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Almost two to one, new customers are choosing WordPerfect when they buy a word-processing program, leaving the competition in the dust, according to a comprehensive study just released by InfoCorp of Santa Clara, Calif.

That makes WordPerfect the best-selling word processor of all time with WordPerfect users now totaling 16.2 million, said the study.Corporate public relations spokeswoman Liz Tanner said the news is doubly exciting because it means people are making a conscious decision to purchase and use WordPerfect as opposed to simply using what comes in their software package when they buy a computer.

"This shows we're getting revenue from customers in a wide range of areas," said Tanner. "It bears out other research we've done.

"We still outsell them (our competitors) even though many computers come with competitor's software included."

The InfoCorp report said the Orem software company, on line to become an aquisition of Provo network giant Novell this summer, added 2.1 million new users in 1993.

WordPerfect's share of the market was 47 percent, followed by Microsoft with 43 percent and Lotus with 10 percent.

"WordPerfect has been setting the standard for word processing for the past 15 years," said Ad Rietveld, president and CEO of WordPerfect Corp.

"One of the reasons WordPerfect remains such a popular program is because we continue to offer the best toll-free support in the industry."

WordPerfect Corp. is the only major vendor to offer toll-free, no-service-charge customer support.

The company's 950 customer support technicians resolve more than 99 percent of its customer inquiries during the first call with an average hold time of one minute.

Research from Dataquest and other industry analysts shows most customers call within 90 days of installing new software. Based on user research, WordPerfect offers twice that amount of time with its Classic Support program.