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Encyclopedia > Word processor

A word processor (more formally known as document preparation system) is a computer application used for the production (including composition, editing, formatting, and possibly printing) of any sort of printable material. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1024x738, 213 KB) [edit] Summary Un document créé avec OpenOffice. ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1024x738, 213 KB) [edit] Summary Un document créé avec OpenOffice. ... OpenOffice. ... OpenOffice. ... A typical Windows XP desktop. ... This article is about the machine. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...

Word processor may also refer to a stand-alone computer unit similar to a typewriter, but often including technological advancements such as a screen, advanced formatting and printing options, and the ability to save documents onto memory cards or diskettes. Word processors almost invariably allowed the user to choose between standard typing and word processing modes by way of a switch. Such word processors should not be confused with an electric typewriter. Mechanical desktop typewriters, such as this Underwood Five, were long time standards of government agencies, newsrooms, and sales offices. ... Memory cards are solid-state electronic flash memory data storage devices used with digital cameras, handheld and laptop computers, phones, music players, video game consoles and other electronics. ... A floppy disk is a data storage device that comprises a circular piece of thin, flexible (hence floppy) magnetic storage medium encased in a square or rectangular plastic wallet. ... Mechanical desktop typewriters, such as this Underwood Five, were long time standards of government agencies, newsrooms, and sales offices. ...

Word processors are descended from early text formatting tools (sometimes called text justification tools, from their only real capability). Word processing was one of the earliest applications for the personal computer in office productivity. Word processing, in its now-usual meaning, is the use of a word processor to create documents using computers. ...

Although early word processors used tag-based markup for document formatting, most modern word processors take advantage of a graphical user interface. Most are powerful systems consisting of one or more programs that can produce any arbitrary combination of images, graphics and text, the latter handled with type-setting capability. “GUI” redirects here. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into image (disambiguation). ... “Graphic” redirects here. ... Typesetting involves the presentation of textual material in an aesthetic form on paper or some other media. ...

Microsoft Word is the most widely used computer word processing system; Microsoft estimates over five hundred million people use the Office suite. There are also many other commercial word processing applications, such as WordPerfect. Open-source applications such as OpenOffice's Writer and KWord are rapidly gaining in popularity. Microsoft Word is Microsofts flagship word processing software. ... Microsoft Corporation, (NASDAQ: MSFT, HKSE: 4338) is a multinational computer technology corporation with global annual revenue of US$44. ... Microsoft Office is an office suite from Microsoft, which is available on the Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS X operating systems. ... WordPerfect is a proprietary word processing application. ... For other uses, see Open source (disambiguation). ... OpenOffice. ... OpenOffice. ... In computing, KWord is a free word processor, member of the KOffice project of the KDE Desktop Environment The text-layout scheme in KWord is based on frames, making it similar to Adobe FrameMaker. ...



Word processing typically refers to text manipulation functions such as automatic generation of:

  • batch mailings using a form letter template and an address database (also called mail merging);
  • indices of keywords and their page numbers;
  • tables of contents with section titles and their page numbers;
  • tables of figures with caption titles and their page numbers;
  • cross-referencing with section or page numbers;
  • footnote numbering;
  • new versions of a document using variables (e.g. model numbers, product names, etc.)

Other word processing functions include "spell checking" (actually checks against wordlists), "grammar checking" (checks for what seem to be simple grammar errors), and a "thesaurus" function (finds words with similar or opposite meanings). In most languages grammar is very complex, so grammar checkers tend to be unreliable and also require a large amount of RAM. Other common features include collaborative editing, comments and annotations, support for images and diagrams and internal cross-referencing. The term template, when used in the context of word processing software, refers to a sample fill-in-the-blank document that can be completed either by hand or through an automated iterative process, such as a with a wizard. ... Revision control (also known as version control, source control or (source) code management (SCM)) is the management of multiple revisions of the same unit of information. ... Look up RAM, Ram, ram in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

Word processors can be distinguished from several other, related forms of software:

Text editors (modern examples of which include Notepad, Emacs and vi), were the precursors of word processors. While offering facilities for composing and editing text, they do not format documents. This can be done by batch document processing systems, starting with TJ-2 and RUNOFF and still available in such systems as LaTeX (as well as programs that implement the paged-media extensions to HTML and CSS). Text editors are now used mainly by programmers, website designers, and computer system administrators. They are also useful when fast startup times, small file sizes and portability are preferred over formatting. Notepad is the standard text editor for Microsoft Windows A text editor is a piece of computer software for editing plain text. ... For the item of stationery, see notebook. ... This article is about the text editor. ... vi editing a temporary, empty file. ... Memo, TJ-2: Type Justifying Program PDP-1 at the Computer History Museum. ... Run-off or runoff may refer to one of the following. ... This article is about the typesetting system. ... HTML, short for Hypertext Markup Language, is the predominant markup language for web pages. ... In web development, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a stylesheet language used to describe the presentation of a document written in a markup language. ... A programmer or software developer is someone who programs computers, that is, one who writes computer software. ...

Later desktop publishing programs were specifically designed to allow elaborate layout for publication, but often offered only limited support for editing. Typically, desktop publishing programs allowed users to import text that they have written using a text editor or word processor. Adobe InDesign CS2, one of many popular desktop publishing applications. ...

Almost all word processors enable users to employ styles, which are used to automate consistent formatting of text body, titles, subtitles, highlighted text, and so on.

Styles are the key to managing the formatting of large documents, since changing a style automatically changes all text that the style has been applied to. Even in shorter documents styles can save a lot of time while formatting. However, most help files refer to styles as an 'advanced feature' of the word processor, which often discourages users from using styles regularly.

Typical usage

Word processors have a variety of uses and applications within the business world, home, and education.


Within the business world, word processors are extremely useful tools. Typical uses include:

  • memos
  • letters and letterhead
  • legal copies
  • reference documents

Businesses tend to have their own format and style for any of these. Thus, versatile word processors with layout editing and similar capabilities find widespread use in most businesses.


Many schools have begun to teach typing and word processing to their students, starting as early as elementary school. Typically these skills are developed throughout secondary school in preparation for the business world. Undergraduate students typically spend many hours writing essays. Graduate and doctoral students continue this trend, as well as creating works for research and publication. These manuscripts are often in excess of 200 pages, and are typically the defining point of a student's career.


While many homes have word processors on their computers, word processing in the home tends to be educational or business related, dealing with assignments or work being completed at home. Some use word processors for letter writing, résumé creation, and card creation. However, many of these home publishing processes have been taken over by desktop publishing programs such as Adobe Pagemaker, which is better suited for these types of documents. PageMaker was the first desktop publishing program, introduced in 1985 by Aldus Corporation, initially for the Apple Macintosh but soon after also for the PC. It relies on Adobe Systems PostScript page description language. ...

Origin of the term

The term word processing was invented by IBM in the late 1960s. By 1971 it was recognized by the New York Times as a "buzz word."[1] A 1971 Times article referred to "the brave new world of Word Processing or W/P. That's International Business Machines talk... I.B.M. introduced W/P about five years ago for its Magnetic Selectric typewriter and other electronic razzle-dazzle."[2] There are very few or no other articles that link to this one. ...

IBM defined the term in a broad and vague way as "the combination of people, procedures, and equipment which transforms ideas into printed communications," and originally used it to include dictating machines and ordinary, manually-operated Selectric typewriters.[3] By the early seventies, however, the term was generally understood to mean semiautomated typewriters affording at least some form of electronic editing and correction, and the ability to produce perfect "originals." Thus, the Times headlined a 1974 Xerox product as a "speedier electronic typewriter," but went on to describe the product, which had no screen[4], as "a word processor rather than strictly a typewriter, in that it stores copy on magnetic tape or magnetic cards for retyping, corrections, and subsequent printout."[5] Year 1974 (MCMLXXIV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar) of the 1974 Gregorian calendar. ...

Electromechanical paper-tape-based equipment such as the Friden Flexowriter had long been available; the Flexowriter allowed for operations such as repetitive typing of form letters (with a pause for the operator to manually type in the variable information)[6], and when equipped with an auxiliary reader, could perform an early version of "mail merge". Circa 1970 it began to be feasible to apply electronic computers to office automation tasks. IBM's Mag Tape Selectric Typewriter (MTST) and later Mag-Card Selectric (MCST) were early devices of this kind, which allowed editing, simple revision, and repetitive typing, with a one-line display for editing single lines.[7] A roll of punched tape Punched tape is an old-fashioned form of data storage, consisting of a long strip of paper in which holes are punched to store data. ... The Friden Flexowriter was a teleprinter based on a 1940s IBM product that was spun off as an independent company and later sold to the Friden Corp. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...

The New York Times, reporting on a 1971 business equipment trade show, said

The "buzz word" for this year's show was "word processing," or the use of electronic equipment, such as typewriters; procedures and trained personnel to maximize office efficiency. At the IBM exhibition a girl[sic] typed on an electronic typewriter. The copy was received on a magnetic tape cassette which accepted corrections, deletions, and additions and then produced a perfect letter for the boss's signature.... [1]

In 1971, a third of all working women in the United States were secretaries, and they could see that word processing would have an impact on their careers. Some manufacturers, according to a Times article, urged that "the concept of 'word processing' could be the answer to Women's Lib advocates' prayers. Word processing will replace the 'traditional' secretary and give women new administrative roles in business and industry."[1]

The 1970s word processing concept did not refer merely to equipment, but, explicitly, to the use of equipment for "breaking down secretarial labor into distinct components, with some staff members handling typing exclusively while others supply administrative support. A typical operation would leave most executives without private secretaries. Instead one secretary would perform various administrative tasks for three or more secretaries."[8] A 1971 article said that "Some [secretaries] see W/P as a career ladder into management; others see it as a dead-end into the automated ghetto; others predict it will lead straight to the picket line." The National Secretaries Association, which defined secretaries as people who "can assume responsibility without direct supervision," feared that W/P would transform secretaries into "space-age typing pools." The article considered only the organizational changes resulting from secretaries operating word processors rather than typewriters; the possibility that word processors might result in managers creating documents without the intervention of secretaries was not considered—not surprising in an era when few but secretaries possessed keyboarding skills.[2]

In the early 1970's, computer scientist Harold Koplow was hired by Wang Laboratories to program calculators. One of his programs permitted a Wang calculator to interface with an IBM Selectric typewriter, which was at the time used to calculate and print the paperwork for auto sales. Harold Koplow was raised in Lynn, Massachusetts. ... Wang logo circa 1976. ... The IBM Selectric typewriter (occasionally known as the IBM Golfball typewriter) is the electric typewriter design that brought the typewriter into the electronic age starting in 1961. ...

In 1974, Koplow's interface program was developed into the Wang 1200 Word Processor, an IBM Selectric-based text-storage device. The operator of this machine typed text on a conventional IBM Selectric; when the Return key was pressed, the line of text was stored on a cassette tape. One cassette held roughly 20 pages of text, and could be "played back" (e.g., the text retrieved) by printing the contents on continuous-form paper in the 1200 typewriter's "print" mode. The stored text could also be edited, using keys on a simple, six-key array. Basic editing functions included Insert, Delete, Skip (character, line), and so on.

The labor and cost savings of this device were immediate, and remarkable: pages of text no longer had to be retyped to correct simple errors, and projects could be worked on, stored, and then retrieved for use later on. The rudimentary Wang 1200 machine was the precursor of the Wang Office Information System (OIS), introduced in 1976, whose CRT-based system was a major breakthrough in word processing technology. It displayed text on a CRT screen, and incorporated virtually every fundamental characteristic of word processors as we know them today. It was a true office machine, affordable by organizations such as medium-sized law firms, and easily learned and operated by secretarial staff. Year 1976 Pick up sticks(MCMLXXVI) was a leap year starting on Thursday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...

The Wang was not the first CRT-based machine nor were all of its innovations unique to Wang. In the early 1970s Linolex, Lexitron and Vydec introduced pioneering word-processing systems with CRT display editing. A Canadian electronics company, Automatic Electronic Systems, introduced a product with similarities to Wang's product in 1974, but went into bankruptcy a year later. In 1976, refinanced by the Canada Development Corporation, it returned to operation as AES Data, and went on to successfully market its brand of word processors worldwide until its demise in the mid-1980s. Despite these predecessors, Wang's product was a standout, and by 1978 it had sold more of these systems than any other vendor.[9] The 1970s decade refers to the years from 1970 to 1979, also called The Seventies. ... Cathode ray tube employing electromagnetic focus and deflection Cutaway rendering of a color CRT: 1. ... A computer display monitor, usually called simply a monitor, is a piece of electrical equipment which displays viewable images generated by a computer without producing a permanent record. ...

The phrase "word processor" rapidly came to refer to CRT-based machines similar to Wang's. Numerous machines of this kind emerged, typically marketed by traditional office-equipment companies such as IBM, Lanier (marketing AES Data machines, re-badged), CPT, and NBI.[10] All were specialized, dedicated, proprietary systems, with prices in the $10,000 ballpark. Cheap general-purpose computers were still the domain of hobbyists.

Some of the earliest CRT-based machines used cassette tapes for removable-memory storage until floppy diskettes became available for this purpose - first the 8-inch floppy, then the 5-1/4-inch (drives by Shugart Associates and diskettes by Dysan). Printing of documents was initially accomplished using IBM Selectric typewriters modified for ASCII-character input. These were later replaced by application-specific daisy wheel printers (Diablo, which became a Xerox company, and Qume -- both now defunct.) For quick "draft" printing, dot-matrix line printers were optional alternatives with some word processors. A floppy disk is a data storage device that is composed of a circular piece of thin, flexible (i. ... Shugart Associates was a computer peripheral manufacturer, famous for introducing the floppy disk to the microcomputer market. ... Dysan was a floppy disk manufacturing corporation. ... A daisy wheel printer is a type of computer printer that produces high-quality type, and is often referred to as a letter-quality printer (this in contrast to high-quality dot-matrix printers, capable of near-letter-quality, or NLQ, output). ... Diablo Data Systems was a division of Xerox created by the acquisition of Diablo Systems Inc. ... An editor has expressed a concern that the subject of the article does not satisfy the notability guideline or one of the following guidelines for inclusion on Wikipedia: Biographies, Books, Companies, Fiction, Music, Neologisms, Numbers, Web content, or several proposals for new guidelines. ...

With the rise of personal computers, and in particular the IBM PC and PC compatibles, software-based word processors running on general-purpose commodity hardware gradually displaced dedicated word processors, and the term came to refer to software rather than hardware. Some programs were modeled after particular dedicated WP hardware. MultiMate, for example, was written for an insurance company that had hundreds of typists using Wang systems, and spread from there to other Wang customers. To adapt to the smaller PC keyboard, MultiMate used stick-on labels and a large plastic clip-on template to remind users of its dozens of Wang-like functions, using the shift, alt and ctrl keys with the 10 IBM function keys and many of the alphabet keys. IBM PC (IBM 5150) with keyboard and green screen monochrome monitor (IBM 5151), running MS-DOS 5. ... One of the first PCs from IBM - the IBM PC model 5150. ... MultiMate is a word processor developed by Softword Systems Inc. ... Model showing the current redevelopment of the Kings Cross area with the Channel Tunnel Rail Link terminal behind the barrel vaulted St Pancras Station on the left. ...

Other early word-processing software required users to memorize semi-mnemonic key combinations rather than pressing keys labelled "copy" or "bold." (In fact, many early PCs lacked cursor keys; WordStar famously used the E-S-D-X-centered "diamond" for cursor navigation, and modern vi-like editors encourage use of hjkl for navigation.) However, the price differences between dedicated word processors and general-purpose PCs, and the value added to the latter by software such as VisiCalc, were so compelling that personal computers and word processing software soon became serious competition for the dedicated machines. Word Perfect, XyWrite, Microsoft Word and dozens of other word processing software brands competed in the 1980s. Development of higher-resolution monitors allowed them to provide limited WYSIWYG - What You See Is What You Get, to the extent that typographical features like bold and italics, indentation, justification and margins were approximated on screen. WordStar was a word processor application, published by MicroPro, originally written for the CP/M operating system but later ported to DOS, that enjoyed a dominant market share during the early to mid-1980s. ... HJKL keys are a method of navigating a cursor around the screen in console program without using arrow keys or numpad. ... VisiCalc was the first spreadsheet program available for personal computers. ... WordPerfect is a word processing program; at the height of its popularity in the late 1980s and early 1990s, it was the de facto standard word processor, but has since been eclipsed in sales by Microsoft Word. ... XyWrite is a word processor for DOS and Windows produced by XyQuest in the mid 1980s and later by The Technology Group. ... Microsoft Word is Microsofts flagship word processing software. ... WYSIWYG (IPA Pronunciation [] or []), is an acronym for What You See Is What You Get, used in computing to describe a system in which content during editing appears very similar to the final product. ...

The mid-to-late 1980s saw the spread of laser printers, a "typographic" approach to word processing, and of true WYSIWYG bitmap displays with multiple fonts (pioneered by the Xerox Alto computer and Bravo word processing program), Postscript, and graphical user interfaces (another Xerox PARC innovation, with the Gypsy word processor). This article is about the storage organization of raster images. ... A Xerox Alto Computer System The Xerox Alto, developed at Xerox PARC in 1973, was the first personal computer and the first computer to use the desktop metaphor and graphical user interface (GUI). ... Bravo was the first WYSIWYG document preparation program. ... For the literary term, see Postscript. ... “GUI” redirects here. ... Bold text // Headline text Link title This article is about the computer research center. ... Gypsy was the first modern document preparation system, using the modern style of graphical user interface (in which the mouse was used to initiate commands), and would be familiar to any user of a modern personal computer. ...

MacWrite, Microsoft Word and other word processing programs for the bit-mapped Apple Macintosh screen, introduced in 1984, were probably the first true WYSIWYG word processors to become known to many people until the introduction of Microsoft Windows. Dedicated word processors eventually became museum pieces. MacWrite was a word processor application released along with the first Apple Macintosh systems in 1984. ... Microsoft Word is Microsofts flagship word processing software. ...

See also

TeX (IPA: as in Greek, often in English; written with a lowercase e in imitation of the logo) is a typesetting system created by Donald Knuth. ... This article is about the typesetting system. ... The following is a list of word processors. ... This table provides general information about selected word processors. ... Amstrad PCW8512 Schneider Joyce The Amstrad PCW series (Personal Computer Word processor) was British company Amstrads versatile line of home/personal microcomputers pitched as a complete, integrated home/office solution. ... The Canon Cat was an innovative, task-dedicated, desktop computer released in 1987. ... In computing, an office suite, sometimes called an office application suite or productivity suite is a software suite intended to be used by typical clerical and knowledge workers. ... A specimen of roman typefaces by William Caslon Typography is the art and techniques of type design, modifying type glyphs, and arranging type. ... Wang logo circa 1976. ...


  1. ^ a b c Smith, William D. (1971) "Lag Persists for Business Equipment;" The New York Times, October 26, 1971 p. 59
  2. ^ a b Dullea, Georgia (1971): "Is It a Boon for Secretaries—Or Just an Automated Ghetto?" The New York Times, February 5, 1971, p. 32
  3. ^ "IBM Adds to Line of Dictation Items;" The New York Times, September 12, 1972; p. 72; reports introduction of "five new models of 'input word processing equipment,' better known in the past as dictation equipment" and gives IBM's definition of WP as "the combination of people, procedures, and equipment which transforms ideas into printed communications.'" The machines described were of course ordinary dictation machines recording onto magnetic belts, not voice typewriters.
  4. ^ Miller, Diane Fisher (1997) "My Life with the Machine": "By Sunday afternoon, I urgently want to throw the Xerox 800 through the window, then run over it with the company van. It seems that the instructor forgot to tell me a few things about doing multi-page documents... To do any serious editing, I must use both tape drives, and, without a display, I must visualize and mentally track what is going onto the tapes."
  5. ^ Smith, William D (1974) "Xerox Is Introducing a Speedier Electric Typewriter," The New York Times, October 8, 1974, p. 57
  6. ^ O'Kane, Lawrence (1966): "Computer a Help to 'Friendly Doc'; Automated Letter Writer Can Dispense a Cheery Word". The New York Times, May 22, 1966, p. 348: "Automated cordiality will be one of the services offered to physicians and dentists who take space in a new medical center.... The typist will insert the homey touch in the appropriate place as the Friden automated, programmed "Flexowriter" rattles off the form letters requesting payment... or informing that the X-ray's of the patient (kidney) (arm) (stomach) (chest) came out negative."
  7. ^ Rostky, Georgy (2000). The word processor: cumbersome, but great. EETimes. Retrieved on 2006-05-29.
  8. ^ Smith, William D. (1974) "Electric Typewriter Sales Are Bolstered by Efficiency," The New York Times, December 16, 1974, p. 57
  9. ^ Schuyten, Peter J. (1978): "Wang Labs: Healthy Survivor" The New York Times December 6, 1978 p. D1: "[Market research analyst] Amy Wohl... said... 'Since then, the company has installed more of these systems than any other vendor in the business."
  10. ^ "NBI INC Securities Registration: Small Business (SB-2) BUSINESS" (September 8, 1998).

is the 299th day of the year (300th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1971 (MCMLXXI) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar) of the 1971 Gregorian calendar. ... is the 36th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1971 (MCMLXXI) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar) of the 1971 Gregorian calendar. ... is the 255th day of the year (256th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1972 (MCMLXXII) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... For the band, see 1997 (band). ... is the 281st day of the year (282nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1974 (MCMLXXIV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar) of the 1974 Gregorian calendar. ... is the 142nd day of the year (143rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1966 (MCMLXVI) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the 1966 Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 149th day of the year (150th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 350th day of the year (351st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1974 (MCMLXXIV) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar) of the 1974 Gregorian calendar. ... December 6 is the 340th day of the year (341st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1978 (MCMLXXVIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays the 1978 Gregorian calendar). ...

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Word processor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1926 words)
A word processor (also more formally known as a document preparation system) is a computer application used for the production (including composition, editing, formatting, and possibly printing) of any sort of viewable or printed material.
Microsoft Word (pictured) is the leader of computer word processing systems in terms of the number of users, with Microsoft estimating over 5m people use the Office suite.
The word processor is a standard component of the "office suite" (set of software for office use), and publishers of these suites tend to push these rather than the less profitable word processors.
Microsoft Office Word - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1639 words)
Although MS-DOS was a character-based system, Word for DOS was the first word processor for the IBM PC that showed typeface markups such as bold and italics directly on the screen while editing, although this was not a true WYSIWYG system.
Word for Macintosh was written to match the Mac's user interface, and as such it had little in common with Word for DOS; it eventually became the source for Word for Windows 1.0.
Word 5.1 for the Macintosh, released in 1991, was a popular word processor due to its elegance, relative ease of use, and feature set.
  More results at FactBites »



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