Recently, my colleagues and I were discussing the history of word processors (which is exactly what we’re doing here), and a few of them reminisced about using WordPerfect many, many years ago. Since its heyday was in the 1980s, I hadn’t heard much about it so I Googled it for fun. And then I discovered that it is still sold as a productivity suite. Plus, it’s not one of those cases where a company is still taking money for what’s essentially abandonedware – the most recent release is WordPerfect 2021. Just like a year ago. And it’s for sale.
Corel, the company that has been in charge of WordPerfect since I was born, has a (horribly modern) Black Friday promotion in July, which ends on Thursday at 9 a.m. ET. WordPerfect Office Home and Student, which includes the word processing software of the same name, as well as apps for creating slideshows, spreadsheets, and note-taking, has been reduced to $59.99 from $100. And the Standard and Professional versions, which include additional software. and capabilities are $100 and $200 off, respectively.
Someone is a mega fan of word processing. Image: Corel
So to sum it up here, this software — one of the most widely used word processors before graphical user interfaces became widespread — still exists, and the company behind it apparently thinks it’s something new users are eager to pick up. All I can say is wow.
To be clear, I’m sure there’s some kind of niche use case that people really love, and I’ll hear from pretty much everyone who still uses it why it’s actually the best word processing software out there. (And I welcome that feedback! I’m fascinated to learn what you do with it.) But I also assume that everyone who needs WordPerfect for whatever they do… already has it, which means they don’t. will get. a lot from a sale.
I don’t mean to beat WordPerfect, but I’m not sure I’d recommend it to most people. If you’re already willing to spend money on a productivity suite, you’d almost certainly be much better served by just going with the Office apps you get through Microsoft 365, which is basically the default, for better or for worse. If you hate paying subscriptions for software, Microsoft even sells a perpetual license for Office 2021. And if you want to see WordPerfect as a cheaper alternative, why not go all the way to free software – LibreOffice is a solid and completely free productivity suite for those who want a full set of features available offline, and Google Docs is fine for most people who just want to write some documents and don’t have to worry about how to save or share them.
That said, I’m very happy to hear that WordPerfect still exists. It’s not often you hear about apps that have been around for over 40 years, especially apps that aren’t the best dog in their category. Does it look its age? Sure, I guess – WordPerfect 2021 clearly doesn’t use the same user interface as it did in the OS/2 or Amiga days, but it reminds me a lot of the early 2000s when I first learned to use a computer. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Not every app is made better by a flashy, modern UI or cloud integration.
Software that comes in a real box. What an understanding. Image: raviloks on eBay
One last note: if you want the most authentic retro word processing experience, you can even order WordPerfect on disk. Yes, Corel will send you a DVD with the 2021 productivity suite on it. As someone who understands the value of time far, far away from the internet, I really appreciate this as an option – and as someone whose computers are all less than five or six years old and therefore don’t have a single drive, I wish it were on a flash drive came. Or 5.25-inch floppy disks, as some DOS versions did. Since the Home and Student edition requires about 2.75 GB of space, only about 2,300 high-density (read: 1.2 MB) drives are needed.
PS — to answer the question one of my colleagues asked when I discovered WordPerfect 2021: no, you no longer have to hit enter like a carriage return at the end of each line to make sure the text doesn’t just slide off the screen . How far we’ve come!
This post WordPerfect not only still exists, a new version came out in 2021
was original published at “https://www.theverge.com/tldr/2022/7/20/23269344/wordperfect-productivity-software-sale-2021”