DisplayWrite 4

DisplayWrite is a word processor that is based on the IBM Displaywriter dedicated word processing system. It directly competed with software ports of dedicated word processors such as the Wang Word Processing System (or its clone MultiMate ), Lanier Word Processing Software, Xerox, DEC, or similar.

DisplayWrite was among IBM's first internally developed, commercially sold PC software products, and was the first IBM released word processor after the much derided EasyWriter.

It was heavily based around the idea of document interchange and interoperability between IBM's desktop and mainframe products. Despite that, it had very poor interoperability with non IBM products, and supported only a tiny handful of IBM printers.

Later in its life, IBM produced a seperate product called IBM DisplayWrite Assistant, with a user interface similar to IBM Writing Assistant but with features of and interoperability with DisplayWrite. This was intended to bridge the gap with their entry level "Assistant" product line.

DisplayWrite 4 changes the user interface quite a bit, using pop-up menus rather than the interface used by their DisplayWriter dedicated word processing system.

It improves many other things. It adds the ability to add recorded voice messages directly in to a document, if you have IBM's sound card. It also improves compatiblity with DisplayWrite 370, the mainframe version.

Installation instructions

The DisplayWrite 4 installer is very picky about hardware configuration. It does not run properly in DOSBox. It can get confused about free drive space if you are using a hard drive larger than around 32mb (the limit at the time).

It also expects a Microsoft Serial, Microsoft Bus, Visi-On serial, or Mouse Systems serial mouse. It does not support PS/2 mice and does not utilize the MOUSE.COM dos driver.

Manual source: Bitsavers

Product type
Application Word Processor
Release date
Minimum CPU
User interface


Download Name Version Language CPU File type File size
DisplayWrite 4 (v1.00 M00) 4 (v1.00 M00) English x86 5¼ Floppy 628.44KB
DisplayWrite 4 (v1.00 M01) 4 (v1.00 M01) English x86 5¼ Floppy 628.95KB
DisplayWrite 4 (v2.00 M00) (5.25) 4 (v2.00 M00) English x86 5¼ Floppy 1MB
DisplayWrite 4 Box Scans 4 English x86 Archive 1.22MB
DisplayWrite 4 Manuals 4 English x86 Archive 11.57MB


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