Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Memories of a Perfect Word

I have mentioned to my readers before that I have been using Windows since the days when we looked forward to the release of Windows 95 (think “Jurassic period”). Recently I was reminiscing with a fellow tech enthusiast, who has been using computers since the very beginning of the PC, and who survived the early days of DOS (think “Triassic  period”), and the name WordPerfect came up.

Wow. I haven’t heard that name in… a really long time.

Folks, I know this may be hard to believe, but there was a time before Microsoft Word and MS Office. Back then you composed your documents with WordStar, or more likely, the premier app — WordPerfect.

WordPerfect could do it all. If you had WP, you could actually do fantastic things like use italics and bold and (this was super neat) you could see a preview of what your document would actually print out like.
Before WordPerfect, you kind of had to guesstimate, as your screen used a generic font. (At least, that’s how I remember it…)

But eventually, Microsoft bundled its upstart new word processor – called simply “Word” – with Windows, and so new machines came with Word already — spelling doom for WordPerfect. Us techy-types then spent lots of time training people on Word and converting old WordPerfect documents into the Word format.
Sigh. Those were the ‘good old days’…

Anyway.. after our conversation, I decided to look up WordPerfect on Wikipedia to see what year it went extinct, and I was guessing it would be somewhere about 1992… I confess I was stunned by what I learned -WordPerfect is not dead.
What?

Yes, Corel’s office suite – featuring WordPerfect – is not only still around, but I read it has a loyal following. It’s current version is called WordPerfect Office X4, and it comes in a “Home and Student”, “Standard”, and “Professional” versions. I looked at their website and I must say I’m intrigued.

Surely it must have something “going on” for it to still be in the game, and I think it does, so I’m going to download the trial and play with it some. I’m curious about its PDF features and Open document formats…

Today’s free link: WordPerfect Universe calls itself the “first stop for WordPerfect Office users”, and I must say you can find pretty much anything WP-related here.

Today’s free download: To fit with my theme today, I’m going to break my rule about no “trialware” in this section. If you are like me, and would like to see what today’s WordPerfect can do, there’s a 30 day trial that is full-featured (everything’s enabled) here, WordPerfect Office X4

Copyright 2007-9 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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May 28, 2009 - Posted by | computers, PC, software, tech, word processors | , , , , , , ,

8 Comments »

  1. Back in the day, after I gave up DOS for Windows, I bought a student version of a productivity suite put out by Lotus with a word processor called Ami Pro.

    I LOVED Ami Pro. I could make it dance and sing. I lie, but it was awesome stuff and I had already started my hatred of all things Microsoft.

    Years later, I eventually caved and gave up on Lotus Suite for MS Office but I still have very fond memories of Lotus Suite.

    I, too, thought the Word Perfect Suite had died a brutal death at the hands of MS but now I hear from you that I am mistaken. I’m glad there are holdouts to the world indoctrination of MS.

    I actually tried Open Office, which I may someday try again, but I found that I was used to doing some things that MS just makes so much easier to do that I am not interested in giving up my Office 2003. I have no desire to upgrade to 2007 but I’m sure some day I will have to. Maybe that’s when I’ll give Open Office another look.

    Not too long ago I found out that IBM has a free Office Productivity pack that looked quite promising, but we already know how lazy I am, and while I did download and install it, I just never got around to using it so I eventually uninstalled it to reclaim the hard drive space.

    Ah, the memories.

    Like

    Comment by gadzooks64 | May 28, 2009 | Reply

    • Lotus, Ami, WordStar… I guess we’re giving away our ages, eh?

      But, I can well-remember how amazed I was at adjustable fonts, and I confess I went a little bit crazy with them and produced some very strange looking documents… using just a wee bit too many italics, bold, and switching to serif/sans serif…

      * I don’t know, off the top of my head, how much longer Office 2003 will be supported (I could look it up I suppose), but I know that many, many people are resisting the new “ribbon” style menus in Office 2007.

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | May 28, 2009 | Reply

  2. TechPaul,

    One of my biggest challenges when I was managing a network was migrating users from WP 5.1 and 6.0 to the Microsoft Office Suite. Nobody likes change, and when you have a secretarial pool that is set in there ways, it was a real challenge; BUT, in the end everyone was applauding…

    Rick

    Like

    Comment by whatsonmypc | May 28, 2009 | Reply

    • Yes!

      As I remember, getting people to learn that Alt+F4 was no longer a good idea was a biggie…

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | May 28, 2009 | Reply

  3. Like Gadzooks64, my first step away from WP 5.1 was to Ami Pro and like Gadzooks64, I absolutely loved it.

    It was an amazing piece of software for the day, and it unleashed a creativity in me I simply didn’t know I had. No more font cartridges to buy – what a relief!

    Bill

    Like

    Comment by Bill Mullins | May 28, 2009 | Reply

    • Mr. Mullins,
      I had to look up Ami (Wikipedia to the rescue. Again) as I never did use it, or even see it that I recall. I do seem to remember hearing of a both a “IBM” and “Lotus”, though…

      Ah.. Memory Lane, eh?

      Like

      Comment by techpaul | May 28, 2009 | Reply

  4. WordPerfect has a big following in the lawyer community apparently, most of my lawyer clients use it.

    Like

    Comment by Dave | May 29, 2009 | Reply

  5. Dave,
    The Wikipedia article mentions that Academia and the Legal professions have found certain features of WP quite useful (unique footnoting, macros, etc.).
    Thanks for the ‘real world’ observation.

    I will get around to giving WP a thorough test drive.. though one has to wonder if ‘cloud computing’ (online WYSIWYG text editors) won’t make onboard word processors.. um.. museum pieces.

    Like

    Comment by techpaul | May 29, 2009 | Reply


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