In addition, Word Star was extremely slow in switching to support for subdirectories. This was fully updated to support DOS 2.x and be able to use subdirectories and hard disks.

It also provided a solution to the problem of printer support - Word Perfect 2.x only supported Epson and Diablo printers, which was also hard-coded into the main program executable.

It was sold as "Word Perfect 2.20", continuing the version numbering from the Data General.

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At the height of its popularity in the 1980s, it was a dominant player in the word processor market, partly because of extensive, no-cost support, with "hold jockeys" entertaining users on hold.

While best known in its DOS and Microsoft Windows versions, its early popularity was based partly on its availability for a wide variety of computers and operating systems.

Word Perfect also supplied an editor utility that allowed users to make their own printer drivers or modify the included ones.

Word Perfect 4.2 in 1986 introduced automatic line numbering (important to law offices), and automatic numbering and placement of footnotes and endnotes (important to law offices and academics).

(This was the foundation for Word Perfect 6.0's graphic screen editing.) The data format used by Word Perfect 5.1 was, for years, the most common word processing file format.

All word processors could read (and convert) that format, insisted that people ship their documents in 5.1 format.

Word Perfect rapidly displaced most other systems, especially after the 4.2 release in 1986.

By release 5.1 in 1989, Word Perfect had become a standard in the DOS market.

Its dominant position ended after a flubbed release for Microsoft Windows, followed by a long delay before introducing an improved version.

Microsoft Word, having been tuned for some time on the Mac, was introduced at the same time in a much superior version.

Alan Ashton designed a word processing system for the city of Orem's Data General minicomputer system in 1979.