A Word Processor is a type of software application used for composing, editing, formatting and printing documents. Word processors have a variety of uses and applications within the business environment, at home and in educational contexts.
Background of Word Processors
Word processors did not develop out of computer technology. Rather, they evolved from mechanical machines and only later did they merge with the computer field. The history of word processing is the story of the gradual automation of the physical aspects of writing and editing, and then to the refinement of the technology to make it available to corporations and Individuals.
The term word processing appeared in American offices in early 1970s centered on the idea of streamlining the work to typists, but the meaning soon shifted toward the automation of the whole editing cycle.
At first, the designers of word processing systems combined existing technologies with emerging ones to develop stand-alone equipment, creating a new business distinct from the emerging world of the personal computer. The concept of word processing arose from the more general data processing, which since the 1950s had been the application of computers to business administration.
Through history, there have been 3 types of word processors: mechanical, electronic and software.
Word Processors vs. Text Editors vs. Desktop Publishing Systems
Word processors are very similar to two other categories of software: text editors and desktop publishing applications.
Applications that support only the basic features from the first list above (and maybe a few others) are sometimes called text editors. Office workers sometimes use text editors to create simple documents that don't require a full-featured word processor. However, text editors are more commonly used by programmers who use special text editors with features designed for writing code.
Desktop publishing systems, on the other hand, are generally more advanced and complex than word processors. The line dividing word processors from desktop publishing systems is constantly shifting as word processors become more advanced. In general, though, desktop publishing applications support finer control over layout, especially for documents with a lot of graphics, and they offer more support for full-color printing options.