The first one I used was in high school, it was a program for the Apple //e called FrEd writer (stood for Freedom Eduction Writer). It was very basic, but it beat using a typewriter. I still have all of the papers I wrote using it, saved to floppy disc.
the first word processor software i ever used was Wordstar. can't remember what version i used. used it in 8th grade (1988) to make, if i remember correctly, paper on history. i even photocopied some photos, and made the spaces for them in WS. maybe i was the first in my class to use computer as a tool. the others were still using typewriters.
The first word processor I ever used was a Wang that my mom used at a law firm she worked at. She'd bring me along to work and I would ask lots of questions about the "Computer". I was told that it was not a computer but a word processor. I did not believe them and eventually I was able to get someone at the firm to get it to run a game– which was a version of the famous "Adventure" text-based game.
I also had 'Typewriter' word processor program at home which loaded from cassette onto a stock Commodore VIC-20, though with only 5K RAM, it would give an 'Out Of Memory' error after typing half a page of text.
Then I upgraded to a Commodore 64 with WordWriter 6 which was one of the better wordprocessors for the C64. I still remember how the spellchecker could take up to 10 minutes or more to verify spelling in a 5 page document and printing to a dot-matrix printer was S–L–O–W… and noisy.
In high school, I was introduced to WordPerfect 5.0 which was amazing for the time. I still have a copy that I sometimes run in DOSBox albeit it's WordPerfect 6 for DOS which has a GUI.
Today, even WordPad in Windows is better than anything that was available on the Unisys ICON, VIC-20, Commodore 64/128 and Atari 400/800 from the 80s. MacWrite from 1984 is possibly the only thing that comes close to WordPad.
I first used some version of Microsoft Word that came on an old IBM XT that I got for my 9th or 10th birthday. I didn't have a printer for a long time for the thing, so I mostly just used it to play around and definitely not for anything important. By the time I did get a printer that would work with it, the hard drive died, and I couldn't find a replacement.
It may have been Atari Writer Plus. It was on an Atari 800xl, in the late 80s, with a Starmicronics SG10 printer (connected via the 850 interface?). I remember being able to "insert" printer control codes within the text to take advantage of fonts and printer functions not directly supposrted by the program.
I think the first was the word processor portion of an early DOS productivity suite called Eight-in-One. It was an ASCII based GUI, and incorporated the word processor, a spreadsheet, calendar, outliner, grapher, modem terminal, and some other things to fill out the eight.
Shortly after that we got GEMWrite, and I also messed around with a big old Wang word processor that took 8 inch floppies.
These are some really great and interesting responses, guys. I have enjoyed reading them. I thought I might as well chime in with my first WP software experience.
The first word processor program I used for real writing was an early form of Microsoft Works for MS-DOS (probably v1.x or v2.x). Before that, our family used AppleWorks some on the Apple IIc, though I don't recall ever using it personally.
Though I had been programming Apples since 1979 and had a custom modded Atari 400, the first word processor I used and bought was in 1984 for my Apple IIe–Quark Word Juggler with Lexicon spell checker. I paid $140 for it, which would be about $350 in today's money. Crazy!
I loved it so much that I used it all through college and most of grad school. I stopped using it in 1996, when I bought my first PC because my Apple IIe was dying and didn't have enough memory to handle my master's thesis.
Word Juggler and Apple Works were the only reasons I could not part with my Apple. I miss them dearly.
WordStar was the first word processor I used for real. I toyed around with some on the TRS-80 Model IV (Super Scriptsit), and some of the C=64 programs (can't remember the names), but never really used one until I used WordStart on the IBM PC in the mid 1980′s.
My first word processor was TI-Writer for the TI 99/4A, since that was really the only one available. I remember that it had a "80 column" layout which just meant you could only see part of the screen at a time. Also, I had to look up control codes in the printer manual for underlining, etc and map them using commands at the beginning of the document to characters like $ or ^.
Protext on the Amiga. It came on a cover disc on one of the many Amiga magazines in the UK that were having a software giveaway war - each competing mag had a floppy disc with a complete commercial software program on it. I was able to build up a huge library of DTP programs, paint programs, raytracers, 3D modelling software, sequence players - you name it, they gave away a version of it. Protext was incredibly powerful and great for just bashing out text. It had a built in spell-check too. Then, with a copy of Cross DOS - again, cover-discware - I could formate a 720k MS DOS floppy on my Amiga, save the Protext file as a .txt file, drag it to the PC floppy, take it to school and print it out. Incredibly useful when it came to writing out long essays for school. I used the same system right through college and university with my Amiga 1200 using Wordworth and Cross DOS until I finally switched over to an iMac in 2002.
The first word processor I ever used was the cartridge version of Color Scripsit on my TRS-80 Color Computer II in 1985. I used to type up school papers for my siblings and print them on my Tandy DMP106 dot matrix printer. Talk about slow and noisy!!