The Best iPhone Word Processor: Word 5 for DOS

Have an iPhone (or an iPad)?

Want to do some writing on it in the nerdiest possible way?

What if you could write your documents in Microsoft Word 5.x… for DOS… right on your iPhone?

Seriously. You can. And, you know what? It works stupidly well. To the point where I think you could make a strong case that Word 5.x for DOS is the best word processor available for iOS.

I mean, just check out these bits of gorgeousness. iOS has never looked so good.

Reading and writing in plain text, RTF, or Word doc (older format, not the latest versions). Spelling, Pagination, Tabs, huge numbers of formatting options, Macros… it’s all here. You can even have multiple documents open at the same time, in movable (and resizable) windows.

Plus a truly enjoyable writing environment that is fun to take screenshots of.

Here’s how to install Word 5.x on your iOS device:

Step 1) Install iDOS from the App Store. It’s not free (5 bucks), but it’s the only true computer emulator I’ve ever found for iOS. It’s built on DOSBox and is absolutely fantastic.

Step 2) Download Word 5.5 for DOS directly from Microsoft. Microsoft released it, free of charge, many years back. Put this file somewhere on your iPhone.

Step 3) Launch iDOS and tap on the floppy drive. Select “Folder” and choose the folder where your Word 5.5 .EXE file that you downloaded is located.

Step 4) Run the downloaded .EXE (Wd55_ben.exe) which will extract Word 5.5 for DOS for you.

Step 5) Run WORD.EXE!

What’s cool about this setup, is you can point iDOS (DOSBox) at any folder you like on your iOS device. Which makes it incredibly easy to move .DOC, .RTF, and .TXT files around and work with them in other applications over on the iOS side of things.

Have an external keyboard and mouse (either USB or Bluetooth)? You can connect those to your iPhone and — SHAZAM — you have a full featured DOS computer at your disposal!

Note: Android users can do this too… using any number of DOSBox ports for Android. I recommend Magic DOSBox or DOSBox Turbo. It’s just such a rarity that Apple allows emulators onto their locked down App Store that it seems worth highlighting!

In fact, you can run WORD.EXE in DOSBox on just about any computer or device you own. Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Linux, etc… you can have the same writing environment setup on all of them! Super handy (and nerdily goofy)!

Bryan Lunduke

Former Deputy Editor for Linux Journal magazine. Former Technology Journalist for Network World. Former VP of Technology. Former Linux Marketing Director. Former Dishwasher.