Microsoft Word turns 40 in 2023, remembering old days of use, new features that were included over the years, a more than hated Clippy and doors that open towards artificial intelligence.
The history of Microsoft Word as it enters its 40s in 2023 is fascinating and full of changes and evolutions. That is why this must have the prominence it deserves and take a short tour of its history with some key points that cannot be overlooked.
As everyone already knows, it is one of the most popular software in the world. It wasn’t always this way, and despite competing with a host of word processors over the decades, Word has stood the test of time and is now more powerful than ever.
Going back to its beginnings, in 1983 Microsoft announced its intention to create a word processor for the IBM PC. Back then, the available word processors were quite limited and most were specific to a particular platform or operating system .
Microsoft saw an opportunity to create a word processing tool that was easier to use and could be used across different platforms.
The first word processor developed by Microsoft was Multi-Tool Word (MTS), released in 1984. This program had basic text editing and formatting options. In 1985, the company released Word 1.0, the first version of Word as it is known today. This version was available only for the Macintosh and featured more advanced editing and formatting options. Learn more on Mechables.com
“It’s a story of constant innovation, with new features and enhancements added over the years to make editing and formatting documents easier and more effective,” explains Gabriela Mantero, AI Specialist at Microsoft .
Windows 3.0 in 1990 was essential to the success of Word
Windows 3.0 was a revolutionary operating system at the time, as it offered a graphical user interface that allowed users to interact with the computer in an easier and more intuitive way. This meant that software applications also had to be compatible with the Windows interface, which presented a great opportunity for Word.
Before 1990, software applications were designed for text-based operating systems, making their use complicated and limited. With Windows 3.0, software developers could design applications with a more intuitive graphical user interface, completely changing all scenarios.
“The release of Windows 3.0 in 1990 was absolutely key to the success of Microsoft Word at the time, making it easier to use and more accessible to any type of user,” adds the expert.
Microsoft Word was one of the first applications to take advantage of this opportunity, and it was designed specifically for this operating system. It had an improved graphical user interface, which allowed users to work with documents in a way that was never seen before and was very easy.
Additionally, Word integrated seamlessly with other Office applications such as Excel and PowerPoint, allowing users to work on multiple documents at the same time and easily switch between them.