Smatterings: Word Processing How-To Page

Help files are often vague on a few points.

When in doubt on what to do on my word processing program, I ask a secretary. Secretaries know how to all kinds of cool things with a word processor.

Every once in a while Murphy's Law prevails: What will go wrong, does go wrong. Under Murphy's Law; Back in the 90's when WordPerfect was a DOS program and Word was a Mac program, if I am having trouble with something in Word, then the only people available have their expertise in Word Perfect.

Word Processing Help Links.

Microsoft Word

The most acceptable format in the publishing world who work via e-mail.

ADD Balance site has a large listing of free Microsoft Word tutorials for more complicated things one can do with Word and templates.

Find and Replace instructions from Microsoft.

Microsoft Word Tutorial for XP, 2003 and 2002 covers tables, and the basics you need to get started.

Microsoft Word Frequently Asked Questions in addition this site offers a free on-line tutors, downloads and links.

The Office Experts Mail merge, forms, outlines, tables, envelopes and labels. Site also covers Outlook, Access, Front Page, Excel, Power Point and VBA and free downloads for related utilities.

Recipes4Word free writing tools explains how to setup MS Word for the proper format of a synopsis for a novel and a query letter.

Tricky Ways instructions on clearing Word formatting to clipboard for Word 2007, and 2010.

A Manuscript is Not a Book: Ten Tips for Manuscript Preparation A great guide for MS Word users to use for submitting your manuscript to a commercial printing company.


Corel; Word Perfect

Not compatible for book and magazine publishers. However, famous for being easy to create a document you are only planning to print and Word Perfect's grammar checker.

Tested better than MS Word for typesetting SmatteringsBooks novel Knife of Truth Road to Megara. The final required output is a photo ready PFD document, which can be printed via a freeware package either BullZip or PrimoPDF listed under my website authoring software page under MSWord and publish as a PDF document in Word Perfect. The only difficulty using Word Perfect is if you desire submitting your novel to SmashMouth for e-book formatting. They require MS Word only and do not accept e-pub files. Use a MS Word compatible program for short documents. Set up WordPerfect to format your camera ready print.

About.com Remove Extra Spaces Between Sentences and Paragraphs of Text.

Barry MacDonnell's Toolbox for WordPerfect More than 350 WordPerfect for Windows macros and templates ... free for the downloading in the macros and templates. Hundreds of WordPerfect for Windows tips.

CompuSavvy's Word & WordPerfect Tips Changing the default document settings in WordPerfect easier than creating a template.

Stuart G. Friedman A good WordPerfect link page.

Freeware Word Processing Alternatives

If MS Word or Word Perfect is beyond your budget, these free programs downloadable from the Internet have a good reputation.

Focus Writer Hides its commands with a mouse over so the writer won't be distract by them. Allows choices of backgrounds to type against. Saves in txt and rtf formats. Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X.

Jarte Based on WordPad that comes with Microsoft but much easier to use. Has a decent help section at their site to get you started. Freeware program is compatible with MS Word with Microsoft download, which sent me to the correct link to download it quickly. Exports text and images to PDF. The only downside is the lack of headers needed to label your pages for editors with your name/worktitle if you can only submit your work via the US postal system.

Jer's Novel Writer A promising looking free software program available for Macintosh only.

Q10 A Windows free word processor that saves in txt format, written by a fellow writer. Reminds me of an old DOS program in some ways but uses common Windows short cuts. Similar to typing on a black sheet of paper in yellow. Great for doing writing exercises compiled on Smatterings Writers Block page. Complete with spell check, word counts, auto save, and a timer. Use with Y Writer listed on Smatterings Writers Craft page for help with turning your rough chapters of your novel into polished chapters for a book.

Rough Draft Donationware word processor designed for writers. Saves in rft format, so it's files are compatible with MS Word. It automatically generates a title page. A quality free word processor.


Word Clones

The advantage of a Word clone is that you can go to school or attend a short class to learn how to use it. Many Open Source Programs are written for Linux users, so they have more bugs in their Windows versions. I retest these programs to suit my writing needs because MSWord is unstable when creating large documents and Microsoft is only willing to let a user install their program for x many times before they prohibit reinstalling their software. If PC hardware was designed to last long enough to write, edit and a satisfying fiction novel publishing requirements and the software that I paid for actually worked without crashing, I'd be happy. But the major word processing programs need to be more stable than they have been in the last 20 years.

SoftMaker Office 2012 free office suite that is earning a rep across the Internet. Word and Excel compatible. Tested in 2009 when it was Softmaker 2008, with Vista 32 and XP. Worked fine until I started working with students learning English and found out word processors are better if they come with a grammar and spell check. Currently testing the 2012 release.

LibreOffice personal productivity suite for Windows, Macintosh and GNU/Linux, gives you six feature-rich applications: Writer, Calc, Impress, Draw, Math and Base complete with grammar and spell check. Started testing LibreOffice in 2013. LibreWriter allows users to scan in a document and save it in PDF format. Treats docx MS Word files better than old versions of Word with compatibility filters installed but not as well as Open Office. When tested in 2014, LibreOffice worked great for letter heads and invoices, but I wanted to create my own styles. It allowed me to do that, but when I highlighted my text, chose my style, no changes were made to my text.

Kingsoft Writer Free 2014 free word processor based on Word. Comes with spell check but is only licensed for free if you and your computer work for no one and never plan to amount anything. They restrict both organizational and business use. Comes with a grammar check and accepts docx MS Word files.

Award winning writer sites suggest four free word processors the most: Neither Open Office, AbiWord, Alantis Nova, nor Angel Writer tested suitable for usable software for a writer. As one cuts and pastes and continues to revise one's manuscript, black boxes appear and refuse to disappear even when printing. Though I did manage to cleanup The Knife of Truth, A Matter of Honor by Cynthia Willerth after converting the book version to an HTML version for Kindle with Star Office (not linked to- shareware). If you still want to try this software because you know better or your professor requires it...

AbiWord 2009 Retrying- may be the best of the Word clones but to import from MS Word even in 2014 only reads rft files. Abi Word since they've added a limited grammar checker and some plug-ins to their free software package. Since Q10 formatting capabilities it might be feasible to write as far as you can and then open it with AbiWord and finish from there. In 2014 testing AbiWord failed the custom style sheet test.

Open Office Office suite that runs on all major platforms; word processor, spreadsheet, presentation software, equation editor and a drawing program. Saves files as PDF and HTML format. In 2009 it lacked a grammar checker but one had been written for it at Language Tool in English, German, Polish, Dutch, and other languages. Open Office seems to run in slow motion. Tested under Win 95, 98, XP and Vista. Some things stay the same over time. Imports Word files OK, but like most free word processors has trouble when doing massive revising and crashes. Linux users swear by Open Office's excellence. Retested Open Office in 2014 using Windows 7. Open Office has improved over the years but like all word processors still has flaws. This free Windows writing program has speed up, features working editable user defined styles and they finally added a grammar check. On the downside, Open Office does not allow for odd and even page headers, does not work with docx files, and their windows plug-in installer does not work like it use to.

Open Office Help

Open Office Training Tips and Ideas offers a work around the lack of even and odd headers using styles in Open Office.

Taming Open Office Another authors saga on using available software to make a book.

University of Texas Tutorials for Open Office Write and Impress, MS Word and Power Point 2003.

Templates, more word processors reviews, free templates, script writing freeware, desktop publishing, chapt books, book publishing.



Return to Homepage     Return to Computers for Writers Page.     Return to Web Page Authoring.