Word-processing software has been around even longer than the personal computer itself. It began to catch on in corporate environments in the 1970s and 1980s before really taking off in the 1990s with the rise of home computing, the Windows operating system and the Internet. Word processors offer an alternative to the slower, messier practice of handwriting, and in many instances present the best solution for a company's documentation needs.
Word processing saves time, making it an obvious asset in the workplace. Most people can type much faster than they can write by hand. Proficient typists can exceed 60 words per minute and potentially go much higher than that, whereas legibility concerns limit people's handwriting rates. Word processing also saves time in that employees can don't have to worry about fumbling paper around or writing neatly.
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By using a word processor to type documents electronically, it becomes quick and easy to transfer, copy and preserve information. This offers great utility and functionality to most companies and compares favorably to paper filing systems. Filing, retrieving and copying all require a significant amount of time in a paper filing system, and the storage requirements are significant. Paper files are also subject to decay, damage and misplacement in a way that digital file systems are not.
Improving Efficiency and Accuracy
Besides simply saving time, word processing offers ways to improve workers' efficiency and accuracy. Word processors contain software to automatically correct common errors and identify misspellings, improving overall speed and reducing errors. They also makes it easier to create and organize new files as well as retrieve and manipulate existing ones. These kinds of improvements offer a clear appeal to business, explaining the widespread transition to computers and word processing in office environments.
Reducing Supply Costs
While word processors and the computers to run them certainly cost money, so do the materials to use paper documents. A prolific employee might go through several reams of paper in a month, as well as a variety of pens, pencils, staples, paperclips and binders. These material costs add up, as do the logistical costs of having them delivered and the real estate costs of finding room to store them.