Lotus

Manuscript

Lotus Manuscript was a DOS-based word processor released by Lotus in 1987. It started life as a personal tool used by co-author of 1-2-3, Jonathan sachs, as he was writing up the large amount of documentation for their flagship product.

Around that time, Lotus Development Corporation were still on their growth trajectory, with each year seeing massive profits and expansion. By the end of 1986, Lotus reported $283M in annual revenue and had 1421 employees - double that of 2 years earlier.

Lotus Manuscript was Lotus' attempt on the Word Processor market, and it retailed for $495. It differed from most DOS-based word processors, however, as Manuscript was more of an integrated tool, allowing the user to mix and match text, graphs, charts, tables and equations all within the same document. It natively accepted data from 1-2-3 and Symphony, and claimed to support documents up to 700 pages long.


A Manuscript advertisement from April 1987

Text was divided into blocks and sections that could be moved, indexed, footnoted, and cross-referenced. It came with a document compare feature that highlighted changes between revisions. A powerful print formatter made tables and columns and set fonts to be used and their point sizes.

Many graphics formats were readable, and graphics would be imported into a 'block', which you could then resize. Unfortunately, text did not wrap around the graphic.

Manuscript also had a document outliner, and a built-in spell checker.

Version 2.0 arrived in July 1988, with an upgrade option for version 1.0 owners for the sum of just $75. For those buying new, the product cost $475. Where version 1.0 could be considered a scientific word processor, version 2.0 was now able to compete with the best word processors on the market, sporting a table editor and hot links to spreadsheets. Graphics from Freelance Plus, Graphwriter, Lotus 1-2-3, Symphony and others could be inserted, scaled to size and placed on the page.

From version 2.1, Manuscript was enhanced with more fonts, graphics and mail merge support. It had print preview support but still no WYSIWYG editing.


A Lotus software advertisement from November 1989