Tuesday, October 10, 2006

MS Word formatting quirks, foibles and failures

There's a great discussion at Making Light, in the comments to Teresa's post "MSWord: I love it less each year." My favorite is Lydia Nickerson's description of the way Microsoft upgrades its flagship word processor:
What seems genuinely peculiar, even for Microsoft, is taking interfaces that work easily for their users, and adding a half dozen extra steps making it more complicated and less explicable.

It's very odd. It's like taking a basketball and carefully wrapping it in saran wrap, then carefully gluing multiple layers of mylar to make it pretty, and then applying a handle to make it easier to, well, handle. Then, they hand it back to the ball players, and are utterly confused when the players ask "What the fuck is this thing, and how the hell are we supposed to play basketball with it? For god's sake didn't you notice that the handle makes it impossible to use it as even a half-assed basketball cause it bounces every which damn way?" You, as Microsoft, say, "But it's so much easier to move down the court, and look at how shiny it is. More people will come to your games."
I've got to get back to my mylar-wrapped basketball with handles to do some work, but you might want to bookmark this post for the next time you've got an MS Word formatting problem. There are more than 100 comments filled with knowledgeable fixes and workarounds for frustrating problems that pop up on complex jobs.

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