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The Internet: The Missing Manual by David Pogue, J.D. Biersdorfer

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Online Word Processing Programs

Microsoft Word rules offices; Notepad and TextEdit are free on every Windows PC and Mac. So, for anybody who wants to process some words in a pinch, the idea of online word processing programs may seem redundant.

But having your word processor reside on the Internet, rather than your hard drive, has all kinds of payoffs:

  • Most online word processors are free. Here's your chance to create, open, edit, spell check, and distribute Microsoft Word documents—without actually owning Microsoft Word.

  • As with any Web-based program, you never have to worry about installing upgraded or bug-fixed versions; you're always using the very latest.

  • You never have to worry about losing your work. If it's on the Internet, your hard drive can choke, gag, die, and keel over, but your document is safe. Some of these online programs, moreover, auto-save and auto-back up your work as often as every 10 seconds.

  • Many online word processors are designed for collaboration, where two or more people can all work on the same documents. Say you and your old college buddies, now in far-flung locations, want to work on a screenplay together. Using an online word processor, one person could start the draft and the others could come along in turn and add their own material and comments—all without the hassle and version confusion of emailing individual files back and forth.

  • The software works right in your Web browser, so compatibility with different operating systems is also a non-issue. ...

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