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Word Vs WordPerfect (Updated 7-5-16)
Now old but good history

Disclaimer: All the opinions on this page are those of the author. Feel free to form your own opinion.

I read a newsletter article from the Lindows folks that said Microsoft was guilty of creating a "Monopoly of the Mind". This was related to making Windows the industry standard over better products. Interesting reading. I just discovered another aspect to it. Word Vs. WordPerfect.

For years, WordPerfect was the industry standard in wordprocessing. It was found in every office and knowledge of it was required to get a job. It was the standard taught in schools everywhere.

Subtly over the past few years, WordPerfect was replaced by Word. As of this writing (September 8, 2002), industry has gone 180 degrees. Schools have switched to Word because industry has switched. It happened gradually and I have no idea why. My guess is that a combination of factors influenced the change.

WordPerfect is harder to learn and use. Word is easier for a new computer user to learn. WordPerfect set the original standards when it was a DOS based program. Microsoft established new standards for programs running inside Windows and WordPerfect did not follow the standards until their mire recent versions. One example I remember is selecting all the text with CTRL A. Earlier versions of WordPerfect would not do this. CTRL A will work on the version 9 & up.

Page setup was/is odd ball compared to standard Windows based programs like Wordpad. Even the latest version 10 has not revised this feature. Haven't looked at 11, 12 & X3. Making changes to the page layout is just plain easier in Word because it makes sense to common users like me.

Dec 03 update: I see that Corel is releasing version 11. I have not used version 10 or 11, so have no input of these.
Jan 2006: Wordperfect has ver 12 & X3 now from $99 student version to $399 for full version. Not a bargain anymore. Many new computers are shipping with Wordperfect Office now instead of MSOffice.

Aside from the program, Microsoft is better at marketing. WordPerfect was sold a couple of times and the marketing could not recover the advantage. The current owner Corel has specialized in selling graphics to professionals and I suspect has never had the marketing skills to compete with Microsoft. Same goes for WordPro by Lotus. A very complex program and poorly marketed.

One factor that should influence buyers toward WordPerfect is price. Word is double the cost of WP. You gotta be real good to sell a lesser product for more money. It would be like getting more for a Ford than a Caddy because of popularity. With cars, we are not that stupid but in the area of computers, most users have a low literacy level and can be fooled easily.

Here is why I say that: WordPerfect is a more powerful program than Word. But the extra features that make it a better program will never be used by 99% of the users. Since Word is easier to learn and use, the industry has standardized on it even though it costs more. (At least used to)

I'll describe one feature I just learned about that proves my point. Mind you I was stuck in this rut like everyone else. In fact I promoted and taught Word (and still do) because it is easier. I turned a blind eye to the cost because I am a single user and never paid retail. Anyway, I just loaded my copy of WP2000 (after reformatting) for the sole purpose of answering a clients question. As I reviewed the File menu, I discovered a feature I never knew it had. Let me give you some history before I tell you what it is. (Actually the title of this document gives it away)

I recently designed a one time ad for the local newspaper for my wife's salon business. I designed it in Word and tried to submit it and was told it had to be in PDF format. They would not work with any other format. Since I do not own the $400 Adobe Acrobat program, I looked for a way to convert it. I paid an associate in the graphics business to convert it for me and then when changes were needed, I again paid him to make them. The next time I designed a new ad, I searched the web for a program to do the conversion.

I found 2 shareware programs that claimed to do the job of converting Word DOC to Adobe PDF. I downloaded both demo programs and tested them. One puts a watermark in the background. The other prints an extra page. Both are $20 to $40 programs. Acceptable if they work. I was about ready to pop for the cheaper one when I discovered that IT IS BUILT IN TO WordPerfect!!

Do you think anyone on the web told me this? Does Corel advertise it? Is this stupid or what?

Dec 03 update: There seem to be many new ways to do pdf conversions cropping up in printers and scanners. I have not reviewed any of these.

I also got an e-mail from a reader that provided this warning: "Be VERY careful of using the Corel PDF maker. It is not a clone of, or a licensed derivative of, the original Adobe Acrobat software. The resulting PDF files are not viewable in all versions of Acrobat Reader and may not include all of your symbols and line work."

Obviously if you format a document in any program with features specific to that program, they may not read correct in another program. In the case above, I created the file in Word, opened it in WP and it looked fine. WP has a lot of special fonts & other features not read by other programs, so creating a document in WP with these special features may not show properly in pdf format. In all my work including these web pages, I stick to standard fonts & avoid fancy stuff.

A case in point. Just yesterday, I had a client open Word files in Works and the format was not the same. In word, she had created a header with column headings for a chart. In Works, the header titles became a list in the left margin.

LATEST INFO AS OF JULY 2016: Word is now very different. Many programs are going to cloud use and subscriptions. Look on line for the latest info. I still have not found an acceptable inexpensive solution. Adobe had done a good job of protecting their format.

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