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Typists and Word Processors

History

The invention of the typewriter in 1829 by William Austin Burt greatly increased business efficiency and productivity. The typewriter's benefits grew as typists became skilled at quickly transforming messy handwritten documents into neat, consistently typed copies.

More recently, the introduction of word processing into the workplace has revolutionized typing. This task may be done on a personal computer, a computer terminal hooked up to a network, or a computer that strictly handles word processing functions. By typing documents on a computer screen, workers can correct errors and make any necessary changes before a hard copy is printed, thus eliminating the need for retyping whole pages to correct mistakes. The computer stores the information in its memory, so workers can return to it as often as needed to make copies or changes.

The term word processing entered the English language in 1965, when International Business Machines, more commonly known as IBM, introduced a typewriter that put information onto magnetic tape instead of paper. Corrections could be made on this tape before running the tape through a machine that converted the signals on the tape into characters on a printed page. Today, word processing software and personal computers have virtually replaced typewriters in the office.

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