Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
n. 1 A device similar to a simple computer, designed for word processing 2 Software that provides word processing functions on a computer, typically including typeface selection, line justification and other formatting, pagination, and numerous other features. Compare text editor.
n. an application that provides the user with tools needed to write and edit and format text and to send it to a printer [syn: word processing system]
A word processor is an electronic device or computer software application, that performs the task of composition, editing, formatting, printing of documents.
The word processor was a stand-alone office machine in the 1960s, combining the keyboard text-entry and printing functions of an electric typewriter, with a recording unit, either tape or floppy disk (as used by the Wang machine) with a simple dedicated computer processor for the editing of text. Although features and designs varied among manufacturers and models, and new features were added as technology advanced, word processors typically featured a monochrome display and the ability to save documents on memory cards or diskettes. Later models introduced innovations such as spell-checking programs, and improved formatting options.
As the more versatile combination of personal computers and printers became commonplace, and computer software applications for word processing became popular, most business machine companies stopped manufacturing dedicated word processor machines. 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.
Word processing was one of the earliest applications for the personal computer in office productivity and was the most popular application on home and personal computers until the World Wide Web rose to prominence in the mid-1990s.
Although the early word processors evolved to use tag-based markup for document formatting, most modern word processors take advantage of a graphical user interface providing some form of what-you-see-is-what-you-get ("WYSIWYG") editing. Most are powerful systems consisting of one or more programs that can produce any arbitrary combination of images, graphics and text, the latter handled with type-setting capability. Typical features of a modern word processor include font application, spell checking, grammar checking, a built-in thesaurus, automatic text correction, Web integration, and HTML exporting, among others. In its simplest form, a word processor is little more than a large Expensive Typewriter-like machine that makes correcting mistakes possible before printing.
Microsoft Word is the most widely used word processing software according to a user tracking system built into the software. Microsoft estimates that roughly half a billion people use the Microsoft Office suite, which includes Word. Many other word processing applications exist, including WordPerfect (which dominated the market from the mid-1980s to early-1990s on computers running Microsoft's MS-DOS operating system, and still (2014) is favored for legal applications) and open source applications OpenOffice.org Writer, LibreOffice Writer, AbiWord, KWord, and LyX. Web-based word processors, such as Office Web Apps or Google Docs, are a relatively new category.
Usage examples of "word processor".
ALL THE BUGS IN THIS WORD PROCESSOR WERE FULLY WORKED OUT BEFORE MR.
She sat down and began composing the letter-popping up a word processor in the foreground of the workspace-then decided that was premature.
She sat down and began composing the letterpopping up a word processor in the foreground of the workspacethen decided that was premature.
Lanier had never been in Hoffman's at-home work area before and now, in the video's cool light, he inspected the shelves of memory blocks, the broad, empty desk with its basic secretary's chair, the compact word processor beneath the video.
I should have started it a month ago, but I had to make sure I could work my word processor first.
It was like sitting in front of the word processor when you were tapped for ideas - you got nothing but a blank screen.
When I type the letters D-O-G into an ordinary word processor, it simply records mem in memory.
I'll need to get my word processor and shut myself in that room upstairs and work.