PaperClip

Reviewed by Les Ellingham

 

Issue 22

Jul/Aug 86

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Ever since Issue 17 when I reviewed Superscript I have been using that program to prepare every issue of PAGE 6. I considered Superscript to be the finest word processor available for the Atari so I was most interested to have the opportunity at last of testing PaperClip, a word processor which has been hailed in the States as the 'definitive' Atari word processor.

Let's start out by saying that PaperClip has everything that Superscript has, well almost, and a lot more besides. From the very start it is evident that this is a fine word processor containing virtually everything you would need for any task from writing a letter home to producing a fully indexed book complete with a table of contents! As with any complex program it will take you some time to learn all of the facilities available but on-screen Help files are available at the push of a button or with a couple of key strokes. If you just want to do something simple to begin with, however, just type!

EDITING

The first thing that strikes your eye is that PaperClip uses a re-defined character set. Each character is slightly larger than the standard Atari characters and is in a sort of 'old English' style. Quite pleasing on the eye and very easy to read. All of the editing commands that you would expect of an advanced word processor are available from deleting characters, words or lines to defining and moving, copying or deleting blocks of text. All fairly standard but PaperClip has many little extras such as character or word toggle. If you make the classic typing mistake of transposing two characters, you need only place the cursor on the second character and, with one key press, flip the characters. Likewise with any two adjacent words.

SEARCH and REPLACE

Any word or character can be found quickly and changed if required for any other text. Global substitutions are possible, but not just over one document. Multiple documents can be chained together, in fact as many as your disk will hold, and a global search and replace can be performed over every chained, or batched, file on the disk! What's more several global substitutions can be performed at the same time.

PRINT FORMATTING

Control over the printed output is one of PaperClip's strongest points. The disk comes with dozens of printer configuration files with a utility program to create your own. Strangely one or two printer features seem to be missing, such as enlarged text, but special user defined printer commands can be included or a configuration file can be changed to suit. Obvious settings such as margins, page length, line spacing etc. are all standard but also included are unusual features such as microspacing. If it works on your printer you can obtain superbly justified text with each word evenly spread unlike in the conventional way in which extra spaces are added between words. I say 'if it works' for although my NEC supports microspacing, Paperclip tended to split up words and throw odd lines out of the margins. Not very useful!

Headers and footers are available as well as page numbering and new page eject. One thing not supported is 'alternate paging' where odd and even numbered pages can be treated differently with margins and headings set to the left or right as appropriate. Superscript scores heavily here as it can print odd numbered pages first and allow you to reverse each page and then print the even numbered pages on the other side. One thing PaperClip does have though and which is very easy to implement is double column printing which it achieves in one pass i.e. the two columns are printed at the same time rather than reversing the paper as some word processors do. This feature is easier to use than on any other word processor I have tried and can produce some excellent professional looking results, particularly if the Print Preview option is used first.

MUCH MORE

There is even more to PaperClip such as the ability to include graphics in a document, do mathematical calculations on columns etc., use in 'Typewriter mode', produce automatic tabling of contents, include comment lines and more. It also allows you to work on two documents at once in different windows. And you can do mail merge. And you can define keyboard macros. And...

In fact there is too much to comment on everything so check the feature summary to see just what is available.

CONCLUSIONS

Paperclip comes with two options, one for the 130XE and one for others. The only difference is in the size of the text buffer. I could not try the 130XE option as this is supposed to be on the reverse of the disk along with several new utilities but the reverse of the review copy disk was blank! One of these utilities was the automatic indexing which I longed to try!

The disk is not copy protected so can be backed up with ease. Protection is achieved by means of a dongle which is plugged into a joystick port. A much more sensible way to prevent illegal use. Superscript is so heavily backed up that I cringe each time I have to boot it up.

There have to be one or two criticisms but they are limited. If you can type fast it is possible to 'get ahead' of PaperClip which can cause problems. Superscript has a superb file loading system where all the files on a disk are shown on screen and you merely place the cursor over the file you want and hit Return whereas PaperClip requires you to remember a filename. The packaging produced by Ariolasoft is superb, in fact probably the best yet seen for this type of software but the manual, which by the way is excellent, is almost impossible to read without using two hands. It should be spiral bound so as to lay flat when you are typing. At present you would need to weight It down or copy parts of it to use it whilst typing.

THE FINAL OPINION

I have to admit it. PaperClip is probably the finest word processor yet produced for the Atari although it does lack a spelling checker which many might consider tips the scales towards Superscript. Nevertheless Superscript may have to bow down! Apart from its features the price, now that it finally has U.K. distribution, makes PaperClip one of your best ever buys if you need a word processor. It costs 44.95. Still quite a lot of money, but worth every penny.

Ariolasoft should feel proud to have a product such as this available at a reasonable cost and anyone needing a powerful word processor should look to PaperClip as the definitive Atari word processor.

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PAPERCLIP FEATURES

Not copy protected Excellent manual On screen status and command lines Disk directory display and print File merge  Two text windows  Text scrolling

OPTIONS

Cursor movement toggle Screen scroll toggle Left margin Line length Alarm bell toggle Window size Auto save of text Attract mode toggle Key click toggle  Screen colour change Printer configuration  Full DOS options

EDITING

Full cursor control Delete character, word or block  Paste buffer  Undo Cut & Paste String search Text replace Global substitution Tags Caps/ lowercase toggle Insert/Overwrite toggle Letter swap toggle Word swap toggle

PRINT FORMATTING

Margins Page length Line spacing Block right  Centering Mixed formats Justification  Microspacing Headers Footers Page numbering Force new page Bold Italic Character pitch Underline  Hard spaces Auto indent Hanging indent Tabs Single sheet pause Multiple copies Double column printing Print preview Print to disk

SPECIAL FUNCTIONS

Mathematics Table of Contents Indexing User defined print commands Non printing comment lines
Typewriter mode Include files Batch files 
Global substitution within batch files Graphics inclusion Mail merge Macros

EXTRAS

30 plus printer configurations Epson character set load User defined configuration Atariwriter converter  Graphics dump for Koala, Atari Artist, B/Graph, Fun with Art, Paint and more Help files Demo documents

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