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WordPerfect 11 with display of control characters
Basic data

developer Corel
(until 1996: Novell
until 1994: WordPerfect Corporation, since 1986 the new name of Satellite Software International)
Publishing year 1979
Current  version / X9
(May 23, 2018)
operating system Windows
category Word processing
License Proprietary
German speaking Yes

WordPerfect ( WP ) is a word processing program first developed and marketed by Satellite Software International and later by WordPerfect Corporation of Orem , Utah . Until the beginning of the 1990s, WordPerfect was de facto the “word processing standard” for DOS computers. WordPerfect replaced the previously popular WordStar .


What sets WordPerfect apart from other word processing programs are the control characters. Every command that is used by the user within a document can be recognized at any time by a control character and can also be changed subsequently. For this purpose, the control character window can be shown and hidden in the application window. For example, if a word is shown in "bold", this is visible in the control character window by a word "bold" framed by an arrow before and after the text shown in bold, with the respective arrowheads making it clear where the command begins and where it is ends. WordPerfect also applies the principle that a command remains active until it is canceled or switched off by the user. This clear program operation and display gives the user an overview of the program behavior at all times.

The program also offers a real WYSIWYG . Although there is a print preview based on Microsoft's Word, this is superfluous with WP, as the screen display always shows the exact print result. Another special feature is the downward and upward compatibility with other versions of this program.

Downward compatibility in this case means that documents with z. B. WordPerfect X3 saved, can also be opened without problems with WordPerfect 6.0 for Windows (not with older versions). Only the new functions of X3 can of course not be shown in version 6. If a document is saved in WordPerfect 6.0 and then loaded from a newer program version, the newer functions for this version are still fully available.


Computer scientists Bruce Bastian and Alan Ashton wrote the first version of WordPerfect in 1979 for a Data General minicomputer . Bastian was a student at Brigham Young University in Provo (Utah, USA). His programming style in the development of a software that was to show a band playing in a sports stadium on the screen caught his professor Alan Ashton, which ultimately led to the collaboration and the development of the original WordPerfect version. A year later the two founded Satellite Software International (SSI) and sold their program as "SSI * WP", which was later renamed due to the success of WordStar . In November 1982 the first version of WordPerfect finally appeared for the IBM PC . To start the program, which was supplied on a 5.25-inch diskette, the so-called key diskette, on which the program itself was located, had to be inserted into the diskette drive each time for reasons of copy protection. The program package included three more floppy disks: one contained the program that could run on a PC with a CGA color graphics card including a color monitor. Underlining or italic fonts were then displayed in the text on the screen in a different color and neither underlined nor italicized. There was also a "Speller" disc (dictionary for correcting spelling) and a "Supplementary" disc, on which, among other things, a program was to be found for modifying the printer driver supplied. The IBM-compatible PC had to have at least 128 KB RAM and ideally two 5.25-inch floppy disk drives with 360 KB read capacity each: one drive for the KeyDisk, the other for the speller disk. In 1986 SSI changed its name to "WordPerfect Corporation". At the same time, WordPerfect replaced the previously dominant MicroPro WordStar as the world's most widely used word processing system, before it was ousted from the top by Microsoft Word within a year and a half after 1992 .

In DOS times, WordPerfect was more or less a word processing standard and was particularly widespread at universities due to its huge range of functions and its extensive freedom from program errors (bugs). The software was controlled via combinations of Umschalt, Altand Strgwith a function key (e.g. Umschalt +  F7for the print menu). A keyboard template that came with the program and was glued to the keyboard above the function keys helped beginners to quickly find their way around with the keyboard shortcuts. Only in version 5 was a menu bar inserted that Altcould be activated with the key. WordPerfect was very popular in version 5.1. The version WordPerfect 6.0 was one of the first fully graphic applications under DOS, and so formatting and graphics could also be displayed and edited directly. However, DOS was becoming increasingly unpopular as an operating system and so the software was selling less and less. There were still some popular Windows versions (e.g. version 6.1), but Word has increasingly dominated the market since Windows 3.1. One reason for this was that Word was often already available on new PCs together with the Windows operating system.

After the takeover of WordPerfect Corporation by Novell in June 1994 and the resale to Corel in January 1996, it was questionable for a long time whether WordPerfect could hold itself in the market at all. Versions 7, 8 and 9 followed, but all in all they did not sell well.

As of version 11, Corel is trying to gain market share again, and new versions and updates were released at regular intervals.

Since the market launch of version 12 (June 2004) it looks as if Corel has at least firmly established its product WordPerfect Office (contains the word processor WordPerfect, the spreadsheet application Quattro Pro and the presentation and graphics program Presentations) as a niche product. In addition to the normal WordPerfect user interface, version 12 offers a user interface that is either similar to the current quasi-standard program MS-Word or corresponds to the DOS version of WordPerfect that was widely used years ago. In addition to the standard version (with upgrade is called, will be eligible to upgrade all products from Corel, but also competitors such as Microsoft Office ) is particularly at eBay frequently a OEM available version. Unlike the full version of this missing the additions, such as clipart or TrueType - Fonts . In addition, support for this version is limited. So is u. a. Service Pack  2 cannot be installed with the OEM version; however, Corel has now responded to the harsh criticism from users and released a Service Pack 3 that can also be installed with OEM versions. Furthermore, a full version for schoolchildren, students and teachers is available at a greatly reduced price (but without a printed manual) (so-called SSL version). In general, a large number of different group offers are offered for educational institutions, which are also offered at a lower price than Microsoft's Office product.

Current versions

The user interface was modernized for WordPerfect 12 and is now supposed to support Windows themes. In addition, from X3 there is the option of opening PDF files immediately. However, more complex layouts are not obtained. However, the relevant newsgroups indicate that users are not satisfied with the new version. Among other things, it is criticized that bugs from previous versions were not fixed and the compatibility with products such as Microsoft Word was not significantly improved.

Version 14 (officially called X4, only available in English - now also in French - language), which appeared in April 2008, also includes an improvement in the import and export functions for the PDF format and the ability to now also include texts in OpenDocument - and Open XML format to be read in, but not saved, no noteworthy innovations introduced. The current version is WordPerfect Office X9.

Version overview

For DOS :

  • 1982 WordPerfect 2.2
  • 1983 WordPerfect 2.21
  • 1983 WordPerfect 2.23
  • 1983 WordPerfect 2.24
  • 1983 WordPerfect 2.3
  • 1983 WordPerfect 3.0
  • 1984 WordPerfect 4.0
  • 1986 WordPerfect 4.2
  • 1988 WordPerfect 5.0
  • 1989 WordPerfect 5.1
  • 1993 WordPerfect 5.1 Plus
  • 1993 WordPerfect 6.0
  • 1995 WordPerfect 6.1
  • 1997 WordPerfect 6.2

For Amiga

  • 1987 WordPerfect 4.1

For Atari ST

  • 1987 WordPerfect 4.1

For Apple II :

  • 1985 WordPerfect 1.0
  • 1986 WordPerfect 2.0

For Apple Macintosh :

  • 1988 WordPerfect 1.0
  • 1990 WordPerfect 2.0
  • 1993 WordPerfect 3.0
  • 1995 WordPerfect 3.5
  • 1997 WordPerfect 3.5e

For NeXT computers :

  • 1991 WordPerfect 1.0.1

For Windows :

  • 1991 WordPerfect 5.1
  • 1992 WordPerfect 5.2
  • 1993 WordPerfect 6.0
  • 1994 WordPerfect 6.1 (as part of Novell PerfectOffice 3.0, from 1996 : Corel PerfectOffice 3.0)
  • 1996 WordPerfect 7.0 (as part of Corel WordPerfect Suite 7.0)
  • 1997 WordPerfect 8.0 (as part of Corel WordPerfect Suite 8.0)
  • 1999 WordPerfect 9.0 (as part of Corel WordPerfect Office 2000)
  • 2001 WordPerfect 10.0 (as part of Corel WordPerfect Office 2002)
  • 2003 WordPerfect 11.0 (as part of Corel WordPerfect Office 2003)
  • 2004 WordPerfect 12.0 (as part of Corel WordPerfect Office 12)
  • 2006 WordPerfect 13.0 (as part of Corel WordPerfect Office X3)
  • 2008 WordPerfect 14.0 (as part of Corel WordPerfect Office X4)
  • 2010 WordPerfect 15.0 (as part of Corel WordPerfect Office X5)
  • 2012 WordPerfect 16.0 (as part of Corel WordPerfect Office X6)
  • 2014 WordPerfect 17.0 (as part of Corel WordPerfect Office X7)
  • 2016 WordPerfect 18.0 (as part of Corel WordPerfect Office X8)
  • 2018 WordPerfect 19.0 (as part of Corel WordPerfect Office X9)
  • 2020 WordPerfect 20.0 (as part of Corel WordPerfect Office 2020)

With version 6.1 from 1994 the distribution of WordPerfect as a stand-alone program was discontinued. WordPerfect is only available as part of a complete office suite. The programs in the suite differ depending on the version, but always include the word processor WordPerfect, the spreadsheet program Quattro Pro, the presentation and graphics program Presentations and from version X3 also WordPerfect Mail, a personal information manager with e-mail, Address book and calendar functions similar to Microsoft Outlook .

For Linux :

  • 1996 WordPerfect 6.0
  • 1999 WordPerfect 8.1
  • 2000 WordPerfect 9.0

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ WordPerfect Corporation Company History. Retrieved September 5, 2008 .
  2. WordPerfect Office X8: Legendary Office Suite Delivers on Users' Top Requests . Retrieved May 12, 2016.