AtariWriter is a word processing application for the Atari 8-bit computers. It is a 16KB ROM cartridge that works with either a cassette or disk drive. Home computers started to be bundled in packages. One of the more popular packages was word processing. This included the computer, printer and a word processor software. Atari needed a powerful word processor that was easy to use and could work with all Atari computers. The older Atari Word Processor software was disk based, required 48KB, incompatible with the XL computers and was copy protected. A newer product was needed.
A new word processor was introduced in 1982. Named AtariWriter, it was Atari's first word processor on a cartridge. Compatible with all Atari computers with 16KB or more, AtariWriter had features taken for granted today. Word wrap, full-screen editing, dual-column printing, search and replace, undo, block editing and even a print preview feature that allowed users to view a printable page by scrolling across the screen.
Printing attributes were set directly into the document using control characters. This allowed direct changes to formatting such as margins, spacing, justification, etc. AtariWriter has only one menu, the main menu, which featured creating and editing documents, file directory, file management and printing.
Because it was in cartridge form, users could use it immediately. Files could be saved on either cassette or floppy disk. With a floppy drive, files could be chain-printed plus a form of text merge was supported.
AtariWriter was originally derived from Datasoft's Text Wizard. William Robinson, who programmed Text Wizard, decided to offer his program to Atari after his deal with Datasoft expired. Gary Furr was the designer and manager of developing the AtariWriter cartridge.
The cartridge only had built-in printer drivers for Atari printers. Printer drivers for other printers were not available from Atari. However, third-party sources (like Gary Furr from Atari Program Exchange) and driver kits were made available.