WordPerfect for the Mac
Author: Bruce Hicks
Date: october, 1993
Keywords: Word process software program application review processor
Text: WordPerfect 2.1.3 has many PageMaker-like features. It supports up to five columns of three different types (newspaper, parallel, & extended) and allows you to create text boxes, graphics boxes, and your own graphics. WordPerfect comes on four disks with a manual, workbook, reference and Grammatik, a grammar checker. You'll need System 6.0.5 or later,1 MB ram and a hard disk. For publish & subscribe and balloon help, you'll need System 7. WordPerfect gives you a choice of automatic or manual install. If you use manual install you can customize. It took 15 minutes to install on my SE and was easy. I experienced no INIT conflicts. Installation took 1.1 MB for the program itself, 2.3 MB for the rest of the WordPerfect folder, and another 1.5 MB for the grammar checker, for a total of 4.9 MB. WordPerfect follows normal Mac menus and keyboard shortcuts. The manuals were very helpful, as was technical support (I talked to support twice). I read almost every word of the Workbook. I learned numerous merge tricks and about Indexes, the Ruler, and Styles. The word Style is the name of a menu that allows you to change to bold, subscript, etc, and to right justified text, centered, etc. The word Style is also used in the broader sense to mean that you can define a style in the Layout menu, and keep a whole library of such styles, and these include fonts and font sizes, which are NOT in the style menu. The Reference Manual is in alphabetic order according to feature, making it easy to look things up, a helpful feature that I used more than once. At first I used WordPerfect for typing medical tr anscription (The custom user dictionary has a 32K limit, not quite large enough to hold my 2140 word medical dictionary, but large enough for most users), and then I started using it for almost everything. I type letters to my friends, and probably drive them crazy using features that are not really appropriate for letters, such as columns and indexes. I have databases in WordPerfect for lists of errands to do, phone numbers and addresses, as well as many bicycle-related lists since I write a bicycle club newsletter. It took only a few hours to feel quite comfortable with the program and it would have taken even less time if I was more familiar with my Mac. In WordPerfect you can have multiple files open at the same time, in fact as many as your CPU's memory will allow. You can open your most recent files using the ''Open Latest'' option from the files directory. This will show you the last six files opened, pulling them from any directory, including files opened in previous sessions. And If you have two files that are slightly different (and you can't remember just how) you can put them both on the screen side by side and compare them word for word. You can also play with the line spacing on the screen. In order to squeeze lines together to make a page break come out where I wanted it, I decreased the line height, and it was easy to see how this had taken effect without having to actually print, or even preview, th e document. Merge works very nicely making WordPerfect function as a database. In my years BW (before WordPerfect) I had a lot of little databases, for example, a list of all the bicycles parked at the hospital where I work, how many speeds they have, how fat the tires, etc. (So that if the administration became really serious about getting bike racks, they'd know how many people ride and how secure the racks would have to be). Almost all of these little databases are now metamorphosed into WordPerfect documents. WordPerfect's database functionality allows me to select records, with the Sort feature, and select fields, with the merge feature. Things work pretty well, so in my mind it's possible to consider it a real database. Sometimes I assume that a feature may be trivial (bells & whistles) because I'm overwhelmed by so many features to learn. Later I may find it quite useful, such as the automatic date feature in WordPerfect. If you insert an automatic date into your document, it will show the current date each time you open the document. My bicycle files are constantly being revised. I sometimes carry 2 or 3 versions of a file and it's important to be able to see which is the most recent at a glance. I found that the index feature of WordPerfect works quite well. You mark the text that you want indexed (or in the Table of Contents) as you write the document, or later. I like to do it as I write. After you have the document in final form, you ''generate'' the index with command-J. I believe that some users will find this feature tremendously important. The End Notes feature works spectacularly. Select End Notes from the layout menu. If this is the first end note in the document, a window will open captioned ''End Note #1''. You can type anything into this note and then close the window. When you print there will be a superscript 1 where the cursor was when you created the note, and at the end of the document the note itself will be printed. The next time you call up the feature it will automatically caption it ''End Note #2''. If you insert a note later, WordPerfect will automatically renumber the notes in the correct order. So far I've only used a small portion of WordPerfect's features, but I've used the macro feature substantially, enough to make it pretty easy for me to figure out most of the macros and to get around. My favorite trick with macros is what I call ''2-letter macros''. You can name a macro with many letters, but the hot key to RUN a macro can only use one letter. I can use the command key, the shift key, the option key, and the control key in various combinations, but only one letter of the alphabet. In order to make what I call ''2-letter macros'', I have branching commands within each macro that wait for you to type the 2nd letter. For example, to do the word ''approximately'' I type command-option-a, then p, whereas to do ''assessment'' I type command-option-a then s. Both of these use the same macro, and are called with the same hot-key combination but they turn out differently because of the next key you hit. These 2-letter macros are very useful to me but I have not found any converts. <g> I did find a minor problem in WordPerfect. When I went back to the text that I had already typed, changing it to italics, the space between that word and the next was lost. I recommend adjusting the application's memory and cache sizes to increase running speed. Using ''type-ahead'' will also speed things up. Printing on my ImageWriter II was slow , but then the ImageWriter wasn't designed for the Macintosh. LaserWriter printing would probably be much faster. WordPerfect's technical support is excellent. Owners of the program get an 800 phone number to use. If you have a problem, call technical support and a real human will answer right away; very helpful. There are many other features I haven't yet tried: Foreign language spell checking, graphics boxes, tables of authorities, and drawing (the WordPerfect manual has an extensive section on drawing). I liked Word Perfect and intend to continue using it . WordPerfect 2.1.3, $495 retail, $289.95 mail order (MacWare-house). A macro manual is available for $20 plus $5 shipping. m: WordPerfect 1555 Technology Way Orem, Utah 84057-2399 801/225-5000.
Copyright © october, 1993 by Bruce Hicks