Ye Olde Word Processor

Weaklings need not apply
Pretty in pink


Beacham’s WordStar Professional 5.0 Handbook
Submitter: If you can’t remember WordStar, that’s because it was a word processor that was available for DOS and had its last release, which was for Windows 3.0, in 1991. (Cf. for more info on WordStar.) WordStar is so old, in fact, that my spell checker is sure that the very name “WordStar” is a misspelling.
I’m guessing that if you’re still using WordStar, you’re either the late William F. Buckley, Jr. or some sort of time traveler, sucked through a wormhole into our present. (PS: if you *are* a time traveler, I’m sorry for how terrible and cynical it must seem to you. If you get back to your own time, please spread the word that people shouldn’t listen to political talk radio.)

Holly: There is no end to these old software books on library shelves, is there?

  1. Ack! I swear I had the box checked. Please comment away. Actually once upon a time I was quite the wordstar professional. Yeah I am that old!

  2. Ahem, as I tried to say earlier –

    Our old adult reference librarian used to keep all the old computer books. I asked her why and she replied it was because her husband told her too. He said that people who build their own computers often have need of these books because they use parts of older computers.

    First thing that happened when she left and we got a new adult reference librarian – he weeded all the old computer books.

  3. I remember WordStar! When I left one of my first jobs, I copied WordStar onto a floppy disk (I’m talking the BIG OLD floppy disks!) because I wanted to be able to use it later, in case I found another job where I got to use a computer! Ha.

  4. *breaks into song* “Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket…” *look around*

    So when I was a kid of 8 or so I was typing up my science fair stuff on Word Star. I remember it was the cute and friendly one compared to Word Perfect which you had to memorize a million short cut keys and macros for, and any accidental key presses could result in your entire document rolling off the dot matrix in underlined subscript.

    I really don’t miss Word Star…I was so jazzed when our next computer came with Windows and a copy of Lotus Write on it. I feel…old. Very old.

    But back to the whole singing thing – that’s a pretty spiffy cover right there….yep.

  5. Piffle: You know very well Mr. Wm. F. Buckley, Jr. wouldn’t ues WordStar. He kept his manual typewriter & quill pens in excellent condition…

  6. There’s a point to keeping things to a certain date. What that date is depends. I once knew a Russian from the Asian part of Russia who had friends with really (*really*) tricked out 486s and were not considered scandalously dated. I suspect a good library there would have things of this vintage.

  7. In defense of WordStar, using its manual commands for bold, italics, underline and the like were good preparation for learning HTML later in library school. But seeing this book does bring back bad memories of working on a monochrome screen with orange letters. Yikes, no wonder I need glasses now!

  8. We had something called…Word Magic, I think? So old and/or obscure that even Wikipedia hasn’t heard of it. Or maybe I’m remembering the name wrong.

  9. I had a Kaypro too! And yes, I remember Wordstar. There was a cheat sheet for all the manual commands that you laid over your keyboard.

    I always swore I was going to write a manual called “Wordstar Without Tears” but I guess it was a good thing I didn’t because by now you guys would be making fun of ME.

  10. WordStar was probably the first program I ever learned to use on a PC. It was also the program that taught me (the first time of many times) the value of backing up your files.