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WordMARC Composer[1][2] was a scientifically oriented word processor[3] developed by MARC Software, an offshoot of MARC Analysis Research Corporation[4] (which specialized in high end Finite Element Analysis software for mechanical engineering). It ran originally on minicomputers such as Prime and Digital Equipment Corporation VAX. When the IBM PC emerged as the platform of choice for word processing, WordMARC allowed users to easily move documents from a minicomputer (where they could be easily shared) to PCs.

WordMARC was the creation of Pedro Marcal,[5] who pioneered work in finite element analysis and needed a technical word processor that both supported complex notations[6] and was capable of running on minicomputers and other high-end machines such as Alliant and AT&T.[7]

WordMARC was originally known as MUSE (MARC Universal Screen Editor),[8] but the name was changed because of a trademark conflict with another company when the product was ported to the IBM PC.


In comparison with WordPerfect, WordMARC's formatting metadata was always hidden. This was considered friendlier to novice users, and less likely to result in mangled documents.

Although it was billed as a WYSIWYG system, it did not provide for display of proportional fonts. It did, however allow the use of proportional fonts by adjusting the margins based on the current text size using an estimated average character width in version 1. Primeword v2 had font character width tables, and were given a utility that could generate them from HP font files.

Advanced features (for its time) included Document Assembly (maintaining each chapter of a book in separate files and combining them for printing or to produce a table of contents or index), automatic paragraph numbering, footnotes, endnotes, support for mixed fonts, multi-level equations and scientific characters.[9]

An early version offered support for Japanese characters. The Unix version of WordMARC supported PostScript.[10]

Company history[edit]

In 1999 the company became MSC Software[11] and in May was purchased by MacNeal-Schwendler Corp.[12][4]


  1. ^ The name on the software distribution media, (C) 1983, 1986 by MARC Software International, Inc
  2. ^ "The Executive Computer". The New York Times. June 21, 1987. ... WordMARC Composer ... WordPerfect
  3. ^ "MARC Software fonts". PC Magazine. January 28, 1986. p. 125. MARC Software ... creating scientific or mathematical characters within these fonts ...
  4. ^ a b "Macneal-Schwendler to buy MARC Analysis Research". The New York Times. May 29, 1999.
  5. ^ "MARC Software International". July 1986. Pedro V. Marcal President MARC Software International Inc. Palo Alto
  6. ^ "WordMarc Composer". 1988. WordMarc Composer .. technical character .. handles scientific and technical text so well.
  7. ^ "WordMarc release for Ultrix adds X Window support". Archived from the original on 2018-11-13.
  8. ^ "WordMARC Word Processing". annals.org (Annals of Internal Medicine). May 1, 1985. WordMARC ... formerly known as MUSE
  9. ^ E. P. Palmer (1986). "Experiments in cold fusion". ... reports and manuals, ... WordMARC ... formatting
  10. ^ "Unix WordMARC supporting Postscript". February 16, 1987. Unix-Based Wordmarc To Support Postscript
  11. ^ "MARC Analysis Research Corp". Bloomberg News.
  12. ^ "Marc Analysis Research Corp". The Los Angeles Times.