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Parsons Technology's Quite Write is a basic word processor with some nifty features for the money. Unfortunately, while the program has a lot of positive aspects, those features are hampered by some limitations.
Quite Write has the basic features you'd expect in any word processor. The program also features a 100,000-word spelling checker, mail-merge capability, and automatic document save and backup.
The unique repeat feature makes repetitive operations easy. In most word processors, you must define a block of text before you can copy, move, or manipulate it in any way. You can do that in Quite Write, but if you know in advance how many lines you're changing, use the repeat feature. Enter the number of lines you want the command to act on; then choose the command. While this isn't practical in all cases, I found it to be a real timesaver.
Quite Write is a menu-driven program. However, you can set the lime interval between pressing the ESC key and the menu's appearance. If you know the first letter of a command and press it before the menu appears, you can continue choosing commands this way without having to go through several menu levels on the screen. For example, after you've used the program for a while, you know you can change your document's line spacing to double by pressing, in order, ESC, A, S, and then D.
Rather than a plain, monochrome screen, Quite Write shows physical page breaks on the screen, and you can use the Setup feature to choose background and foreground screen colors, and colors to represent underlined, bold, and italic text.
The Display command brings up a screen that gives you all the information you'd want to know about your file—even the first line of text currently stored in the paste buffer. From this screen you can activate a limed automatic-save feature and choose whether you want a backup copy of your document created when saving.
You can easily choose commands and modify your text with QuiteWrite.
A date-insert feature lets you place the current date anywhere in your file. The date is automatically updated whenever you print the document.
You can exit to DOS, execute a command, and then return to Quite-Write with a single keystroke. You'll never appreciate this feature more than when your document disk is too full for your current file and you need to format a new disk to save your work.
Finally, Quite Write has a nice way of letting you insert special ASCII characters into your text: You use the cursor keys to select the one you want from a pop-up box that appears and then press Enter.
Unfortunately, some of Quite-Write's features are limited. You can create macros, for example, but you can have only ten macros per file, and these can contain a total of only 256 keystrokes.
Instead of moving or copying text in one step, Quite Write makes you select and cut a text block, then use the paste command to insert it into another location. And, though your document can contain headers and footers, they're limited to one line in length. A split-window feature that lets you open two files at once is a nice feature, but it takes several keystrokes to move between the files (unless you assign the commands to two of your valuable macros).
The worst offender is the manual. It's missing the simplest things (a key-stroke-reference chart) and the most necessary (step-by-step examples explaining how use the commands). Also, much of the information it does provide is downright confusing, or in some cases, inaccurate. While some of this information is available in an online help file, being able to access reference material without having to leave your file seems a better arrangement.
Although this is a passable beginner's word processor with some neat features to recommend it, its manual is woefully inadequate. But if you're willing to jump in and do a lot of experimenting, the price is right.
IBM PC and compatibles—$49 plus $5 shipping
372 Collins Rd. NE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52402