Recently my colleagues and I were discussing the history of word processors (that’s exactly the sort of thing we’re doing here), and a few of them remembered using one called WordPerfect there many years ago. Since its heyday was in the 80s, I hadn’t heard much about it, so I googled it for fun. And that’s when I found out it was still being sold as a productivity suite. Also, this isn’t one of those cases where a company continues to take money for what is essentially abandonware – the most recent version is WordPerfect 2021. Like a year ago. And his on sale.
Corel, the company behind WordPerfect for before i was bornis running a (horrifically modern) Black Friday promotion in July, which ends Thursday at 9 a.m. ET. WordPerfect Office Home and Student, which contains the eponymous word processor, as well as apps for creating slideshows, spreadsheets and taking notes, is reduced to $59.99 from $100. And the Standard and Professional the versions, which include additional software and features, are $100 and $200 off respectively.
So just to summarize here: this software – one of the go-to word processors before graphical user interfaces became mainstream – is still around, and the company behind it apparently thinks it’s something new users want to acquire. All I can say is wow.
To be clear, I’m sure there’s some sort of niche use case that people really love WordPerfect, and I’m going to hear from just about everyone who still uses it why it’s actually the best word processing software out there. (And I appreciate your comments! I’m fascinated to hear what you do with it.) But I also assume that anyone who needs WordPerfect for anything they do…already has it, which means that he won’t get much on a sale.
I don’t want to knock WordPerfect, but I’m not really sure I would recommend it to most people. If you’re already willing to spend the money on a productivity suite, you’d almost certainly be better served just using the Office apps you get through Microsoft 365, which is basically the norm, for better or worse. If you hate paying subscriptions for software, Microsoft has even sells a perpetual license for Office 2021. And if you’re considering WordPerfect as a cheaper alternative, why not just opt for free software — LibreOffice is a solid, completely free productivity suite for those who want the full set of features available offline, and Google Docs is great for most people who just want to write documents without having to worry about how to save them or share them. .
That said, I’m very happy to hear that WordPerfect is still around. It’s not often you hear about apps that have been around for over 40 years, especially ones that aren’t best-in-class. Is he his age? Sure, I guess – WordPerfect 2021 obviously doesn’t use the same UI as in OS/2 or Amiga days, but it reminds me of a plot from the early 2000s, when I started learning to use a computer. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Not all apps are enhanced by a flashy, modern UI or cloud integration.
One final note: if you want the most authentically retro word processing experience, you can even order WordPerfect on a disc. Yes, Corel will send you a DVD with its 2021 Productivity Suite on it. As someone who understands the value of time far, far away from the internet, I really appreciate this option – and as someone whose computers are all less than five or six years old and therefore don’t have any type of drive disk, I wish it had come on a USB stick. Or 5.25 inch floppies, as some of the DOS versions did. Since the Home and Student edition requires around 2.75 GB of space, it would only require around 2,300 high-density discs (read: 1.2 MB).
PS — to answer the question a colleague of mine asked me when I first discovered WordPerfect 2021: no, you don’t have to press the enter key anymore like a carriage return at the end of each line to make sure the text doesn’t come out of the filter. What a long way!