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WordPerfect VS Word: Three Reasons Why MS Word Has Prevailed Among Lawyers

WordPerfect VS Word: Three Reasons Why MS Word Has Prevailed Among Lawyers

Microsoft Word is a perennial favorite among word-processing software applications. It is everywhere — from school homework to legal case files. However, not that long ago, there was also WordPerfect — another essential word-processing tool popular during the 1980s-1990s. Now it remains alive in legal, which is especially evident in occasional social media wars in comments to posts about the MS Word vs. WordPerfect case. But even among lawyers, Word has outcompeted WordPerfect. Why?

The Rise and Fall of WordPerfect

Back at the peak of its popularity, WordPerfect was one of the pioneering word processing software, along with WordStar and ClarisWorks (now AppleWorks). WordPerfect was widely used in various professions, but it ultimately survived in the legal industry.

Many lawyers love WordPerfect for the Reveal Code and Make It Fit features that may seem to be lacking in MS Word. The Reveal Code feature divides documents into blocks that are easy to edit independently, which is especially handy if you’re composing a contract or a litigation document. 

The Make It Fit feature helps fix the document formatting without ruining its whole structure — a killer feature for a nitpicky drafter.

Although similar results can be achieved in Word using different instruments, some lawyers are reluctant to move to Microsoft’s tools. “Older paralegals grew up with WordPerfect, and many still prefer to use it,” said Jackie Van Dyke, Certified Paralegal, Owner/Writing Coach at The Paralegal Writer™, and Paralegal Studies Professor. “If you are familiar with the original codes and adept at the macros, why switch?” Still, even with these lawyer-friendly tools, WordPerfect failed to overpower MS Word in legal.

Why Most Lawyers Choose Microsoft Word

Before we unearth the specifics of why lawyers prefer Microsoft Word, it’s pertinent to grasp the unique demands of the legal profession. Given the scope of activities, from contract writing to drafting litigation papers, a law practice demands precision, clarity, and speed in every aspect. This underscores the vital role that word processing software plays in a lawyer’s daily undertakings.

This brings us to the crux of understanding the difference between Word and WordPerfect. When comparing these two software platforms, one can see that the efficiency of a good word processor for lawyers can be judged on criteria such as ease of use, integration with other tools, advanced features, and regular updates. These features enhance the performance of the software and help it meet the evolving needs of the legal profession.

Furthermore, given technological advancements and the introduction of novel features in Word, the necessity to transition from WordPerfect to Word arises. This process, known as WordPerfect to Word conversion, is another factor that brought Microsoft Word into the limelight and demonstrated its adaptability.

Moreover, a deep understanding of the nuances and implications of a Master Use License Agreement is essential for ensuring compliance with copyright regulations and maximizing the utilization of intellectual property within legal contexts.

Simplicity and user-friendliness

Microsoft Word’s simplicity and user-friendliness give it a clear edge, a detail that tends to stand out starkly in the ongoing Word versus WordPerfect debate. Daily, lawyers are confronted with a towering load of paperwork. Any tool, like Word, that simplifies the generation of these documents and intelligently manages formatting, thus becomes an essential ally.

WordPerfect was once a dominant figure in law firms, but the gentle learning curve, intuitive design, and robust formatting tools of Word have made the transition from WordPerfect to Word a logical choice for those who value technological efficiency. Even those not typically technologically savvy find navigating Word’s interface to be largely trouble-free.

Integration with other Microsoft Office tools

The other major reason attorneys are drawn to Word is its seamless integration within the Microsoft ecosystem. Microsoft’s Office suite — Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint — is used ubiquitously, and the synergy between them streamlines the workflow for busy legal professionals.

Consider the scenario of a lawyer who must email a colleague a brief. With Word’s integration with Outlook, the brief can be shared directly from the Word file, eliminating the need for tedious downloading and uploading. Similarly, data from an Excel spreadsheet can be directly pasted into a Word document, retaining all formatting — an invaluable feature when dealing with financial litigation or contracts.

Advanced features and regular updates

Microsoft’s commitment to continuously improve Word has led to frequent updates, each adding a new set of features or addressing security issues. Lawyers especially benefit from some advanced features, many of which WordPerfect has yet to replicate.

Features like “Track Changes” or “Comments” have transformed how attorneys revise legal documents. This collaborative editing significantly simplifies the otherwise complex process of proofreading and annotating legal documents. Furthermore, Microsoft’s cloud storage options allow lawyers to access the documents anytime, from anywhere — a crucial feature for fast-paced legal work.

The Microsoft Word Prominence

Microsoft Word’s compatibility with most business software applications naturally appeals to legal professionals. Its ability to run seamlessly on Windows and macOS provides an operational advantage. In 2020, Bloomberg Law’s survey disclosed a preference for compatible technology among 73% of legal professionals. Even though WordPerfect has many useful features, its lack of broad integration proves limiting.

Another crucial factor is Microsoft Word’s universality. As the default Windows software, it’s widely used across different settings, making it a prevalent choice. As Berlinda Bernard, a paralegal and blogger, aptly stated, Word is favored and used extensively, from home and academia to professional offices. Its ubiquity reduces the need for additional training.

Finally, it’s the accessibility of Word that furthers its standing — offering add-ins for accomplishing industry-specific tasks and an instinctively easy-to-use interface. This, along with seamless WordPerfect conversion to Word, makes it a widely favored platform. Highlighting its compatibility, universality, and accessibility, Microsoft Word’s success against WordPerfect becomes apparent as these traits have made it the go-to word processor in law and beyond.


Upon comparing WordPerfect and Microsoft Word, it becomes distinct how Microsoft Word’s dominance in the legal field has been achieved — consistency in its simplicity, seamless integration with other tools, and adaptive updates. Despite WordPerfect’s initial appeal and unique charm, it has ceded ground in the face of Microsoft Word’s pragmatic, innovative solutions, leading the legal community to reconsider their software allegiances.

Article by Yevheniia Savchenko

Yevheniia Savchenko is a Product Content Manager at Lawrina. Yevheniia creates user interface copies for Lawrina products, writes release notes, and helps customers get the best user experience from all Lawrina products. Also, Yevheniia is in charge of creating helpful content on legal template pages (Lawrina Templates) and up-to-date information on US law (Lawrina Guides). In her spare time, Yevheniia takes up swimming, travels, and goes for a walk in her home city.

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