The latest version of WordPerfect is $99 at Walmart, a big reason why people take it instead of Microsoft Office, which is $220 for the Home edition or $99 a year for Office 365. But there are other good reasons why you might prefer WordPerfect.
Lawyers like WordPerfect because of its legal tools, such as redaction, “Bates” numbering, document comparisons and legal templates. Writers like it because it makes it easy to publish your book to the Kindle; the new “X7” version handles other e-Readers as well. If you choose “eBook Publisher” from X7’s “Project” menu, WordPerfect prepares your manuscript for electronic publishing to the Kindle, Nook or Sony e-Reader, saving many steps.
Other differences from Microsoft Word: In WordPerfect, you can create forms, and save them as PDFs. The person who receives the form can fill in the blanks, check off boxes, and email it back to you. It comes with “Roxio Secure Burn,” for password-protecting files you burn to CD or DVD.
A few warnings: First, WordPerfect won’t work on the 64-bit version of Windows XP. But most XP users have the 32-bit version, something you can check by going to “system info,” under “accessories.” (If you get lost searching for it, hit the F1 key, which beings up the “help” menu and you can type in your search terms.) It won’t work on Macs either. Second, if you like to paste text from the Web, you can’t use the Google Chrome or Firefox web browser. You must use Internet Explorer along with the “Paste Special” command.
If you don’t care about these fancy features, there are free alternatives to WordPerfect and Word. We like Kingsoft Writer. Find it by searching on the words “Kingsoft Writer Free.” It looks like an older, simpler version of Word. If you need a word processor on your iPad, there’s a version of WordPerfect for the iPad for $5 and there’s a free trial. (Update: It wasn’t available at press time, and when we tried it later, we had problems. We definitely prefer Apple’s “Pages” app for the iPad.) Microsoft Word is also now available on the iPad, but you need a subscription to Office 365, starting at $10 a month, or $1.67 a month for four years if you’re a student.
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