RevMan HAL v 4.0 Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is RevMan HAL and how is it different to RevMan?

RevMan HAL is an extension for RevMan 5.0. RevMan is a text editor used by the Cochrane Collaboration reviewers to write their reviews manually. RevMan HAL extends the functionality of RevMan and allows users to generate parts of the review automatically in a variety of languages.

2. What can RevMan HAL do?

The current version has two functions:

  • Automatic Text Generation: able to write the Abstract, Results of search, Effects of intervention and Discussion sections.
  • Language Management: you can write the sections mentioned above in any language by creating and editing language files.

3. How do I download and install RevMan HAL?

You can download RevMan HAL from here and the default language packages (English, Spanish and Mandarin language files) from here.

RevMan HAL uses Java, so you won't need to install any files. Just decompress the ZIP file you have downloaded and start using it!

4. How do I use it?

1. To add a new language: Click on 'Manage Languages' and then 'Add New Language'. You will see the interface for the creation of new languages. After naming the language, fill the boxes with sentences that convey the same message as the text already present in the boxes. You can add as many variations as you want by seperating them with a semi-colon (;). Please, respect the formatting of the sentences so, if a sentence includes an X, T1, T2 or similar, your sentences will as well. These markers will be replaced by actual figures from your review once you generate the text automatically.

2. To edit a language: Click on 'Manage Languages' and then on 'Edit Existing Language'. You will see the interface to edit a language. Load the file of the language you want to edit and the boxes, originally empty, will be filled with the text from the language file. Edit the text however you want and save the file.

3. To generate text automatically: Click on 'Generate Text Automatically'. You will see the automatic text generation interface. Select your review file and the language file you want to use. If you want to create a backup copy of your review, click on the 'create a backup copy of the file' tick box. Select the sections you want to generate automatically and click on 'Go'. A pop-up window will let you know whether or not there have been any errors.

Please bear in mind that RevMan HAL won't work with Diagnostic Test Accuracy (DTA) reviews. Don't do that to yourself.

5. What does RevMan HAL do with the old text from my review?

RevMan HAL does not delete any of the previous text found in the review.

If you want to save a copy of your review as it was before using RevMan HAL, you can select the 'Create a backup copy of the file'. A backup file will be created in the same directory as your review with '_backup' attached to the name.

6. I get an error window when I try to process the abstract or discussion section. How can I fix it?

To generate the abstract and discussion, RevMan HAL uses the information present in the summary of findings table. To make sure that the Abstract and the Discussion section are generated correctly please make sure that your table of findings has the following type of rows:

And it does not include this type of rows:

7. I get an error when I try to process the Effects of intervention section. How can I fix it?

To generate the Effects of intervention section, RevMan HAL uses data from the Analyses and data section of the review. If the name of your comparison does not include an actual comparison (using words such as 'vs', 'versus', 'compared to' and 'compared with'), RevMan HAL won't be able to know which treatments you are comparing and it won't be able to generate the Effects of intervention section.

To fix this, rewrite the titles of your comparison so they include a comparison with those words such as 'vs', 'versus', 'compared to' and 'compared with'.

8. I have done what you've told me before, but I still get an error message. What do I do?

If you get a different type of error, please send an email with the title [REVMAN HAL ERROR] to with the following information:

  • Type of error: what happened?
  • Location of error: where in the programme it occurred (which section were you trying to generate).
  • A copy of the review.

9. I would like to give feedback about the program/I would like RevMan HAL to also do this other function/my question was not answered here, what do I do?

If you would like to get in contact with us to provide feedback, propose new functionality or ask any other questions, please send us an e-mail at with [REVMAN HAL] in the title. We will try to get back to you within 72 hours. E-mail in poetry form is encouraged and will dramatically decrease waiting time.