by Ann Mackay

I confess. I'm a wordprocessor junkie. I have several loaded in my computer, and I use them all! However, since I volunteered to review MicroVision's WordExpress 2.02 for the MVPCUG, I may be unloading at least some of those many wordprocessor programs. WE2 offers many features that I like in one program, and I would no longer have to use different wordprocessors to perform all the "tricks" I want. WE2 packs a lot of punch, and I believe it holds its own against Microsoft Word and WordPerfect, and it's easy to use.

The software consisted of five 3 1/2" floppies. I loaded it on my Pentium 133MHz (32 megs of RAM running Windows95) without a hitch. (We have since loaded Windows98 and the program still runs perfectly). I have played with the program and tried to get it to stumble, but haven't been able to trip it up yet. I found it to be extremely responsive, even snappy.

The manual that came with the program is the most comprehensive, best organized and informative manual I have ever had the pleasure to read. It even includes a comprehensive list of keyboard shortcuts in an appendix in the back of the book, which is divided into categories for quick reference. The book takes you through each and every command in each menu, starting with File and working through to Help. The commands are thoroughly, clearly and concisely explained, and you should be able to use this program like a pro after reading this manual. If only all software companies would follow this example!

When you open the program, the interface is familiar, assuming you have used other Windows word processing programs, but you will notice right away that the customizable toolbar (called a Speed Tools bar) is much more comprehensive than many other processors. You can even choose the types of tabs you want simply by clicking a descriptive button on the toolbar - no drilling down through Menus to find the tab types - - I like that. The program uses two modes for operation: text mode and object mode. In text mode, naturally, you enter and edit text. If you want to insert an object, clipart, or text art, you click the black arrow button on the toolbar and you then toggle to object mode. You can also do this by right-clicking anywhere in the document and choosing object mode from the pop-up. Furthermore, if you choose Insert Picture from the menu bar, it automatically toggles to object mode. If you later want to edit the graphic/object, you must switch to object mode. The toolbar changes depending on which mode you choose, and offers the appropriate tools/commands.

There are several templates to choose from for many kinds of documents, including business cards, resumes, letterhead, newsletter, and more. I set up a dummy newsletter, and found the template to be easy to edit. The variety of templates offered is impressive although certainly not quite as comprehensive as WordPerfect or Microsoft Word. On the other hand, how many different styles of newsletter or letterhead does one actually need?

I played with most of the features of the program and found this program to be rock solid, both in smoothness and speed of operation and also in ease of use. WE2 is jam-packed with features one might expect to find in the so-called Big Three word processors, with a fraction of the problems.
Again, I state that this wordprocessor is a must-have for virtually everyone, including the small business office. It is loaded with features usually found only in the major wordprocessors. I do miss having my typos corrected on the fly, but it's a small price to pay for such a good, solid program.

The only thing I found that I would like to see changed is the fact that when you rest your cursor over one of the toolbar buttons, the descriptive caption pops up directly under the cursor instead of to the side, so it is sometimes difficult to read the description. This can be a real annoyance if you need to know what a button does before you click on it. Since this has nothing to do with the actual operation of the program, I would list this flaw as an incidental annoyance, and would hope it is fixed in the next version. The only other thing I found I couldn't do was to import a document from WordPerfect 8 or Word 97. However, documents in those wordprocessors can be saved in older version formats, and then can be imported smoothly, formatting intact, into WE2 for further use.

You can download a free trial version of WE2 from their website (, and you can order a registered copy of the program online on their secure site. By all means, download the trial and see for yourself that this is a terrific program which actually lives up to its advertising hype. I give it an A.

Ann Mackay, an MVPCUG member, has five grown children scattered around the country, including one in Japan. She works in state government as a paraprofessional and is looking forward to retiring in the near future and collecting more wordprocessing programs.

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February 2003