What Is the Purpose of a Word Processor?

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A word processor is a software application that creates, stores and prints documents. Word processors are categorized as application software created to accomplish specific tasks as needed by the user.

Unlike an ordinary typewriter, a word processor enables the user to create a document and edit it multiple times before printing it or saving it on the computer. Furthermore, the saved document can be modified at a later date. In a networked setting, the saved document can be opened on another computer.

Modern word processors offer a lot more functionality than simply creating, editing and storing documents. Some word processors come with tools for creating business documents, whereas others allow for rich text formatting. A word processor is different from a text editor in that the latter only allows creating and editing of plain text documents. Notepad and WordPad are two popular text editors.

There are a variety of word processors available, both commercial and free versions. Microsoft Word is a popular commercial word processor that’s usually bundled with the Microsoft Office software suite. Other word processors include Corel WordPerfect, Apple iWork, Apple TextEdit, Microsoft Works and Sun Star Office, among others. Free word processors include OpenOffice, Lotus Symphony and AbiWorld.