TASPRINT SETS THE STYLE
The new extension to Tasword II adds variety to the appearance of the text.
IF YOU use your Spectrum for writing letters or preparing drafts then there is a very good chance that you use Tasword II, the best-selling word processor from Tasman Software. If in addition you also use a dot matrix printer then Tasman's latest offering is for you.
Tasprint is a program which can be used with your own programs or merged with Tasword. It extends the capabilities of your printer to give an extra five character types - fonts. Of those five you will probably only want to use three; Median and Lectura Light are both fonts which could be used for business letters, while Compacta is ideal for sections which need to stand out.
Palace Script is described as distinctive and flowing, though I find that it highlights the deficiencies of dot matrix printers. The fifth, Data-Run, looks like a refugee from the bottom of a cheque book with letters which cannot make up their mind whether they wish to be thick or thin.
In addition to the five extra fonts Tasprint enables you to underline, box and print inversely white letters on black backgrounds. Those extra facilities have been paid for by having to use letters which are twice the normal height.
While the manual is adequate to merge Tasprint with Tasword II, it is unclear in some parts. True to form Tasman also includes in the manual a section of technical details to allow you to make the most of the program. If there are any faults in the way the program works then they lie, firstly, with the fact that the control codes - instructions to the printer shown as graphics characters on the screen - are interpreted as spaces when printing and, secondly, with not being able to change fonts in the middle of a line. That first drawback can be compensated for and there are very few occasions when you would actually want to use different fonts in one line.
Although the gain from adding such facilities can be great it must be remembered that they replace the Tasword option to define the graphics characters as printer control codes.
The brochure which Tasman is currently including with its products is printed using Tasword II and Tasprint and is an excellent illustration of the quality which can be achieved. In the past few months there have been a couple of pretenders to Tasman's place as the producer of the best word processor for the Spectrum. The addition of Tasprint must surely put Tasman firmly back in the lead.
Tasman Software, 17 Hartley Cresent, Leeds LS6 2LL.