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WordStar was one of the earliest popular word processing applications, and it was wildly popular until WordPefect and Microsoft Word took hold. A new project is now aiming to bring back the old WordStar experience with modern enhancements.

The open-source WordTsar project is advertised as “WordStar for the 21st Century,” with support for Windows, Linux, and Mac. It’s a word processor that you navigate almost entirely through keyboard commands — a bit like Vim or GNU nano. It’s a much different experience than Google Docs or modern versions of Microsoft Word.

Even though WordTsar is designed to mimic the functionality of an ancient word processor, there are plenty of modern features. There’s partial support for DOCX and RTF documents, as well as Wordstar 4 and Wordstar 7 files, and it’s cross-platform. Newer releases also have a menu system to help people not used to the old Wordstar commands. Features like DOCX support, Wordstar styles, comments, and more are on the roadmap.

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WordTsar 0.1 running on Linux WordTsar

The WordTsar project is being led by Gerald Brandt, who has been using it to write science fiction novels. Even though keyboard command-based text editing fell out of mainstream popularity many years ago, minimalist writing software like WordTsar is still useful for many people.

You can download the latest release from the SourceForge project.

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Corbin Davenport is the News Editor at How-To Geek, an independent software developer, and a podcaster. He previously worked at Android Police, PC Gamer, and XDA Developers.
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