Word Processing Technology

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Life in our time is influenced by information and communication technologies everywhere. The very first computer was just a simple calculator, but today computers play an important role in all aspects of our life, whether at work or in our social lives. About twenty-five years ago, personal computers, cell phones, and the internet did not exist in any way that it would be recognized today. The major change and influence on our daily routine or work life is made by the invention of internet and the networking of computers. Perhaps the ability to send and receive files through a computer network made the most significant change on people life. Also with the advent of computers the way in which data were preserved and processed differed greatly from before. Maybe a piece of paper with a nice handwriting is more tangible for a human being, but this is not a factor to consider in a modern and computerized society like ours. A computerized society, mainly, concerns about time and the reduction of costs and resources.

Nowadays more than ever, businesses benefit from electronic record keeping. Companies have found this method a cost effective system of processing and presenting data. When a company decides to store data in an electronic medium, they have many choices. Companies can save data in text files, Word processing, spreadsheets, data base files, and many other formats.

Word Processing

“I feel much more confident about writing since I began using a word processor.”

From ‘I.T. Helps' (NCET, 1995)

Word processing did not develop out of computer technology. “The history of word processing is the story of gradual automation of the physical aspects of writing and editing, and the refinement of the technology to make it available to individual and corporate users.”[Ref 1]

The first step in word processing development was the invention of typewriters. Christopher Latham Sholes invented the first manual typewriter, in1867.The main disadvantage of manual typewriter was that the typist could not view his work until he had finished. Later M.Shultz Company introduced the first automatic typewriter, which was the greatest step from typewriter towards modern word processing. With the automatic typewriter, it was possible to produce multiple typed copies, but again there was inability to change or edit written texts.

By the advent of computers and their influence on technology, development of word processing faced a dramatic change. In 1970 the first word processor known as WordStar was released by Micropro international. A word processor “is a computer application for creating, modifying, printing, and e-mailing documents. It is used to produce easy-to-read, professional-looking documents such as letters, résumés, and reports.”[Ref 2] In general , a word processor is the basic tool for supporting writing on a computer and nowadays is “one of the most common general applications for personal computers” [Ref 3].

Nowadays many complete word processing systems can be found on the market but the ‘Heavyweight' programs such as Microsoft Word, Lotus Word Pro and Core WordPerfect are the best known word processors for business or experienced users. A list of standard word processing programs is presented below:

Table From: swbook2

Things to look for in a word processor are mainly:

  • Ease of use
  • Features suited to the writer and task
  • Cost
  • Staff familiarity
  • Built-in writing support tools-word banks, good spellchecker.

The conveniences in using a word processor are impressive; some people like Daniel Eisenberg¹ have found that it facilitates thinking and the organizing of ideas but generally word processors can help an individual to organize and structure his or her writing and also it lets the writer to be freed from the physical effort of handwriting.

Here first Microsoft Office word processing system is briefly introduced and then some important features of Microsoft Office word are described and shown:

Note: as features presented here are basic tools of all word processors, they are also available in previously mentioned word programs.

Microsoft Office Word is the most common word processor since 1980 and it is famous for its friendly interface and ease of use, also the price to buy this program is much more suitable than other reliable word processors. A clean uncluttered screen, with only a few buttons to perform common tasks like changing the font and size, and loading, and saving and printing work have made MS Word a user friendly word processor.

Important features and tools of MS Word are known as following: [adapted from ref 4, ref 5]

  • Word-wrap: MS Word can auto arrange texts in lines of specific length without the necessity of touching return key; like old typewriters.
  • Paragraph Alignment: The Align Left (), Centre (), Align Right (), and Justify () buttons can be used to apply a paragraph alignment.

¹ Author of article “writing with a word processor” published in Journal of Hispanic Philogy , 7 (1983),165-67 Author's web site: http://bigfoot.com/~daniel.eisenberg

  • Insertion: involves the ability of entering new text within previously typed material without the need for /of erasing the existing materials.
  • Over striking: the ability to over type the old text, with new text.
  • Deletion: erasing of a text or whole paragraph from the document.
  • Search and replace: user can scan a document for search text, by using the ‘Find' command. Then, if the case, by using the ‘Replace' command user can change search text to other text.
  • Copying or cutting: user can select text by dragging the I-beam pointer over it. Selected can be moved or copied using the Copy, Cut, Paste buttons on the toolbars or simple by using shortcut keys that are defined for these operations. For example in MS Word the copy shortcut key is CTRL + C
  • Pagination: texts in a document are automatically divided into pages of specified numbers of lines; this tool can be clearly viewed/seen in this text.
  • Page Numbering: Word processor automatically numbers each page of a document.
  • Headers and footers: “option of creating standard blocks of text that will automatically appear at the top or bottom of each page in a document.”
  • Tables of Contents and index Generators
  • Automatic spelling Checker and Corrector: Word includes a spelling checker and a grammar checker. A red wavy line appears below a misspelled word and a green wavy line below a phrase when a grammatical error is detected. By right clicking on the word a list of suggested solution is shown and user can correct his/her mistake with these tips.
  • Hyperlinks: A document can include hyperlinks to a web page or to an e-mail address. When clicking on a Hyperlink in a Word document user is automatically directed to that internet page or e-mail address.
  • Document Preview: A document is previewed to see how it will be appeared when printed.

These features are just a specific function of what a word processor does and how it can facilitate works and help an organization in daily activities.

A factor that may specially concern an environmental organization; like Scottish environment, in using Word Processors is the reduction in using papers and printed documents, which will be an interesting and helpful step to keep nature ___ .



1. C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\My Documents\Universita'\My Files\IT foundamental 2\research\IT 1\About_com http--www_stanford_edu-~bkunde-fb-press-articles-wdprhist.htm

2. C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\My Documents\Universita'\My Files\IT foundamental 2\research\IT 1\What is word processing - A Word Definition From the Webopedia Computer Dictionary.htm


Blissmer, Robert H. Computer Annual: An Introduction to Information Systems 1985-1986. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1985. Page 438