Prepared by Elisabeth Lindsay.
A word processor is a computer program that allows users to write, edit, and format text and send it to a printer. The benefit of a word processor, as opposed to a typewriter, is the ease with which text can be manipulated (edited, deleted, moved). No more strike-overs, erasures, or messy correction tape. Because word processing documents are digital, they can be saved and stored on the user's computer, printed, or sent as an attachment in an e-mail message. Digital documents become physical documents once they are printed. Word processing software is often pre-installed on computer systems when purchased. Today, many word processing programs are available for free, online and do not require installation.
Word processing along with many other electronic technologies has many uses for genealogists and family historians. The ability to correct as you go and spell check documents is a great benefit. Also the ability to compose letters, compile information, and share electronically. Many word processors have publishing functions that make it easier for researchers to write and format personal and family histories, including adding photos and other illustrations.