Personal Computer Museum, Canada's Videogame Museum

Wordperfect 4.1

Wordperfect 4.1
Wordperfect 4.1

Floppy (5.25")5

SSI Software


Release Date: 10/1/1985
Manufacturer: SSI Software
Original Retail Price:
Adjusted Inflation Price:
Donated By: Susan Mayse
WordPerfect is known for its clean, uncluttered interface.

Release 4.1 did not have pull-down menus. Program functions were accessed through the use of the function keys. Note that 4.1 predates the 101-key "enhanced" layout (introduced in 1986), so function keys are assumed to be on the side of the keyboard in two rows similar to the number pad. (Also, F11 and F12 are not available because they were not on the older keypad function key layout.) Online help screens were available, but most users of the software in this era used plastic, laminated templates describing the functions. Each function key was overloaded with combinations of various shift keys. Note that "help" is accessed by F3 (this program predates the convention that help is accessed by the F1 key) and to exit the program, F7 is used.

During this era, users of the software were trained on these function keys and internalized them much like programmers internalize vi commands. Proficiency with WordPerfect keys was a requirement for office workers during this era, starting about this time and becoming more critical as a skill once WordPerfect became more widely used.

Note that software in the mid-1980s was expensive by later standards, and it was not unusual for a small business or individual to make a significant investment in office computing hardware and software. As a result, software in this era had a much longer useful life than later software, and upgrades were not as common as they would become. WordPerfect 4.1 could be found in use through the entire MS-DOS era into the 1990s.

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* Inflation data courtesy of Values are approximate using our own calculations.

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