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The world's largest encyclopedia available on the Web at www.wikipedia.com. Wikipedia is user generated, and anyone can create or edit an article (see wiki). Founded in 2001 by Jimmy Wales, as of 2020, there are more than six million articles in English, as well as articles in every language on earth. Wikipedia has been written and edited by tens of millions of contributors, with more than a hundred thousand routinely adding to the English version.

Admired and Criticized
Wikipedia's range of subjects is unparalleled, covering topics that would never appear in any conventional encyclopedia, online or print. There are so many "eyes" looking at an entry that erroneous information is often caught rather quickly. However, Wikipedia is also disparaged because people can make edits without divulging their credentials or experience in the subject. In addition, if vendors see comments about their products, nothing stops them from editing the article in their favor (see Wikiality).

There Is a Hierarchy
Although anybody can edit an article, there is a hierarchy. Several hundred Wikipedia administrators have the power to delete entries and block IP addresses to keep people from adding obscene language or stating extremely strong opinions. Jimmy Wales has the ultimate authority. See Wikipedian, Wikia and Uncyclopedia..

A Note from the Author

Wikipedia is a great source for technical details. If you want to know the author and date of Version 1.2 of your application, Wikipedia may be the only source. However, if you want to quickly understand a technical concept, Wikipedia often disappoints. The reason is simple. It takes years to become a good technical writer. I've been writing this reference for more than 40 years, and today, I'm doing my best work.

Wikipedia's contributing writers on technical subjects are often brilliant and experienced engineers who know their subject cold, but they do not spend years thinking about how to describe it in simple language that anyone can understand. Instead of one inexperienced writer contributing to a technical definition, a Wikipedia article may be written by a dozen novice writers, each with a different writing style, or often, no style. "Too many cooks spoil the broth."

Because of Wikipedia and the countless other technical articles on the Web that are difficult to understand, our readers come to us first, because they know that if the entry is there, it will be succinct and to the point... at least most of the time. I constantly revise existing definitions to make them clearer. In fact, I have edited some of them a hundred times to make them easier for you to read, and I thank you for doing so.

Windows Phone

Microsoft's second smartphone platform. Superseding Windows Mobile, Windows Phone was introduced in 2010. Although Windows smartphones were innovative and much loved, they faced huge competition from iPhones and Androids, and BlackBerrys had been around for more than a decade. Even with Microsoft's clout, another smartphone platform was too much for the user community, and Microsoft announced its end of life in 2017 with security fixes until the end of 2019.

A Great Interface
Using the touch interface first deployed on Microsoft's Zune music player, Windows Phone (WinPhone) was a vast departure from the earlier Windows Mobile platform. The "live tile" interface displayed useful information on the home screen in real time. Nokia was so fond of the interface that it switched from its own extremely popular Symbian OS to Windows Phone (see Lumia). In 2013, Microsoft acquired Nokia's mobile phone division but sold it in 2017. See Windows Phone Store, live tiles, Windows Mobile and Symbian.

Integration of Office and Windows
A feature of Windows Phone was built-in Windows support (Office documents can be edited), and messages from Facebook and Windows Live mail can be instantly viewed. In order to synchronize music, videos and photos, as well as update the OS, WinPhone required Zune software in the PC and connector software in the Mac (see Windows Phone Connector for Mac).

Windows 10 Mobile
Along with the introduction of Windows 10 in 2015, Windows Phone was renamed Windows 10 Mobile and featured more integration between desktop and mobile devices. See Cortana, Zune, Windows Phone Store, Windows Mobile, mobile compatibility and mobile device vendor control.

Windows Phone 7
Branded in conjunction with then-current Windows 7, WinPhone 7 introduced "live tiles" on-screen icons updated in real time. In 2011, Version 7.5 added app switching and enhanced Office, Bing and social network integration. These first versions ran under Windows CE, Microsoft's first mobile platform.

Windows Phone 8
In 2012, Microsoft switched to the Windows Phone OS with WinPhone 8. It expanded the start screen and let users change the tile size. In 2014, Version 8.1 added a notification center and other features. See Windows Phone 8. (Image courtesy of Microsoft Corporation).

word processing

The creation of text documents via computer. Except for labels and envelopes, word processing software has long since replaced the electric typewriter. Advanced word processors can function as elementary desktop publishing systems. Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing application (see Microsoft Word). WordPerfect and Google Docs are also widely used (see WordPerfect Office and Google Docs).

Basic Functions

Text Editing, Word Wrap and Centering
Text can be deleted, typed over or inserted, and words at the right margin wrap to the next line. Text can be centered between left and right margins.

Copy, Move, Search and Replace
Text can be copied or moved within the document, and any occurrence of text can be replaced with another block of text.

Layout Settings
Margins, tabs, line spacing, indents, font changes, underline, bold and italic can be set and reset anywhere within the document.

Headers, Footers and Page Numbering
Headers and footers are common text printed on the top and bottom of every page. Page numbering in Roman numerals may be available.

Templates/Style Sheets
A document layout (margins, tabs, fonts, etc.) can be stored in a template file (style sheet) and applied to a new document.

Print Preview
A document can be reviewed on screen to show exactly how it will print with page breaks, headers, footers, etc.

Spell Checker
Spelling can be checked on the fly, and common typos may be corrected automatically.

File Management
Documents can be duplicated, renamed and deleted, and folders can be created and deleted from within the program.

Advanced Functions

All word processors support columns with tab stops. However, true column capability for documents, such as resumes and theater scripts, wraps words within each column; for example, employer information on the left and work history on the right. Magazine-style columns are another structure that flows the words from the bottom of one column to the top of the next.

Desktop Publishing
Images merged into the document can be resized and anchored so they remain with that segment of text. Rules and borders can also be created on the page.

Footnotes and Endnotes
Footnote entries can be made at any place in the document, and the footnotes printed at the end of a page or document.

Tablesof Contents and Indexes
Tables of contents and indexes can be generated from entries typed throughout the document.

Math and Sorting
Columns of numbers can be summed and simple arithmetic expressions can be computed. Lines of text can be reordered into ascending (A-Z) or descending (Z-A) sequence.

Mail Merge
Creates customized letters from a form letter and a list of names and addresses. The list can be created as a document or can be imported from popular database formats.

A thesaurus displays synonyms for the word at the current cursor location.

Group Print
Documents can be printed individually or as a group with page numbers consecutively numbered from the first to the last document.

Graphics vs. Text Based

All software today is graphics based and shows an extremely close facsimile on screen of the document that will be printed. Graphics-based (GUI-based) software is essential for documents that contain a variety of font styles and sizes.

Earlier text-based DOS programs displayed the same type font and size all the time, and they were fine for typing letters and documents with a simple format. Even today, some authors still use DOS word processors running under Windows, because they are more responsive than GUI-based products and more than adequate for creative writing. See XyWrite.

Format Standards

Every major word processing program generated proprietary codes for layout settings. For example, in an old WordStar document, ^PB turned bold on as well as off. In WordPerfect, [BOLD] turns bold on, and [bold] turns it off.

Conversion programs translate documents from one format to another. If one does not exist for the required formats, multiple search & replace commands can be performed on the original. However, if the same code turns a mode on as well as off, as in the WordStar example above, the codes have to be changed manually one at a time.

The User Interface

Word processing programs have run from the ridiculous to the sublime, and some of the most awkward programs sold well. It may be difficult to tell a good one from a bad one in the beginning, because it takes time to explore a program's nuances. Also, what is acceptable to the slow typist can be horrendous for the fast typist.

Repetitive functions such as centering and changing display attributes (bold, italic, etc.) should be a snap. Changing margins, tabs, indents and fonts should also be easy.

The most important component in word processing has nothing to do with software. The keyboard is the primary interface between the user and the machine, and the feel of the keys is critical.

WordPerfect Office

A suite of office applications for Windows from Corel that includes WordPerfect, Quattro Pro, Corel Presentations, Paradox and CorelCENTRAL (PIM, scheduling, etc.). It is the successor to Corel WordPerfect Suite, which was the successor to Corel Office.

WordPerfect is the word processing program that was the flagship product of the WordPerfect Corporation. It was widely used on many platforms since its release for the IBM PC in 1982, and it became the leading word processor in the late 1980s. The company and product was acquired by Novell and later by Corel, which incorporates the name and product in its office suite. See WordPerfect Corporation.
Copyright © 1981-2019 by The Computer Language Company Inc. All Rights reserved. THIS DEFINITION IS FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY. All other reproduction is strictly prohibited without permission from the publisher.


1. On drawings, abbr. for waterproof.
2. On drawings, abbr. for weatherproof.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.