Word Processing

Word Processing is the replacement for a typewriter.  Not to say there are no uses for a typewriter, but most of the time documents are created using a word processor rather than a typewriter.  If you have a preprinted form to fill out it is hard to beat a typewriter, but for creating something new there are many advantages for word processors.

Advantages of a word processor:

  • Multiple type faces and sizes, and textual formatting.  It is possible on some of the later type writers to change the type ball or pin wheel, it is very time consuming if not impossible to match the mixture of fonts on a modern document.  Modern word processors can achieve near type set quality and layout of your document.
  • Easily mix pictures and text.  If you try to include pictures on a typewritten document you usually had to type the text on an existing picture.  This can be difficult, and error prone.
  • Perfect or near perfect document.  With word processing if you make a typographical error you simply correct the error and print the results.  You can not detect correction of the typo.  With a typewriter you needed to use white out, correction tape or some other method to correct the typo on the document.  If you make many errors the document looks sloppy.
  • You can easily add to or otherwise update a document.  Type written documents need to be retyped to update the information.
  • Type written documents are physical documents; to get the document to some one else you need to send them the physical document.  Facsimile can be used to send the document over the telephone but these documents are not as legible as the original.  Word processing documents can be attached to e-mail messages or otherwise sent electronically.  The copy is identical to the original so it can be printed in full quality.

 There are many word processors you can use.  Currently the standard used by more businesses is Microsoft Word.  Some companies use other word processors, but they usually have to have Word available or save documents in Word format.  This presents a problem for most home computer owners, Microsoft Word is not included on low price computers, instead Microsoft Works or some other word process or is included with your computer and Microsoft Word is a pricey upgrade.  If you try to use Microsoft Works to write a document to send to someone else you will soon find out that not everyone has Work and if you do not the other person will not be able to open your document.


Again the Internet to the rescue.  Open Source software is sometimes called free software.  Open Sources software is software that is licensed in a different way than traditional software.  Traditional Software is licensed in a way that the user pays a fee to the publisher of the software.  This is only fair; the publisher has invested in their intellectual property, and should be compensated for their work.  Open source software is written by a group of volunteer programmers, the license says you can use the software free of charge but you can not steal their programming by using this in your program and charging for your product.  The volunteer programmers make their money from another job or by selling services supporting or enhancing the open source product.


One of the best open source word processor is OpenOfficeWriter part of the OpenOffice suite.  You can download this product from http://openoffice.org-suite.com.  You will find that you can use OpenOfficeWriter pretty much like Microsoft Word, you can save your documents in Word format so your friends can open the document in Microsoft Word. 


Another option is to use one of the newer web based word processor.  If you signed up for Gmail they give you a docs account, or you can register for a Google Docs account at http://docs.google.com.  You can import many format documents, edit online and save you’re your document in many different formats.  There are several other web based word processors at http://www.zoho.com, Buzzword at http://www.acrobat.com.


One last note.  Now that you are creating documents, let’s talk about sharing your documents.  If you are going to e-mail your documents, you need to make sure that the recipient can read your documents.  They will need the same word processor you used or a program that can open your files.  One option is to use the PDF document format.  PDF or Portable Document Format documents.  Originally you had to use Adobe Acrobat to create PDF files; there are several ways to create PDF files http://www.pdfforge.org/products/pdfcreator where you can download a program which installs a printer to create PDF files on your computer.









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