IBM DisplayWrite

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IBM DisplayWrite
IBM DisplayWrite/370 (German)
IBM DisplayWrite/370 (German)
Initial release1981; 39 years ago (1981)
Operating systemPC DOS/MS-DOS, MVS-CICS, VM/CMS, OS/400
TypeWord processor

DisplayWrite (sometimes written as Displaywrite) was a word processor software application that IBM developed and marketed for the IBM PC and PCjr. It was among the company's first internally developed, commercially sold PC software.[1]

DisplayWrite's feature set was based on the IBM Displaywriter System, a dedicated microcomputer-based word processing machine.[2] Because the two systems were so similar, an experienced Displaywriter user could start using DisplayWrite immediately.[3]



For the Intel platform there were DisplayWrite versions for PC/MS-DOS and DisplayWrite 5/2 programmed under OS/2.[4]


DisplayWrite/36 was the word processing component of IBM Office/36, which allowed an office to use the SQL-based database file for labels and form letters.


DisplayWrite/370, a much more powerful version with full graphics and WYSIWYG support, was supported for IBM zSeries mainframe computers until May 2015.[5] (see IBM Displaywriter System). DW/370 was a host-based word processor.[6] It was marketed between 1993 and 2015 for MVS/CICS[5] (now z/OS) and VM/CMS[7].

File format[edit]

IBM DisplayWrite's native file format is based on IBM's DCA (Document Content Architecture) RFT (Revisable Form Text) specification, but adds additional structures. Depending on the DisplayWrite version, the document files use .DOC or .TXT file name extension. The DisplayWrite software can export to and import from pure DCA/RFT files (which typically have .DCA or .RFT file name extension). RFT (IBM Revisable Form Text) should not be confused with RTF (Rich Text Format), which is a Microsoft specification.

Further reading[edit]

  • Dennis P. Curtin: Displaywrite 4: Procedures Manual, Prentice-Hall 1988, ISBN 0139642226


  1. ^ Dickinson, John (1984-09-18). "IBM's Displaywriter Begets a Family of PC Software". PC Magazine. p. 238. Retrieved 29 January 2015.
  2. ^ IBM DisplayWrite
  3. ^ Dickinson, John (1984-09-18). "DisplayWrite 2 and Displaywriter: A Close Correspondence". PC Magazine. p. 248. Retrieved 25 October 2013.
  4. ^ "Today's DisplayWrite. Word processing that works for you on many different levels". InfoWorld. 11 (44): 12. October 30, 1989 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ a b Software lifecycle DisplayWrite/370 for MVS/CICS 2.2.x
  6. ^ Desmond, John (October 7, 1985). "IBM tackles new market, ties disparate systems". Computerworld. 19 (40): 1, 4 – via Google Books.
  7. ^ "IBM DISPLAYWRITE/370 VERSION 2.2.0 FOR MVS/CICS AND VM/CMS". 1993-05-11. Retrieved 2020-01-07.