Good DOS WYSIWYG word processor?

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Good DOS WYSIWYG word processor?

Postby keenmaster486 » 2019-3-12 @ 21:36

Can anyone recommend a good DOS word processor?

I have used MS Word 5.5 and 6.0, in addition to Word Perfect 6.1 (the only WYSIWYG word processor for DOS that I know of), but I'm looking for something a little better. Here's what I'm looking for specifically.

  • Support for RTF format
  • Graphics mode WYSIWYG with VGA and maybe VESA compatibility
  • More of a minimalist interface, similar to Windows 95's WordPad as opposed to Word 97, for example.
  • Does not require 386/486/Pentium
  • TrueType font support with good rendering. A lot of word processors for DOS will render the text with chunky blocks stuck on the letters because they can't scale them properly.

Beats me if this exists somewhere out there. If it doesn't, I'll be wanting to make it myself :lol:
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Re: Good DOS WYSIWYG word processor?

Postby Errius » 2019-3-12 @ 21:53

That was my thought as well. This would be an interesting programming project.
"I damn near killed an idiot who insisted on commenting in Klingon, but only on bits of inline assembler embedded in C ..."
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Re: Good DOS WYSIWYG word processor?

Postby retardware » 2019-3-12 @ 22:17

Ventura Publisher (which ran on GEM) ran nicely on 8088 DOS PC, though not at the speed people expect nowadays.
In the 1980s I used it myself.
But that was before things like RTF, TT, so it does not fulfill your requirements.
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Re: Good DOS WYSIWYG word processor?

Postby Damaniel » 2019-3-12 @ 23:15

The first of your requirements are doable in theory (and are something I've kind of wanted myself for a while), but I don't think a 8088/286 is going to be able to render TrueType glyphs at any usable speed, even with an 8087/80287.
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Re: Good DOS WYSIWYG word processor?

Postby keenmaster486 » 2019-3-13 @ 06:30

Maybe the TrueType thing is not as important. Mostly I am concerned with the user interface; I don't want flashy, confusing buttons screaming at me from the screen and taking up 3 inches of vertical space; at most maybe the font settings and bold/italic/underline, and bulleted/numbered lists (with options to customize things, of course).

Word Perfect 6.1 is honestly the closest I have seen to this; it just has non-standard everything! I.e. not like MS Word, really. For example it handles block text selection in the most counterintuitive way. Also the way it renders fonts makes them look not that great.
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Re: Good DOS WYSIWYG word processor?

Postby yawetaG » 2019-3-13 @ 07:31

keenmaster486 wrote:Maybe the TrueType thing is not as important. Mostly I am concerned with the user interface; I don't want flashy, confusing buttons screaming at me from the screen and taking up 3 inches of vertical space; at most maybe the font settings and bold/italic/underline, and bulleted/numbered lists (with options to customize things, of course).

Word Perfect 6.1 is honestly the closest I have seen to this; it just has non-standard everything! I.e. not like MS Word, really. For example it handles block text selection in the most counterintuitive way. Also the way it renders fonts makes them look not that great.


You know you can customize the menus and button bars in Word 6.0, right?
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Re: Good DOS WYSIWYG word processor?

Postby keenmaster486 » 2019-3-13 @ 07:41

Word 6.0 is a fake WYSIWYG interface; only supports displaying bold/italic/underlined, in the system font.
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Re: Good DOS WYSIWYG word processor?

Postby dr_st » 2019-3-13 @ 08:00

keenmaster486 wrote:Word 6.0 is a fake WYSIWYG interface; only supports displaying bold/italic/underlined, in the system font.
Uhm, what?
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Re: Good DOS WYSIWYG word processor?

Postby yawetaG » 2019-3-13 @ 11:07

keenmaster486 wrote:Word 6.0 is a fake WYSIWYG interface; only supports displaying bold/italic/underlined, in the system font.


Then your installation is screwed up, because that plainly isn't true. I have the Microsoft manual to prove it.
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Re: Good DOS WYSIWYG word processor?

Postby keenmaster486 » 2019-3-13 @ 14:33

In pure DOS? Obviously Word 6.0 for Windows will do the full shebang but I thought the DOS version was limited to the display capabilities of Word 5.5.
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Re: Good DOS WYSIWYG word processor?

Postby dr_st » 2019-3-13 @ 15:15

I believe you may be right; I actually had no idea (or forgot) about the existence of Word 6.0 for DOS; everyone just remembers Word 6.0 for Windows. It's very confusing to have two applications with the same name, which are actually very different!
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Re: Good DOS WYSIWYG word processor?

Postby yawetaG » 2019-3-13 @ 15:28

Well, you didn't specify it was the DOS version.

But yeah, look at programs for GEM; there's some nice stuff.

You could try finding a PC version of Locoscript, which is not exactly WYSIWYG, but should support multiple fonts and even has the ability to design your own...
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Re: Good DOS WYSIWYG word processor?

Postby Scali » 2019-3-13 @ 15:35

Then there's GeoWorks/GeoWrite of course.
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Re: Good DOS WYSIWYG word processor?

Postby keenmaster486 » 2019-3-13 @ 15:46

yawetaG wrote:Well, you didn't specify it was the DOS version.

keenmaster486 wrote:Can anyone recommend a good DOS word processor?



I will look into GEM stuff! I vaguely remember using GeoWorks at some point. I'll look at that as well.
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