Generation XyWrite

A long time ago, there was an awesome DOS word processing program called XyWrite. It was long before point-and-click, instead there was command line where you’d type in the abbreviations for margins and formatting and so forth. You could set up your own shortcuts easily, too. My dad was a newspaperman at the time, and it was what everyone at the paper used, XyWrite was the word processor that could beat up the other word-processors. Until one day point-and-click Word (or WordPerfect? I forget) gave XyWrite the boot, and typists everywhere were slowly doubleclicking mysterious new icons and wondering why they couldn’t use the good old keyboard.

Anyway, I didn’t bring this up just to wander down nerd memory lane. Today I tutored a teenage girl, and after a grammar lesson, she was showing me all the cool things her iSuperDuperGiganticPod can do. (I think Beijing teenagers need to carry their body weight in personal electronics.) Now, I quite like the iPod, but I feel about the function wheel the way my dad’s contemporaries felt about the mouse. Where are the rest of the buttons!?!?!

As she showed me new videos from more and more bands I’ve never heard of, starring handsome young actors I’ve never seen, I realize what’s happening. I must be getting old.

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0 Responses to Generation XyWrite

  1. Kevin says:

    I remember XyWrite, too!

  2. Elliott Ng says:

    You could just simply refuse to get older, do you think?

  3. Meg says:

    Glad you liked it! I’m just changing it up to keep things new.

    As for getting older… we have to age, but we can always stay immature!

  4. Steve Hayes says:

    I still use XyWrite every day.

    It may not have all the bells and whistles of MS Word, but for actually processing words it wins hands down.

  5. Bill Lee says:

    Xywrite reached China in the form of pirated disks in the 1990s.

    You can still get it, free, from various XY devotees websites.

    XY4 was the last DOS one, works in Windows through Vista and haa a fantastic set of roll-your-own features at

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