Re: A bit more about wp programs.

Subject: Re: A bit more about wp programs.
From: Aahz <aahz -at- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 5 Sep 1994 16:01:56 GMT

In article <TECHWR-L%94090219204800 -at- vm1 -dot- ucc -dot- okstate -dot- edu>,
<97372509 -at- wsuvm1 -dot- csc -dot- wsu -dot- edu> wrote:

>Just out of curiosity, what do other technical writers think are the advantages
>of MSWORD as opposed to WordPerfect 6.0? I have noticed that MSWORD seems to
>be the standard for most companies. Yet, I find that WordPerfect is much more
>user friendly. Is it just personal preference?

Here are my opinions, based on extensive experience with WordPerfect
(DOS versions 4.2 to 6.0b; very little time on 6.0) but no long document
experience, and intensive experience with Word for Windows 6.0a over the
past two months in my current job documenting a voicemail board. I'll
try to direct my comments toward the issues in technical writing.

Summary: Word is easier to use, but WP is more flexible. I cannot
recommend Word for technical writing because of problems with its table

I've heard many complaints about the ability of both programs to handle
large documents and compound documents. So far in Word, I've
concentrated on writing individual chapters, hoping that a new patch
will come out before I have to assemble them. I really dislike the way
Word's master documents hard-code the full path to subdocs.

Word's paragraph styles are much easier to use than WP's; WP makes
hanging indents an incredible kluge. WP "styles" really aren't.
They're more like using a field in Word to refer to an AutoText entry,
except that WP styles can contain *any* combination of codes and text.

I dislike the way both programs handle the transferring of styles
between templates and documents. Word allows you to add text to a
template, nice for documenting styles.

Both WP and Word have powerful macro languages, but I haven't spent much
time with WP6's yet; WP5.1 and earlier had really kludgy languages.
Word's macro language is BASIC, with all the good and bad that implies.
I hate the way Word forces keyword capitalization its way, and I
absoluately loathe the holdover from BASIC that names of string
variables and functions must end in a "$". WP's macro language seems to
be based on C.

Word doesn't have a good way to "drill down" to the formatting

Word documents are a bit easier to rescue from corruption, because the
text is at the beginning and all the formatting is at the end. While I
suspect that makes Word documents easier to corrupt, my actual
experience (with WP5.1) goes the other direction.

Word's table feature is pretty, but I have found no way to ensure that a
group of tables have the same format without writing a macro. Because
tables are the only to format parallel columns in Word (WP has both
tables and parallel columns), Word is nearly useless for my style of

WP's keyboard is a bit more awkward than Word's. Even after all these
years, I still wish WP's keyboard worked like WordStar, and I hate the
way the stupid HOME key works.

Some info about Word, with no knowledge of comparable features in WP:

I've had numerous minor problems drawing or laying out graphic images.
I really dislike the way anchors don't work.

I like the indexing system. It's fairly flexible.

I had many difficulties getting chapter numbering to work until I got
the patch upgrade to 6.0a. Now it's only slightly difficult.
--- Aahz (

Hugs and backrubs -- I break Rule 6
Androgynous kinky vanilla queer het

The best way to get information on Usenet is not to ask a question,
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