Word has come a long way since its inception, and we bring you its journey through the past 25 years
It is well-know fact that Microsoft Word is one of the most widely used and popular word processors. But do you know that the Word had a humble beginning? As Word celebrates its silver jubilee year, let's take a trip down memory lane to see how Microsoft Word evolved to what it is today.
It was February 1, 1983, when development work began on the first word processor at Microsoft under the name Multi-tool Word. It was later renamed as Microsoft Word and released on October 25, 1983 for the IBM PC, which came bundled with MS-DOS operating system.
Obviously, this was based on the MS-DOS character system and was the first word processor for IBM PC to show not only typeface markups such as bold and italics on the screen, but also actual line breaks. This was not a true WYSIWYG system, as the displays with a resolution to show the actual typefaces did not exist with IBM PCs at the time.
It will be interesting to note that this version of Word did not have a spell-checker built in; rather you had to use a separate Spell application, also from Microsoft, to achieve the goal. It was first demonstrated to computer users by distributing its demo versions with the November 1983 issue of PC World. In fact, it was the first program to be distributed on a disk with a magazine and a trend-setter in that sense.
1985 - 1987
Word was released for Macintosh in 1985 and it was a port from the earlier DOS version, but with a few cosmetic changes to be used on the Mac screen which had a better resolution. It still did not really have a proper GUI, but used WYSIWYG features. It became popular and Microsoft released Word 3.0 for Macintosh in 1987 (there was no Word 2.0) with various enhancements including the first attempt at making a cross-platform compatible format (RTF or Rich Text Format specifications were followed in this case).
Since Word 3.0 was buggy and unstable, Microsoft quickly released Word 3.01 and mailed free copies of the same to all registered users of Word 3.0.
The GUI-based Microsoft Windows was already out and Microsoft released the GUI-based version of Word - Word for Windows 1.0 in 1989. Interestingly, the first GUI-based version of word was not this, but Word 3.0 for Macintosh.