Word processing software is used to create and edit documents like letters, reports and books. There are numerous word processing applications available. Microsoft (MS) Word, which is part of Microsoft Office, is the most frequently used word processing program. Other applications include WordPerfect by Corel Corporation, iWork by Apple, Google Docs and Writer by Apache.
Is MS Word a desktop publishing tool?
Word processors include a number of tools for formatting pages, organizing text into columns, adding page numbers, inserting illustrations, etc. Additionally, header and footer options, indexing and table of content features allow you to create a professional document. Features specific to longer documents, like pagination, footnotes, endnotes and annotations are also available.
Word processors have tools that enable you to control the formatting of all the typographical details at the line, word and character levels like spacing, scaling and emphasizing.
The capabilities word processing software programs are adding to work with page layouts are beginning to blur the line between desktop publishing and word processing. Some users believe that MS Word provides them with all the features needed to produce their publications the same way as any other layout tool. Many businesses also prefer that their forms are in .doc format because they are small in size, can be easily edited and printed, and because MS Word is widely-used.
MS Word does not give you complete control over your document. When it comes to design and positioning using the x and y values, you should use desktop publishing software, like Adobe InDesign, to produce a publication that looks professional and visually appealing.
You should use a desktop publishing tool if you need full-color or high-volume printing because MS Word cannot help with that. You can use MS Word to create complex layouts for brochures or newsletters that you print with your desktop printer, but it is not the best choice for creating digital files for commercial printing.
If you have your materials printed commercially, be aware that you may need to pay a lot for the printing house to rework the files in order to achieve acceptable results from your .doc files. MS Word sometimes has problems handling EPS and TIFF files, which are the standard graphic formats for desktop publishing. Word cannot properly handle the embedded color information in TIFF and EPS images, so the colors you see on-screen will not match the printed colors.
Microsoft Word is a good word processing program and you can use it to create any complex documents normally designed by any other page layout program. However, you need to keep in mind that MS Word documents are best-suited to desktop printing or photocopying and not for commercial printing.