My writing technology journey

April 21, 2021

A post on Twitter got me thinking about how much the writing technology I’ve used since I learned to write at school has changed. And how much it hasn’t changed in the past 30 years!

Here’s a summary of my writing technology journey:

  1. Crayons (before I went to school)
  2. ‘Black Prince’ pencil (brand of thick pencil for the early school years)
  3. Pencil (including my favourite—the ‘indelible ink’ pencil)
  4. Ink pen with replaceable nib (wooden stylus; ink in an ink pot in the school desk, and later my own bottle of Quink ink)
  5. Fountain pen with refillable cartridge, and later with ink cartridges you could swap out (oh, they were wondrous things—no more messy ink to deal with!)
  6. Ballpoint pen
  7. Manual typewriter
  8. Electric typewriter (IBM Selectric, I think)
  9. Typewriter with a tiny LCD display
  10. MicroBee something-or-other word processing software, and a few others I’ve long forgotten
  11. WordStar (an incredibly useful piece of software when it later came to writing HTML code as many of the tags were similar)
  12. Microsoft Word.

My Word journey started in the very early 1990s, and I’ve used various Help authoring programs in the intervening years, but ultimately, Word has been my main writing tool for the past 30 years. It has changed a lot, yet still remains much the same in its basic functions.

See also:

[Links last checked April 2021]


  1. For what it is worth, I can relate to your history, see what i have had to learn and use at: https://www.chelverton.com/html/tools.html

    For interest, Amipro was the first word processing tool I used which introduced me to paragraph styling – really a great & useful step (https://winworldpc.com/product/amipro/3x).

    Thanks for the memories…

  2. I’d forgotten about AmiPro! That was in the mix somewhere too, though I can’t recall using it for very long. I just thought of another one too — ‘Serif’?? And there was something I used the year I was in Canada, but I have no idea what that was called. Then there were the first HTML packages— initially Notepad, then MS FrontPage, then HomeSite, which I loved. Might have been another one or two in there too.


  3. I’d forgotten that AmiPro became Lotus WordPro, then joined by a spreadsheet 123 & a database (I think) in the office offering called Symphony, I still think 123 was better than Excel then.and I was sorry to be forced into changing by all my corporate clients who voted with their wallets for Microsoft Office. Similar feelings concerning WordPerfect 8 & changing to Word.

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