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Word Processing on ST to publish on Windows


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#1 8bitguy1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:43 PM

Hey All,

I'm would like to know the best, most fully featured Word Processor that will run on an ST that will save in a file format that hopefully maintains formatting for distribution later via Word...

For those that might want to know why, here is a bit of background:

When I was in University (way back in the early 90's) I wrote a paper on how writing styles are influenced by medium. Particularly prose. So I compared pen and paper to typewriters, to word processors (dedicated machines in those days) and on Windows 3.11, Wordperfect 5.2 if I remember right. Well I'd like to update that self research a bit and see if writing on an ST is vastly different due to the programs than on a modern PC. Ultimately I'd like to transfer the work, once finished so I can have it with the rest of my writing.

So any suggestions?

My best ST is an STe with 4 MB Ram, Ultrasatan for HD, both mono and colour monitors and an Adspeed card which doubles the speed of the CPU (or some such, I don't really know how it works, but some things, particularly GEM things are faster with it).

Thanks in advance.

#2 Goochman OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 13, 2013 7:03 AM

No idea if current versions of Word would support the Word Perfect format from the version the ST got - I think it was Word Perfect 4.1.

#3 Gemintronic OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 13, 2013 7:07 AM

OpenOffice/LibreOffice still supports many, many old formats. You may use that on your PC as a middle-man.

#4 jaybird3rd ONLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 13, 2013 9:23 AM

When I was in University (way back in the early 90's) I wrote a paper on how writing styles are influenced by medium. Particularly prose. So I compared pen and paper to typewriters, to word processors (dedicated machines in those days) and on Windows 3.11, Wordperfect 5.2 if I remember right. Well I'd like to update that self research a bit and see if writing on an ST is vastly different due to the programs than on a modern PC. Ultimately I'd like to transfer the work, once finished so I can have it with the rest of my writing.

I'm afraid I'm not familiar with word processors on the ST series, so I can't make any recommendations, but I think this is a very interesting experiment. I've recently been thinking about this issue myself: I plan to begin some serious writing for a few projects within the next year, but I've found that using modern word processors can be frustrating. A multitasking PC is a very distracting machine, and because of the visual overload of a graphical user interface and a WYSIWYG word processor, there's a tendency to be overly concerned with self-editing and formatting while one is busy writing.

I've considered various alternative writing tools on the PC which might provide a better experience, at least during the draft phases of the writing process: a non-graphical word processor (such as XyWrite) running on plain old DOS, or a simple text editor coupled with a typesetting system like TeX. I think I've settled on the latter, with Emacs as my favored editor, so I've picked up an inexpensive monochrome terminal—a gorgeous Wyse WY-55 with an amber screen—that I can set up in my study. That's about as minimalistic as you can get without going back to pen and paper, and since I love amber screens anyway, it should be a pleasure to use.

#5 jens OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:34 PM

An easy way to have files which can be used on a PC afterwords would be to use Tempus Word NG or Papyrus, both featuring the RTF format.
A four meg ST should be considered to be just enough for Tempus word.

#6 Skarro OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:54 PM

I used to use First Word Plus on my Ataris. I don't know which current word processors will read a First Word Plus file, but what you can do is write a document in First Word Plus, then go under the File menu (I think) and un-check the "WP Mode" (word processor mode). Now when you save in First Word Plus, it outputs a plain ASCII text file which should be readable on any modern day text editor.

Good luck!

#7 8bitguy1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 14, 2013 7:20 AM

Thanks for the tips. I like the two suggested word processors, though I'm not sure I'm willing to pay 100 Euros for Tempus Word, though I did look around the website. I will play around with the suggestions and see what else I can find that might work. Hopefully something that I can just change transfer to PC and something will pick it up.

I do agree with jaybird3rd, its much easier to get an unedited stream of thought down when there are no bells and whistles around to distract you.

#8 DracIsBack OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 14, 2013 8:13 AM

Try saving as an RTF. WordPerfect for ST should export to .DOC as well, though it would be an older version

#9 jens OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 14, 2013 2:05 PM

Tempus Word NG will work just fine as long as you're not printing.
As you said you want to transfer the files to a pc I assumed you don't need to print from your Atari.

#10 Doug_M OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 14, 2013 2:24 PM

Atari Works saves as RTF and should be easy enough to find.

#11 8bitguy1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Feb 14, 2013 6:26 PM

Tempus Word NG will work just fine as long as you're not printing.
As you said you want to transfer the files to a pc I assumed you don't need to print from your Atari.


Ah, I didn't realize that was the only restriction. Likely a good solution then.

Thanks! I will try WordPerfect too.

#12 Zogging Hell OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 16, 2013 1:05 PM

Papyrus X outputs/exports in Word 97 (or 2000, I forget) format, and there is also a version for the PC if that makes any difference.

#13 Big Player OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:24 PM

When I was in University (way back in the early 90's) I wrote a paper on how writing styles are influenced by medium. Particularly prose. So I compared pen and paper to typewriters, to word processors (dedicated machines in those days) and on Windows 3.11, Wordperfect 5.2 if I remember right. Well I'd like to update that self research a bit and see if writing on an ST is vastly different due to the programs than on a modern PC. Ultimately I'd like to transfer the work, once finished so I can have it with the rest of my writing.


This topic is very interesting to me. I have thought about it a lot myself. I fell in love with writing in 1984, when I got my first computer.

Do you still have that paper? Is there anyway that you can put it online somewhere? I would love to be able to read it.

#14 simonsunnyboy OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 17, 2013 4:46 AM

Atari Works saves as RTF and should be easy enough to find.


Yes, for the way Atari->PC it will work sufficiently. Openoffice will load those RTF files. However The way PC->Atari seems to fail. Atari Works implements only and older RTF standard. It still might work for very simple files with just headings, bold print and underline.

#15 8bitguy1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 17, 2013 9:45 AM

This topic is very interesting to me. I have thought about it a lot myself. I fell in love with writing in 1984, when I got my first computer.

Do you still have that paper? Is there anyway that you can put it online somewhere? I would love to be able to read it.


Unfortunately it was a victim of a hard drive failure about 3 years ago. I lost a lot of my writing at the time. Therefore I'm now probably one of the few folks that has independent RAID storage in his home. I do have some older 3.5 inch disks around that MIGHT have an early draft, but I have yet to go through them all. My current PC doesn't even have a 3.5 inch drive. If I find it, I'm happy to post it.

I do remember the the hypothesis that I was trying to prove was that writing was better quality when the machine/process matches roughly your speed of thought that this would produce the best writing, but it turns out you adapt your thoughts to your medium very early (but not right away) in the process. I used a handful of English literature students and two journalist students in my gathered samples, but I also used their opinions. Turns out "best writing" is somewhat more subjective than I had hoped. I certainly find my own writing has suffered on faster PC's in my own opinion, especially when "auto-correct" is turned on. So I'm picking up the study when I get my ST working smoothly again and I plan to use FlashJazzCat's Last Word on the 8 bits to study the results as well. As a side result hopefully I'll turn out some decent work.

Edited by 8bitguy1, Sun Feb 17, 2013 9:46 AM.


#16 ilaskey OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 17, 2013 11:13 AM

I used to use WordUp and ISTR having no problems getting stuff I'd ceated with it onto PCs It was probably via RTF but I can't remember it's that long ago. Perhaps another WordUp user can confirm?

#17 Big Player OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 18, 2013 2:40 PM

Unfortunately it was a victim of a hard drive failure about 3 years ago. I lost a lot of my writing at the time. Therefore I'm now probably one of the few folks that has independent RAID storage in his home. I do have some older 3.5 inch disks around that MIGHT have an early draft, but I have yet to go through them all. My current PC doesn't even have a 3.5 inch drive. If I find it, I'm happy to post it.


Ok, I will keep a look out for it. I have lost a lot of writing to hard drive crashes myself. Mostly it has been the freewriting that I do usually every day. For the short stories I wrote for a creative writing class, one printed copy of each is all that remains.

I switched to Macs in 2009 and now I use Time Capsule/Time Machine to auto back up my files.

I do remember the the hypothesis that I was trying to prove was that writing was better quality when the machine/process matches roughly your speed of thought that this would produce the best writing, but it turns out you adapt your thoughts to your medium very early (but not right away) in the process. I used a handful of English literature students and two journalist students in my gathered samples, but I also used their opinions. Turns out "best writing" is somewhat more subjective than I had hoped. I certainly find my own writing has suffered on faster PC's in my own opinion, especially when "auto-correct" is turned on. So I'm picking up the study when I get my ST working smoothly again and I plan to use FlashJazzCat's Last Word on the 8 bits to study the results as well. As a side result hopefully I'll turn out some decent work.


I think my writing has gotten better with newer computers, but then I always have auto correct turned off when I am doing any serious writing. My editing improved or at least I spent more time doing it once I started writing on computers with a mouse. Which was not until 1995 for me.

I also haven't noticed much difference in word processors since the late 90's. Nothing that has made any improvement to my writing.

#18 8bitguy1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 18, 2013 2:52 PM

Ok, I will keep a look out for it. I have lost a lot of writing to hard drive crashes myself. Mostly it has been the freewriting that I do usually every day. For the short stories I wrote for a creative writing class, one printed copy of each is all that remains.

I switched to Macs in 2009 and now I use Time Capsule/Time Machine to auto back up my files.



I think my writing has gotten better with newer computers, but then I always have auto correct turned off when I am doing any serious writing. My editing improved or at least I spent more time doing it once I started writing on computers with a mouse. Which was not until 1995 for me.

I also haven't noticed much difference in word processors since the late 90's. Nothing that has made any improvement to my writing.


I would say the one exception is Final Draft...if you write screenplays, stage plays or scripts. It provides a lot of form to help you structure a screenplay. That's the last big step forward though for word processors, which I agree haven't change much in the last 10-12 years.

#19 Big Player OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 18, 2013 6:39 PM

I had heard of Final Draft but I didn't know it did so much outside of the regular word processing functions. I will have to check it out.

It's funny. I took a class last year for VBA programming in Excel and I was thinking of trying to write some macros in Word, something that would actually be useful for a working writer. But I couldn't think of anything and I still need a lot more experience with VBA.

#20 MrMaddog OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:56 AM

I remember using a program called The Ultimate Converter (TUC) which can convert 1st Word files to RTF which can be read on any current WP. It's a TTP application so you have to type in the parameters in a command line box to use it. It was on one of the ST Format coverdisks but I forget which one at the moment. There's also Marcel which can import most of the ST file formats and export as RTF.

#21 8bitguy1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Mar 10, 2013 5:24 PM

Marcel seems to provide the best basic functionality with a minimalist interface, of the ones I tested. The RTF export file was seamlessly picked up by Word 2010.

Now if only I could track down the dictionary file....

#22 Zogging Hell OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:41 PM

It was on a ST Format coverdisk or wonderdisk (subscribers disk) I think.. try here.. http://stos.atari.st/wonder.html for the wonderdisks if not the site also has the main coverdisks as well. I think the dictionary file is compacted in a different file, which you have to extract to get the dictionary (from memory, though that's not what it once was...)

#23 8bitguy1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:59 PM

I did manage to find it....thanks!

#24 8bitguy1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Mar 13, 2013 5:53 PM

Anyone know if there is documentation for WordPerfect 4.1 online....google is driving me crazy again trying to find that.

Specifically Hard Drive installation, but the whole thing would be nice....

#25 Goochman OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Mar 14, 2013 6:32 AM

I think you just copy the files into a directory for WP 4.1.

Once you start it the keyboard commands are pretty much the same as the PC - you'll need to change your directory prefs for the HD dir IIRC.




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