Word processing will never be the same; documents that talk and show films are here now – Lotus Development Corp.’s Ami Pro 3.0; Microsoft Corp.’s Word for Windows 2.0c; WordPerfect Corp.’s WordPerfect 5.2 for Windows word processing software – Windows Watcher

Kay Yarborough Nelson

Although you may not yet be ready to subscribe to the “Windows is everywhere” philosophy that Microsoft would have us all believe, you’ve got to admit that using Windows can change the way you work. No matter what your business, you probably find yourself using your word processor more than any other program. And Windows-based word processors let us do things we never dreamed of doing with character-based DOS word processors. (Well, we may have dreamed them, but actually attempting to do them was a nightmare!)

Such programs let you create text columns, insert graphics, and print watermarks-all torturous undertakings when using most DOS-based programs. Add some attractive fonts or wrap text around a graphic or two, and soon you find yourself doing desktop publishing, even if it’s only making a flier announcing your new business address.

Talking, walking documents. With a Windows word processor, you surpass the limitations of paper-documents are no longer merely printouts. They are often presented in file form, where you can embed sounds as objects (an example of Object Linking and Embedding). Your readers view your document onscreen and simply double-click on the sound clip’s icon to hear the message. Video clips can also be embedded in your documents (now that should keep the reader interested–written reports that applaud themselves and show a short movie). And don’t forget the simplicity of true drag-and-drop editing, which is infinitely faster than the traditional cutting and pasting.

All of the big three Windows word processors-Ami Pro, Word for Windows, and WordPerfect for Windows– are shipping updated versions, with new upgrades in the works at press time. Here are some of the current features:

* Ami Pro 3.0 has an easy mail-merge feature, a fast formatting feature, improved SmartIcons (a collection of task-automating buttons now common across all Lotus applications), drag-and-drop editing, and a clean screen feature that gives you more room onscreen to work.

* Word for Windows 2.0c is compatible with Windows for Workgroups and the FoxPro database. It also fixes some minor bugs in the original release of version 2.0.

* WordPerfect 5.2 for Windows has an indexing feature that makes locating documents fast, new button bars, right mouse button support (giving you access to popular functions without having to go up to the button bar), improved graphics handling, and greatly improved printer support that lets you alternate paper sizes in the same document.

What’s coming, what’s here. In the next round of Windows word processors, you’ll see improved (and easier) file and graphics imports-you won’t even have to think about what program originally created the document you’re going to open. Look for built-in drawing programs, too. Expect easier printing and perhaps even automatic zip codes when you enter an address. Faster document formatting–in the areas of style sheets, single-click text highlighting, and automatic correction of commonly misspelled words–will let even mediocre typists produce professional business documents quickly.

And that’s not all. Experts predict that word processors of the future will be easier to use and, at the same time, more feature rich. We’re already starting to see how multimedia is used in tutorials to make learning sophisticated features simple. You can also look for Wizards (Microsoft’s term) or assistants in the near future. This is a trend sweeping all areas in Windows-based software. These interactive tutorials take you through the fundamental steps in a procedure, such as mail merge or macro recording. You couldn’t do any of that with MultiMate could you?

KAY YARBOROUGH NELSON is the author of Friendly Windows (Bantam), The Little Windows 3.1 Book (Peachpit Press), and Voodoo Windows (Ventana Press).

COPYRIGHT 1993 Freedom Technology Media Group

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group

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