In 1984, IBM announced DisplayWrite 1 for the IBM PC. It was among the company's first internally developed, commercially sold PC software, and cost $95. DisplayWrite's feature set was based on the IBM Displaywriter System, a dedicated microcomputer-based word processing machine. This used a word processing program called Textpack 4. Because the two systems were so similar, an experienced Displaywriter user could start using DisplayWrite immediately. It was also sold for use with the IBM PCjr.

Displaywrite's native file format is based on IBM's DCA (Document Content Architecture) RFT (Revisable Form Text) specification, but adds additional structures. Depending on the Displaywrite version, the document files use .DOC or .TXT file name extension. The Displaywrite software can export to and import from pure DCA/RFT files (which typically have .DCA or .RFT file name extension). RFT (IBM Revisable Form Text) should not be confused with RTF (Rich Text Format), which is a Microsoft specification.

DisplayWrite 1 for DOS

Also in 1984, DisplayWrite 2 was released. The retail price of the product was now $299, and it featured menu navigation and included a number of enhancements over the original. It came on two 5.25" 360 KB floppy disks.

DisplayWrite 3 went on sale in 1985 for $450.

DisplayWrite 4 for DOS

DisplayWrite 4 went on sale in June 1986 for $495.