What is the best word processor besides MS Word?

Discussion in 'Computer Science & Culture' started by Lilalena, Nov 16, 2011.

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  1. Lilalena Registered Senior Member

    Just curious does anyone else find MS Word really cumbersome and does anyone else use multiple-pane multiple-sheet Word processors?

    I use a very unstable word-processor called Ywriter because it is good for organising / rearranging small bits of text. But am hoping to discover another alternative here...
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  3. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

    So what seems to be the problem with Word? I've used it over 10 years now and find it better than ever. Word is very easy to understand and just as easy to use if you just take the time to learn how it functions.
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  5. mathman Valued Senior Member

    I use wordpad. It is not fancy, but it is easy to use and very stable.
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  7. toltec Registered Senior Member

    Open Office, it's a freeware suite almost identical to MS Office.
  8. Dr Mabuse Percipient Thaumaturgist Registered Senior Member

    This. In fact it is superior to Word in several ways, in that it will often open older Word/Office files that Word itself won't. Same with the other parts of OpenOffice, they will open and edit older Microsoft Office files that Microsoft Office will not.
  9. fiction_is_science Registered Member

    MS Word looks pretty simple to use. Been using it since I was in High School. Anyway, OpenOffice is a great alternative if you prefer something different.
  10. keith1 Guest

  11. Lilalena Registered Senior Member

    Mainly I hate how they've reshuffled and renamed menu items without adding to efficiency, more like hampering it in a major way. For instance Undo is now on the title bar and Macros are in the View menu, not in Tools because Tools doesn't exist anymore! Why put Macros in View? It doesn't make sense.

    MS-word is a nightmare to use especially for writing a dissertation or any research paper because its outline feature has a mind of its own and full of obscure controls.


    I started to realize I hated Word when I discovered Ywriter and Boswell - they are organized very differenty and feel like the 'next generation' of word processors but sadly these two are unstable and seem to have been abandoned by their devolopers.

  12. Chipz Banned Banned

    Your analysis I feel is pretty close to how most engineers felt with they made similar changes to Excel. Many engineers decision was to just not make the jump to 2010, as the compatibility option was (is?) still lacking.

    If you're writing a dissertation, Latex applications might better suit your needs. Kile is one suggested to me in this forum.

    MS Word isn't bad.. however they've definitely moved away from their roots. Their menu organization is now just atrocious and the main header lines are essentially meaningless. They've assumed the majority of people don't read them anyways. Atleast that's the way it feels.
  13. Lilalena Registered Senior Member

    I used to be able to improvise a relational database on Excel, now I can hardly do sums because I get confused where everything is.

    Downloading Kile and Lyx just now. I have never heard of LaTex before and had no clue that the (unstable ) programs I preferred are actually LaTex derivatives. So helpful. thanks!!!!
  14. firdroirich A friend of The Friends Registered Senior Member

    Try Abiword which has vi binding support - or just use vim.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2011
  15. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

    LaTeX isn't technically a word processor. It is not WYWIWYG, and it doesn't "compile" in real time. It does, however, produce very professional-looking output if you're willing to persist with it and learn how to use it properly. As a design feature, though, it removes a lot of the choices about the look of a document in order to focus on the structure and content. If you like playing with fonts and layouts, LaTeX is not the way to go.
  16. Lilalena Registered Senior Member

    I've since found what looks to be the ultimate word processor but I haven't tried it yet because unfortunately it's not free.

    It allows you to switch between Latex-like and Index card simulation views. It has an awkward name (to me) : Scrivener.


    I found it by googling Latex.

    I downloaded Lyx and Kyle and was amazed to find I couldn't print a test page without a lot of fiddling so I think I understand what you mean.

    I learned a lot from this thread so my thanks to everyone who posted.

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  17. kwhilborn Banned Banned

    You keep getting the correct answer, but I will also "vote" in.

    Open office which is a free download from


    Just ask any cheap college student who doesnt want to buy word. Any student with a laptop should know and will state Open Office by writ.

  18. river-wind Valued Senior Member

    already been mentioned, but it really depends on what you need. Word does everything pretty well, but it does very little really well.

    Open Office is similar, though due to issues within Oracle (who now officially owns it), it is being replaced by LibreOffice, a community-owned fork of the project. Both Open and LibreOffice have their own issues, but are darn good and free. http://www.libreoffice.org/

    LaTeX is the tool for the job for authoring and laying out academic papers and more complex works.

    Scrivener is the tool if you're writing a book and need both a word processor and a resource/research organization utility. I use Scrivener, and LOVE it.
  19. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

    I have been using WordPerfect since the early days of DOS (Even prior to Windows 3x, which was really DOS with a weak GUI interface instead of Batch Files & a Command Line interface).

    I much prefer WordPerfect to MS Word. It has more features & seems to take care of a lot of situations not handled conveniently by MS Word. I am annoyed at some of the recent changes to MS Word, which do not seem to add functionality, but which create confusion the first time you encounter the changes to the interface.

    I used MS Word extensively when working for companies which required its use & consider it to be an excellent Word Processor. Now that I am retired, I only use MS Word when some friend needs a Word Document fixed or needs help learning to use MS Word. It saddens me that MS Word has become the most widely used major word processor.

    For ordinary purposes, it does not matter which Word Processor you use.

    Notepad will do the job for really simple documents. It is especially good when word wrap, justification, & other Word Processor features are likely to cause problems. For example, I sometimes have to edit or analyze a file created by somebody else. For example an HTML file or a file of code written in some unfamiliar programming language for which I do not have the IDE. Word wrap and justification can cause problems when dealing with such files.

    WordPad has almost all the commonly used Word Processor features required for writing letters or producing slightly more complex documents: It provides lots of fonts, bold, italic, colors, subscripts/superscripts, justification, highlighting, et cetera. It does not provide more advanced features like foot notes, watermarks, Text Art. I do not think it has a spell checker.

    The main advantage of MS Word compared to WordPerfect is that it is more tightly integrated with Excel & some other MS programs. It is has more features designed to allow a project group to maintain documents. If you have a dozen or more engineers, analysts, programmers working on a project & editing or adding to a large document, MS Word is the Word Processor to use. It has good version control & can indicate who wrote or changed which parts of a large document.

    For esoteric work, WordPerfect seems to have some tools not available in other Word Processors or which are better implemented. For example.
    Advanced features like Text Art seem to be easier to use in WordPerfect & seem to have more features.

    All word processors have control commands interspersed with the words/punctuation which the user sees displayed on the monitor or printed.
    There are situations for which it is convenient (even necessary) to be able to see all such embedded control codes & have the ability to delete or modify them. WordPerfect provides this capability.

    WordPerfect deals with newspaper columns much better than MS Word.

    I think WordPerfect can convert its files to many more Word Processor formats than MS Word, but am not sure of this.​
    I have forgotten how to use Word Star & a few others that I used long ago. BTW: Word Star was designed for use by extremely competent touch typists. Once familiar with it, their output rate was superior to what could be done using other Word Processors.
  20. leopold Valued Senior Member

    and verified by a secretary that used MSoffice at work.
  21. Cifo Day destroys the night, Registered Senior Member

    I concur.

    Yet, for common/essential functions such as Undo, I use the Ctrl+Z keyboard shortcut, which is much more efficient that leaving the keyboard, grabbing the mouse, and heading up toward the menus. Likewise, I am revolted at using the the menus for Cut, Copy and Paste when they are so readily available as Ctrl+X, C, and V as shortcuts. And the same with the superscript/subscript shortcuts. Same with completing fields ... (Shift+)Tab instead of clicking. Why leave the keyboard?

    I've gotten to the point where I program common operations into macros with keyboard shortcuts (and I hijack some rarely-used shortcut keys to simplify my life). I almost never visit the macro menu except to create/modify macros. I cut and paste from various sources, so one macro converts straight quotemarks/apostrophes into curly ones, another converts paragraphs with return-induced line spacing between them into straight paragraphs with 12-point spacing after them, another converts text with linefeed-induced lines into normal paragraphs, another eliminates double-spacing, etc.

    I also find customizing my computer extremely helpful. For example, I've moved my computer's task bar to the top of the screen. In that way, when I use the mouse for anything other than what's inside the current window, I know to start heading upwards. I go up for the current application's icons and menus, and I go up just a little further for the Quick Launch toolbar. The Windows key opens the Start menu. To access other open applications/files, I use the Alt+(Shift)+Tab shortcuts. As for the icons themselves, for example, Ctrl+P automatically prints the document, and the Print icon gives me the Print popup; Ctrl+S automatically saves, and the Save icon gives me the Save As popup.
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