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Microsoft Word 5.1: The Apex of Word Processing

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the when-men-were-men-and-programs-were-scared dept.

Software 591

angkor writes "'Word 5.1 is 13 years old in 2004. Many people still swear by it. Powerful features, stable application, without bloat. Nirvana by Microsoft. It's been all downhill from there...' I always thought WordPerfect 5.1 was pretty good as well. I still use it alongside my OfficeXP."

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first post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9463870)

!blah

YOU WIN IT! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9464011)

What can I say, credit where credit is due.

Oh yeah, and get a life.

Swear by? (5, Funny)

paulhar (652995) | more than 10 years ago | (#9463882)

or at...

Strange... (4, Funny)

Psychor (603391) | more than 10 years ago | (#9463885)

Odd how people swear by Word 5.1, when all I seem to manage with Word XP is to swear at it.

Re:Strange... (5, Funny)

nocomment (239368) | more than 10 years ago | (#9463984)

I'd swear by openoffice, but I'm still waiting for it to finish loading.

Re:Strange... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9464086)

Ba-dum chwa!

Re:Strange... (2, Funny)

Alan (347) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464151)

I'd swear by openoffice but I'm still waiting for it to finish compiling. /gentoo

Word: nice -- if and when... (5, Informative)

Doug Merritt (3550) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464124)

When I use Windows at work, Word is powerful and pretty nice...if and when it works. It doesn't crash on me, but it does refuse to do what I tell it sometimes; power users get used to doing workarounds, so it's not that big of a deal if you use it every single day -- you memorize its idiosyncracies.

However, several times I've seen a whole group of Word power users (not clueless lusers) need to given up on a document and start over from scratch -- usually just on little things like the company business plan or 12 month road map (urk). The only workaround each time was to copy/paste the original document text into a new Word file, because Word was hopelessly confused by whatever little magic cookies it had left in the original document.

I.e. I know it's not just me being confused, I see this happen to everyone who uses Word heavily on big documents, sooner or later.

To be charitable, this may be the eventual fate of any huge app that grows by accretion from a small program to a hugely enormous giganto app, without being redesigned and recoded and refactored along the way.

So yeah, Word -- nice when it works, I guess, but it can be quite frustrating other times.

First Post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9463887)

It looks like you're writing the first post...

asdf (5, Funny)

professorhojo (686761) | more than 10 years ago | (#9463889)

I gave up on word the day I clicked on a menu and an hourglass appeared. :(

Re:asdf (5, Funny)

lacrymology.com (583077) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464071)

"I gave up on word the day I clicked on a menu and an hourglass appeared."

Well, Word has come quite a long way since then... they've upgraded to a really cool spinning rainbow disk now.
-m

Re:asdf (3, Funny)

njm (556768) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464096)

I'd suggest that you never give Emacs a try, then!

5.1 for Mac (5, Informative)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 10 years ago | (#9463894)

In case anyone's confused (since Word for Windows jumped from Word 2 to Word 6 without any inbetween versions - take that Slackware!), this article is about Word 5.1 for Mac.

There was probably a DOS Word 5 too.

Re:5.1 for Mac (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 10 years ago | (#9463945)

I liked Word and Excel 4 on my Mac. I still have the disks somewhere and it still surprises me how responsive they were on the SE we had.

Re:5.1 for Mac (5, Informative)

iocat (572367) | more than 10 years ago | (#9463985)

Word 5.1 was ok for a Microsoft product, but serious Mac word processors always used the blisteringly fast WriteNow [macease.com] (originally by T/Maker, later published by TLC). It was done in 68000 assembly and originally started as an Apple funded project which was a hedge against the possibility that MacWrite might not get done in time for the Macintosh launch.

In addition to the fastest word count ever seen (essential if you're a journalist), it also came with really well written and funny manuals. Even emulated on the first PowerMacs, it ran circles around WORD and had great line spacing abilities (essential if you're a student trying to hit a page count).

Interesting - 5.1 the magic version number? (3, Interesting)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 10 years ago | (#9463896)

WP peaked at 5.1, Word peaked at 5.1 - any other products for which 5.1 was the magic version number?

Re:Interesting - 5.1 the magic version number? (2, Insightful)

mikeburke (683778) | more than 10 years ago | (#9463952)

MS-DOS .. well, I *think* they had a 5.1 .. :)

Re:Interesting - 5.1 the magic version number? (2, Interesting)

betelgeuse-4 (745816) | more than 10 years ago | (#9463965)

Surround sound? I know it's a different context, but many people say they can't hear the difference between 5.1 and the ones with even more speakers. (I'm happy with a decent pair of headphones)

Re:Interesting - 5.1 the magic version number? (3, Interesting)

The_K4 (627653) | more than 10 years ago | (#9463996)

The difference between 5.1 and 7.1 is VERY noticable, especially in the scene where Trinity kicks the Cop's Asses. You can HEAR her run around the walls...... :)

Damn me!! (1)

vijaya_chandra (618284) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464056)

and am watching the movie all these days on a 2.1 :((

Re:Interesting - 5.1 the magic version number? (2, Insightful)

betelgeuse-4 (745816) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464162)

Hearing is very subjective. If I can't hear the difference between two systems I might as well buy the cheaper one, if you can, then by all means go for the more expensive one. But I shouldn't waste my money on a difference that only you can hear.

Re:Interesting - 5.1 the magic version number? (0, Redundant)

strictnein (318940) | more than 10 years ago | (#9463980)

Dolby surround sound?

(yes I know they're well beyond that now... but it is by far the most prevalent tech out there now)

Re:Interesting - 5.1 the magic version number? (1)

markxz (669696) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464048)

Dolby surround sound?

(yes I know they're well beyond that now... but it is by far the most prevalent tech out there now)


Dolby Digital is 5.1 (5 discrete channels + subwoofer)
Dolby Digital EX is 6.1 (5 discrete channels + 1 matrixed +subwoofer)

Not a huge advance. (Unless you were talking about cinema sound in general with SDDS 8 channel or DTS 10 channel)

Re:Interesting - 5.1 the magic version number? (5, Funny)

lacrymology.com (583077) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464001)

Gator eWallet version 5.1 was the pinnacle of scumware.

-m

Re:Interesting - 5.1 the magic version number? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9464101)

Maybe MS Windows? I believe WinXP is v5.1. After this it's all down the Palladium/DRM slippery slope, unfortunately.

Of course it's really debateable as to just whether XP really is their apex or not (I tend to believe Win2k (v5.0) is where the peak happened.

NT 5.1 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9464120)

Although many say NT 5.0 was the peak.

Oh well, there goes your theory. No multi-million dollar government grant for you!

WHAT? (1)

Gettinglucky (655935) | more than 10 years ago | (#9463910)

I thought notepad was enough! I never knew there was another way!

fact (5, Funny)

Barbarian (9467) | more than 10 years ago | (#9463916)

MS Word jumped from like 2.0 to 5.1 to "catch up" with Wordperfect.

Re:fact (3, Insightful)

donnyspi (701349) | more than 10 years ago | (#9463950)

Just like Netscape jumping from 4 to 6 to match IE6

Re:fact (4, Informative)

swillden (191260) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464008)

Actually Netscape built a version 5, they just didn't release it.

That's not why (4, Informative)

bahamat (187909) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464014)

The Netscape codebase that would have become version 5 was released under the MPL and became Mozilla. After two years of work Mozilla 1.0 was released, upon which a new Netscape product was based. Because so much change had happened from the 5.0 codebase it was proper to version it 6.

Netscape 5 did exist, but was never released as a product.

Re:fact (4, Insightful)

wolrahnaes (632574) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464135)

"Just like Netscape jumping from 4 to 6 to match IE6"

From the Ars Technica interview with Scott Collins [arstechnica.com] :
"We had a 'Netscape 5' that was within weeks of being ready to go, and this person said that we needed to ship something based on Gecko within 6 months instead.....And we didn't get out a 5.0, and that cost of us everything."

Netscape 5 was almost done, but one PHB convinced the other Netscape execs that trashing it and releasing a Gecko-based browser (Netscape 6) would be better.

One more example of how one idiot can trash a whole company. By the time that Netscape 6 was out, all but the die-hards had switched to IE or Opera.

Re:fact (1)

Sigh Phi (324315) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464016)

No, it didn't. Word went steadily from 1.x to 2.x to 3.x (which sucked like a Hoover) to 4.x (part of the first "Office" Suite, I believe, with Excel 2.x or 3.x; can't remember), finally to Word 5, which was System 7-savvy. Publish & Subscribe and all that goodness.

Word was un-Maclike from version 1.x. Copy-protected disks, disappearing menu options, no font menu. The interface didn't change much until 5, which added toolbars and a better menu layout (as I recall).

Re:fact (4, Informative)

reimero (194707) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464037)

That may have played a role, but for a short time, Microsoft distinguished between Word for DOS and Word for Windows. Word for DOS was generally at around the same version as WordPerfect, while Word for Windows had seperate numbering. The jump also reconciled the differences in Microsoft's own version numbering, and taken in context with the DOS product, it was actually a "normal" progression (which, I believe, was actually at Word 6 and not Word 5.1. Winword 2 and Word 5.5 were concurrent, IIRC.)

Spell check (4, Interesting)

JPriest (547211) | more than 10 years ago | (#9463917)

The only one feature I use in MS Office or OpenOffice on my home desktop is spell check. The main problem I have with OO.o being slow to start is that I am never using it for longer than 5 seconds. If I had an ASCII gedit or notepad (spellpad) with spell check I wouldn't even need an office suite on my home desktop.

Sure many people use them for more then that, but you might be suprised how many don't

Re:Spell check (1)

Chemicalscum (525689) | more than 10 years ago | (#9463989)

Gedit has a spell check plugin. Of course the only problem that Gedit is now so bloated it takes as long as a wordprocessor to load. Well maybe not as long as OOo but nearly as long as Abiword

Maybe you should use Emacs instead thats got a spellchecker too - Oh! yes I was forgetting thats bloated too.

Re:Spell check (5, Informative)

niko9 (315647) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464000)

Have you tried Abiword [abisource.com] ?

Small, fast, light and with spellcheck. Will let you save as .doc also, which lets me print out all my papers at school wheer they only have windos and mac boxes.

Re:Spell check (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9464012)

The text editor pico has a spell checker. It's not very advanced, but it works. Don't know if there's a version for Windows, but it's something to consider.

Re:Spell check (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9464041)

emacs has a spell checker option (but slow load time, just like loading any other modern OS) and most linux distros come with a commandline stand along spellchecker.
(ispell or aspell) though i haven't used either of them directly.

[note to mods: this is not ment to be mean, its ment to be humor. i use emacs all the time.]

Re:Spell check (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9464051)

For spellchecking on Windows, check out Textpad. But these days, my favorite spell-checker has to be google. Just type your word in google and if it's wrong it'll ask "Did you mean correct-spelling?" You can also search for "word definition" or "word synonyms" etc to get more info.

-hadohk

Re:Spell check (4, Funny)

Charles Dart (731692) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464153)

Being a horible speler I love that with osx it spell checks your online form enteries. I used to rite them up in a word procesor frist so I could sple check. Now I just hit [apple][shift}[;] It works great!

Re:Spell check (1)

Azureflare (645778) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464161)

Are you talking about windows?

Becuase on linux, there is a plugin for gedit, that I'm using right now, for spellchecking.

It even has autocheck spelling capabilities. Although some people find that annoying, I like it.

WordPerfect 5.1 (5, Interesting)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 10 years ago | (#9463924)

I have a friend, an attorney, who swears by Word Perfect 5.1 for DOS. He runs it in a dos box and uses Ghostscript and redirection to convert to PDFs and fax.

I prefer the document coding that they switched to with 6 -- splitting the font size from font selection codes.

Re:WordPerfect 5.1 (2, Insightful)

Goo.cc (687626) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464082)

Dude, I still use DBase IV. Sometimes you just have to still with what works.

Re:WordPerfect 5.1 (3, Interesting)

kin_korn_karn (466864) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464097)

This is common in the legal profession. WordPerfect somehow became the standard there, while Word took over everywhere else.

office 97 (1)

Coneasfast (690509) | more than 10 years ago | (#9463925)

personally i use office 97, it has some nice features like envelope and label printing (did the old version have it?)

only thing about it is it is NOT fully compatible with files saved with office 2000, in my experience.

if you have a word 2000 doc with images all layed out, they will be, in most cases, positioned differently when opened in word 97.

note: you can also use the free word [microsoft.com] viewer. (there is also a powerpoint/excel viewer)

Sure... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9463929)

and Windows 3.1 was da bomb!

Bow Down (0, Troll)

teknokracy (660401) | more than 10 years ago | (#9463934)

5.1Win/Mac: ***Ommmmmmmmmmmm*** XP2003: f**K! f**K! f**K! f**K! Mac2004: Well, at least I'm not using Windows!

Heck, vi is bloatware! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9463937)

It's been all downhill from sed if you ask me.

Re:Heck, vi is bloatware! (4, Funny)

uucp2 (731567) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464017)

After reading this, I just had a horrible vision of ASCII Clippy integrated into vi.

It's true (5, Insightful)

ajs (35943) | more than 10 years ago | (#9463940)

By the low standards that we have set today, old versions of Word are very nice.

Time for some band of grad students to start putting together the next generation tool that takes the bad new features out of word processing, makes the good new features more smoothly integrated with the rest and more efficient and finally that re-learns from modern users what a word-processor is for.

That last is HARD. Word processors use to be used strictly to produce documents which would be printed. Today the primary use is for producing text documents that will be sent to others electronically that may or may not contain complex objects like images, graphs, etc.

These are different problem domains, but separating out the one from the other and re-solving the problem correctly is never easy.

Re:It's true (1)

niko9 (315647) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464073)

Or maybe those grad students should just make Lyx's [lyx.org] GUI more intuitive for the home/office user.

Once they understand what a documnet processor really does, I thinkthey'll be enlightened.

Re:It's true (1)

betelgeuse-4 (745816) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464128)

Features, whether a program is lacking them or has too many, don't seem to be the problem these days. Office software, if it wants to be the next MS Office needs one thing to even have the slightest chance of doing this. Complete compatability with MS Office. I know people who love Word Perfect, but have to use MS Word to work with others who use Word.
One feature that does need to be added to spreadsheet software is the ability to deal with uncertainty. Spurious accuracy is caused by people thinking that because Excel gives a value to x decimal places it mean that it is correct to x decimal places.

Ancient technology (4, Funny)

AKnightCowboy (608632) | more than 10 years ago | (#9463941)

Personally I really like Microsoft Office 2003 Professional. It gives me the power and flexibility I need without the hassle and incompability of the competitors' solutions.

/holds up Office box and smiles

"Microsoft Office 2003 Professional, Where do you want to go today?"

Re:Ancient technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9464004)

yes, but how much did you pay for it?

Re:Ancient technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9464007)

I send out docs for review. I DO like Office 2003. Makes the reviewing stuff finally usable.

Re:Ancient technology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9464049)

This ad might work on the radio, but threatening to defenestrate a copy of Office 2003 just won't sell product.

I was always a big fan of Word 4.0 for DOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9463948)

Even for years after I stopped using it, I had my editor aliased to "word" in DOS because I was so used to starting it that way.

Re:I was always a big fan of Word 4.0 for DOS (1)

bahamat (187909) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464115)

Interestingly enough, DOS doesn't support aliases.

Bah! Bet it can't... (4, Funny)

lacrymology.com (583077) | more than 10 years ago | (#9463949)

As a casual user, I simply cannot live without the ability to insert MediaPlayer G2 controls into my correspondence... therefore 5.1 will not work for me.

-m

How in the hell is this an article? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9463956)

n/t

Re:How in the hell is this an article? (1)

wahsapa (767922) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464045)

im just waiting for a post about how this feed's M$s monopoly

Word 5.1 as "best ever" (1)

TwoBit (515585) | more than 10 years ago | (#9463959)

I would agree that Word 5.1 might have been the best word processor ever, but only for people who don't want or need too much out of a word processor. On the other hand, what Word 5.1 did was about all 95% of the public needed, and it did that 95% pretty well. Still, other word processors such as Ami (PC-only) did was 5.1 did but perhaps even better.

Wod Perfect 5.1 (2, Interesting)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 10 years ago | (#9463962)

Word Perfect 5.1 was by far the best word processor I've ever used. I liked reading in fixed-width fonts, the color scheme was great, but most importantly it was a dream to use.

Sure, today's word processors look fancy, and offer more intuitive styling as well as presenting what the final product will looks like. But I was more productive with WP51 than any other word processor today.

I'm still kicking myself for losing those install disks. I'd love to still be using it today, but I'm too lazy (and law-abiding) to try to find it on the 'net. Also, I doubt it'll work with my inkjet.

What? you guys are using MS products ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9464027)

are all people visiting at slashdot.org using all Linux related products? shouldn't we or should we?

Re:Wod Perfect 5.1 (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464087)

I liked reading in fixed-width fonts, the color scheme was great, but most importantly it was a dream to use.

You can turn (modern) Word into that. Judicious application of system settings and styles can get you exactly what you need.

Re:Wod Perfect 5.1 (1)

stevesliva (648202) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464113)

You could always purchase it, legally. Froogle [google.com] and eBay [ebay.com] would oblige.

Re:Wod Perfect 5.1 (1)

Goo.cc (687626) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464129)

"I liked reading in fixed-width fonts"

I still prefer fixed-width fonts. I changed the default font of Word and Excel (at work) to Courier New. At home I use the fixed width font included with Bitstream's free Vera font.

Microsoft Word is a crutch... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9463963)

For people who can't handle \LaTeX

No impossible (5, Funny)

MemoryDragon (544441) | more than 10 years ago | (#9463974)

Word 5.1 did not have clippy... the most important thing which was ever integrated into a word processor.

Old Testament Wrath-Of-God type stuff (5, Funny)

stinkyfingers (588428) | more than 10 years ago | (#9463979)

The best word processor ever created for a Mac was written by Microsoft? What's the I see outside my office window?

Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together - mass hysteria!!!!!!

TeX? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9463992)

*cough* LaTeX *coughcough*

if you're not using emacs... (1)

igotmybfg (525391) | more than 10 years ago | (#9463993)

...you're just playing around

Not Just Word (2, Insightful)

cmacb (547347) | more than 10 years ago | (#9463999)

Same goes for the whole office suite doesn't it?

Wasn't it possible back then to create a Powerpoint presentation that would run standalone from a floppy disk (that is, Powerpoint didn't have to be installed on the target machine)?

I know most people carry their presentations with them on a laptop these days, but I always thought it was handy to be able to use on-site equipment if only as a backup. Now this notion only works if you install Powerpoint everywhere.

Nevermind, I answered my own question.

I remember... (4, Interesting)

Maljin Jolt (746064) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464009)

A nightmare of configuring printer drivers hell in DOS Word. And that I had to burn a new EPROM in printer to support a native language characters in hardware.

Re:I remember... (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464098)

But this article is about the Mac version of Word 5.1, which was actually really, really good. You don't need to configure printer drivers, use DOS, or burn EEPROMs to use Word 5.1 on Macintosh.

Part of the reason, though, was by comparison of Word 6 for Mac, which really, really sucked.

Best Features of WordPerfect (5, Interesting)

Verity_Crux (523278) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464013)

WordPerfect allows a simultaneous left and right align on the same line of text. Do you know how many school papers start out with a title on the left and my name on the right? That feature alone has kept me loyal to WordPerfect for twelve years. Of course, the 'Reveal Codes' feature is da bomb. It's a good mix between WYSIWYG and the bit twiddling word processors. I don't know how the average programmer can do without it.

Bloat (3, Insightful)

Goo.cc (687626) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464015)

This may be the one problem with commercial software: bloat due to features added for the sake of a new version to sell. I guess bug and security fixes just aren't sexy enough.

Word 2.0 (1)

Rick.C (626083) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464020)

I regularly use Word 2.0 but I get really annoyed with the blindingly fast scroll rate on a P-III/800. It makes mouse-scrolling impossible. Word 2000 is blindingly slow. It makes mouse-scrolling impossible, too.

Maybe I should upgrade to 5.1.

Word 2.0 stores the paragraph characteristics (formatting, font, etc.) in the "paragraph mark". If you copy/paste a PM, you get all the attributes. Word '97 uses some screwy method that I haven't figured out yet (after six years) so I still use Word 2.0.

The $100 downgrade! (4, Interesting)

John Harrison (223649) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464021)

When I was in college it was common to purchase Wrod 6.0 and then pay a $100 downgrade fee in order to obtain Word 5.1a. Of course this was on the Mac, and 6.0 was an abomination on the Mac since it was an oddball port of the Windows version.

Re:The $100 downgrade! (1)

sizzzzlerz (714878) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464155)

I bought Word 6 for the mac at the college bookstore. It came on 24 floppy disks. Once I finally had it loaded, I ran it and it took almost a minute to finally start. I typed a few characters and clicked on the tool bar to set a tab and the program crashed. De-installing it took me much less time than the time it took to start.

Gramatica (4, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464038)

Gramatica is THE best grammar checker I have ever used. It was written by a couple of PhD's in English who happened to get into computer science fairly early on. The triviality and incorrectness of Word's current grammar checker is appalling since Gramatica did a MUCH better job 10 years ago.

Eh... (4, Insightful)

SilentChris (452960) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464055)

I'm sure some people swear by it, but like all advances (Word 5.1 up to 2003, CLI to GUI, etc.) it's really more a form of nostalgia than praise.

For example, I recently tried to pawn off an older PC with an old Linux distribution to my little brother. It had everything most people would need: a word processor, a web browser, etc. However, the word processor didn't do mail merges (something he needed for a class), the browser didn't support Flash, etc. To me, it was functional. To him, it was "broken".

I agree that a simple GUI is great for some people, but it isn't for everything. If there was honestly nothing that could be improved since the early versions of word processors, no one would be buying the Office/Appleworks/Corel Office applications of today.

The fact that I had a secretary recently freak out because the CEO's name wasn't highlighted in Word and automatically showed his meeting schedule (Smart Tags), shows that people generally get used to what they're using. That's what most people reminisice about.

WordPerfect 5 (4, Interesting)

pinkUZI (515787) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464059)

For it's brief mention in your comment, WordPerfect 5 is much more sworn by today and enjoyed much more widespread use than Word 5. Those were the golden days - while WP was still king and before everyone switched to the word processor put out by that operating system company, what was it? - Microsoft?

Another thing worth mentioning is that was in the day's before suites really took off - when generally you bought a word processor by itself. Not packaged with a bunch of stuff you rarely used and matched with a bloated price. You would also buy the spreadsheet software separately and it was not uncommon to use products from two different vendors as standards - for example, WordPerfect and Lotus 123 were common standards.

wordperfect 5.1 (2, Funny)

snead (160397) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464067)

We had wordperfect 5.1 installed in all of the computer labs that I worked in back at university. If you took the floppy out of the drive, it was toast and virtually unrecoverable. Everyday, at least one person would complain about losing their paper or some such. Many a session was spent in complete fear, rivulets of sweat dripping from my face, as one of the rather large football players stood angrily over my shoulder waiting for me to retrieve their data.

It got to the point where I'd ask them if they'd taken the disk out of the drive. They'd say "yep" and I'd say "Yeah... Don't do that". ...Well not the football players... you know, the people I could take (english majors mostly).

So, not fondly remembered.

-k

Slightly OT: MS Word bugs and their workarounds (2, Informative)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464076)

How to avoid corrupt documents [mvps.org]
TipsAndGotchas [mvps.org]
In one of these links they say that cut-n-pasting from the web will break documents. I agree since I actually experienced it and switched to OpenOffice!

Vigor? (2, Funny)

lintux (125434) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464079)

and menus responded with vigor

Vigor? Word 5.1 had Clippy already? That's impressive! (Screenshot [sourceforge.net] / Home page [sf.net] )

Didn't any one notice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9464080)

ROFL R.Sole don't you get it?

a person identifying themselves as R.Sole as in ARSEHOLE

Come on people open your eyes!!!

No starting any flame wars... Wordperfect 8 (3, Interesting)

KillerCow (213458) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464084)

I always preferred WordPerfect to Word.

WordPerfect 5.1 was a god-send for its time. 6 was okay, 7 was a dog, but it was all fixed in 8. WP has continued on steadily, but hasn't bloated since 8. WP 10 (which I currently use) has some great new features (print to PDF), but it's basically the same as 8. The file format is even compatible all the way back to WP 6.

IMHO, WP 8 was an awesome product. It just worked. There were no constant layout glitches, I never had to fight it to get what I wanted, the interface was clean, there were well-know hot-keys for just about everything, and most of all, its system requirements didn't increase significantly at each release. It runs smooth and fast. And it was significantly cheaper than Word.

-- This post spellchecked by WordPerfect 10 --

Word 5.1!?! (1)

vijaya_chandra (618284) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464100)

I thought it was/is vim 6.1 !!!

.

What's wrong with LaTeX?
Nothing, but real authors use troff.
-- AS Tannenbaum

Word 4 (2, Interesting)

hung_himself (774451) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464102)

Word 4 was Word 5 without the bloat. It was much faster and nearly file compatible with 5.0 (I remember there were a few hacks that would make it compatible..). Word 5.0 was crappy and buggy which is why Word 5.1 is being mentioned.

IMO, the only reason that Word 5.1 is remembered with fondness was that Word 6 was so bad that it was unusable. It was also when I stopped reading mainstream computer mags after MacWorld proclaimed it the best wordprocessor available... (that and the article about vdt radiation pushed by an editor with stock in a company that made "anti-radiation" screens...)

Its the truth ... (1)

thedbp (443047) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464107)

I love running Word 5.1 on my older macs in OS 9, its soooooo much faster than 98 or 2001. Even running it in Classic as a fast-opening, fairly capable word processor isn't a bad idea. I've still got all the original install floppies for the Entire '92 Office Suite for Mac.... ah, the good old days!

LaTeX! (1, Redundant)

toonrmeusa (668288) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464126)

I know, I know, the 1970s called and they want their application back, but really-- if you want to work with fast, fast, FAST plain text files, and then get typesetting-quality out, LaTeX can't be beat.

Nirvana By Microsoft (1)

Greenisus (262784) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464127)

...That's ironic, because Nirvana actually was by Microsoft 13 years ago, since they're both from the Seattle area.

So it's really better... (1)

scrod98 (609124) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464131)

or do you just hate the paper clip? [asp.net]

Using Word 5.1a Today... (1)

SallyShears (451561) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464146)

I'm using Word 5.1a most of the time today. Tables, margins, styles all work better than in Word v.X IMHO.

One key is to find the Microsoft translators so you can open documents created in more recent versions of Word.

The only limitation that affects me is modern graphic formats are not supported; for these I have to have Word v.X

On the other hand, PowerPoint has improved a lot; I bought Office v.X to get the new PowerPoint.

-- Sally

we need some netcraft death announcements (1)

theguywhosaid (751709) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464147)

for these old wordprocessors. word 5.1 ?

WordPerfect (4, Insightful)

frank249 (100528) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464150)

I have to use MS Word at work but I use WordPerfect 11 at home when I need to get real work done. WP lets me format a document the way I want to as opposed to Word where you have to do what Word thinks is best. If ever I have a problem with formatting in WP I just open Reveal Codes and fix it as opposed to spending an hour fighting with Word. Lots of other bonuses now in WP such as the built in dictionary and publish to pdf. Too bad that Corel let Paul Allen and Vector steal the company last year. There is no way now that they will ever sell the company to someone who could really threaten MS Word's monopoly.

Odd...not how I remember it (1)

nebaz (453974) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464163)

I went to college in fall 1991, to a school that required Macs. At the time, System 7 was just coming out, and the cheapest (recommended) machine to students was the Mac Classic, with 2 MB of ram. Thankfully, I was able to get a Mac IIsi at the time (for $3000), but it turned out that 2MB wasn't enough to run System 7 and Word 5 at the same time. Most students actually preferred Word 4 at the time (install took up 3 floppies instead of 5) and actually declined the free upgrade we were offered, because their machines wouldn't support it. The college finally offered free upgrades to 4 mb ram for the Classic, but at the time we all thought word 5 was big and bloated. (This was version 5.0). As always YMMV.

two words (1)

Frank Grimes (211860) | more than 10 years ago | (#9464166)

  1. emacs
  2. latex
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