A word processor is an electronic device or computer software application, that performs the task of composing, editing, formatting, and printing of documents. Later models introduced innovations such as spell-checking programs, and improved formatting options, as of 2009 there were only two U. S. companies, Classic and AlphaSmart, which still made them. Many older machines, however, remain in use, since 2009, Sentinel has offered a machine described as a word processor, but it is more accurately a highly specialised microcomputer used for accounting and publishing. Most are powerful systems consisting of one or more programs that can produce a combination of images, graphics and text, the latter handled with type-setting capability. In its simplest form, a processor is like an Expensive Typewriter or Typewriter machine, with the improvement of being able to proofread. Microsoft Word is the most widely used word processing software according to a tracking system built into the software. Microsoft estimates that half a billion people use the Microsoft Office suite. Many other word processing applications exist, including WordPerfect and open source applications OpenOffice. org Writer, LibreOffice Writer, AbiWord, KWord, web-based word processors, such as Office Online or Google Docs are a relatively new category. Word processors evolved dramatically once they became software programs rather than dedicated machines and they can usefully be distinguished from text editors, the category of software they evolved from. A text editor is a program that is used for typing, copying, pasting, text editors do not format lines or pages. Text editors are now used mainly by programmers, website designers, computer system administrators and they are also useful when fast startup times, small file sizes, editing speed, and simplicity of operation are valued, and when formatting is unimportant. Due to their use in managing complex software projects, text editors can sometimes provide better facilities for managing large writing projects than a word processor. Word processing added to the editor the ability to control type style and size, to manage lines, to format documents into pages. Functions now taken for granted were added incrementally, sometimes by purchase of independent providers of add-on programs, spell checking, grammar checking and mail merge were some of the most popular add-ons for early word processors. Word processors are capable of hyphenation, and the management. More advanced features found in recent word processors include, Collaborative editing, allowing users to work on the same document. Management, editing, and positioning of visual material, and sometimes sound files, automatically managed cross-references to pages or notes. Version control of a document, permitting reconstruction of its evolution, styles, which automate consistent formatting of text body, titles, subtitles, highlighted text, and so on
A XEROX 6016 Memorywriter Word Processor
A 4-user Astrotype system using a DEC PDP minicomputer and IBM Selectric terminals.