In the general IT context, formatting primarily means the preparation of a storage medium for the recording of data. For example, the physical division of a hard disk into tracks and sectors, partitioning or the logical division of the partition structure with a file system, etc.
n contrast, in the context of word processing, document creation and output management, the formatter refers to the interpretation of the text markup contained in the source code of a document, which determines its layout and design. The result of this formatting is a document that, for example, appears on the screen exactly as it would appear on the printer, including applied language-specific rules for hyphenation and spell checking – the well-known WYSIWYG principle. As the core process of document creation, the Formatter is usually part of standard software for word processing, document creation and output management.
In Swiss-speaking countries, the term formatter is used synonymously with the overall system of this standard software. M/TEXT as a professional system for document creation is known in Switzerland as a formatter.
In this context, it should be noted that not only the M/TEXT Formatter takes into account various European languages for hyphenation and spell checking. MTEXT also has multilingual user interfaces and a well thought-out organization of multilingual text resources – right down to the definition of a paragraph language that is only valid for one paragraph. This greatly facilitates the design of multilingual applications in a country like Switzerland. Read the user reports of Concordia, Raiffeisen or Sanitas.
In order to meet the requirements of multi-channel output, the M/TEXT Formatter was developed in such a way that the original structural information of the text, such as paragraph, heading, footer, etc. is preserved. The formatted document becomes a container for a wide variety of structural and metadata, which allows the document to be given any format at the latest point in the document process: at output. For example, to render it in a page-independent HTML format that dynamically adapts to the screen size on mobile devices.
Together with the output management system M/OMS, which takes over the tasks of optimizing and outputting the documents, the M/ series succeeds in creating a continuous, efficient document process that is completely controlled by a consistent system.