[ Retro Scan of the Week ] AtariWriter

September 10th, 2012 by Benj Edwards

AtariWriter Atari 800 Word Processor Advertisement - 1980“You won’t find a bluer word processor package anywhere…”

[ From Personal Computing, November 1983, p.43 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What was the first word processor software you ever used?

24 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] AtariWriter”

  1. Eagles409 Says:

    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.

  2. arlandi Says:

    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.

  3. jarson Says:

    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.

  4. Daniel Says:

    I was first introduced to word processing in grade 4 on a Unisys Icon computer ( http://www.computernostalgia.net/articles/icon.htm ). It was one of the first computers that I used that had a GUI and a ‘trackball’.

    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.

  5. Multimedia Mike Says:

    IBM Writing Assistant for my first word processor. On an Epson-branded IBM PC clone.

  6. JackSoar Says:

    Some species of MacWrite, I imagine, but I can’t be certain. I mostly used Word in its various iterations until I got tired of paying for Microsoft Office, so I just use LibreOffice now.

  7. Richard James Says:

    I had a “type in” word processor for the VIC20 but it required a 8K RAM expansion which I did not have. I tried to write one in BASIC but I didn’t understand how to do so back then.

    Later when I got an Atari ST I had a Word Processor which I believe was called First Word Plus. Which would have been my first one.

  8. SirFatty Says:

    Bank Street Writer on the C64

  9. TheSaintOfPain Says:

    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.

  10. Bruce Says:

    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.

  11. Donn Says:

    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.

  12. Geoff V. Says:

    WordStar is the first word processor I used for actual work. Before that I had played with electronic typewriters that were nice, but lacked enough memory for spell check or other modern functions.

  13. Benj Edwards Says:

    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.

  14. Bob W Says:

    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.

  15. Wally Says:

    Growing up on Mac OS, I didn’t start typing essays until Jr. High…my family had a Apple Macintosh Quadra 605 then. The first Word Processer I ever used was Claris Works 🙂

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  17. Judith Says:

    Anyone else remember Multimate? That’s the first one I remember. Although really, the first thing I ever used that processed text at all was Zork 1. 😉

  18. Howard Says:

    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.

  19. Ken Says:

    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 ^.

  20. JT Says:

    The first real word processor I used was something for the Apple IIc we had when I was in high school, sometime around 1982. Now, 30 years later, I prefer using a manual typewriter…

  21. The Doctor Says:

    Bank Street Writer on the Apple II GS in school. My parents bought the Commodore version of it to use at home because I was already familiar with it.

  22. Bob Says:

    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.

  23. roflmao Says:

    My earliest memories are with a DOS version of WordPerfect back in the early 90s, though I’m sure there were other programs I used in school during the 80s.

  24. Jim Says:

    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!!

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