What Makes a Good Word Processing Software Great?
Digital imagery, video, and other multimedia continue to become more popular in the business world. But that doesn't change that the written word is as critical to communication as it has ever been.
Whether creating a memo for corporate strategy, a new employee benefits policy, training tutorials, or any other type of document, writing efficiently and sharing files is crucial for companies.
Word processing software lets users design and manipulate text. And there are several notable options on the market, each coming with its perks. Some products offer only basic features, such as creating, copying, and pasting text.
More advanced programs allow you to add graphs, tables, photographs, and other media to your document. If you're wondering what type of word processing software to use, Poised is here to help you decide.
What Is a Word Processing Software?
In short, word processing software allows you to manipulate a text document, such as a report, resume, or article. You type on your keyboard to enter text and use in-app tools to edit and perform other types of formatting options.
Here are a few of the primary tasks you can fulfill with word processors:
- Writing, editing, and printing documents.
- Copying, pasting, and rearranging text.
- Changing font type and formatting text.
- Developing graphs, tables, and charts.
- Inserting media from other programs (e.g., photographs, illustrations, infographics, etc.).
- Checking and correcting spelling and grammar.
Many word processing programs come with tools to help you format your pages, insert headers, arrange your text into columns, and so forth. But word processors will not allow you to entirely control the appearance of a document. Desktop publishing software is the better option if page layout and design are important.
Most word processors provide shortcuts to save you time on repetitive tasks. For example, if you need to send out a letter to all of your customers or employees, you can use a merge mail merge function to create multiple letters on a single template. It will even include a table where you can edit the name and address of each customer or employee.
It's essential to distinguish between word processors and text editors. The latter only lets you create, edit, and save text documents in plain text. In other words, you won't be able to change the font type or make the text bold, underlined, or italicized with a text editor.
These programs are typically used for plain text format files like operating system configuration files or computer program source code. Many people also use them to jot down quick notes.
What Are the Most Popular Word Processing Programs?
Let’s take a quick look at a few of the most popular word processors available today:
This multipurpose word processor is pre-installed on most Windows computers, tablets, and smartphones. Microsoft Word has a comprehensive toolkit that allows writers to create, edit, format, and even design text documents.
It's compatible with all major operating systems (e.g., Windows, macOS, Linux, etc.), and you can choose from a wealth of add-on features to maximize your productivity.
Microsoft Word is a premium software, meaning you’ll likely have to pay for it unless you buy a Windows computer. The exact price will depend on the platform you are using and whether or not you are purchasing it as part of the Office 365 Suite. Microsoft Office includes Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and more.
One of the most user-friendly word processors is Google Docs. Docs lets you create, edit, format, and sync several types of documents, including word documents, spreadsheets, and PDFs. If you work remotely and travel a lot, this word processor is the perfect fit.
Google Docs allows you to keep all of your files organized via your Google account. It’s also free to use and provides up to 15 GB of free storage on its secure cloud storage service (Google Drive).
Developed by Apple, Pages is a popular word processor on all up-to-date Macs, iPhones, and iPads. It's a free program for Apple users, and you can even use it on a Windows 10 PC if you have an iCloud account.
Pages is touted for its simple user interface and spacious layout of user-relevant features. The software also offers an impressive library of Apple-designed document templates and allows you to collaborate in real-time with other editors.
Note that Pages will not give you all the document editing features as Word or other paid programs, and you will need an Apple device to use specific tools.
LibreOffice Writer provides users with all the features they need to maximize office productivity, and it's free to use. The word processing software is essentially a forked version of libre office.org and offers some improvements and additional features.
LibreOffice is perhaps the best free word processor, and in many ways, it compares with any other premium word processing software on the market. You can download a free copy from the website for any popular operating system.
Zoho Writer offers one of the cleanest user interfaces on the market, and it's free to use. With that said, some people complain that the icons are not as modern as those of Apple Pages, Google Docs, and other word processors.
The layout of Zoho Writer is also a bit different; instead of the formatting and editing controls being positioned at the top of the app, they are on the left. Nonetheless, it provides all the essential tools necessary to create written documents with lots of pre-installed features and templates.
What’s the Best Word Processing Software for Mac?
Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software among Mac users. Word offers the most wide-ranged capability and innovation, and its competency has been well-proven.
With that said, there are several free word processors that will certainly get the job done if you need to create simple documents. Google Docs is very easy to use and provides most (if not all) of the features you need. LibreOffice Writer offers even more features, and you can use it in.docx,.doc, and nearly all other document files.
Then, of course, there is Pages. This word processor is the default software on Apple devices, and its Handoff feature allows you to sync all of your documents across other Apple devices and programs.
What’s the Best Word Processing Software for Windows?
We would be hard-pressed to recommend a word processor above Microsoft Word for Windows users. It's simply the most innovative, comprehensive, and capable software for working with text documents. And if you have Windows 10 already, you’re all set!
With that said, not everyone loves MS Word because they find it a bit complicated and feel it has too many futures they never use. If you're looking for the cleanest interface possible and a simpler catalog of features, you might consider going with a free word processor like Google Docs or LibreOffice Writer.
What’s the Best Web-Based Word Processing App?
Google Docs is probably the best overall cloud-based word processing app on the market. It's cleanly designed, easy to use, and has plenty of features for producing high-quality text documents.
Zoho Writer is also easy to use and comes with a wealth of bells and whistles on its own. If you don't mind the unique layout of the Zoho app, it will get the job done.
What To Look For in a Word Processing Program
Finally, let’s touch on a few features to consider when choosing a word processor:
Find a Word Processor That Improves Your Writing
When creating text documents, the ultimate goal is to produce the best writing you can. Several word processors today come with tools to help users improve their writing. One basic editing feature to look for is grammar and spell check, which will notify you of any poorly written and misspelled copy.
A Clean, Sleek User Interface
If an app is difficult to navigate or has an overall confusing layout, it's not going to be enjoyable to use. And it will probably harm your productivity. Look for a word processor with a clean and modern interface.
Free of Ads and Other Distractions
Some free word processing programs come with ads, which can be extremely distracting when you’re trying to focus on the topic at hand and produce your best copy. Make sure the word processor you choose is free of ads (work can be frustrating enough!).
Furthermore, the app needs to work well on your device and integrate seamlessly with other key programs to avoid malfunctions and delays.
Look for a Word Processor That Runs Smoothly
As mentioned, your word processing software needs to run smoothly on your device. Otherwise, it will waste your time, sap your energy, and distract you from accomplishing your goals. Research various word processors to determine which one will work most efficiently on your specific device (and be sure to keep your device and software up-to-date).
Where To Go Next
Tools aren't everything, but they can make your work and life a lot easier when they do what you need them to do. As you continue to improve your written communication skills, make sure you have a word processing software that provides the interface, features, and performance necessary to produce your best work.
And don't forget to incorporate other tools that can help you become a next-level communicator. Poised will analyze your virtual presentations and meetings so that you can track your progress over time, and the free software will even give you real-time coaching.