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- Created 2012-02-15
is an electronic device or
that, as directed by the user, performs
: the composition, editing, formatting and sometimes printing of any sort of written material. Word processing can also refer to advanced
techniques, sometimes used in specialized contexts with a specially modified
. The term was coined at
, West Germany Laboratory in the 1960s. Typical features of a word processor include font application, spell checking, grammar checking, a built-in thesaurus, automatic text correction, Web integration and HTML exporting, among others. In its simplest form, a word processor is little more than a large expensive typewriter that makes correcting mistakes easy.
The word processor emerged as a stand-alone office machine in the 1970s and 1980s, combining the keyboard text-entry and printing functions of an
with a dedicated computer processor for the editing of text. Although features and designs varied among manufacturers and models, and new features were added as technology advanced, word processors typically featured a monochrome display and the ability to save documents on
. Later models introduced innovations such as
programs, improved formatting options, and
As the more versatile combination of
became commonplace, and computer software applications for word processing became popular, most business machine companies stopped manufacturing word processor machines. As of 2009 there were only two U.S. companies, Classic and
, which still made them. Many older machines, however, remain in use. Since 2009, Sentinel has offered a machine described as a "word processor", but it is more accurately a highly specialised microcomputer used for accounting and publishing.
Word processors are descended from early text formatting tools (sometimes called "text justification" tools, from their only real capability). Word processing was one of the earliest applications for the
in office productivity.
Although early word processors used tag-based
for document formatting, most modern word processors take advantage of a
graphical user interface
providing some form of what-you-see-is-what-you-get editing. Most are powerful systems consisting of one or more programs that can produce any arbitrary combination of s,
and text, the latter handled with
is the most widely used word processing software according to a user tracking system built into the software, which is not built into LibreOffice, AbiWord, KWord, and LyX. Microsoft estimates that over 500,000,000 people use the
suite, which includes Word. Many other word processing applications exist, including
(which dominated the market from the mid-1980s to early-1990s on computers running Microsoft's
. Web-based word processors, such as
Office Web Apps
, are a relatively new category.
from Wikipedia (last updated: 11 December), licensed under
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"Remembering the Office of the Future: Word Processing and Office Automation before the Personal Computer"
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