Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 61 / JUNE 1985 / PAGE 58


Arthur Leyenberger

Requirements: Commodore 64 with a disk drive; Atari 400/800, XL, or XE with atleast 48K RAM and a drive; Apple II-series computer with at least 48K RAM and a drive (80-column card optional); IBM PC with at least 48K, a drive, and DOS 1.1 (not compatible with the PCjr). A printer is highly recommended. The version reviewed was for the Atari; other versions are similar.

According to recent surveys, word processing is second only to entertainment as the primary application for most home computers. Whether you're jotting a short letter to Aunt Viola or compiling a term paper, word processing can make your writing less painful and even enjoyable.

There are scores of word processors available for computers these days. Your chief criterion for selecting one should be that it has the functions you require to accomplish your writing tasks. It is also important to consider your future needs so you won't outgrow your word processor.

Super-Text, from Muse Software, is a word processing program that can satisfy your writing needs even as they grow and become more sophisticated. Billed as a "professional" word processor, Super-Text was first released for the Apple computer more than two years ago and is now availble for the Commodore 64, Atari, and IBM. The Commodore 64 version produces an 80-column display without any additional hardware.

The package consists of two identical program disks (a considerate policy), a comprehensive manual, and a quick reference card. The Atari program disk contains a special version of the Atari Disk Operating System (DOS) which permits access to all DOS commands from within the program. The disk also contains some predefined files which allow you to print your text on various printers—including those from Epson, Okidata, Atari, and NEC—and generic parallel and serial files so you can customize output to any other printer.

Special Printing

In addition to all the usual printing parameters, such as margin widths, page lengths, and lines per page, Super-Text also lets you define control key sequences for special printer features. A printer sequence code can be assigned to any of ten characters. You can then embed these nonprinting codes within your text to select such functions as super-scripting, subscripting, ribbon colors, and alternate type styles. The manual contains several examples of how to set up your printer for these kinds of features.

In use, Super-Text is very similar to other word processors. To type, you enter a special "add mode." Word-wrapping and vertical-scrolling are automatic. To save text, you must exit the add mode and specify a filename; Super-Text adds the extender. TXT. Atari Super-Text files are in ASCII, so they can be read by other word processors or spelling-checker programs. Program files in ASCII format are also readable, as long as they have the .TXT extender.

To load a file, Super-Text first displays a numbered file directory of the disk. You can select a file by either its filename or number. This catalog screen also displays the name of the file in memory (if any), the current drive number, and the number of free pages remaining in memory. (On a 48K Atari, the maximum file size is 15K—about 15,000 characters.)

Super-Text contains a large number of flexible features. For example, the typical search-and-replace works either individually or globally, but also lets you specify wild cards, search for multiple strings, and search through any number of linked files on disk. The program even tells you how many occurrences were replaced. This lets you estimate the number of words in your document by globally searching for single spaces.

Programmable Keys

Another very useful feature is the ability to assign up to 30 characters to a single key. For instance, to write this review, I defined the string "Super-Text" as a programmable key. A single keypress then saved me from typing the phrase each time. This feature can be toggled on or off.

We can't list all the many features of Super-Text here because it's such a powerful program. It offers block operations, onscreen formatting and print previewing, soft and hard tab stops, headers, footers, auto page numbering, paragraph identation, centering, underlining, and much more.

Super-Text is easy to use, has excellent documentation with numerous examples, and contains just about all the features a novice or serious writer might need.

I cannot think of any serious faults or omissions in Super-Text. If you are looking for your first word processor or want to upgrade to one with more horse-power, Super-Text is definitely worth considering.

Muse Software
347 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21201