Word processing

Updated: 12/31/2022 by Computer Hope

Word processing describes creating or editing a document using a word processor, such as Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or OpenOffice Writer. For example, a student could create a book report in a Word Processor application. Then, the student could print it, save it to a disk, display it on the screen, or send it over e-mail. Also, a person looking for a job could create a résumé using a word processor, then e-mail or print and mail it to job recruiters.

How to open a word processing file

How a word processing file opens depends on the type of word processor software used to create the file and its file format. Thankfully today, most word processors are capable of opening most word processor files, and as long as you can access one of them, you can open the file. For example, a file called "example.doc" was likely created in Microsoft Word and opens in Microsoft Word or OpenOffice or uploaded to Google Docs and viewed and edited online.

What was used before word processing?

Before computers, people used typewriters to write reports or other documents, which had nowhere near the capabilities as today's word processors. With a word processor, you can easily edit and make changes to a document, move text around in a document, add images, change fonts, check for spelling errors, and more.

Today's word processing concept was introduced by IBM with its introduction of the IBM Magnetic Tape Selectric Typewriter in 1964, which pioneered using magnetic recording devices and typewriting. Referred to as "power typing," the feature of revising stored text improved office efficiency by allowing typists to type at "rough draft" speed without the pressure of worrying about mistakes.

Typography terms, Word processor, Word processor terms