Papyrus 4 has finally arrived but was it really worth the wait? Colin Polonowski has a look...
Papyrus 3 was first released by HiSoft on the unsuspecting Atari market in 1994, now it's 1996 and the much improved Papyrus 4 has just been released.
On its original release, Papyrus impressed the entire Atari owning world - it was the first time that Atari computers had a WYSIWYG document processor which could easily match anything on the PC or Mac. We had support for vector fonts, many DTP functions and an impressive spellchecker - it seemed as if there was no way it could be improved. After a while, Papyrus began to show it shortcomings and among other things it couldn't import colour graphics, a major problem when competing against packages like Word 6.
Papyrus 4 has taken its time in reaching the UK but now it is finally here and it is more impressive than ever. There are a large number of improvements and additions some of which are obvious while others are more subliminal.
Once you have installed the upgrade and loaded the program, you are presented with the redesigned interface. The new interface offers the user a much more efficient way of accessing most of Papyrus' functions - menus are no longer used as frequently. The main way of accessing these functions is through the ribbon which has number of buttons.
Papyrus' new ribbonYou can now change the zoom level, the font & point size and your current tool all from the ribbon. The only times you'll need to access the menu will be to load, save and print.
Papyrus now has support for most popular image formats through HiSofts EFMS system which takes care of the loading and processing of colour pictures. Now you aren't limited to just mono formats, you can import pictures from not only the ST but many different platforms including the Amiga and PC. The package also offers impressive support for colour printing, you can use any of Papyrus' built in printer drivers or any GDOS driver you may have installed.
Supported image formats
Papyrus 4 has also been given an impressive boost of speed. The original Papyrus was written in GFA Basic and was surprisingly fast, the new version has been completely rewritten in C and is even faster. Everything now flys along and most of the time the program doesn't even struggle.
There have been a number of minor improvements, not least of which is the new rubber band zoom. You can now drag a box over the are you want to zoom in on and Papyrus will quickly go to that magnification.
A number of dialogue boxes have also gone through a facelift including the font layout dialogue which has been split into two very powerful units. The font table, although cosmetically identical to the previous version, is significantly faster.
Papyrus has always been one of the Atari ranges most impressive programs and with this new version, it has solidified its position as the most powerful and friendly Document Processor available.
Papyrus 4 is yet another program which proves that the Atari can compete very effectively as a powerful home computer which offers all that most people need. As long as we are given quality products like this there is very little reason to move to a significantly more expensive system.
**Package:** Papyrus 4 **UK Distributor:** HiSoft **Contact:** The Old School, Greenfield, Bedford, MK45 5DE