Computer Software – Types of Productivity Software (Word Processing)


After a long and productive life of the typewriter, it has been made obsolete since the introduction of the computer and Word Processing software. Among other things, Word processing software allows you to use computers to create, edit, format, print, and store text material.

Word processing is the most common software application and popular word processing software packages include Microsoft Word, Corel WordPerfect, Star Word, and Zoho Writer. Word processing software allows users to perform the editing or correction activities such as delete, insert, and replace text. It also offers such additional features as creating, formatting, printing, and saving.

In this post we take a look at features of a word processing software.



Features Of Word Processing Software

Word processeors vary considerably but all word processors support the following basic features.


Creating Documents

Creating a document refers to entering text using the keyboard or the dictation function associated with speech-recognition software. Three features in word processing software that are very instrumental in document creation are the cursor, scrolling, and word wrap.

Cursor : The cursor is the movable symbol on the display screen that shows you where you may next enter data or commands. The symbol is often a blinking rectangle or an I-beam. The point where the cursor is located is called the insertion point. The cursor can be moved on the screen by using the arrow keys on the keyboard or a mouse.

Scrolling : Scrolling means moving upward, downward, or sideways through the text or other screen display. A standard computer screen displays only 20 to 22 lines of standard-size text. However, most documents are longer than that. Using the directional arrow keys, or the mouse and a scroll bar located at the side of the screen, you can move or scroll through the display screen and into the text above and below it.

Word Wrap : Word wrap automatically continues text to the next line when you reach the right margin. In other words, the text “wraps around” to the next line. You don’t have to hit a “carriage-return” or Enter key, as was necessary with a typewriter.


Editing Documents

Editing refers to the act of making changes or alterations in the content of a document. Some features of editing are insert and delete, undelete, find and replace, cut/copy and paste, spelling checker, grammar checker, and thesaurus.

Insert : Inserting is the act of adding to the document. This addition can be done by simply placing the cursor wherever you want to add text and start typing; the existing characters will be pushed along. If you want to write or type over (replace) text as you write, press the Insert key before typing. When you’re finished typing, press the Insert key again to exit Insert mode.

Delete : Deleting is the act of removing text, usually using the Delete key or the Backspace key. The Undo command can be used to restore text that you have deleted, as well as reversing other actions taken. Some word processing programs offer as many as 100 layers of “undo,” so that users who delete several paragraphs of text, but then change their minds, can restore the material.

Find & Replace : The Find, or Search, command allows you to find any word, phrase, or number that exists in your document. The Replace command allows you to automatically replace it with something else.

Copy/Cut & Paste : With copy/cut & paste, you can move a paragraph or block of text from one place to another. You first select (or highlight) the portion of text you want to copy or move, then you use the Copy or Cut command to move it to the clipboard, a special holding area in the computer’s memory.

From here, you use the Paste command to transfer the material to any point (indicated with the cursor) in the existing document or in a new document. Because the clipboard retains its contents, an item copied or cut once can be pasted repeatedly without having to recopy each time.

Spelling & Grammar Checker : A spelling checker tests for incorrectly spelled words. As you type, the spelling checker indicates with a wavy line words that aren’t in its dictionary and thus may be misspelled. Special add-on dictionaries are available for medical, engineering, and legal terms. Programs such as Microsoft Word have an Auto Correct function that automatically fixes such common mistakes as transposed letters, for example replacing “teh” with “the”.

A grammar checker highlights poor grammar, wordiness, incomplete sentences, and awkward phrases. The grammar checker won’t fix things automatically, but will flag (perhaps with a different-color of wavy line) possible incorrect word usage and sentence structure.

Thesaurus : While you are typing, if you get stuck as to which is the correct word to use, you can call up an on-screen thesaurus, which will present you with the appropriate word or alternative words.


Formatting Documents

In word processing context, formatting means determining the appearance of a document. Formatting can always be done manually but word processing programs provide a helpful feature called Template that speeds up the process and make it more sophisticated. A template is a preformatted document that provides basic tools for finally putting a document shape. Components of a document that may need formatting include the text, layout, and style for a letter, for example. In simple terms, a template is a style guide for documents.

Among the many aspects of formatting are font, spacing & columns, margins & justification, headers, footers & page numbers.

Font : You can decide what font —typeface and type size—you wish to use. For instance, you can specify whether it should be Arial, Courier, or Freestyle Script. You can indicate whether the text should be, say, 10 points or 12 points in size and the headings should be 14 points or 16 points. You can specify what parts should be underlined, italic, or boldface.

Spacing & Columns : You can choose whether you want the lines to be single-spaced or double-spaced or something else. You can specify whether you want text to be one column (like most documents), two columns (like many magazines and books), or several columns (like newspapers).

Margins & Justification : You can indicate the dimensions of the margins – left, right, top, and bottom – around the text. You can specify the text justification – how the letters and words are spaced in each line. To justify means to align text evenly between left and right margins, as in most newspaper columns. To left-justify means to align text evenly on the left. Left-justified text has a “ragged-right” margin, as do many business letters. Centering centers each text line in the available white space between the left and right margins.

Headers, Footers & Page Numbers : A header is common text (such as a date or document name) printed at the top of every page. A footer is the same thing printed at the bottom of every page. If you want page numbers, you can determine what number to start with, among other things. You can indicate headers or footers and include page numbers.


Printing Documents

Most word processing software gives you several options for printing. For example, you can print several copies of a document. You can print individual pages or a range of pages. You can even preview a document before printing it out. Previewing or print previewing means viewing a document on-screen to see what it will look like in printed form before it’s printed.


Saving Documents

Saving means storing or preserving a document as an electronic file permanently, for example on your hard disk or any external storage device such as a CD or USB flash drive. Saving is a feature of nearly all application software. Having the document stored in electronic form means you only need to retrieve it from the storage medium and make the changes you want, rather than having to create it from scratch, then you can print it out again.


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