Almost everyone who has a PC or a computer has Word Processing software installed and according to Andrew Prestage, author of Encyclopedia in Information Systems:
“Of all the computer applications in use, word processing is by far the most common.”
A Word Processor is a program that allows you to create and manipulate documents such as letters, resumes, articles, etc., making it very important for school, work, and business. Words, numbers, or paragraphs are typically added through typing. Features such as copying, deleting, changing the font, and even placing images are available. However, the features and user interface vary from one software to another.
Here are the top 5 Word Processing Applications available on the market today:
Microsoft has had the most prominent set of productivity applications since the ’90s. In particular, Microsoft Word has both basic and advanced features needed to create and edit a document and it is the most widely-used word processor around. It’s available for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOs. So far, it has been the template or basis for other word processing apps, which says a lot about its desirable features and interface.
In addition to the common MS Word, Microsoft also offers other applications such as Excel, Powerpoint, Sway, and many more, which all pertain to creating documents, data-sheets, and presentations. This set of products from Microsoft are all integrated into three different packages:
- Microsoft 365, which is a paid monthly subscription with the most updated products
- Office 2019 which is a one-time payment deal for one computer only
- Office Online, which is a free version that can be used with a web browser and a Microsoft Account.
Google Docs is a collaborative online word processor that is part of the free Google Docs Editor Suite, along with other online productivity apps like Google Sheets, Google Slides, Google Forms, etc. All of these are available for free, using a web browser, or a mobile app(Android and iOs).
Although its features are not as comprehensive as MS Word, it has all the basic functions needed for a word processor. In addition, it also allows for real-time collaboration, so you and your team can work on the document simultaneously, from different computers. A person’s edits, as well as their current position on the document, can be seen by others. Similarly, edits and whoever made them can be tracked by viewing the revision history, making it perfect for collaborative work online. It also automatically saves any changes made on your Google drive, making sure that no data is lost in the process.
LibreOffice, previously known as OpenOffice, is a powerful open-source office suite that caters to millions of users and the best part about it is that it’s completely free. Because it is open-sourced, it is constantly being developed with the help of its user community and support from volunteers.
The word processor in this suite is known as Writer, and it has somewhat similar functions with MS Word, making it easier for Word users to adjust. The same is true for the rest of the apps available in the LibreOffice suite, which are Calc, Impress, Draw, Base, and Math. LibreOffice is compatible with a wide range of file formats and can be used in Linux, Windows, and Mac.
One downside is that it doesn’t have any web-based versions or any collaborative features, unlike GoogleDocs. It’s also important to note that The Document Foundation, the developers of LibreOffice, doesn’t have a working smartphone app for it. However, there is a LibreOffice-based app available in the app store that is managed by Collabora. Despite these downsides, LibreOffice Writer is still one of the best free word processors around.
If you’re looking for a word processing app that combines the functionalities of MS Word as well as the collaborative and online nature of Google Docs, then Zoho Writer is for you. Zoho Writer is part of the Zoho Office Suite which also offers other apps like Sheet and Show. Zoho’s online file management program called Zoho Docs also acts like a Google Drive, where users can collaborate, save, organize, and create files in a secure and centralized location. The free version has everything you need from a productivity office suite, plus online file management, starting with 5 users and 5GB of storage per user.
Zoho writer is available for download on PC, Mac, and mobile devices and is supported by most major browsers. Its winning feature is its clean and modern interface, with very little fuss that allows users to fully concentrate on writing. Zoho writer’s modern design is made even better by its collaborative features that allow up to 50 live users at the same time. However, the biggest downside to this app is its unreliable grammar checker. Overall, as long as you don’t rely upon nor need that many grammar or spelling checks, Zoho writer is a great alternative.
WPS truly completes the list as one of the most popular, all-in-one, productivity apps. It stands for Writer, Presentation, and Spreadsheets, and includes these three most basic productivity apps as well. WPS is developed by Kingsoft and it is a freemium software, which means that it is free to download unless you want to upgrade it and remove the ads. This simple, yet highly functional office suite is known for its versatility. It can be used across multiple devices and platforms such as Windows, Mac, iOs, and Android, as well as supports multiple file formats. It is also available online for sharing and collaborative work.
The Writer’s user interface in WPS looks almost identical to Microsoft Word, with the same ribbon structure and other features. The same goes for Presentation and Spreadsheets as well, making the transition from Microsoft Office to WPS effortless. WPS is lightweight to install, and it also offers 1GB of free cloud storage for its users. Recently, they have added a PDF editor for mobile and users can now convert a PDF file to a word document. Despite the ads on the free version, many people still choose to utilize WPS because it is easy to use, lightweight, and free.
Word Processing Apps usually don’t Stand Alone
Note that many times, Word Processing Softwares are not stand-alone programs. They are often integrated into office suites or into a whole package which would also typically include a spreadsheet and a presentation software. It often comes in a trio, or a group, of productivity apps. This is why suites and other programs are also discussed, to help understand these apps more holistically.
Overall, the five Applications listed above are the best Word Processing Softwares you can find. Depending on what you prioritize, as well as your needs, you can easily choose one that would suit you best. They slightly differ in functionality, interface, strengths, and weaknesses, yet all deliver the same thing: The ability to process word files and documents.
Gone are days where there were no available programs to use than Notepad. SaaS has truly revolutionized the global stage plus it has successfully diminished software piracy as everything now is mostly connected.