How to use a word processor in 1987
May 20, 2015 10:58 PM   Subscribe

In the mid-late 80s, Dad brought home a computer. It ran DOS and it had MS Works on it. I played with it a lot and was particularly delighted with an introduction to word processing I saw on it. Using a very basic graphic representation of a typewriter, it explained how a word processor is different, being able to backspace, insert text, and so forth. How can I see that tutorial again?

This was definitely a PC, not a Mac, and I remember using MS Works, although maybe it was some other early word processor and I've mixed up memories from Windows 3.1 into the mix. Would be happy to just see a screenshot, and am less inclined to be setting up emulators etc myself!
posted by slightlybewildered to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You might try looking around in the MS-DOS stash. A lot of this stuff will run in-browser without installing anything, and they have screenshots.
posted by brennen at 12:31 AM on May 21, 2015

You could watch this youtube video. The guy installs an old and now free version of MS DOS including word and you might be able to replicate that. Jump to minute 10 to see if that is the version of word you are looking for.
posted by Fallbala at 12:38 AM on May 21, 2015

Those are good suggestions so far! If neither of those does it, focus on figuring out your make and model of computer. Do every relevant keyword search you can think of, and do Google image searches of computers of the era to try and spot one that looks familiar. If you can even narrow it down to a brand name, somebody has a big gallery of every single model that company ever made. Once you've got the make and model, it'll probably open up a whole world of fansites and blog posts.

I suppose you can't ask your dad, or you've asked already? What about anybody else in your family? Did anybody else work on your computer sometimes?
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:10 AM on May 21, 2015

I used to use HomeWord on my ancient IBM PC Jr and while it had an online tutorial, they also distributed this cassette that explained how to do the various things. I don't think it's exactly what you are looking for, but it may have been HomeWord instead of Works? See if this looks familiar.
posted by jessamyn at 6:39 AM on May 21, 2015

I clearly remember this. It might have been wordperfect, it might have been works. It was on one of the first two computers i owned(which were a 286 and a 486, in the early 90s). I just searched the hell out of youtube and found nothing like it.

Definitely look in to wordperfect, though.
posted by emptythought at 2:33 PM on May 21, 2015

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