Signum (word processing program)

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Signum! (Latin for characters! ), programmed by Franz Schmerbeck, was one of the first fully graphics-based word processors in 1986 . It was developed for the Atari ST with its TOS graphical user interface when MS-DOS was still controlled purely by commands. The last version released is Signum! 4.4 Update 1.

Through a variety of freeware and shareware - fonts and font editor for the creation of any new character word processing was universal and was next Tempus Word , WordPerfect , That's write and Papyrus as one of the best word processors for the Atari. Another feature was the output quality of the program, which was unique at the time, but which led to significantly longer printing times. The use of bitmap fonts generated on the computer , instead of the fonts permanently implemented in the printer, made it possible to produce photoset quality prints on the 9 and 24 needle printers used at the time . This was a great advantage for both natural scientists and humanities scholars. In addition, Signum was! also considerably cheaper than z. B. the products from Microsoft.

Typical print result of a matrix printer at that time.

This page gives an impression of the set in comparison to the usual print results of a matrix printer (right) .

With the decline in the number of users of the Atari ST series of computers and the dissolution of Atari , so did the number of Signum users! back, but in many places it is still used either on Atari computers or on PCs / Macs with the help of emulators.

Signum! in the natural sciences

Signum! was particularly popular with students of mathematics and natural sciences because the program could be used to set even the most complicated formulas . Thanks to the free placement of all characters, it was possible, for example, to enter complex formulas with correct typography.

Signum! in the humanities

Signum! was not only popular with natural scientists and mathematicians, it was also ideally suited for the work of humanities scholars and especially theologians and orientalists: the option of being able to design any characters yourself led to the development of Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, Coptic and many other character sets that were required in the field of classical philology, oriental studies and biblical theology, but could not be implemented with other word processors. In addition, with the "reverse accessory" you could write from right to left, which of course was ideal for the Semitic languages. Until well into the 1990s, there was no word processor in the area of ​​IBM-compatible PCs that offered an ancient speaker even remotely similar good options.


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