WordStar 2000 Plus; the bionic word processor. (evaluation) Russ Lockwood.
Imagine the brain trust at MicroPro figuring out how to take Stone Age WordStar and transform it into a Space Age word processor. Somehow, it had to revive the aging and ailing program and generate new interest--especially in the corporate and professional sectors.
Of course, we are not privy to the internal goings on at MicroPro, but the result of whatever procedure they used is an impressive, full-featured, state-of-the-art, top-of-the-line word processing system called WordStar 2000 Plus. And if the adjectives don't knock you off your feet, the sophistication will.
Countdown to Features
WordStar 2000 Plus includes all the features and functions you expect of a good, solid word processing program: insert, delete, block operations, search and replace, file merge, boldface, underlining, super- and subscripts, justification, centering, adjustable margins, and full cursor movement. However, MicroPro cuts back on the cumbersome Control codes used in WordStar in favor of a combination of Control, Alternate, Shift, and Function keys.
This can be a two-edged sword. New users will be thrilled by the ease of invoking these functions. A plastic template that fits over the keyboard, tear-out quick reference cards, and on-screen menus help you navigate through the program. Extensive, interactive tutorials teach you the system.
Veteran WordStar users who have mastered the Control characters will find these new combinations baffling. Some overlap occurs between WordStar and WordStar 2000 Plus, but not enough to make the transition smooth. To the credit of MicroPro, the commands are more logical to first time users, but not to those of us who load the control codes into "Brain RAM" while Wordstar loads into "Computer RAM."
WordStar 2000 Plus includes preformatted and user-definable page styles. Default settings include tabs, margins, headers, footers, and more. If you use standardized formats for memos, proposals, and other correspondence, this feature can save you time.
The program also allows macros--single keys defined to print strings of characters. MicroPro finally found out what third-party manufacturers knew all along: these things are handy.
It also offers an Undo Command. Many is the time I accidentally pressed Ctrl-Y (delete line) instead of Ctrl-T (delete word). MicroPro eliminates this and other black holes by allowing the most recently erased text to reappear.
More of the Write Stuff
In the January 1985 issue, we reviewed Correctstar, a marvelous spelling checker for WordStar. Well, guess what? WordStar 2000 Plus includes Correctstar in the package.
WordStar 2000 Plus also does windows. You can move text (including spreadsheet data) among up to three different documents. Furthermore, you can perform arithmetic calculations (add, subtract, multiply, and divide) on that data within the word processing program.
WordStar 2000 Plus also converts document files to ASCII and then transmits them using the telecommunications program TelMerge. Other advanced features include automatic footnoting and indexing, alphabetic and numeric sorting, and a mailing list database with mailmerge functions.
Down to Earth
The biggest drawback is disk accessing and swapping. The installation procedure alone takes approximately 30 minutes of intense disk reading and writing. As you use the program, each feature seems to require accessing or swapping the disk.
At first, MicroPro only allowed three copies to be made. The problem is, once you hit three copies, that's it. That means NO RAM DISKS. Page four of the installation guide specifically warns against RAM disks. Fortunately, cooler heads at MicroPro realized the folly of forcing floppy disk users to install the program into a RAM disk and then uninstall it after each session. Hence, the new version of Wordstar 2000 Plus is not copy protected. Owners of the old version can request an update kit from dealers.
While WordStar 2000 Plus contains a cornucopia of features, the learning curve can be steep.
On the other hand, it is a powerful top-of-the-line word processing system. In fact, I can think of no better pairing than Word Star 2000 Plus and an IBM PC AT. Even owners of floppy disk machines can use the program by loading it into a RAM disk.
All in all, WordStar 2000 Plus is a welcome step forward in word processing software. MicroPro took WordStar and devised a remarkable new product with feature after feature. Executives and professionals: place WordStar 2000 Plus at the top of your word processor shopping list.
Products: Wordstar 2000 Plus (Word processing software)