Basic concept

There are many different circumstances under which one will have to work with text. As such, it is important to recognize the uses for which different text-based pieces of software are intended. These programs generally fall under two categories: Word processors and text editors. We will explore the differences between, and the uses of these types of software below. When working with text-based data, especially in the digital humanities, text editors are often a much better option. They create nonproprietary files which can be transferred between operating systems without the need for intermediary software. Additionally, both the files created by text editors and text editors themselves take up an extremely amount of memory compared to word processors. Finally, concerning data, many programs will allow text editor files to be used as input, which is certainly not the case with word processor files, with their formatting which generally renders them unreadable to other programs.

Text Editors

A text editor is a tool for working with plain text. Technically speaking, the only data that a file produced by a text editor contains are the values representing the individual characters, which are displayed as the characters themselves by the program. The text editor is a standard feature on all operating systems; Windows users will likely be most familiar with Notepad, though alternatives exist, such as the open-source text editor, Notepad++, which allows for features such as programming language syntax highlighting, that is, a visual markup applied to commands of a specific programming language. A text editor may not be ideal if you intend to include any kind of formatting in your text, such as alignment; font face or size; text features such as bolding or italicizing; or the incorporation of any non-text elements, such as images. However, it is possible to format such a document by using various markup languages, such as XML.

Word Processors

In contrast to a text editor, a word processor is any program through which text (and, often, other types of media) can be formatted and prepared for printing, whether physical or electronic. These give the user extensive control over the visual qualities of the document. Files of this type, while preferable for human readers, are generally not suitable for files which need to be processed by a computer, such as a piece of code, or a list of values to be read by a program.

Microsoft Word


Sometimes called WinwordMS Word, or WordMicrosoft Word is a word processor published by Microsoft. It is one of the office productivity applications included in Microsoft Office. Originally developed by Charles Simonyi and Richard Brodie, it was first released in 1983.

Microsoft Word is available for the Microsoft Windows, Apple macOS, Android, and Apple iOS. It could also be run on the Linux operating system using WINE.

What is Microsoft Word used for?

Microsoft Word allows you to create professional-quality documents, reports, letters, and résumés. Unlike a plain texteditor, Microsoft Word has features including spell check, grammar check, text and font formatting, HTML support, image support, advanced page layout, and more.

What does the Microsoft Word editor look like?

Below is an overview of a Microsoft Word 2010 document.

Microsoft Word document diagram
How many lines are there on a page in Microsoft Word?

By default, there are 25 lines on one page in Microsoft Word.

What type of files can Microsoft Word create and use?

Early versions of Microsoft Word primarily created and used the .doc file extension, while newer versions of Word create and use the .docx file extension.

More recent versions of Microsoft Word can create and open the following types of files:

  • .doc.docm.docx
  • .dot.dotm.dotx
  • .htm, .html
  • .mht.mhtml
  • .odt
  • .pdf
  • .rtf
  • .txt
  • .wps
  • .xps
  • .xml

Desktop Publishing (DTP) is the creation of electronic forms of information such as documents, presentations, brochures, books, or even website content using computer programs. DTP has evolved to be an important component of creating and disseminating information as it allows an amalgamation of various tasks that are generally performed independently at printing presses such as layouts, typesetting, graphic design, etc.

Evolution of DTP Software

Earlier, DTP was specifically meant to cater to printed matter but modern DTP allows for even more forms of electronic content. A modern DTP software can be your word processor, graphic design tool and publishing tool, all rolled into one package. With the explosive growth of smartphones and mobile PCs, the way people consume information has changed dramatically over the last decade. Modern DTP software enables content output that caters dynamically to all screen sizes, without the need to republish the same for each device or form factor.

Types of DTP Content

The content created by DTP software can be broadly classified into two categories −

  • Electronic Pages
  • Virtual Pages

Electronic pages commonly refer to websites, manuals, eBooks, digital archives, presentations, etc. which are normally not printed but are shared digitally. This tutorial is an example of an electronic page which can be opened in a browser.

Virtual pages on the other hand are electronic pages created in the DTP software which are eventually published as printed pages. Virtual pages allow the author to visualize exactly how the printed page will look and can help in easy editing. The process is called WYSIWYG which stands for, ‘What You See Is What You Get’. This means all the changes and formatting that are made will be exactly replicated in print.