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SpeedScript was a type-in word processor for various home computers. Approximately 5 KB in length, it provided many of the same features as commercial word processing packages of the early 8-bit era, such as PaperClip and Bank Street Writer.


In April 1983 Compute! staff writer Charles Brannon published in the magazine Scriptor, a word processor written in BASIC and assembly language, as a type-in program for the Atari 8-bit family.[1] In January 1984 version 1.0 of his new word processor SpeedScript appeared in Compute!'s Gazette for the Commodore 64 and VIC-20. 1.1 appeared in Compute!'s Second Book of Commodore 64, 2.0 on Gazette Disk in May 1984, and 3.0 in Compute! in March and May 1985. Corrections that updated 3.0 to 3.1 appeared in May 1985, and the full version appeared in SpeedScript: The Word Processor for the Commodore 64 and VIC-20. A 3.2 update appeared in the December 1985 Compute! and January 1986 Compute! Disk.[2] and again later in the May 1987 Compute!'s Gazette issue with three additional utilities: ScriptRead, SpeedSearch and Date and Time Stamper. [3]

SpeedScript was later ported to the Atari and the Apple II family in Compute! in May and June 1985.[2] SpeedScript was written entirely in assembly language, and Compute! Publications later released a book/disk combination that contained the complete commented source code (as well as the machine language in MLX format).

A DOS version of SpeedScript was created in 1988 by Randy Thompson and published in book form by Compute! Books, ISBN 0-87455-166-8. This version was written in Turbo Pascal with portions written in assembly language, and added incremental new features to the word processor such as additional printer commands, full cursor-control (to take advantage of the PC's Home, End, PgUp, and PgDn keys), and a native 80-column mode.

80-Column Updates[edit]

The original versions of SpeedScript were designed for the 40-column Commodore 64 and the 22-column VIC-20. When the Commodore 128 was released, featuring an 80-column display, many users requested an updated version of SpeedScript to take advantage of this new capability. In June 1986, COMPUTE!'s Gazette published SpeedScript-80, a short patch for SpeedScript 3.0 or higher, which enabled the use of the VDC's new 80-column capabilities on a Commodore 128 running in 64 mode. However, this did not take advantage of the C128's expanded memory, and a few minor commands were eliminated due to the alterations to the existing code. SpeedScript-80 was enhanced soon after with SpeedScript-80 Revisited, by Bob Kodadek.

SpeedScript 128

A native version for the C128 called SpeedScript 128, also written by Kodadek, was finally released in October 1987. This version eliminated the problems of the patch and took full advantage of the C128's 80-column screen, its expanded memory and the enhanced keyboard.

In December 1987, COMPUTE!'s Gazette published Instant 80, a utility for the C64 version of SpeedScript that allowed 80-column document previewing (though not editing) on a standard C64. This was done by using half-width characters on a high-resolution graphics screen.

Spelling checkers[edit]

Although SpeedScript did not include a built-in spell checker, additional utilities were soon published. In December 1985, SpeedCheck was published in COMPUTE!'s Gazette. This external utility accepted SpeedScript files (as well as those from compatible word processors, such as PaperClip) and spell-checked them against a user-defined dictionary. An enhanced 80-column version for the C128, SpeedCheck 128, was published in September 1988.

VIC-20 SpeedScript.gif
SpeedScript 3.0 for the Commodore VIC-20
SpeedScript 3.0.png
SpeedScript 3.0 for the Atari 400/800/XL/XE


  1. ^ Brannan, Charles (1983-04). "Scriptor: An Atari Word Processor". Compute!. p. 56. Retrieved 30 October 2013.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. ^ a b Mitchener, Leo (1986-06). "SpeedScript's Lineage". Compute! (letter). p. 11. Retrieved 8 November 2013.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. ^ https://archive.org/details/1987-05-computegazette
  • Charles Brannon. "SpeedScript Word Processor For Commodore 64 And VIC-20". COMPUTE!'s Gazette, January 1984. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10]
  • Charles Brannon. "SpeedScript 3.0: All Machine Language Word Processor For Expanded VIC-20". COMPUTE!, April 1985. [11]
  • Charles Brannon. "SpeedScript 3.0: All Machine Language Word Processor For Expanded VIC-20". COMPUTE!, April 1985. [12]
  • CAPUTE!. "SpeedScript 3.0 Update". COMPUTE!, May 1985. [13]
  • "SpeedScript 3.0: All Machine Language Word Processor for Atari". COMPUTE!, May 1985. ISSN 0194-357X.
  • Charles Brannon. "SpeedScript 3.0: All Machine Language Word Processor For Commodore 64". COMPUTE!, March 1985. [14]
  • "ScriptSave: Automatic Disk Saves for Commodore 64 SpeedScript 3.0". COMPUTE!, May 1985. ISSN 0194-357X.
  • Charles Brannon and Kevin Martin. "SpeedScript 3.0: All Machine Language Word Processor For Apple". COMPUTE!, June 1985. [15]
  • Charles Brannon. "SpeedScript 3.0 Revisited". COMPUTE!, December 1985. [16]
  • Ottis R. Cowper. "SpeedCheck: An Expandable Spelling Checker For The Commodore 64 And 128". COMPUTE!'s Gazette, December 1985. ISSN 0737-3716. [17] [18] [19] [20]
  • Charles Brannon. SpeedScript: The Word Processor for Atari Computers. Greensboro, North Carolina: COMPUTE! Publications, Inc., 1985. ISBN 0-87455-003-3. [21]
  • Todd Heimarck. "SpeedScript-80 For The 128". COMPUTE!'s Gazette, June 1986. ISSN 0737-3716. [22] [23]
  • Charles Brannon. "SpeedScript 3.2 For The Commodore 64". COMPUTE!'s Gazette, May 1987. ISSN 0737-3716. [24] [25] [26] [27] [28] [29] [30] [31] [32] [33] [34]
  • Charles Brannon and Robert Kodadek. "SpeedScript 128". COMPUTE!'s Gazette, October 1987. ISSN 0737-3716. [35] [36] [37] [38] [39] [40] [41] [42] [43] [44] [45] [46]
  • Glen Mackinnon. "Instant 80: True 80-Column Preview For SpeedScript". COMPUTE!'s Gazette, December 1987. ISSN 0737-3716. [47]
  • Larry D. Smith. "SpeedCheck 128: A Spelling Checker For SpeedScript 128". COMPUTE!'s Gazette, September 1988. ISSN 0737-3716. [48] [49]