Articles in the "Word Processors" Category


Word processing was one of the most important applications for early microcomputers. WordStar, introduced in 1979 by MicroPro International, became the best selling word processor soon after it was introduced. According to the market research firm InfoCorp, WordStar was the most popular word processor in 1984 with 24% of the worldwide market.

MicroPro sold versions of WordStar for CP/M (including Apple II CP/M) and MS-DOS. Many people bought a CP/M add-on for the TRS-80, such as the Omikron Mapper, just to run WordStar.

WordStar was written by John Robbins Barnaby (usually referred to as Rob Barnaby) with assistance from Jim Fox. MicroPro began shipping the first version of WordStar in mid-1979.

Here is the announcement from a MicroPro advertisement introducing WordStar (then billed as WORD-STAR) in the April 1979 issue of BYTE:


Scripsit was the product name that Radio Shack used for their word processors for TRS-80 computers. Over the lifetime of the TRS-80, Radio Shack created versions of Scripsit for practically every TRS-80 computer model sold. With only a few exceptions, the different Scripsit programs offered different features and capabilities.

Scripsit was described by 80 Micro magazine as “the overwhelming choice of TRS-80 owners.” Since the TRS-80 was the top selling computer in the early days of microcomputers, Scripsit was a very popular word processor. As late as 1984 (according to the market research firm InfoCorp), Scripsit was still the third most popular word processor across all computers (not just the TRS-80).

Both Model I/III Scripsit and Model II Scripsit won the 80 Micro Reader’s Choice Awards in 1982 and 1983. (Color Scripsit came in second both years.) Model I/III Scripsit was one of only five programs inducted into the 80 Micro Hall of Fame in 1983.

Zorlof the Magnificent

Zorlof the Magnificent was a powerful word processor for the TRS-80 Model I and III. It was written by Peter Ray and sold by Anitek Software Products of Melbourne, Florida. Released in 1982 for a price of $69.95, Zorlof was often described as a “second-generation word processor,” one generation beyond Electric Pencil and Scripsit.

Zorlof was a full-screen word processor that supported lowercase on the Model I. It provided 61 editing functions, which included common tasks such as deleting lines, global search and replace, and block moves. Word-wrapping and justification were automatically handled by Zorlof. As it stated in the manual:

Electric Pencil

Electric Pencil (also known as The Electric Pencil) was the first word processor written for a microcomputer. The original version was created by Michael Shrayer and released for the MITS Altair in December 1976. The TRS-80 version was released almost two years later and it dominated the market until the introduction of Scripsit.

Electric Pencil was one of only five pieces of software inducted into the 80 Micro Hall of Fame in 1983, with the panel stating that Electric Pencil “demonstrated conclusively that a TRS-80 could be used for serious word processing, and was the model for later word processors.”