Classic Computer Magazine Archive ANTIC VOL. 6, NO. 11 / MARCH 1988

ST Product Reviews

Regent Software
7131 Owensmouth, #45A
Canogo Park, CA 91303
(818) 882-2800

Reviewed by Martin Brown

Regent Word II is a relatively simple WYSIWYG word processor for creating and printing large documents. In many respects it's an improved version of 1st Word, but, unlike 1st Word, certain features, such as right margin justification are not shown onscreen.

The GEM-based program has fully usable desk accessories and pull-down menus for file, edit, search, style, special and print commands. And it's fast--documents that take several seconds to load into 1st Word appear almost instantly in Regent Word II. Top-to-bottom scrolling occurs in the wink of an eye, and you need not close your document in order to print it, or fill up disk space with annoying backup files.

But because Regent Word II files are not saved in an ASCII format, they can't be read in their natural state. However, you can save in ASCII format, which means you can import text files from other word processors.

Creating a document is a snap. To alter the margins and page format information on the work screen, just click on the appropriate setting and follow the prompts at the top of the page. Also, reformatting is done automatically at print time. (Somehow, I could never quite get the hang of reformatting 1st Word documents.) Other formatting requests, like bold or italics, occur right on the screen and almost instantly.

Regent Word II is slow at selecting the block to format, however. With 1st Word, you can point at the beginning of the block and drag it to the end, if it is all on the same screen. With Regent Word II, you must use the function keys or pull-down menus.

Special features of Regent Word II include a 30,000-word spelling checker, a calculator, mail merge and an alphabetizer. The spell checker is fast and compact. Because of a unique compression scheme, words can be added without clogging up memory and slowing down the spelling access.

The four-function calculator lets you enter numbers directly, with the results appearing at the top of the screen in the command line area. Unfortunately, the math cannot be "built- in" to your document for automatic column tabulation. The alphabetizer lets you create a list and have Regent Word II reorder all the lines. Regent Word II has 15 built-in printer drivers and the easiest printer driver creation program I've ever seen. It took me less than five minutes to set up a new driver for my printer, and it worked flawlessly on the first try.

On the negative side, Regent Word II is copy-protected. I understand the point of protecting simple-to-use software that really requires no manual." But it always scares me to depend too much on a program that could be knocked out by inadvertent contact with the increasing number of magnetic devices in my life. Still, you can install Regent Word II onto your hard disk.

Regent Word II also only lets you display one document at a time. This doesn't prevent merging documents or swapping portions of documents. But you can't, for instance, view a draft that you want to preserve on disk as a blueprint for another document. The spelling checker, while proficient, is not quite state-of-the-art. Unlike Thunder!, it displays words ending in -ed or -ing as possible mistakes. But the documentation, while skimpy, is well-written, and Regent Software supports its customers with an excellent technical service phone line and reasonable upgrade policies.