WordPerfect 3.1 vs. Nisus Writer 4.0
A comparative review.
Will Porter, University of Houston
The high end of the Macintosh word processing market consists of three programs: Microsoft Word 6, WordPerfect 3.1 and Nisus Writer 4. (Roy Leban of Akimbo Systems will object to the omission of FullWrite 2 from this list, perhaps with some justification; but FullWrite lacks a macro language, among other things.) I have finally decided that I must move beyond MacWrite Pro, which has been my main word processor since I abandoned Word 5.1 a year and a half ago. In view of the amazingly negative reception given to Word 6, I decided first to buy and investigate the alternatives: WordPerfect and Nisus Writer. I have now purchased and played with Word 6, too, but I will leave it out of this review almost entirely.
Let me say right up front that in the end I have come to prefer WordPerfect to Nisus Writer, and this review should be regarded as a rationalization of that preference. I have tried to be fair to Nisus Writer, and I am aware that there are a growing number of users who swear by Nisus Writer. More power to them, say I. It is very much to the advantage of the entire Mac community that we have a variety of powerful word processors to choose among. I have tried to explain in some detail what I like and don't like about both programs. I hope that will allow other users better to judge the pertinence of my observations to their own preferences and needs.
Which program has more and better features?
Both programs are rich in features; both have limitations that strike me as peculiar; and sometimes the pros and the cons seem to get in one another's way. For example, both WordPerfect and Nisus Writer allow you to create a table of contents and an index for book-length documents, yet neither allows you to break the book into multiple linked documents or even to separate a single document into different sections. The lack of sections means that if you are writing a scholarly book with many chapters, you will not be able to gather the end notes after each chapter. But the inability to link documents means that you cannot index your book or create a table of contents for it unless you put the whole thing in a single document.
Nisus Writer has gotten a reputation for having more features than any one normal person could ever use. I think this reputation is somewhat overblown. Nisus Writer boasts some special features: virtually unlimited undos; multiple, editable clipboards; GREP searching; the ability to have the program synthesize speech and read your document aloud to you. Each of these is an interesting feature and each might on occasion be useful, but I myself would never buy a program for any of these features. (I have talked to Nisus Writer users, however, who swear by the unlimited redos, and Word 6 has paid Nisus the compliment of adopting this feature). By the same token, some of WordPerfect's strengths, while genuine, are tangential to the real goal of a word processor. You would have to be somewhat confused to purchase a word processor because it can do Bezier curves.
In the end, I have learned to evaluate programs on three levels. First, I ask myself how well the program handles routine tasks, e.g. writing and formatting a business letter, a lecture for class, a brief scholarly article. Second, I ask myself what features each program has that I need so badly that I could not live in peace without them. Last--and distinctly least--I ask myself what features the program has that I would LIKE to have but could live without. Please note that, while I think there is a certain logical inevitability to this form of analysis, the features that I consider absolutely essential might be nice but non- essential to another writer, and vice versa. And how well any user judges a program's performance of basic tasks will depend to some extent on how readily the user grasps or takes to the design philosophy of the program. I don't want to be a coward and quote the old saying "de gustibus non est disputandum." But I do want to be honest about the fact that even the simplest word processor is a complex tool. How satisfactory you find the tool will depend a lot on what kind of tasks you want to perform with it.
How well each program handles (my) routine tasks
VIEWS. Both Nisus Writer and WordPerfect give you a single main window to edit in. Both place tool bars across the top of the editing window which can be hidden or displayed as you need them. In this respect, the programs are functionally fairly similar. However, I find Nisus Writer's document display severely limited. In WordPerfect, you can edit your document at various levels of magnification and you can view your pages with full page margins; this allows you to get a direct sense of where your text sits on the page as you write. You cannot see headers and footers or "watermarks" (graphics that underlay your text) in the editing window, but you can view them at various magnifications (from 25% to 800%) in the Page Preview. In Nisus Writer, on the other hand, you cannot alter the magnification at which you edit or even view your document, and amazingly there is simply NO truly WYSIWYG document view. (So far as I know this is a failing unique to Nisus Writer among Mac word processors.) Nisus Writer will show you your headers and footers on screen as you write, which could be very useful, since both WordPerfect and NW permit you to change the headers and footers on virtually every page, if you feel the need to do so. But NW refuses to display about a quarter inch of the top and bottom margins of each page. The layout view in NW doubles as a page preview, but unless you have a full-page monitor, you are going to have to look at your document in reduced view. (On an Apple 14" monitor, the best such view you can get is slightly better than 50%.) If you plan to make use of small font sizes, you should avoid Nisus Writer or plan to spend a hunk of change on a full- page monitor--and a magnifying glass.
STYLES. These programs take strikingly different approaches to basic formatting of text and paragraphs. Nisus Writer, like the original versions of MacWrite years ago, relies primarily upon rulers to provide consistent formatting of paragraphs. If you plan to use different paragraph formats throughout your document (body, block quotation, hanging indent, and centered titles), you will define and name a ruler for each. Character formatting will most naturally be applied from the font and style menus. Now you can create "styles" which store character formats and (optionally) ruler information, but if you are used to relying heavily upon style sheets in Word, WordPerfect, WriteNow or MacWrite Pro, you will find Nisus Writer's styles limited, for several reasons.
First, you cannot base one style on another. The same goes for the named rulers, which are really just styles which include no character formatting. One of the main purposes of styles is to permit global formatting and reformatting of documents. This goal is compromised if you cannot make some style definitions dependent upon others.
Second, there is no easy way to import styles from one document into another. You can copy one style at a time from a source document into another, but there is no way to bring all of document A's styles into document B at once. Of course, since you cannot base styles upon one another, there is less reason in Nisus Writer to want to import entire groups of styles at once.
I have tried, but I am unable to see the advantage of separating the named rulers from the style definitions. There is nothing that you can do in NW using rulers that you cannot do equally well in Word, MacWrite Pro or WordPerfect with styles. Furthermore, NW's approach makes it possible to reformat your entire document accidentally if you are not paying attention. Changes made to a named ruler immediately affect every paragraph in the document that has that ruler applied to it. In itself this might be unobjectionable. But changes to a ruler also affect-- without warning--all those defined styles that depend upon that ruler, and this is something it is easy to forget about. At a minimum, a dialog should pop up with a prompt that says something like: "The ruler you have just modified is used by the style XXX. Do you want to change the style to reflect the change to the ruler?"
I have come to the conclusion that Nisus Writer regards styles as a mere convenience, a formatting shortcut, rather than as a fundamentally important formatting tool.
WordPerfect's styles, on the other hand, while they have their quirky aspects, are a strong feature of the program. You can do with WordPerfect's styles more or less everything you can do with styles in Word and MacWrite Pro--and more, because in WordPerfect, you can add text or a graphic to a style definition as well. For example, if you defined a style "part heading," you could include the word "Part" as the first line of the paragraph to which you apply the style, so you would not have to type it.
I also like very much the way that WordPerfect implements its "next style" feature. Some styles are routinely followed by other styles, for example, "part title" may always be followed by "body." In MacWrite Pro, if you define "body" as the next style after "part title," then when you hit the Return key at the end of a part-title paragraph, the next paragraph will have the style "body" applied to it automatically. This works well most of the time. But sometimes you want to type more than one paragraph in a row before going to the next-style. For example, most of your block quotations may be single paragraphs, and you may always want to switch back to the style "body" after a block quotation. But what if you want a block quotation to be several paragraphs long? In WordPerfect, you apply the next style by hitting the Enter key rather than Return. This gives you the freedom to decide for yourself just when you want the next style applied. I have already found that this is an extraordinarily useful feature.
WordPerfect's style sheets do have one striking weakness. There is no way to know when you have modified a paragraph to which a given style has been applied. In MacWrite Pro, if you apply the style "block quotation" to a paragraph, then change some aspect of the style definition, e.g. the line spacing, a plus-sign (+) will appear next to the style name when you click in that paragraph and look at the list of styles in the Styles palette. Word does something similar. Not so in WordPerfect. But then Nisus Writer doesn't tell you about these changes either.
Bottom line? Since I switched from MacWrite 4.5 to Word 1.05 back in 1986, I have regarded styles as one of the biggest advantages a word processor has to offer over the typewriter. Given the way I work, WordPerfect's implementation of styles is distinctly superior to that of Nisus Writer. However, I am aware that many current users of Word, WriteNow and MacWrite Pro have never learned how to use styles to their advantage. These users may find the named rulers in Nisus Writer a simple way to achieve a degree of formatting consistency in their documents.
SPELLING AND GRAMMAR. I should mention briefly that each program comes with decent spelling checker and a (separate) thesaurus. I like WordPerfect's spelling tool better, because in addition to doing a capable editorial job of checking the spelling of my document, it is also a handy reference tool, allowing me to look up words with one or more wildcard characters. (For example, typing "capit?l" in the spell- checker's entry box finds both "capital" and "capitol".) WordPerfect 3.1 comes with two additional writing tools: Grammatik, a grammar and style checker, and QuickCorrect. I have always been skeptical of grammar checkers, and I doubt that will make regular use of Grammatik. QuickCorrect corrects typos and misspellings for you without your ever noticing. Type "thier," for example, and QuickCorrect turns it into "their" for you without interruption. You can add words to QuickCorrect's dictionary, but it comes with hundreds of typical typos and misspellings built in. On the other hand, if you have TypeIt4Me, you already have a utility that is better than QuickCorrect.
There is another feature of WordPerfect that, as a classicist, I miss in Nisus Writer: the ability to assign a word to a particular language. (MacWrite Pro and Word 6 also permit this.) In WordPerfect, you can assign text to a language on an ad hoc basis or as part of the definition of a style. If you include a lot of French (for example) in a document, giving it the language format "French" will allow you to spell check your document more smoothly. If you have both a French and an English dictionary installed, WordPerfect will automatically consult the correct dictionary for the text it is checking. Even if you lack a French dictionary, you can assign text to another language and avoid having it flagged because it was not found in the English dictionary. I find the lack of a language format surprising, since in other respects Nisus Writer offers some extremely powerful tools for linguists, especially for those working in non-Roman alphabets. (Mike Farmer, H-MAC's moderator, finds Nisus Writer an excellent tool for working with Chinese, although he complained to me about having to use the "dongle.") Perhaps I am missing something here, although I have scoured the Nisus Writer manuals looking for this feature.
FOOTNOTES AND/OR ENDNOTES. WordPerfect allows you to include footnotes and endnotes in the same document, a feature I find useful, although not frequently. (Word 6 and FullWrite 2 can do this,too.) Nisus Writer will permit only one type of note per document. Both programs require you to edit notes in a separate notes window, unlike MacWrite Pro, which allows you to edit them on the page where they lie. WordPerfect will only allow you to view and edit one note at a time, but it is easier to move from note to note than it was in WordPerfect 2.1. Nisus Writer shows you many notes on screen at once, each in its own window. Both programs allow you a fair degree of control over such things as the separator line and the offset of footnotes from the body text above. In this respect, I'd say it's a draw.
Beyond the basics: essential tools and/or neat tricks
It's sometimes hard to tell the difference between an essential feature and one that is merely "way cool." So I am going to lump together here most of the features that I have not already discussed--the ones that go beyond the basics.
TABLES. Almost nobody I have corresponded with likes the way tables are implemented in Nisus Writer. NW uses a separate application to create tables, and one of the five volumes of documentation that come with Nisus Writer is devoted entirely to the Table Editor. Now in its defense, this application is integrated with the word processor fully and you need not realize that you are switching from one program to another. Call me perverse, but I actually like this. In fact, I wish more programs came with separable modules like this, so you could de- install them if you don't use them. I myself would love to de-install several of WordPerfect's features (the grammar checker, the graphics editor, and the equation editor, for starters), since I have no use for them at all. Tragically, I seem to be in the minority here.
Most of the complaints that I have heard directed against Nisus Writer's tables stem from the fact that it treats them as graphic elements. As a consequence, a table cannot spread over more than one page; and you cannot index or spell-check material that is included in a table. Nisus Writer's table editor does allow you to do some neat things, however, such as have footnotes within the table itself, that is, a note superscript inside a table cell can refer to a note in the caption box immediately below the table. Since I make fairly limited use of tables, I do not find Nisus Writer's limitations here to be problematic. On the other hand, WordPerfect's tables are one of its strengths. They are easy to create and extremely flexible. The feature that I like best about them is that they can be used as very simple spreadsheets, that is, you can create very simple arithmetic formulas that not only calculate column or row sums, but perform percentage calculations and the like.
MACROS and SCRIPTING. Now we get to the hard core stuff. In WordPerfect and Nisus Writer, as in Word 6, you can record simple macros and/or edit the macro scripts directly in an editing window. WordPerfect for DOS has had macros, I think since the Kennedy administration, and WordPerfect/Mac version 1, released many years ago, was the first Macintosh word processor to offer this feature. I remember wondering at the time what use anyone could possibly have for a programming language in a word processor. Now that I have finally started making use of macros, I find them addictive and I wonder how I lived without them for so many years.
I am unable to assess which language is more powerful, but I am pretty sure it does not matter to me, because I will never exhaust the abilities of either. On the other hand, it does matter to me that the macro language in Nisus Writer is much more complex than the language in WordPerfect. Here is an example of a Nisus Writer macro that does something trivially simple: it moves the insertion point from the middle of a sentence to the end.
Find Next "\>""'"')}]-\([.!?]\)\(:[ \t\r]|$\)" "-wg" Key Command-leftarrow
Find Next '\1' "-wgt"
The following WordPerfect macro does the same thing:
Now I admit that Nisus Writer does not have a "select sentence" macro command built in--although the program is familiar with the concept, since you can select a sentence in the editing window by triple-clicking on a word. But I could give many other examples that would make the same point. If you have had any experience with HyperTalk, AppleScript or BASIC, you will find it easy to learn how to write macros in WordPerfect. Even if you do not plan to write macros from the ground up, the straightforwardness of WordPerfect's macro language is an extremely important advantage, because it is often necessary to tweak the macros that you record by editing them directly. The macro language in Nisus Writer on the other hand resembles the programming language C. Unless you have a fair amount of advanced programming experience, if you buy Nisus Writer, expect to stick to the macros that come with the program and a few simple ones that you can record for yourself. (For what it's worth, the programming language in Word 6, called WordBasic, seems to me about twice as difficult as WordPerfect's and half as difficult as Nisus Writer's. But at least with Word 6 you can run down to the bookstore and come home with a dozen books that will show you how to use it.)
Additionally, it should be noted that both programs support an external scripting system. WordPerfect supports AppleScript much better even than MacWrite Pro, although it is not recordable. Nisus Writer does not support AppleScript, but does support Frontier. I have been working with AppleScript for some time now, so this is another plus of WordPerfect, as far as I'm concerned. But Frontier is more powerful than AppleScript, and if you use it, well, then you'll prefer Nisus Writer on this count.
OUTLINING, NUMBERING and MAKING LISTS. Here the features of the two programs do not overlap very much, so comparison is difficult and somewhat inconclusive. Nisus Writer 4 has an excellent numbering facility that allows you even to mark subordinate levels in a logical hierarchy. In other words, you can assign the number "1" to the first paragraph of a section of text, and assign "a" and "b" to its subordinate paragraphs before inserting the number "2". This allows you to organize your text numerically and/or alphabetically, although this organization cannot automatically be given the visual appearance of an outline. I like this feature a lot. (I don't think that even Word 6 can match it.) An outlining macro comes with Nisus Writer, but I found it cumbersome to use. There is no built-in outliner.
WordPerfect does have a built-in outlining feature, but it is kind of pathetic. (It is really just a set of automatic paragraph styles with a fancy auto-numbering feature.) You can however insert a sequence of automatically updating numbers in a WordPerfect document, even in non- sequential paragraphs, something I don't think you can do in Word 6. It's a little awkward, but once you have a macro for it, it becomes much easier. I give the advantage in this respect to Nisus Writer, because its numbering feature is better than WordPerfect's, and WordPerfect's outliner is not good enough to compensate. (If true outlining is really important to you in your word processor, your only choices are Microsoft Word--any version--and FullWrite 2.)
On the other hand, WordPerfect has another potentially useful feature which is very well implemented, although it requires a visit to the manual the first time you make use of it. WordPerfect's list command allows you to make structured lists of recurrent items such as graphics, citations, tables, or almost anything else and to place those lists anywhere you wish in your document. Furthermore, WordPerfect has a specialized tool that creates a table of authorities for legal briefs and motions. Here the advantage goes to WordPerfect. (Microsoft has been aggressively pursuing the legal market, and Word 6 now has a table of authorities feature too.)
Finally, line numbering in Nisus Writer is all or nothing. You can't just number the lines of a paragraph, as you can in WordPerfect. I cannot see any use for Nisus Writer's line numbering at all.
GLOSSARIES. Like FullWrite and Word, Nisus Writer has a true glossary feature, which allows you to store frequently used text and/or graphics, then retrieve them with a few quick keystrokes. A glossary is the best way to store boiler plate, your return address, and the like. However, WordPerfect compensates for its lack of a glossary feature with an "insert file" command. This makes it possible for you to store your boiler plate and recurrent graphics in stationery files that you insert with a macro.
FIND & REPLACE. There is no question that one of the most robust features of Nisus Writer is its search and replace capability, which includes GREP, a system of defining complex searches based on multiple criteria (e.g. "find XXX within so many lines of YYY"). I understand that Adam Engst, editor of Tidbits, uses Nisus Writer partly for its powerful search tools, which allow him to automate the editing of a great deal of his electronic correspondence. I must admit here that this feature is wasted on me. WordPerfect’s find and replace tool is more than adequate for my needs, and if I ever did need GREP, I'd start by playing with Rich Siegel's text editor supreme, BBEdit, which has this capability. If this sounds like something you could use, definitely look into Nisus Writer, but be forewarned that defining these complex searches is not a trivial task.
SORTING. I mention this feature because it is one of WordPerfect's peculiar strengths. WordPerfect goes way beyond letting you sort a bunch of paragraphs alphabetically by first word. Its sort feature is somewhat complicated but extremely flexible. Say you have a list of names and addresses--not in a table, just typed into a window with two hard returns between each item. So long as the addresses have a fairly consistent structure (names on the fist line, states listed as the next to last word in the last line), WordPerfect will allow you, at once, to pick out all the addresses that are in the states of Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, and sort them by state, zip code, last name, then first name. The competition cannot touch it here.
GRAPHICS (and graphic page elements). I have already suggested that WordPerfect's graphics editor is extraordinarily powerful. I am however as indifferent to this excellence of WordPerfect as I am to Nisus Writer's excellence at search and replace. Both programs allow you to place a graphic on a page that will print "Draft" in the background of your text. Okay, I like the fact that in WordPerfect, you can rotate the word "Draft" freely. But I could live without it. Honest.
WORD COUNT. Both will count the words in a document, but neither will give you a word count for a selection. (MacWrite Pro & FullWrite 2 can both do this.) I doubt that either product's development team ever talked to anyone who actually needs this feature. Writers who need to count words in the document as a whole usually will also want to know how many words will be removed if they delete a particular part of the document.
HELP. Both programs come with good documentation and excellent online help utilities. Nisus Writer 4 comes with five (!) volumes of documentation, so clear some shelf space before you open the box. The documentation is generally well written and fairly well organized. But there are obvious drawbacks to this copiousness. On the one hand, there is a fair amount of redundancy: the same topic may be dealt with in several volumes. On the other hand, you may have to search the indexes of all five volumes to find the answer to your question. The chapter on macros in the Nisus Writer documentation is, I am afraid, not nearly adequate to unlock the secrets of the macro language. WordPerfect places its macro help mostly online, but the online help is excellent and I have found it fairly easy to find answers to most of my questions. The documentation comes in a single thick volume, but it is comprehensive and for the most part pretty easy to follow.
A slight advantage to WordPerfect is that there are two books about the program available: John Rethorst's *Teach Yourself WordPerfect 3 for the Macintosh* (MIS Press, 1994), and Mark Bilbo's *Using WordPerfect Version 3 for Macintosh* (QUE Corporation, 1993). Both books are valuable complements to the documentation that comes with the program. So far as I am aware, there are currently no commercial books in print about Nisus Writer, which is unfortunate, because most users are going to find Nisus Writer's advanced features like find & replace or macros harder to understand than WordPerfect's.
On the other hand, I must say that Nisus Software has made a major commitment to supporting its users via the Internet and online services such as CompuServe. Mark Hurvitz of Nisus Software was tirelessly helpful and enthusiastic, even though I bombarded him with questions and insisted on engaging in lengthy debates about interface questions.
I should perhaps also comment on the MQ ("Macintosh Quotient") of each program. Some users--especially those who do not need to worry about moving files from one platform to the other--will find it comforting that Nisus Writer's publisher, Nisus Systems, has its eyes on the Macintosh market only. I think that, in general, the interface is clean (much improved over earlier versions) and the program does not do too many things that will seem backwards to you if you come from another Mac word processor. My biggest interface complaint, mentioned already, is the lack of a full-page WYSIWYG document view.
On the other hand, there is no denying that when most of the world speaks of WordPerfect, they are thinking of a PC application, and there is a close resemblance between the menu titles for the Mac version and the menu titles for WordPerfect for Windows version 6. One thing that most Mac users find rather weird at first are the formatting codes which WordPerfect displays in a special window; these are a throwback to the original versions for the PC. I have actually learned, however, that the codes, while ugly, can be quite helpful. (You never have to look at them if you don't want to.) And WordPerfect/Mac, unlike Microsoft Word/Mac, is not simply a port of the Windows version. WordPerfect's commitment to the Mac was evidenced in its being the first word processor to be PowerMac native. (The native version was available on the day the first PowerMacs became available for purchase.) Most if not all Mac users will find that WordPerfect's interface is far more "Mac-like" than that of Word 6, which Andy Ihnatko in the March 1995 MacUser calls "Word for Windows for Macintosh."
Nisus Writer wants at least 3Mb RAM to run, while WP has a minimum allocation of only 2Mb. WordPerfect claims that it will run in as little as 1200K, although I would not like to try it. On the other hand, Nisus Writer will, if you tell it to, load entirely into RAM, which makes it pretty friendly to PowerBooks running off their batteries.
There is no native version of Nisus Writer yet, but Nisus Software is hard at work on one. It should be noted, however, that I have not heard anyone complain about Nisus Writer being slow. Even running under emulation on a PowerMac, Nisus Writer is supposed to be quite responsive. This brings me to my most serious complaint about WordPerfect. In general, the program, although it is not as zippy overall as Nisus Writer or MacWrite Pro, is responsive enough. It opens fairly quickly, for example (8-10 seconds to launch and open a moderate-sized document on my PowerBook 520). Even fairly complex macros run very fast. Scrolling through a ten-page document is very satisfactory, and it takes no time at all to jump from the start of the same document to the end. And of course there is a PowerMac native version, which I understand is blazingly fast.
But unfortunately, I do not have a PowerMac, and on the 68K machines that I use, when I am typing text into the middle of a preexisting paragraph, although WordPerfect has no trouble whatever displaying the characters I type as fast as I can type them (which is very fast), it seems to delay refreshing the screen in any other way until I pause for a second or two. As a consequence, old text after the insertion point may appear momentarily to have been typed over. This can be annoying, sometimes even extremely annoying. I have corresponded with users on Compuserve who insist that they have not experienced this problem at all, although I am almost certain that it is not a foible peculiar to my machine. I should mention however that this sluggish response is no more pronounced on my wife's PB 165 (an '030 machine) than it is on my PB 520 (an '040 machine). I think it is a weakness built into the program code in such a way that having a more powerful 68K processor doesn't really make that big a difference.
(FWIW, Word 6 makes WordPerfect look downright peppy. Word 6 on my PowerBook 520 is slow doing just about anything. And Word 6 cannot keep up with my typing. It reflows text better than WordPerfect, but if I type even moderately fast, Word refuses to display the new characters on screen until I pause. I prefer the problem I have in WordPerfect, which lets me see what I'm typing immediately, but makes me pause now and then for preexisting text to move out of the way.)
My motive for beginning this comparison was very personal. I need to find--or want to find--a new word processor, one that goes beyond MacWrite Pro in its features. I regret to say that the one solid conclusion I have come to is that it is a crying shame that Claris has not committed itself to developing MacWrite Pro any further, because none of the alternatives can match MacWrite Pro for handling routine tasks, and MacWrite Pro still runs beautifully on an '030 machine. FullWrite 2 is the only other program that will run really well on an '030 machine with limited RAM. As I said in an earlier review, FullWrite 2 has some real strengths, but overall it's still not quite ready for prime time.
All things considered, I strongly prefer the interface and feature set of WordPerfect to that of Nisus Writer. But, while I have tried to explain my preferences, I recognize that this is a personal preference. Neil Shapiro, a managing editor of MacWorld and Chief Sysop on Compuserve, seems to regard WordPerfect as the best of the crop. But a recent MacWorld review of word processors gave the nod to Word 6. And other users, like Andy Ihnatko of MacUser and Adam Engst of Tidbits, apparently have chosen Nisus Writer. If you don't have a PowerMac, it's a tough choice.
If I had to identify the major, peculiar strength of all the programs I've been looking at lately, I think I'd say that MacWrite Pro is tops for basic tasks including those that depend upon the use of styles; FullWrite 2 is outstanding for outlines; Nisus Writer gives you powerful find & replace tools, excellent support for non-Roman scripts (Arabic, Chinese, etc.) and a great numbering feature; WordPerfect 3.1 has the best list-making, sorting and table tools; and Word 6 does not do an inspired job of anything but is pretty solid overall--if your Mac has the horsepower to run it.
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Last Update: 9 April 95