Screenshot of the original Creative Writer.
1.1 / 1995
|Operating system||Windows, Macintosh|
|Available in||English, Spanish|
Creative Writer is a word processor released by Microsoft Kids in 1993. Using this program, which is specifically targeted at children, it is possible to create documents such as letters, posters, flyers and stories complete with different fonts, Clip art, WordArt and effects. The interface and environment is especially targeted towards children and is set in Imaginopolis with the main helper being a character known as McZee. A sequel, Creative Writer 2, was released in 1996. Both are now discontinued, but can still be acquired from online stores and auction websites such as eBay.
The original Creative Writer was announced by Microsoft on 7 December 1993  and was released in 1994. It ran on both MS-DOS 3.2 and the Windows 3.1 operating system. A version was also released for the Apple Macintosh, compatible with computers running the "classic" Mac OS from the System 6 version up to Mac OS 9.
The program took place in the fictional place of Imaginopolis and had several levels of a building each with a different topic (e.g. one for plain writing, one for story templates, one for poster templates). The design of the program was very similar to that of its sister program Fine Artist. The program runs full screen and creates an all inclusive environment. The interface was probably[speculation?] inspired by an earlier product called Microsoft Bob.[original research?]
Creative Writer featured many of the features found on Microsoft's Word for Windows product, including the WordArt feature used to create titles and headlines and the ability to add clip art. Creative Writer also used sounds heavily where each tool would make a different noise. Examples of this include a vacuum cleaner suction to delete and an explosion to denote deleting everything from a page.
Creative Writer and its sequel Creative Writer 2 both use different versions of the proprietary .max file format. This file format does not open in other word processors such as Word. Files created in Creative Writer can be viewed in Creative Writer 2 but files saved using Creative Writer 2 will not open correctly in Creative Writer. Creative Writer was also able to open .doc files kept in a location known as "Outside Of Imaginopolis".
An expansion pack, titled Ghostwriter Mysteries for Creative Writer, was released in 1994 by Microsoft Kids. It featured elements from the Ghostwriter TV series, including the show's team members and ten different mysteries to solve. It requires Creative Writer.
- Lohr, Steve (1993-12-07). "Microsoft Aims for Younger Market". New York Times.
- Eugène F. Provenzo, Arlene Brett, Gary N. McCloskey (2005). "6 Technology and the Curriculum". Computers, Curriculum, and Cultural Change: An Introduction for Teachers, Second Edition. Routledge. p. 93. ISBN 978-0-8058-4464-1.
- Creative Writer & Fine Artist manual