PC-Write Standard Level 2.0. (word processing software) (Evaluation)
by Anthony Moses
In an era in which WordPerfect straddles the world like the Colossus at Rhodes, you might wonder why other word-processing companies even make the effort. To its credit, Quicksoft has steadily made the effort since 1983, maintaining PC-Write's position as probably the best piece of word-processing shareware available. Loyal users of PC-Write can now celebrate Quicksoft's release of PC-Write Standard Level 2.0, a word processor that preserves most of its earlier incarnations' familiar features while adding enough new goodies to make this one definitely worth checking out.
PC-Write Standard is a shareware product rich in the features that most people expect in a retail word-processing package: easy-to-learn editing commands, automatic spell checking, plentiful help screens, easily changed document format, a variety of fonts and effects word counting, automatic pagination, and the like. You'll also appreciate such attractions as automatic placement and numbering of footnotes and endnotes, as well as file merging for personalized form letters, invoices, and mailing labels. Veteran users of PC-Write are already familiar with these features and will find that the essential commands haven't changed in Standard Level 2.0. But they'll be delighted by its addition of pull-down menus which duplicate--and in some cases speed up--the familiar PC-Write keystroke commands. Such things as margins, spacing, and fonts (a lot of the old Alt-G commands that required recourse to the manual or the help screens) are now quickly altered via the menus. In fact, one of PC-Write's strongest features is its ease of adaptability. Although during installation you're asked to choose which of the three levels you'd like to use (Core, Basic, or Standard), the levels can be changed at any time. Within each level, you can readily choose or reject individual features to configure PC-Write to your particular needs.
Quicksoft knows PC-Write isn't the only word processor you'll deal with. Older versions of PC-Write allowed you to convert files to and from WordStar format; in PC-Write Standard Level 2.0, conversion to and from WordPerfect is available, as is conversion from PC-Write's own earlier versions or any other ASCII file or word processor that supports IBM's Document Content Architecture. The company wants to make sure that you know how to use the program: Besides the PC-Write Tutorial printed out during the installation process, an online tutotial is available, along with a large number of detailed help screens. Registered users of PC-Write will receive the booklet Getting Started, a primer in PC-Write's basic functions, as well as the Reference Manual, which describes how to use all of the program's features. (Warning: Beware of a frustration-causing misprint in step 3 of "Merging" on page 78; the S doesn't belong in the sequence.) Also available to registered users is Quicksoft's helpful technical support line. As a further inducement to do the right thing and register your copy, Quicksoft offers registered users a disk containing Roget's Thesaurus (not available in the shareware release), a serviceable online reference that can be accessed from the PC-Write menu.
Though PC-Write Standard Level 2.0 is available at some retail software and computer shops, the shareware concept has helped make it what it is: a wonder of a word-processing package that can be registered for only $129 and takes up only 1.5MB on a hard drive. For a greater wonder, it's one you can try out for free.