Zenware refers to application programs that function with a minimum of superfluous user intervention. The intent is to minimize the number of mouse clicks or commands required to accomplish a given task. There are fewer icons, toolbars and menus than in most traditional programs. The term also refers to small applications that streamline the operation of high-end programs by selectively disabling features not needed by the user.

One of the most widespread complaints about contemporary high-end software arises from the fact that multiple maneuvers are often required to accomplish trivial tasks. A good example is the pop-up that says "Are you sure you want to ..." when deleting, renaming or moving a file. Margins, fonts, line spacing, pagination and other formatting variables may have to be pre-set before work is begun. Automatic error correction or type assistance in feature-rich word processors and vector graphics programs may introduce errors that must be corrected by disabling the feature, searching for the errors, correcting them manually and then saving the file. After which the unwanted feature is quite likely to reload and put all the errors back in.

Besides offering relief from the frustration of having to fight the software, zenware typically demands less computer processing power and memory than more feature-laden programs. The main drawback is relative lack of flexibility. Some users prefer the variety of formatting choices that high-end programs offer, even if it means tolerating some superfluous intervention by the software.

Zenware is also the name of a company that distributes advanced graphics and 3-D programs.

This was last updated in February 2008

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