Since its launch in 1983, Tasword Two has been the acknowledged word processor for the Spectrum. Now, after three long years, and in the face of serious competition from The Writer and The Last Word, Tasword III has been released.
Unlike its predecessor, Tasword III is available only on microdrive, although a disc version - running on the Opus Discovery - is planned.
Any new version of an existing program must contain improvements and additions in either performance or ease of use. Tasman has made improvements in both. For a start, the manual is easy to understand and you can quickly get to any information you need.
Most Spectrum word processors are limited to a maximum of 32 columns across the screen - even Tasword II offers only 64 columns. Most printers, however, can cope with 80 columns. The Tasword III screen is a window over which you can scroll up to 128 character lines across the display. The only problem with this screen format is that you cannot see all of the text all of the time, but if you want to see how the text will look when printed there is no way around the problem.
At the bottom of the screen a status line gives information on how the program is dealing with the text and how your text is being split into pages - called page breaks. The information, which you must set up for Tasword, is necessary because the printer will have to know when to ask for a new sheet of paper or where to put extra places in at the end of a page.
Further information is provided on two pull down Help pages, which include details of how to move the block cursor - which does all the writing - around the screen. Those Help pages are useful nbut I relied more heavily on the contents page of the instruction manual.
Many word processors will fail to meet your requirements, simply because the computer hardware - the keyboard - cannot cope with your typing style and speed. If you hold a character key down for too long you may see several copies of that character up on the screen. Alternatively, if you don't hold it down for long enough, the character may not be picked up at all.
Tasword III, however, has an option which will change the amount of time the computer takes before it repeats a character. If you are a slow typist you may want to increase the interval before a repeat and if you are fast you will want to make the repeat faster.