Leading Edge Word Processing; upgraded version packs power and features. (evaluation) Russ Lockwood.
In the word processing market where giants like WordStar, MultiMate, and Word Perfect battle for corporate accounts, Leading Edge Word Processing wages an almost guerrilla war. It was once considerably more expensive, but evidently did not generate enough sales at that price level, for Leading Edge cut the price. And now the company has improved and refined the product, making it one of the better software values around.
Leading Edge Word Processing (or LEWP as it is called in the manual) includes all the features and functions you expect of a good, solid word processing program: insert, delete, block operations, search and replace, file merge, boldface, underlining, super- and subscripts, justification, headers, footers, centering adjustable margains, and full cursor movement.
Like many other word processors, Leading Edge uses a combination of Control, Alternate, Shift, Function, and Cursor keys to invoke various functions. A plastic template that fits around the keyboard provides an instant summary of commands. A remarkably easy-to-understand reference card provides a quick summary of the procedures used for executing functions. On-line help screens furnish even more detailed information. For particularly trouble-some functions, the recently redesigned manual supplies step-by-step instructions. And if a particular command still manages to baffle you, Leading Edge maintains a toll-free hotline to provide the definitive solution to your problem.
Obviously, Leading Edge takes great pains to reduce potential problems in understanding LEWP. During our testing, we managed to effect most functions just by looking at the template and quick reference card. Some of the trickier functions required a peek at a help screen or inside the manual. Overall, we give the documentation very high marks.
LEWP also includes several features that separate it from other medium-price word processors. New users may not appreciate them at first, but the more word processing you do, the happier you will be to find these features included in LEWP.
LEWP allows user-definable format styles. Each folder uses a standard document. Altering the standard document automatically alters all the files in the folder. Default settings include tabs, margins, headers, footers, and more. If you use standardized formats for memos, proposals, and other correspondence, this feature can be a godsend.
The program also includes macros--defining one key to print a string of characters.
It also lets you restore deleted text on two levels. On a short-term basis, LEWP allows the most recently erased text to reappear. However, on a long-term basis, it stores deleted blocks of text on disk, so you can recall them hours, days, or even weeks later. Of course, deleted text takes up disk space, but if you have ever pined for a bit of prose erased in haste and reconstructed at leisure, you will appeciate this uncommon feature.
LEWP Does Windows
If you ever want to work on two documents at once, a split screen feature is necessary. LEWP includes this function and allows you to switch windows with the press of a key.
Another handy feature is the ability to use the entire 255-character IBM PC character set (including graphics, scientific, and foreign characters) by pressing the Alternate key and then typing the number of the character on the keypad.
LEWP also converts document files to ASCII so you can send them over the phone lines using a telecommunications program.
LEWP supports a variety of printers, including C. Itoh, NEC, Diablo, Qume, Juki, Okidata, Star Micronics, and texas Instruments. All printer drivers are on disk, so it is a simple matter of picking and choosing.
In an earlier version, one idiosyncrasy marred this otherwise excellent word processor: Leading Edge decided to use the + key on the numeric keypad instead of the Return key to "execute" most of the functions. For those who have never used a word processor, this is not a problem. However, those for whom the Return key is ingrained in the subconscious will find this + key downright frustrating. By the time you read this, Leading Edge will have fixed this problem. Make sure that the version you purchase uses the Return key to execute functions.
For $50 more, LEWP users receive Merge Print, a handy mail merge feature for businesses that want to send "personalized" mass mailings. The home user can probably get by without it, unless you do Christmas card mailings or something along that line. Merge Print supports dBase II files.
The complete word processing system, including LEWP, mail merge and spelling checker, retails for $250. The spelling checker holds 80,000 words and allows a personal dictionary of 4000 words on a floppy disk. Frankly, Leading Edge loses some of its price advantage when the $100 spelling checker is added. Still, the package costs less than other top-of-the-line word processors with the same features.
Overall, we are impressed with the features and performance of Leading Edge Word Processing and recommend that prospective purchasers of a word processor take a close look at this comprehensive program. Although geared for the professional and business crowd, LEWP should not be overlooked by home computer owners.
Products: Leading Edge Word Processing (computer program)