Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 134 / OCTOBER 1991 / PAGE 129

Volkswriter 4. (word processing software) (evaluation)
by Joyce Sides

Do the words advanced, powerful, and professional intimidate you? To the rescue comes the Volkswriter line of word processors, offering power and advanced capabilities with an inviting menu interface and simple commands. And while Volkswriter 4 targets managers and professionals, anyone who's familiar with word processing will quickly pick up the commands.

Six tutorial files introduce such basics of word processing as storage, retrieval, and creation of files. These tutorials end with more complex capabilities, like changing type styles and layouts, using embedded commands, and creating macros. Extensive online help is also available at the touch of a key. By the time you work through the tutorials, you'll realize that even advanced word processing really isn't difficult, and you just might begin to enjoy it.

Maybe you want to carry work to and from the office. Don't worry if you receive files from coworkers in a different file format. Volkswriter 4 automatically reads WordStar (3.3-5.5), WordPerfect (5.0 and 5.1), Microsoft Word (3.0-5.0), Lotus 1-2-3 (releases 1 and 2), and Displaywrite files. And for an additional $69, you can purchase Volks Word for Word, a file-conversion utility that converts more than 30 file formats.

Unlike some other word processors, Volkswriter 4 doesn't require you to change the type style of a document to print it with a different printer driver. Volkswriter 4 tries to match the layout type styles with those of the new printer driver, or you can alter the type styles manually. Install or create type styles for specific purposes, such as inserting headers at the top of pages.

Noteworthy features in Volkswriter 4 include page preview, a keyboard display chart, a calculate crossfoot option for columns of numbers, the ability to insert page numerals, the ability Roman numerals, the ability to insert nonprinting comments, the change case command, and the notepad.

Save paper by using the page preview option. (This option is only available for systems with a graphics card.) Embed special printing characteristics such as bold, italic, underline, subscript, and superscript easily, or send Escape codes to your printer with the CMD command. Or display the little known Ctrl key assignments in a box at the top of the screen with the keyboard assignment command; that way, you won't have to laboriously search for elusive key assignment tables in your DOS manual.

Calculate in column or row format, and use the crossfoot method to figure rows and columns simultaneously - instead of loading your spreadsheet for such simple calculations. You also can sort text columns in ascending or descending order by name, ZIP code, and so on. This option comes in handy for sorting names and addresses for use with the mail-merge option.

With the special page-numbering options, you can use Roman numerals for the table of contents and index, and Arabic numerals for the rest of the document. And since capitalization typos occur often, the caps change command offers a quick way to correct the errors without retyping an entire word or line. Volkswriter 4's notepad option lets you keep notes for yourself. If you think of something while working on a document, key it in and send it to the notepad. It will be cut from the current document and appended to a file that you specify.

Most word processors lack an easy way to use line characters to draw boxes around text. With Volkswriter 4, you simply highlight a block of text and use the Alt-B command to draw a double or single line box around the highlighted block of text.

Creating macros with Volkswriter 4 poses no more threat than tying your shoe-laces. Even users who've never created a macro will enjoy experimenting with this feature.

The word count command saves you time. You needn't move to the top of a document to get an accurate word count. To count the words in a specific section of a document, merely highlight the text in question before choosing the word count command.

More special features include mail merge, undelete (up to 900 characters), storage of blocks of text to a separate file, and printing in landscape or portrait modes. The most impressive capabilities of this package include the 310,000-word thesaurus and Grammatik IV.

You can purchase several accessories separately for a reasonable sum. These include an extended 610,000-word thesaurus; specialized dictionaries with computer, legal, and medical words; and multilingual dictionaries, thesauruses, and dictionaries.

This version of the program doesn't include mouse or bitmap graphics support or an indexing feature, but it wasn't intended to be another desktop publishing package, either. Volkswriter 4 can be a useful tool for managers and other professionals and even students who need to meet term-paper deadlines (the footnote feature is outstanding). And with a 30-day money-back guarantee, you can't lose. This word processor truly puts the power of words into the hands of the people.