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Word vs WordPerfect for Larger Academic Papers


Nathan Parker
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When I was on my Mac, I primarily transitioned to Nisus Writer Pro for all of my Academic papers over Word for Mac since it did a better job handling Hebrew fonts, as well as had overall better performance and flexibility.


 


Now that I'm on a Windows workstation as my primary machine, I've been using Word for Windows this past week in school, and it handled my documents OK in terms of performance and formatting, but they were shorter documents than I usually prepare, plus I'll be preparing much longer/larger academic papers in the future (such as when I go for my PhD).


 


For those documents, should I stick with Word for Windows or look into WordPerfect? How does WordPerfect compare to Word in terms of ease of formatting, performance, etc., and how well does it handle RTL languages such as Hebrew? 


 


Thanks!


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I always used inDesign for my study documents on Windows.

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Is that part of Adobe CC? I have full access to Adobe CC as a student.

 

Thanks!

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I would recommend sticking with Word if you're using Windows. It handles RtL languages fine. I'm certain there are still WordPerfect users around, but I don't know of any; and I would be concerned that development from Corel is not going to be very frequent. 

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Yes, inDesign is part of cloud (though i am still on CS5). For my assignments and stuff, i had to follow a very strict format for references for title, author, publisher and year (Harvard standard?). In inDesign i created a style and as soon as i hit the period, all of the text was correctly formatted with the right bits in italcs etc. It also handles references, citations and links better than word. Basically i created lots of styles for every important element like quote. It is also much better for things like dropped cap, not that you may be planning on using that.

You may find it a steep learning curve so i would recomend this reference book:

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Real-World-Adobe-InDesign-CC/dp/0321930711/ref=sr_1_7?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1467539601&sr=1-7&keywords=indesign+cc

 

I havent used word perfect for years so would stick to word like rick has advised, but if you have access to inDesign, i would certainly give it a go as its designed for long documents with complex formatting.

I use word extensively and really use most of its features and really it is designed for people who just use local formatting. I certainly dont like the default word templates where they have leading at the end of the paragraph and spent ages creating a decent set of templates i have backed up in multiple locations. i have always found word a bit buggy when you really push it with outline styles, links and bookmarks and foot notes and citations and track changes. and there are slight issues with formatting when working on the same document on a mac and pc which you just dont get these issues in inDesign. (Adobe started from scratch with it when pagemaker had reached the end of its life). Shame about adobe's licensing policy.

Edited by ukfraser
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Ps, for years i continued to use Samna's then Lotus' Ami Pro in preference to word because of its use of styles and templates but eventually succumbed to the microsoft giant world domination program.

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Thanks everyone for the feedback. I'll continue using Word as my main program since it's been working well (and it's true it handles Hebrew wonderfully), but I do have access to InDesign, so I'll play around with it in my spare time and see what I think about it. Won't hurt since I don't have to pay extra for it. :-)

 

I've heard of Lyx as well and will give it a look as well.

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IMHO - using inDesign for a paper, is a little bit like using your Ferrari to drive to and from work, when you have a perfectly serviceable town car to do the same trip.The Ferrari will do the job, but be way overpowered for it, and perhaps just a little finicky. It won’t hurt to play with it, but W4W should be your goto.

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Hi Nathan,

I agree with Ken. And, regarding Hebrew, I had the same reaction to your possible switch away from Word for Windows as Mac users likely had to your switch away from Mac – Hebrew in Word for Windows simply works, and has since Office 2003. The majority of Hebrew scholars I know use either Word or Nota Bene, both in Windows (although NB is available for Mac now).

However, NB and WordPerfect are not Unicode compliant, at least in NB 10 and WP 7 (and I don’t see any signs that this has changed in NB 11 and WP 8). NB is working on Unicode compliance (private email), and if it ever happens, I might switch to it.

Word will handle longer documents, including a thesis or book. I wrote mine in Word for Windows, with lots of Hebrew, over 200 pages, and pressed a button to change it to pdf format for camera ready copy.

By the way, there is also a steep learning curve for Word. Many use Word the way many of us use Accordance, i.e., hardly to its full capabilities. Word can do almost anything. But of course, Adobe CS/CC can do more.

Regards,

Michel

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Word is a typical ms product, buggy.

There are bugs in it that our support team reported in version 6 which still hadn't been fixed in the 2010 version.

 

Software is a very personal thing and for my assignments, the university had very stringent rules on formatting.

References had to be title in roman, author or editor in italic, publisher and year in roman. You cant set up a style for this in word, inDesign handles this in seconds.

Footnotes, end notes and citations can be done in word but require a lot of manual rework as the document changes, again inDesign handles this effortlessly.

For me, I discovered word wasn't the right tool for the job half way through my first assignment. Time spent upfront with inDesign saved me innumerable hours and minimised formatting errors over the next two years enabling me to concentrate on getting the content right.

 

Imagine you are giving a presentation 60 miles away.

You could cycle, it means setting off early as the journey will take longer, greater risk of puncture, arriving in a muck sweat and greater stress as the deadline approaches with the possibility of not having time to prepare yourself before your presentation.

Or you could drive in an automatic air conditioned car, spending less time traveling, arriving refreshed, relatively stress free and in comfort, with time to prepare yourself before your talk.

 

Word is like cycling, great for short journeys, when you want some exercise, no parking problems, when it doesn't matter what condition you arrive, when you have pleny of time or you want to admire the view. Importantly, You DON'T need a driving licence for a bike.

 

Its all about selecting the right tool for the journey, but being open to changing the tool when you recognise that its about to chuck it down with rain while you still have time to pedal home before you get soaked!

Edited by ukfraser
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Hi Nathan,

 

Since we’re all having fun with these analogies, I think a more realistic one is that InDesign is like a zero turn mower, and Word is like a pto mower on the back of a tractor. A zero turn mower would have been nice this morning for around the trees, etc., but my tractor has more hp and can pull a wider finish mower down the straights.

 

It’s true there are no style sheets for footnotes etc. in Word, but the only time you might need a global change is for publication. You should always know ahead of time which style a professor or thesis committee wants. But NB has the clear edge in this area – not only will it change styles automatically, e.g., SBL to Chicago, but you only have to type the reference once for your whole career.

 

Of course Fraser is right, it often comes down to a personal decision. Most scholars and students have free or cheap access to Adobe and MS products.  I find the only time I use ID is when Word can’t do what I want, e.g., my recent attempt to have Hebrew consonants in black and vowels in red. Word can’t do it, but ID can.

 

Regards,

 

Michel

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Go back to doing your papers on a Mac.  Shhhhhh.  It'll be our secret.

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Thanks everyone for your feedback. I was heavily trained on Word years ago, so I know my way around it well and can max out just about any of its features. If NB is also non-Unicode, that would be another serious issue. I really need full Unicode support.

 

I'll give InDesign a spin since I have access to it without paying extra and see what I think about it compared to Word. Right now Word is working flawlessly for my documents, but then again, I'm doing smaller stuff. I just wanted to ensure it'd hold under pressure. It sounds like it would, plus I have access to other options I can try without investing any more funds if it doesn't.

 

My only remaining Mac is getting old and worn out, so when it goes, I'll probably be back to 100% Windows. Main reason I switched back to WIndows was for better hardware service. Our lack of a solid way to get Macs repaired in Arkansas is what drove me to a Dell workstation. I have 24/7 support with next business day on site service in the event I need it. With Apple it's drive to a crime infested city for minor repairs or ship the Mac off to a repair facility that totally butchered my MacBook Pro. I just can't trust Apple's hardware repair service for mission-critical needs. In GA, we had a great Apple repair facility at the store, but alas, not here in Arkansas.

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For Word for Mac we can activate the Office Insider Fast builds. The newest one must be now 64bit. It's not a Ferrari but faster than the 32bit.

 

 

Greetings

 

Fabian

Edited by Fabian
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I wanted to do 64 Bit Word for Windows but was told it was buggy and to stay away from it. This came straight from Microsoft Pro Support.

 

Well tonight Word became very unstable tonight around page 11 on a Hebrew assignment I was working on. It kept crashing when I tried opening my document. I finally got it running again after a reboot, but now I'm getting leery about Word's stability again. I might need to keep testing other apps.

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First puncture? Looks like rain!

 

;o)

 

If you dont want to get the book, but for some, you do need guidance before setting off. adobe tv is a good driving school And worth investigating.

 

http://tv.adobe.com/videos/indesign/

 

http://tv.adobe.com/product/indesign/

 

https://helpx.adobe.com/indesign/tutorials.html

Edited by ukfraser
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Thanks for the videos. I do have access to Adobe's CC video training, and they are excellent. I'll give InDesign a spin, plus I may trial WordPerfect and Nota Bene and see what I think of them as well.

 

My Word issue "might" have been caused by a font issue from a file I brought over from my Mac, which I will be creating all my documents from scratch on Windows for the rest of the semester, but it was enough of a shakeup to at least consider a "back up" solution in case Word continues to grieve me.

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Like rick, not convinced word perfect will be any better. Corel has gone very quiet and dont know how much development they are still doing and it seems to be very legacy compatability focussed (Quattro Pro from borland was my first spread sheet program in dos).

OpenOffice which started life as the lotus office suite has also progressed slowly but i dont think that is up to word.

Haven't tried nota bene so cant comment.

Edited by ukfraser
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I personally wouldn't touch WordPerfect for writing academic papers.

 

Now, there are some scholars who swear by Nota Bene. I've had a copy for years, and I keep it up to date, but I've never taken the time to really learn it. Supposedly, the new version (11.x) will accept unicode text. I found a paste special function that listed unicode, but when I chose that selection, the text pasted incorrectly. The Hebrew text you see in the screenshot below is a basic paste, and the Hebrew is not completely correct. Note for instance, the initial בְּ is missing among other issues. 

 

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 6.50.57 PM.png

 

Keep in mind though, that I copied the text from Accordance on the Mac and pasted it into NB (a Windows program) running in WINE on my MacBook. You'd really want to test it in Windows. My Windows laptop is back in the United States, and I am in Seoul this week; so I can't do that right now.

 

Also, keep in mind that NB can be purchased with biblical texts (BHS, GNT, LXX, KJV, and a couple of others, I think). So, you can paste biblical text in directly from within the program (or technically via Orbis, NB's note-retrieval system). 

 

Note also that NB has a very steep learning curve. Nevertheless, it is the longest running word processor in existence with its roots going all the way back to XyWrite for DOS from the 1980s. 

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Note also that NB has a very steep learning curve. Nevertheless, it is the longest running word processor in existence with its roots going all the way back to XyWrite for DOS from the 1980s. 

 

Wow, that brings back memories. I helped some writers set up XyWrite on their computers as they moved from the typewriter to electronic systems in the late 1980's and early 1990's. Me, I was still using Perfect Writer or WordStar on CP/M systems for my job related writing tasks. Oh, and FidoNet was quite the thing. Now, if I just could remember what I was doing yesterday!

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If I remember correctly, the XyWrite code was licensed early on in the 80s to make Nota Bene the first academic word processor. I'm sure there's still XyWrite code even in the current version. Since XyWrite itself is no longer available, it only lives on in NB. 

 

If you're patient, you might be able to eventually get a used copy on eBay, but I can tell you that Nota Bene users don't part with it easily. My first attempt to purchase a used copy of Nota Bene put me in the middle of nasty divorce where a woman was trying to sell her ex-husband's copy, and he balked when I tried to get the license transferred. I got my money back. The second attempt was successful, and I managed to get a copy from an individual I used to occasionally see on these forums. It took a few years to obtain it used, so I suppose if someone really wanted NB, it would be best to just buy it new. There are academic discounts. Again, I've had it for a while, but have simply not had the time to invest to get to know it well. 

 

Nota Bene can be used on the Mac through a special WINE installation, but obviously, it's still very much a Windows program running on the Mac. The closest Mac equivalent to NB would be Mellel combined with a bibliographic manager; however, even that would not be as full-featured as NB.

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WordStar, now there is another blast from the past before i upgraded the office to Windows 386.

 

Happy days, Oh how things have changed

 

;o)

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There's a discount on Nisus Writer 2 at the moment, use code SUMMERFEST to get 25% off. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've been giving Nota Bene a trial run, and especially with the sale going on with it at the moment, I will probably go for it. The more I interact with it, the more powerful and flexible and "luxurious" it is for academic use. I love how everything integrates together. The interface is a little daunting and dated at first glance, but once one gets the hang of it, boy is it a academic's dream. The program can export to RTF and PDF, and my college (and other colleges I know) are beginning to recommend PDF for submissions to preserve formatting, so I "should" be OK if I moved everything over to it. It can run on a Mac (and possibly Linux) under WINE if I ever needed to do it, plus with RTF exporting, I can take my documents anywhere I needed to if need be.


 


Sales and Support have been excellent so far. They understand biblical scholar's needs and know exactly what I'm referring to when I ask them questions. I don't even have to bring in my templates from my seminary into NB. Turabian 8 is already built in and formats papers better than I do myself. When I called Corel about WordPerfect, I got someone from outside the US who had no idea what I was asking and knew practically nothing about the program. 


 


@Allistair: Nisus Writer Pro is Mac-only unfortunately. I used it on the Mac, and it was definitely my go-to word processor for academic writing on the Mac. On the Mac, I wouldn't use anything else but Nisus Writer Pro for academic writing. It is rock solid. Now that I'm on Windows, I have to painfully let go of Nisus Writer Pro for my academic word processor, but Nota Bene seems to be a solid replacement.


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