Law Technology News
March 2001
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Fighting Words!

Re: Our January 2001 issue articles on word processing.

Editor:

I enjoyed Anthony Paonita's article about the differences between WordPerfect and Word. However, a bit more research might have punctured his main point about Microsoft Word.

He thinks "Word scores in its tight integration into the PC's operating system" and the Web. This may be true at some level, but for the user, the examples he cites are misleading.

He says, "You can simply send a Word file by e-mail from within the program itself..." WordPerfect does this easily (since version 7) with the File, Send To command (or right click on a file from the File Open screen).

Paonita also claims that Word makes it "easier to convert a document to a Web page (just do 'save as' and you're there)..." Well, WordPerfect does this better: Versions seven and eight offer 'save as' to HTML as well as a feature called Internet Publisher. The WordPerfect Office 2000 suite adds bundled software for sophisticated Web publishing -- just select "Publish to Trellix" from the WordPerfect 9 "File" menu.

If Word does benefit from being "so tightly bound to Windows," that doesn't seem to translate into features helpful to its users.

I also enjoyed Donna Payne's article, Are You Dualing It Out, and thought you might appreciate some feedback on a couple inaccuracies.

(She states) "Word documents, on the other hand, use WYSIWYG." Perhaps you mean Word uses only WYSIWYG, because WordPerfect is certainly WYSIWYG in how it shows format features.

(She continues:) "WordPerfect uses the term 'highlight' to specify text to be modified while Word uses the term 'select.'" In the DOS days, 'block' and 'highlight' were common terms. But you will find no reference in Windows versions of WordPerfect to the term 'highlight.'

There is a 'highlight' feature, used to shade text in different colors to indicate different authors, but WordPerfect consistently uses the term 'select,' as in the "edit, select" menu or the F8/select key. You will not find the term 'highlight' in the Help Index.

(She suggests that firms) "Start training classes for lawyers by pointing out the key differences between the two programs." As a trainer, I certainly appreciate your emphasis on it. However, I think training attorneys to use both Word and WordPerfect is crazy.

Kendall Callas
MicroCounsel
Donna Payne responds:

Thank you for the feedback. You raise several valid points. "Block" and "highlight" are the correct terms as used by the older DOS version of WordPerfect. I was not aware, however, that the WP for Windows version changed the terminology to "select." When teachings classes at firms, or speaking at conferences, the term "block" still comes up regularly.

In regard to training, I completely agree that if you are training an attorney, in most cases you want to stick to only one subject. In our classes, we do find however that when an attorney is very familiar with WordPerfect, pointing out some of the differences as well as similarities is beneficial. This provides some connection between the program that they already know and the Word.

For example: In WordPerfect, you may have used "block protect" to keep your heading with the corresponding paragraph. In Word, the feature is called "keep with next." The main difference between the two is ...

If you completely ignore the WordPerfect factor in class, often it's difficult for learners to relate the new features which can look very similar to what they used before but may function very differently.

Thanks again for your thoughtful response. The goal for all of us is to make the product of choice work in a legal environment.

Anthony Paonita responds:

Eh, there's easy and there's easy. Word makes the Web connection and PC integration really explicit, by showing lots of visual cues, constantly. WP doesn't -- you have to be a bit more adventurousness and explore the software a little. Word leads you to it with big signs.

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