As someone who writes for a living, one of my essential tools is Microsoft Word. While I find the program indispensible, the criticisms many people attack it with are valid. People say that it’s too bloated with features, and these features are difficult to figure out how to turn off. In general, personalizing it is difficult. Word often thinks you’re making a bulleted list when you’re not and aggressively indents your sentences. I find the grammar check pretty worthless. And remember Clippy from a previous version of Word? It’s the paperclip everyone loves to hate.
An article on Slate yesterday adds valid new points about the problems with Word:
Like the fax machine, Word was designed to put things on paper…That’s great if you’re making a lot of church bulletins or lost-dog fliers. Keep on using Word.
…For most people now, though, publishing means putting things on the Web. Desktop publishing has given way to laptop or smartphone publishing. And Microsoft Word is an atrocious tool for Web writing. Its document-formatting mission means that every piece of text it creates is thickly wrapped in metadata, layer on layer of invisible, unnecessary instructions about how the words should look on paper.
I must agree. I’m writing these words in Word, then I’m pasting them into an online tool to scrub all the junk that the program adds on.
It’s an extra step and a waste of time. The problem is most other word processors (like the one built into this WordPress site) are too bare bones, but Word is overkill. Maybe one day, something will come out, by Microsoft or another company, that hits the sweet spot somewhere in between.Google+