application settings are saved for each Windows user. This includes the settings for the display, the database and lexicon selections, display language, and Tile Set. This also includes the last Hoot user ID. Hoot user settings are saved with the database. This primarily includes the Known Words list for each user and the User checklist.