WORD PROCESSOR COMPARISON Abstract: This study reviews four different word processors: MS Word, Google Docs, Zoho

Writer, and Wiki Program, then compares all four based on their ability to import/export documents, ease of use, their formatting and word count options, grammar and spell checking, and finally their cost. The goal of this study is to define which Word Processor improves the quality of work being done the most. More effective uses of word processing as an instructional tool might include adapting instruction to software strengths and adding metacognitive prompts to the writing program. Introduction: Word processing is a bridge that provides lifelong educational benefits to its users in a form of rich and smooth flowing text. A word processor, previously known as “document preparation system” is a computer application used for the creation of any sort of printable documents. These Word Processors are divided in two types; Web based such as Google Doc, Zoho Writer and Wiki Program; and non-web based like MS Word. The web based processors are fairly new on the market compared to MS Word, however these companies has taken steps to broaden the reach of its Web-based features in order to compete with Microsoft Corp. Word processors have numerous purposes of employment in the business field, as well as for the educational and personal use. In the business world, companies use some of the mentioned processors to write memos, letterheads, and reference documents. History: Word Perfect, XyWrite, Microsoft Word (along with personal computers) competed in the 1980s against dedicated word process machintes. Early word processing software required users to memorize semi-mnemonic key combinations rather than pressing keys labeled "copy" or "bold." Development of higher-resolution monitors allowed these programs to provide limited typographical features such as bold and italics, indentation, justification and margins. The midto-late 1980s saw the spread of laser printers, a "typographic" approach to word processing, and of true WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) bitmap displays with multiple fonts, Postscript, and graphical user interfaces. Standalone word processors tried to adapt by getting smaller and replacing their CRTs with small character-oriented LCD displays. Some models also had computer-like features such as floppy disk drives and the ability to output to an external printer. They also got a name change, now being called "electronic typewriters" and typically occupying a lower end of the market, selling for under $200 USD. Soon after the introduction of MacWrite and Microsoft Word, the dedicated word processors became museum pieces. Body: MS Word is a program widely used by users around the globe. It has various formatting choices that user can select in order to achieve wanted document design. MS Word 2003/2007 had the biggest variaty of options to format, edit and insert different applications. In other words, MS

office in general is still a more complete program. The only disadvantage of MS Word would be the amount of work and time a group has to put in to save documents then e-mail them to all other group members. However, once you purchase the MS Office program, it is available on a laptop or computer even if there is no wireless connection or if the internet gets disconnected. As of now, MS Word remains the most widely used program opposed to the online programs because it is cheaper and almost available at all times. Some of MS Word formating commands were choosing font, font style, size and color, as well as bullets and numbering, borders and shading, document themes, formatting of selected text are some of the choices offered by Word. Zoho writer formatting palette offers a decent array of choices. It has more than 15 font selections in addition to icons for special characters and emotions. Basically, offered selections are very similar to those in Word, and it is easy to find them. However, there is a difference between Zoho and Word. Regardless of the license cost, Word is still used widely. That is because Word does not require internet connection, which is not situation with the Zoho. However, if one wants to use Zoho, he/she will need decent internet connection. On the other hand, Zoho frequently offers updates, and one of the recent offerings was offline editing capabilities. That means that users are able to view and edit documents offline, but they need to have Google Gears plug-in installed on their browser. So, one may choose to install plug-in and use Zoho, or to stick to Word. As a free program, Google Docs could be considered as a good substitute for MS Word. Basically, Google Docs is an elementary word processor, which includes font control, seven text sizes, highlighting, lists (using numbers or one of three bullet styles), indents and outdents, and alignment (left, center, right). One can choose from among three heading styles; single, 1.5, double, and triple line spacing; and superscript, subscript, and strikeout properties. In comparison with Word, Google Docs is an online program, which requires a good internet connection. Wiki program has only several formatting features that other programs have, such as font style, orientation, bullets and numbering and they are limited (such as number of different fonts, colors, etc.) in comparison to other programs. It also requires decent internet connection. Grammar, spell checking and word count optionsMS Word has very good grammar and spell checking and they work simultaneously. When the dictionary recognizes a word as misspelled, the word is underlined with a wavy red line. One can correct misspelled text through the Quick menu or through a dialog box. We can also turn this feature off, and Spell Check will not run as we work on our document. The feature can be easily activated. The situation is the same with Grammar checking. Word counting can be easily found under the Tools option. Zoho writer offers spell checking option where questionable words are highlighted. By clicking the flagged word, we can choose suggested alternate spellings. Unfortunately, there is no grammar checking. Whenever we save a document, the word count is shown at the bottom right corner. It shows number of words and characters. Google Docs spell checker highlights errors in yellow; rightclick can be used for previewing the suggested spellings. There is also no grammar checking. Word count option is located in the File drop-down menu. It counts words, characters (no spaces), characters (with spaces), paragraphs, sentences and pages. Wiki program also has a spell checking option. Spelling errors are highlighted and by clicking on the suggested word, one can easily change it. There is no grammar checking option. Classic word counter is also missing, but there is a “change tracking” option, which means that program tracks the count of the added and deleted words.

Importing & Exporting MS Word: was more practical, due to our familiarity and experience with the program, to import/export HTML type files pictures and excel spreadsheets, compared to the other three sites which were online documents. Zoho: the easiest of all four to import URL format by clicking on "import" then you can import a document or a URL in different file types such as html, doc, sxw (open office), odt, rtf, jpg, gif, png and text files. Also you can send Word / HTML document to your account by emailing them as an attachment to : e6gA3Agr862WJ9A@docs.zohowriter.com . Wiki (wetpaint) offered the option of bookmarking the document created on Del.icio.us and StumbleUpon using a fast and pratical way to export documents to be shared. Google docs is somewhat easy to work with as well using the "share" and "publish" buttons to export HTML documents and share them with other group members. As for importing, numerous options are available through the insert tab in the toolbar menu. Sharing and collaboration of documents within a small group MS Word 2003/2007: If more than two people are working on a particular document, using MS Word would not prove beneficial to the group. Since only one person can make corrections at any given time with MS Word, the program lends itself to human errors when multiple people need to edit and re-save at the next revision so everyone in the group can know if they are working on the latest version of the document. When it comes to sharing and collaboration then Ms Word2003/2007 is definitely not the best option. It has a drawback of not having a real time editing so people can not see/edit the shared document in real time. Google Docs is a better tool compared to MS Word as far as sharing and collaboration is concerned. You can share the document and can give the permission to edit the shared document and also you can limit the sharing by restricting it to “share as viewer” in which the viewer can not edit the shared document. Zoho writer is a better tool than MS Word and Google Docs. It has got real time editing and has the option of limiting the access of the shared document to certain people. One can see who all is editing the document and who is viewing the shared document. On top of this Zoho writer extends mobile support, adds offline capability for windows mobile using Google gears. Wiki program is good for sharing and collaboration. Its easy to edit the shared document. It has got real time editing. One can control the sharing and collaborationby limiting the sharing rights. Cost of using these programs (Assuming computers and internet service are already paid for) With MS Word, an initial capital investment would be needed to purchase the software and associated licensing fees (if applicable). Besides this, one could also argue some intangible costs such as: the wasted e-mail space taken up by dozens of document iterations, lost productivity when modifying or using the wrong revision of document, and business repercussions when the wrong or incorrect revision of document is sent out and made public. Choosing Google Docs, Zoho Writer, or Wiki for collaboration purposes requires no initial capital investment. The costs

associated with using any of these three programs will come from the work hours associated with learning how to use any/all of the programs properly. Google Docs and Zoho Writer would probably take the same amount of time as they are pretty close to each other in terms of functionality. Since Wiki could be used for project management type activities as well as document collaboration, it would require slightly more time for users to get familiar with and effectively use. Once the initial time investments are made with any of these programs, groups would probably save time (and ultimately money) when using any of the three internet based collaboration tools rather than MS Word. Additional Topics Zoho writer proved to be temperamental at first due to the issues our group had with everyone being able to view the group document. When the document was first created and sharing rights were granted to everyone in the group, only the members who were already registed with Zoho could view & edit the document. The members who registed with Zoho after being grated sharring rights were unable to view the document or the other collaborators. To get around this problem, sharing rights had to be granted once again to those collaborators. Personal Experience in Ease of Use, Document Sharing and Collaboration MS Word 2003/2007 : Bryan Gall: With the vast amount of experience I have using MS Word, I feel it is very easy to use. I know where everything I need to use is located and there are plenty of options available to me. I will say that when I upgraded to Word 2007 it took me awhile to find everything again since the toolbars changed a little. However, once I figured out where everything was at in the new version I liked it more than the old version. Sharing and collaboration obviously aren't as easy in my experience as I am finding out they are in the web based word processors. Multiple people can't edit at the same time and you have to either save the file on a shared network and send others the copy when you make changes. Chris Allen: Until participating in InfoTechTools, all of my word processing was completed using MS Word. Because of this, I have to say that this program is the easiest to use out of the whole group of word processors. It contains just about every function that is needed when drafting/editing a document. One can add and remove the tool bars that they so choose in order to personalize the program to their specific needs. However, when it comes to ease of use for collaboration purposes, MS Word really falls short of the competition. Anytime I have to work on a document with others, I have to be very careful that I am working on the latest and greatest version of the document; and I cannot work on the document while someone else is editing it; I can only view as "read only". As far as sharing an MS Word document with someone else, the only way I know of is to send a copy of it to them. Once that happens revision control of the document becomes impossible to manage. Dimitrios Hazimihalis; MS Word is the easiest word processing program that I have used. It is also the program that I have the most experience with. I use this program for"print" opeartions mostly and "read only" documents for sharing.

Snezana Aleksic: I am Word user for years, and I am used to the features offered by Word. It also provides me with the most detailed set of features needed for professional text writing/editing. There is one disadvantage of MS Word over the Zoho, Google Docs and Wiki that is worth to mention. MS Word doesn’t have collaboration feature, so working simultaneously on the same documentation is not possible. User needs to share the document with the other person, and wait until that other person makes changes and sends the document back. Basically, it is hard to compare MS Word on one side, and ZohoWriter, Google Docs and Wiki Program on the other side, because MS Word is not an online tool. User can access documents only from their own computer, which is not the situation with the other programs that allow user to access, edit and share documents from anywhere. Google Docs : Hadi Chammas: In my opinion, Google Doc was a useful and powerful tool. It was easy to use, and faster than the other word processors analyzed in this assignment. When having a fairly good internet connection, this program automatically saves changes and updates what other people are editing as well. It worked best with more people editing the same document at the same time. Bryan Gall: With the little experience I now have using Google Docs, I feel that is easy to use. Most of the needed options are available even though it doesn't have the huge variety that MS Word does. Sharing and collaborating is very easy to do using Google Docs. When someone else is editing at the same time it lets you know. Allowing multiple people to edit the document at the same time is a nice feature. You can see what other people are doing to the document simultaneously. Chris Allen: Google docs proved to be a very good word processing tool when collaboration was the main objective. My favorite thing about it is the fact that the document automatically updates every so often when you (or others) are editing it so you are not required to "refresh" your screen when others make changes so you can see the changes. When simply drafting a document w/o collaborative purposes, I think Google Docs lacks some of the functions (such as zoom in & out, outline views, editing tags, hyperlinking within the document for tables of contents and tables of figures). I would only use Google Docs for simple documents that are short in length and do not require much formatting. Dimitrios Hazimihalis: Google docs is a very good word processing tool. I haven't worked with it extensively to utilize its full potential. However, I believe that it does have some very good uses when collaborating with other colleagues when writing research papers, reports, etc. This is where I would use this application. Snezana Aleksic: By researching Google Docs, I realized that offered features are interesting and very useful to work with. I use Gmail and some other Google applications, so I also became a fan of the Google Docs. It has a user friendly interface and basic options that mostly don’t differ from those offered by Word. I like the collaboration option that allows multiple users to work on

the document at the same time. I tried that along with my group members and it worked very well. The disadvantage of Google Docs over MS Word is online use. Users must have a decent internet connection in order to use it. NAVEEN GENTE: Now after the last two online discussions, I realized some of the features with Google docs, is pretty impressing. I would like to change my opinion this time on word processors, from MS word to Google docs, because even though I have good acquaintance with MS word, it lacks some the good features like online editing, that too by good number of people at the same time and save them online. In case of MS word it is like one can make their own changes and then upload them online, which others have to download and make changes. One other impressing feature with Google docs is it saves and shows the updates without any effort from the users within a fraction of the task completion, where as in WIKI wetpaint, it takes too much time, we need to refresh it every time to see the updates, which is an irritating part after using Google docs. Though I am a word user for quite some time, now I really would like to use Google docs, for many of my future applications, as it is free of cost (if we won’t consider the internet usage charges ). so, I choose Google docs now as my word processor. Zoho writer : Bryan Gall: The Zoho writer is similar to Google Docs in that is easy to edit the document at the same time someone else is. You can see what it is they are working on. On the left side of the page you can see which collaborators are currently online as well as talk with them in a nice chat function. We used this when we were working at unit of learning 8 as there were three of us editing at the same time. Chris Allen: I tried using Zoho writer for collaborating with my group on a document, and I think I would have much rather used Google Docs. I think this program is modeled after Google Docs, but when it comes to ease of use, I think it falls short. Zoho is very tempermental; I had a very hard time editing and formatting text sometimes and other times I didn't. The one good thing I did like about using Zoho is that I was able to chat with fellow collaborators via texting while working on the document. This proved quite useful as I did not have to use a separate program to chat; everything was available in Zoho. Dimitrios Hazimihalis: I liked the chat function as Bryan and Chris stated above and it is similar to Google docs. Our group did chat while editing and it made LU8 easier to finish. I would use this in the similar fashion as Google docs for collaboration on certain projects. Snezana Aleksic: I have a positive impression about Zoho Writer. It has a user friendly interface and majority of options that suit my need. There is collaboration option, as well as sharing feature. I don’t have experience with collaboration feature, but I used chat option with my group members, and that worked very well. The main disadvantage of Zoho is that it is an online tool and requires constant high-speed internet connection. Wiki program : Hadi Chammas: After meeting on Yugma with my classmates, and trying to create a new document for Learning Unit 10, I found Wiki Program to be very cumbersome, slow and not

very practical. When more than one person is editing the same document, the changes will take a long time to save and in some cases it could get lost. One other disadvantage with Wiki is that you can only see other people's changes when you refresh the page which adds to the inconvenience. The only advantages i like about Wiki is that it keeps a detailed record of who is making changes to the common shared document, when the changes are being made, and it provides a word count for each edit. Bryan Gall: I don't have much experience with Wiki. I like that you can see the document at various stages before and after each edit is made. The discussion forum is also a nice feature. The sharing and collaborating functions don't seem to be as good as Google Docs or Zoho. Chris Allen: As far as using the WetPaint Wiki, I have not had a whole lot of seat-time with this particular word processing software. However, from what I have experienced, I think that it really doesn't offer me anything that distinguishes itself from Google Docs or Zoho writer. I do not like using the Wiki for real-time collaboration because you have to "refresh" your screen every-so-often to see what others have contributed/changed. I also do not like being prompted with filling out an editing tag every time I contribute or make a change. The discussion forum is a nice feature, but I really don't think it is that important. I think Wiki needs to invest more time in the text editing portion of their site. This program is satisfactory, but I would place it toward the bottom of my usage list. Dimitrios Hazimihalis: The Wiki program is useful. I too haven't used it enough. I like the easy edit toolbar, but it doesn't give you many editing options. Snezana Aleksic: From all aforementioned tools, I was the least impressed by Wiki. It has the same basic features as these offered by other programs, as well as sharing and collaboration features. The only reason that I can provide to explain my opinion is that I liked the interface offered by Google Docs and Zoho Writer better. Personal Choice for Word Processor Hadi Chammas: Google Docs Bryan Gall: Microsoft Word for solo work/Google Docs for group work Chris Allen: For my particular needs, I still revert back to MS Word. Please see my post on the discussion forum for supporting details. Dimitrios Hazimihalis: Microsoft Word for work. Google Docs for collaboration on team projects. Snezana Aleksic: MS Wordand Google Docs NAVEEN GENTE: Google Docs and MS word. References Gilbertson, Scott. "Zoho Adds Support forMS Word 2007 Format." http://blog.wired.com/monkeybites/2008/02/zoho-writer-add.html (10 April, 2008) Google Doc. "Google Docs Help Center." http://documents.google.com/support/ (11 April, 2008) Ragsdale, J. WetPaint Wiki's: The Consumer is in Control."

http://jragsdale.wordpress.com/2007/06/26/wetpaint-wikis-the-consumer-is-in-control/ (10 April, 2008) Wetpaint. "Tell Me More." http://www.wetpaint.com/page/Tell-Me-More (11 April, 2008) Wikipedia.org. "Microsoft Word." 12 April, 2008. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ms_word (12 April, 2008) ZOHO Work. Online. "Zoho FAQ's." 2008. http://www.zoho.com/zoho_faq.html (12 April, 2008)

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