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Word vs WordPerfect for Larger Academic Papers

Nathan Parker

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One more thing to throw into the discussion...


Since my workstation is having to be clean installed with Windows next week due to a Dell rep remoting into my system and corrupting the OS (it still boots, it's just a little unstable), I decided to throw the WordPerfect trial on my machine just to see how it compares with Word and Nota Bene which I just purchased.


Short answer: It is NOT a good choice for biblical students.


Longer Answer: It horribly butchers Hebrew and has zero R-T-L support. Field Codes are interesting for fine-tuning formatting, but not enough to move away from Word for business-documents for. The rest of the tools included in the suite are vastly inferior to Microsoft Office and just a bunch of "fluff" I'd never use.


Summary: For business documents, stick with Word. For an office suite, stick with Microsoft Office. For academic research and writing, stick with Nota Bene. The suite of tools in Nota Bene, unlike WordPerfect, are actually tools I as a student will use (Orbis will be a dream for searching research files, Ibidem will be a dream for citing papers, and Archiva will be great for bringing in citation information into Ibidem, and Lingua handles languages beautifully). Nota Bene is definitely the solid academic choice, and Word is perfectly adequate for business documents, and WordPerfect struggles heavily with biblical fonts and isn't vastly superior to Word for business documents to warrant purchasing it.

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You might also like to try Open Source (free) alternatives.

Both of the following handle Unicode natively and RTL / LTR languages:


Apache Open Office 






There are lots of extensions and add-ons for the above and as they are open source if do not like something or want something else in them you are free to reconfigure/program them. 



However, as good as they are whenever I am only dealing with Biblical Hebrew I usually use DavkaWriter (link)

Edited by bkMitchell
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  • 3 weeks later...

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.



Hi Nathan,


We have been told for years to stay away from the 64 bit version. FWIW, I’m happily editing 2000+ page files of Hebrew in the 32 bit version. It all starts with the entire HB, packed in 700+ pages.




NB does work well with longer documents, e.g., I copied the whole HB from Word and pasted it into NB, and it worked at about the same speed as Word. I keep waiting for full Unicode compliance and the ability to paste images (from JSesh) directly into NB before I get it.





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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks everyone for the feedback. I've used LibreOffice and OpenOffice in the past for light stuff, but it's a little unpolished for my needs. So far, I've been thrilled with Nota Bene. I'm loving the integration of everything together for academic research and writing. I plan to illustrate down the road when I have some free time how I integrate Accordance into it.

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Nathan, I look forward to reading about your Nota Bene with Accordance integration.

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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

On the whole, Word's referencing styles do provide the correct formats vis-a-vis italics, etc. You don't need to set up anything for this - it's all automatic. Plus you can change between referencing formats (APA, Chicago, etc.) at will. And, once you've added a reference, it's available for any later document you create. I currently have over 600 works referenced in Word. The problem is that Word doesn't truly conform to any of the referencing formats it purports to support (I say this as a Microsoft Word MVP). It does a tolerable job of APA, but Chicago is appalling - Word's mishmash doesn't do a proper job of either Chicago format. Thankfully, there are third-party products like EndNote that you can install as an Addin (the Uni where I study supplies it free to all students) and which has the added advantage of being able to download your references from on-line databases, etc.


I don't understand your comments re footnotes, endnotes and citations; they're largely automatic and require little, if any, manual reworking as the document changes. Footnote & endnote numbering & re-numbering is entirely automatic and their formats are managed via the relevant Styles. Citations, once you've inserted them don't need to be touched again as you edit the document (unless you want to change the reference itself).

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