Choosing a word processor for the Macintosh, once a simple decision, recently became far more complicated with the introduction of several powerful programs, including one designed especially for academic and scientific use.

The good news is that several software producers seem to be heading in the right direction; the bad news is that no one has reached the finish line with the ideal program for academics and scientists in hand. But several companies ap- pear to be close.

Before the spring of 1988, only three choices were available: MacWrite, the original Mac word processor, WriteNow, an expansive and inexpensive variation on the same theme; and Word, Microsoft’s powerful but inelegant program that achieved the rank of standard almost by default. But by summer, the field had grown with the introduction of two extremely powerful, if flawed, competitors: WordPerfect and FullWrite Professional.

The latest version of MacWrite (version 5.0) by an...

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