Executive Writer. (evaluation)
Adam Osborne, rising from the ashes of Osborne Computer brings us Paperback Software. His objective in the new venture: offer utilitarian products at a low price.
Executive Writer is designed to work like a Wang dedicated word processor, complete with non-printing informational symbols. It includes all of the standard editing and fromatting features, as well as several advanced features such as file merging, macro keys, indexing, footnoting, and even insertion of graphics into the text. Should any problems arise, excellent on-screen help is available at the press of a function key.
Complete cursor control includes moving the cursor by word, line, and screen, and to the top and bottom of the file. An especially nifty feature is the ability to specify a certain number of lines to go forward or backward.
On monochrome and color monitors, text is displayed at half-intensity. When you trigger the boldface function, your text appears at normal intensity--in effect giving the appearance of boldface right on the screen. Underlining is a different story. On the monochrome monitor, you actually see the underline on the screen. However, on a color monitor, underlined text is a different color and underlined, boldfaced text is a third colon.
So far, Executive Writer is an excellent word processing program. However, it does have some limitations that detract from its effectiveness.
The most irritating one is not knowing where you are in a document. The program displays neigher page nor line number, and you never know where the page breaks fall.
The second irritating idiosyncrasy is the lack of automatic reformatting while in insertion mode or after moving a block of text. While inserting text, you can type past the right margin and scroll into the next screen. The program does have a special "open insert" mode that clears the screen and performs word-wrap functions, but for all those small one- and two-word insertions as well as block moves, you are stuck pressing a function key.
The documentation, while generally good, could feature information about the logged disk drive more prominently.
Hard disk owners will find that Executive Writer does not recognize DOS 2.0 pathnames directly. The manual provides instructions on using the program with subdirectories.
You can print to screen, to disk, or to a printer. Roughly a dozen printer drivers, including a configure-your-own, are available.
Customer support for all Paperback products costs $5 for the first five minutes and $1 per minute thereafter, plus long distance telephone charges. Replacement disks are $5.
All in all, Executive Writer proves to be an outstanding word processor with many of the capabilities found in full-featured programs costing hundreds of dollars more. We give it high marks, and if you can work around the idiosyncrasies, the price will surely make you smile.
Products: Executive Writer (Word processing software)