WordPerfect Universe, aka WPU

July 31, 2009 at 4:53 pm

One of the best places on the Internet — if not the best place — to find answers to your WordPerfect questions is WordPerfect Universe, a user-to-user support group. The site, located here (www.wpuniverse.com), consists of forums where registered members can post “how-to” or troubleshooting questions and can offer advice about any of the programs in the WordPerfect Office suite (meaning primarily WordPerfect, Quattro Pro, and Presentations). WPU, as it is affectionately known, originally was run by WordPerfect macro guru Gordon McComb. Although I’m the owner and principal administrator at this point, Gordon — whom we have reverently dubbed the “Founder” — still drops by from time to time to share tips and join in one of the numerous side conversations.

We do require registration, but that’s more or less a formality. A few years ago, after a deluge of registrations by spammers, we decided to start “validating” new members. The process doesn’t take long — essentially, the administrators check to make sure that each registrant has a legitimate reason for visiting the site — and once you’ve been approved, you can post immediately. Under normal circumstances, you’ll get answers fairly quickly, although weekends and holidays can be slow.

There are a number of very knowledgeable regulars who lend the site an air of gravitas. Some of these folks, like the venerable Charles Rossiter, are C_Techs, volunteers who work directly with (but are not employees of) Corel Corporation, the company that owns WordPerfect. Others, such as Barry MacDonnell and Roy Lewis (to name just a couple), are simply highly skilled, talented users who have developed — and continue to develop — a repertoire of wonderfully functional macros to automate people’s work. Still others, foremost among them the prolific Laura Acklen, have shared their expertise through compellingly written WordPerfect books and articles and also offer valuable tutorials on their own web sites. (I’ve provided links in the “Recommended Sites” section to Barry’s Toolbox for WordPerfect site and to Laura’s WP Writer site.) These are but a few of the people who grace WPU with their expertise and ingenuity.**

At WPU, we pride ourselves on being an unusually friendly, polite, and civilized place, a genuine community. You’ll occasionally get a crusty reply from someone who’s having a bad day — or who has forgotten, momentarily, how confusing computers can be for “newbies” — but that’s the exception to the rule, and can be taken with the proverbial grain of salt. Most folks have a genuine desire to help. And if a reply goes over your head, don’t hesitate to ask for clarification, a simpler explanation, or even step-by-step instructions.

We recommend that new members fill out a profile that lists, among other basic information, the version of WordPerfect they are using. Beyond simply knowing the version, we request the release number (sometimes called the build number), information that can be critical in diagnosing and resolving problems. You can find the release number by clicking the Help menu, About WordPerfect. For example, the version I use at home most of the time is X3 (13), and specifically, release If members include this type of information in their profile, it helps us troubleshoot various issues.

The forums that get the most traffic probably are the How Do I…? and Troubleshooting forums, but the Macros & Merges forum is quite active, too. There’s also a forum for people who are still using a DOS version of WordPerfect (closely monitored by WP for DOS mavin Edward Mendelson, who maintains an awe-inspiring site that deals exclusively with DOS versions), as well as a forum for installation and upgrading issues, one covering other programs in the suite besides WordPerfect, one where people can list their favorite tips and tricks, one for commenting on tech news, and even one for a quarterly newsletter (highlighting selected threads that have broad appeal).

Although I fully intend to continue posting WordPerfect tips in this blog, be sure to visit WPU if you have a specific question or problem that I haven’t addressed here. The signal advantage of a site like WPU is that when you post your question there, you get the benefit of the collective wisdom of the group, which is always far greater than that of any individual. (For example, I know a great deal about features used in formatting legal documents, but I am not very macro-literate. By contrast, there are some regulars on WPU whose virtuosity with macros will take your breath away.) Plus, it’s a very safe environment in which to ask questions.

So if you need assistance with WordPerfect (or with one of the other programs in the WordPerfect suite), do stop by and sign up. It’s free, it’s easy, and once your membership has been approved, you’ll have full access to a huge repository of WordPerfect knowledge.

See you there!

**Apologies to the myriad others who contribute tremendously to WPU but whose names I haven’t mentioned here. You know how much I value you!

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