The Wang 1200 Word Processing System consists of an IBM Selectric I typewriter, two cassette tape drives, and electronic ciruitry, memory, and software.
The typewriter operates somewhat independently, and generally whatever is typed will appear on the paper.
With a pre-recorded cassette tape inserted, the contents of that tape may be "played back" on the typewriter, possibly reformatted according to settings.
With a blank tape inserted, typed lines may be recorded onto the tape, to be used later during play back, transfer to another tape, or editing in-place on the same tape.
The system controls consist of the normal typewriter keyboard with two auxillary keypads, to the left and right respectively of the typewriter keyboard.
The left keypad contains tape drive selector (LEFT/RIGHT), operation mode (TRANS., PLAY, RECORD, or RECORD+PLAY for EDIT), and basic controls REWIND, FORWARD, RESET, BACK LINE, and CODE. In addition, indicators for TAPE MOVING (left and right) and RECORD are present.
The right keypad contains playback mode selectors SAME, ADJUST, and JUSTIFY, and controls for PARA, LINE, WORD, CHAR/STOP, AUTO START, MEMO(OUT), SEARCH, and SKIP. In addition, indicators for NO ADJUST and END OF DOCUMENT are present.
To begin recording, mount a blank tape in one of the tape drives (Left or Right) and depress the corresponding button on the left auxillary keypad. Then depress the RECORD button, also on the left keypad.
Next, start typing normally. It is not normally necessary to try and format the text into it's final form, as most formatting can be done during play back. Each time RETURN is pressed, the current line of text is recorded onto tape.
Mistakes made during typing a line can be corrected by backspacing. If a mistake is being corrected before the current end of the line, you must space forward to the end of text before pressing RETURN, or else the line will be truncated at the point you press RETURN, erasing any text that was typed after that point - even if it still appears on the paper. Mistakes on previous lines can be corrected, but that technique is described later.
Generally, paragraphs are marked by a blank line separating them. The system also recognizes other combinations as demarking the beginning of a paragraph, but are discussed later.
At the end of the document, a special code must be recorded so that the system understands that this is the end. Press the CODE key (the CODE button illuminates) followed by the slash "/" key (the CODE button goes out). This causes an END OF DOCUMENT (EOD) line to be recorded on tape.
Typically, you will press the REWIND key to rewind the tape after recording the EOD. A tape cannot be removed from the tape drive until it is rewound.
Insert a pre-recorded tape, or REWIND the tape that was recorded in the previous example, and depress the PLAY button. Make certain the SAME button is depressed, on the right keypad. Also make certain the correct tape drive selector is depressed (LEFT or RIGHT) corresponding to the drive in which the tape was inserted.
Pressing various combinations of CHAR, WORD, LINE, and PARA will play back (type on paper) the next character, word, line, or paragraph, respectively. Since SAME was selected, the play back should appear the same as when it was recorded - although mistakes that were corrected will appear as finally typed, without any double-striking or other artifacts of the original typing session.
The entire document may be played back by pressing AUTO START. If part of the document has already been played back, only the remaining parts are played.
Press the REWIND key to rewind the tape. Now select the ADJUST button on the right keypad. Type the command sequence CODE l f and then space over the number of columns desired to set a right margin, pressing "a" to setup an adjust zone and the right parenthesis ")" key to set the margin. A sample of this, for setting the right margin at column 40, would be:
learn(format @ aaaaaaaaa)
Note, the system itself typed the "earn(" and "ormat" characters, as well as the "@". You only type CODE "l", "f", and the spaces, "a", and ")". Also note, this command uses the lower-case ell character, not the digit one.
Now press the AUTO START key and playback will begin, with the lines of text reformatted to the new margins. If a word is too long to fit on the remainder of line, play back will stop and the NO ADJUST indicator will light up. You can then tell the system how to handle the word. You can press WORD to simply let the text overflow the right margin, or you can press RETURN to end the line and place the word on the next line, or you can use CHAR to put some characters on the current line and press hyphen "-" to cause the system to hyphenate the word at that point. Play back the remainder of the document, making any manual adjustments required.
Now press REWIND and depress the JUSTIFY button. Then press AUTO START again, and the document should play back with straight margins, using extra spaces between words to fill out each line to the margins previously set.