2. Word Processing Software

What is it?

A word processor is a software application that is used to produce, edit and format mainly text based documents.

What is it used for?
  • Writing letters
  • Memos
  • Reports
  • Creating letterheads
  • Mail merging
  • Producing labels
How were things done before wp?

People used to use typewriters to produce formal letters, reports and memos.  These required skill to use because once you had hit a key, the letter was imprinted straight onto the paper and could not easily be removed.  Different types of formatting were very limited on typewriters.

How are they used?

Text is usually entered via a keyboard.  The text can be viewed on the screen.
Text can also be entered by using a microphone and specialist ‘speech-to-text’ software
Paper-based documents can be scanned and specialist optical character recognition software can convert the text into a format which can then be used by the word processor.


Advantages Disadvantages
WYSIWYG - this means what is seen on the screen will be printed exactly as it looks. Using software wizards can make documents look similar to those produced by other businesses
The user can keep updating and amending their document without having to retype from scratch If backups are not done regularly, whole documents or recent changes can be lost
Documents can be saved and reused  
Can apply security to the document so only authorised users can open/amend content  
Can save work in a common file format e.g. .txt  
Can use as part of a mail merge to personalise documents  

Note: these are advantages and disadvantages, NOT features of word processing software - make sure you know the difference between the two


challenge see if you can find out one extra fact on this topic that we haven't already told you

Click on this link: Word Processing Software