Yeah Write

By Merle Nicholson, President, Tampa PC Users Group

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Yeah Write is a word processor. It’s an interesting word processor. That much I can say; interesting enough that I’ve been continuing to use it even though I have alternatives that I’m more familiar with. My own personal choice is MS Word, but I can’t honestly say that I’ve looked at alternatives. And this is certainly ... well ... an interesting alternative. I’ll say to you what I’ve been reminding myself. A word processor shouldn’t cost $150 or $89. What about people whose word processing needs are simple? What about people who really can’t justify the cost of a full blown word processor? What about simple?

There’s always WordPad, isn’t there? And Write in Windows 3.1? They’re both more than adequate to write your credit card company a note when they’ve messed up and you want to tell them a thing or two. So why start a company and create a brand new word processor? I’ll give it a try first by listing some features.

  1. It’s $19 or free or $29. Take your choice. (More later on this.)
  2. It takes up 2MB on your disk when fully installed. (Do I care about this? No, but YOU might if your hard drive is limited.)
  3. They’re honest. Read the box. They list all the things it CAN’T do.
  4. It’s fast. (Does a word processor need to be fast? If you’re running Win 95 on a 486, yes.)
  5. It does a lot of neat things.

This is a new product. The company is made up of ex-WordPerfect employees in Orem, Utah. On the CD, if you buy the CD, is a 16 bit version for Windows 3.1 and also a 32 bit version for Windows 95, 98 and NT. The minimum requirement is Windows 3.1 with 4MBof RAM and 4MB of hard drive space. I’m not kidding.

This is my sixth document, including one FAX document. The program loads fast. And it starts where you last left off, even (especially) if you were last editing a document. All documents that you create seem to be contained "in" the word processor. You don’t deal with external files, you simply select a tab and add more documents to a list of documents under the tab. The list gives you the date, the title and some of the first line of the text. You double-click on <New> to create a new one or double-click on an existing one. That opens an editing window with the date and title at the top and a text area for typing in the rest of the window. The edit area is sizeable. The tabs at the top classify all the categories of documents you can make. Starting with Address, then Diary, Email, Faxes, General, Journal, Letters, Memos, Notes, Text, To Do, and YW Info. This last is the documentation for Yeah Write, implemented as text. It’s easy to use, and not complicated, just as you’d expect. You can add tabs of your own as I did for TPCUG and select the default document type for the documents under that tab. Each tab has a different form or "style" that pre-formats your document. This is very hard to describe. You’ll not see a "Made for Windows 95" logo on this box!!

All this is organized under "Drawers" that you can name. A drawer is analogous to a folder, and indeed if you create a new drawer, it creates a new folder under the YW directory. When you create that folder you get a new set of tabs with blank lists for documents. If you look in the YW program directory, you can identify the drawers, but not the underlying files in them. This is interesting and may be very appealing to some people, because a lot of people have a concept that a document is "in" WordPerfect or Word. I’ve many, many times seen people who otherwise use computers efficiently use the file manager in WordPerfect 5.1 to move files. They open a file and save it in another location then go back and use WP’s file facilities to delete in the old location. Those people will love YW, no doubt about it. Yes, there are a lot of businesses still using WP 5.1 for DOS, even on a Win 95 machine. I’ve seen them.

Now, the editing area is NOT WYSIWYG. To see the finished product, you press Print, and you get a graphic print preview. In preview, you can change some basic document format, paragraph style, tabs and font. That is, font, singular - because you can have all the fonts you want up to one (1).

It has a very, very fast spell checker. It’s like in the olden days (1994) where you had to press the spell button. You can add your own words to the dictionary. By the way, the spell checker flags YW, Orem and WordPlace (but not WordPerfect) as needing correcting. There is a more traditional Windows Help available on a button at the bottom.

And last - file formats. Obviously it has its own internal format. The import and export formats are Yeah Write, WordPerfect 5.1, Text with ANSI, or Text ASCII Only. You can also import/export to an FTP site. The help suggests if you want to export to another word processor, use WP 5.1 format because that’s the only one available that will preserve formatting and most word processors will accept that format. Interestingly, the file open and save as dialog boxes are old "short" file name boxes on my 32-bit version. That’s an oversight and a serious disappointment to me, because it’s very easy for the programmers to do. I wanted to export to the desktop so I could drop it in e-mail, but I had to drill down to the desktop folder with this.

Now ... what it won't do .. taken from the back of the box: Tables, Columns, Multiple fonts, EndNotes, Footnotes, Table of Contents, Index, Headers and Footers. I’d miss Footnotes and, of course, graphics. If graphics were implemented in the same manner as WP 5.1 for DOS, I could use this baby for all my word processing needs.

For what Yeah Write does, it does well. And it does it cheaply. I like it. Thanks to Stacie Bise for sending it.

There’s a free version, both 16-bit and 32-bit on their web site http://www.wordplace.com. After downloading, you can keep the free version, or you can use it for 15 days as a trial version of the $19 standard product. After sending the $19, they’ll send you an email message with a name and registration number. And if you find it in a store, it’s in a nice standard package on CD for $29.

Word Place Inc., Suite 201, 11 East 200 North, Orem Utah 84057
(801) 221-7777
http://www.wordplace.com u