In today’s world, most administrative texts are produced on a word processor. Within this context, those who work with text need to be able to exploit the full potential of digital text processing, a field that goes far beyond the textual and linguistic issues that are dealt with in other sections of this guide. Much of what could be said is applicable to all languages but in this section, as far as possible, we will restrict the discussion to aspects that affect texts in English.

Popular word processors, such as the broadly equivalent Microsoft Word (commercial software that is a registered trademark of Microsoft), and LibreOffice (open-source software), are sophisticated configurable programs with many tools to improve productivity, that is, to work faster and achieve higher quality. These programs are installed with a series of default settings and while some affect the creation of texts in all languages, certain settings can specifically affect English. An example is the language setting for the text, which establishes the spell-checker dictionary to be used, among other things. If you are typing in English but the spell checker is checking for words in Catalan, productivity goes down rather than up. Default settings for new documents can be established by creating a template document and saving your preferred settings into it. Precisely how to do that will depend on the program you are using and its version.

There are various kinds of language tools. Not all of these are installed with the word processor itself but usually the relevant files for English will be. In general, different variants of English are available, so you need to check that the variant chosen is the one you want to use.

Language tools not distributed with the version of Microsoft Word you have installed can be acquired subsequently or set up from the original installation CD. Extra language tool files for LibreOffice can be downloaded from the Web.

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