In the beginning was Word - and Macwrite
Author: Dwight Winegar
Date: September, 1989
Keywords: back to school word processing writing writer microsoft word
Text: No sooner do you turn around after just buying software and there is another update! Well, here's another one, the source-ware for having written this article: MacWrite*II. Claris* has finally made some wonderful improvements to that infamous old word processing product for the Mac. However, just as I'm ready to write this article about all the new ''niceties'' I think I found a few bugs this morning, such as a couple of bombs when trying to use the new ''customizing'' of color fonts. Also, I found their idea of now creating ''form-letters'' (boiler-plating as we used to call it) with a ''file-merge'' system, after following directions, has a few things to be desired -- such as Field space beyond a half-inch of characters. After initializing your name and/or company into the startup window, the first thing you notice is something that looks a bit like the old MacWrite, and feels a bit like it, but with its extensive new additions, seems to have some uncanny resemblance more to the likes of Microsoft Word*. Now, uh, let's see, could that be any coincidence of a race with the good ol' boys at MS as they brought out the new Word 4.0? Well, it does appear there are some interesting notes to be said. For one thing both companies are promising simplicity. Secondly, catching up to Mac II standards, both are now offering color text. Yes, you heard right (or should I say ''correctly,'' according to the new built-in WordFinder* Thesaurus, just asin Word*). Actually, color text has been a reality for Microsoft with Works 2.0 and Excel 1.5. All you need is a color ribbon for your ImageWriter* or LQ. A big hint at who is trying to compete with whom is found in MacWrite II's Open and Save As submenus, where the only other formats besides MacWrite formats (one of which is MacWrite Stationery) and Microsoft formats, are ''Text'' and ''WriteNow.'' Hmmm*I wonder whatever happened to WordPerfect, which HSU's Academic Computing seems to think so highly of; or Ashton-Tate's cumbersome FoolWrite (by gosh, the spell checker tells me that should be FullWrite). Perhaps there is a new awakening toward a trend of Simplicity and Interchangeability ! (Now if only German auto manufacturers could tune in to this consciousness.) A month after receiving my update of MacWrite*II, and having completed the full tutorial for Word* 4.0 (plus various new daily adventures) I conclude that both are excellent products. (Incidentally, check your font size if you follow the book; default is 12 point, yet all tutorial text is 10). It all depends upon what your needs and purposes are. One might generalize and say, as before, that Word* is for heavy-duty, complex writing, while the MacWrite family is for simple, small routines. However, I found that just is not quite so. In fact I will be addressing the following information to both companies. Claris seems to indicate in its newsletter that MacWrite II is not meant to replace MacWrite 1.5, just as MS Word is not meant to replace Write. Meanwhile, Microsoft has added more features to 4.0, with far more simplicity, while Claris presents MacWrite II as ''the essential word processor for today's business world.'' At the same time I note that there are still a few big tasks that one may want to use MacWriteII for (i.e. spell checking, foreign language, editing in reduced view, and retain cursor position upon reopening!). (Editor's note: Be aware that Word 4.0 is not compatible with PageMaker, so please don't use it for submissions to Known Users. Thanks. I also think it continues to be a bit of overkill for the average owner's needs.) Also check out the new generation of WYSIWIG Font and Style menus. Likewise there are certain simple tasks one may want to do in Word 4.0, particularly with new and easy keyboard macros, or Work Menu (i.e. Memos, ); or have to do in Word (i.e. outlining, indexing, and table of contents). Also take note of the new ''Table'' feature's ability to calculate as well as the supplemental files for Legal Stationery, Mathematical Glossary, and Drop Caps/Borders Glossary. There are even ''starter menus'' for users of MacWrite 1.5 and WriteNow. As great as Word 4.0 is, however, the following bullet-outline sums up my concerns that I'm sending to Microsoft: * International Date options in glossary (e.g. 01 JAN 89) * International spelling checkers available as add-ons. * ''Page [current]# of [total]#'' format option * Full Editing in Page View (e.g. apply styles at a glance) * ''Visible Typeface'' font menu * Upon Save, retain last location of cursor, not ''Home''! * Excel (Easy as Word's) Work Menu * More ''intelligent'' spell checker (one that knows the same word beginning in uppercase or lowercase, retains memory of root form from user dictionaries, and that stores alphabetically) ... or do I just have ''bugs'' in my spell checkers? It has even bombed on me.
Copyright © september, 1989 by Dwight Winegar