|★ APPLICATIONS ★ BUREAUTIQUE ★ EASI AMSWORD / EASY TOPWORD/PROCESADOR DE TEXTO ★|
|EASI AMSWORD (Amstrad Computer User)||Topword (Mein Home-Computer)||Easi Amsword (Personal Computer News|
Amstrad micros are extremely good for playing games on. They're also a lot more than this, particularly since the introduction of the DDI-1 disc drive and the CPC664 with its built-in drive, they have gained considerable potential in the small-business market. There are many business applications where micros can be valuably employed, but the one which springs immediately to mind, and where the most obvious benefits may be seen, is the word processor. Anybody accustomed to using a conventional typewriter, even a good touch-typist, knows how difficult it is to produce a word-perfect letter or report without the judicious dab of correction fluid. When you need to produce a quotation or answer an enquiry, it's very important that the document you send out should represent your company at its best. The introduction of a word processor will improve this aspect of your business no end, and offer, in addition, a number of other benefits, especially if your business involves any form of advertising by mail. This review describes the two word processors marketed by Amsoft: Easi-Amsword and its big brother, Amsword (sometimes known as Tasword 464). The first of these is rather more of a text editor than a full-blown word processor, as it lacks several of the features expected of a professional word processing program. It is fine for producing letters and short correspondence, however, and has the virtue of being one of the cheapest programs of its type on the market. The package consists of a cassette and a small instruction book - small enough to slip inside the cassette case, in fact. Although the format and typeface are small, the instructions are quite clear and follow your likely method of work. They start with descriptions of all the options on the main menu, which are:
Running briefly through these options should give you an idea of what Easi-Amsword can do. 'Create' is selected when you want to start a new document, and asks you first to enter a name for it. In contrast, 'Edit' allows you to make changes to an existing document. 'Name' is more
'Retrieve' and 'Save' handle the filing of your documents on cassette. Easi-Amsword doesn't work with discs, as there is no way to get the program to accept the ' |TAPE' and '|DISC' commands. This is a shame, because if you upgrade you system, your Easi-Amsword will become redundant.
Easi-Amsword offers none of the formatting facilities often expected of. modern word processors. There is no centring of text, no headers or footers (although you can automatically print page numbers) and no way to use the special features of your printer from within the text. Perhaps it's unfair to expect this kind of sophistication on a product at the lower end of the price spectrum. Easi-Amsword is certainly quite capable of handling the production of letters, and with a little ingenuity it can be used for a certain amount of automated correspondence (by storing a letterhead file, for instance). If you want more than this, however, you really need to start looking at Amsword itself. Amsword (Tasword 464) starts with a more comprehensive specification. It aims to provide all the facilities you might sensibly want to use in the preparation of a personal or business document. It starts by assuming you want to work with 80 column text, and that you'll probably want reminders of the various controls used by the word processor. It therefore displays seven lines of information at the top of the screen (which may be supressed if you need to see more of your text), and two status lines at the bottom.
Amsword tries to show you on the screen what your document will look like when printed. The fashionable term for this philosophy is WYSIWYG (pronounced wizz-i-wig - short for 'What You See Is What You Get'). Thus, if you centre a line of text, it will be centred on the screen and if you want the text to be divided into pages, the page boundaries will be shown on the screen as you come to them.
The documentation supplied with Amsword is a 46 page manual which is a comprehensive reference aid to the program. It covers all the features of the program in detail, but is not a tutorial guide. To partly overcome this omission, a tutorial text file is provided on the Amsword cassette or disc. This tutorial runs through most of the commonly used features of the program, and is well put together. Perhaps I'm too traditional, but I would have found a tutorial section within the manual easier to use - it takes a long time to load from cassette.
Tasman Software have followed the time-honoured tradition among 'serious'word processors, and use (SHIFT) and (CTRL) sequences to call up the various functions of the processor. To centre a line of text, for instance, you move the cursor to the required line and press (CTRL) and 'W' together.
When you enter Amsword, certain features are selected by default: word-wrap (the facility which prevents words being split at the ends of lines), right-hand justification, the overwriting of characters if you type on top of existing text and the text being left as one continuous document, without page breaks. These are sensible defaults, but any of them may be changed, and the revised version of the program saved back to cassette or disc. This is a very useful feature of Amsword, as it means you can keep separate copies of the word processor pre-set for different kinds of document.
Amsword's text manipulation is very versatile. Words may be inserted anywhere within the document, simply by positioning the cursor and pressing (CTRL)I. If the cursor is in the middle of a word, a space will be inserted so that a new character may be typed in. If the cursor lies on a space between two words, text to the right of the space will be moved onto the next line to make more room. When you have inserted the text, you will probably need to re-form the paragraph, particularly if it is justified. This can be done by pressing (CTRL)J. Amsword re-forms paragraphs quite slowly
A block of text may be sectioned off using two markers, and this block may then be moved, deleted or copied to another place in the document. This allows you to shuffle paragraphs around within your text until you're happy with their order.
The current settings of the left and right hand margins, and the tabulation positions are shown by a 'ruler' at the bottom of the screen. Both margins and the tab settings may be freely altered, and when re-forming a paragraph the current margin settings will be used.
You can define both headers and footers within Amsword and define where within the spaces at top and bottom of each page they are to be printed. Page numbers may be printed at the top or bottom of each page, and at either side or in the middle. You can also start page numbering from any number, so that you can print a file which is a continuation of a previous document. If you do this, though, the second document will start on a new page. There is no easy way of printing several text files as one continuous document, unless all the files fit in memory together.
Amsword can handle documents up to about 14000 characters long. This represents about 2300 words or between three and four A4 pages. This is not a lot if you need to type reports or theses, but is probably enough for the majority of business or personal letters.
A feature often found in expensive word processors, and also found in Amsword, is 'Search and Replace'. This facility is very powerful, as it helps you to rectify consistent mistakes, and even allows you to use a form of shorthand within you documents.
You call the routine by pressing (CTRL)R, and you are then asked to enter the search word, and its replacement if required. Your document is searched for every occurence of the search word, and each one is replaced by the new word or phrase. If you are typing a document which includes the same word or phrase many times, then you can type a single letter when entering the text and replace it later with the word or phrase, using the search and replace option of Amsword.
One of the particularly interesting features of Amsword is its inclusion of a second character set, which may be called up at any time. This second set includes the Greek alphabet, sub-and superscripts, fractions and proof-marking symbols. These may be included in your ordinary text and freely mixed with characters from the normal set.
As well as the second character set, Amsword can also be customised to provide for the special facilities of your printer. These might include underlining, emphasising and special character fonts. Each facility is called within the printer by sending it a sequence of codes before and after the effect is used. These sequences can be set up within Amsword in the same way as the second character set, and are then called by using a (CTRL) sequence while typing in the text. This system has the advantage that if you change printers (or can afford more than one), you can keep versions of Amsword for each printer, and still use the same sequence of (CTRL) codes for each effect when entering text. Amsword is a sophisticated beasty, and there's no doubt that it can satisfy most general needs. There are a couple of minor niggles, though, like the positioning of the cursor at various points in the program. For instance, if you leave the text display to print the document or alter some of the configuration options, the cursor will be repositioned at the start of the document, rather than remaining where you left it.
Although Amsword leaves the ten function keys for your use, it might have been easier if it had used them in their three states (alone, with (SHIFT) and with (CTRL)) instead of relying on rather obscure alphabetic sequences. The counter display within the program, which shows how much text space remains, is described as being 'usually an over-estimate'. You might wonder what use it is, if it's not accurate.
None of these points cause any major problems, though, and overall Amsword offers exceptional value for money and proves to be a word processor well up to the standards of others which cost much more. Without spending a lot more, on a CP/M-based word processor, Amsword offers the best word processing system available for the CPC464 and CPC664 micros.
Easi-Amsword: Cassette £9.95
SIMON WILLIAMS, ACU #8510
L'alinéa 8 de l'article L122-5 du Code de la propriété intellectuelle explique que « Lorsque l'œuvre a été divulguée, l'auteur ne peut interdire la reproduction d'une œuvre et sa représentation effectuées à des fins de conservation ou destinées à préserver les conditions de sa consultation à des fins de recherche ou détudes privées par des particuliers, dans les locaux de l'établissement et sur des terminaux dédiés par des bibliothèques accessibles au public, par des musées ou par des services d'archives, sous réserve que ceux-ci ne recherchent aucun avantage économique ou commercial ». Pas de problème donc pour nous!
CPCrulez[Content Management System] v8.7-desktop/c
L'Amstrad CPC est une machine 8 bits à base d'un Z80 à 4MHz. Le premier de la gamme fut le CPC 464 en 1984, équipé d'un lecteur de cassettes intégré il se plaçait en concurrent du Commodore C64 beaucoup plus compliqué à utiliser et plus cher. Ce fut un réel succès et sorti cette même années le CPC 664 équipé d'un lecteur de disquettes trois pouces intégré. Sa vie fut de courte durée puisqu'en 1985 il fut remplacé par le CPC 6128 qui était plus compact, plus soigné et surtout qui avait 128Ko de RAM au lieu de 64Ko.