The Case Against Microsoft Word

In total agreement with everything Tom Scocca says about Microsoft Word. He argues on one level that Word is outdated in the web-publishing world we live in. On the other hand, to the average joe it’s too cumbersome for simple document composition:

Around the first time Clippy launched himself, uninvited, between me and something I was trying to write, I found myself wishing Word had a simple, built-in button for “cut it out and never again do that thing you just did.” It’s possible that the current version of Word does have one; I have no idea where among the layers of menus and toolbars it might be. All I really know how to do up there anymore is to go in and disable AutoCorrect, so that the program will type what I’ve typed, rather than what some software engineer thinks it should think I’m trying to type.

Word’s stylistic preferences range from the irritating—the superscript “th” on ordinal numbers, the eagerness to forcibly indent any numbered list it detects—to the outright wrong. Microsoft’s inability to teach a computer to use an apostrophe correctly, through its comically misnamed “smart quotes” feature, has spread from the virtual world into the real one, till professional ballplayers take the field with amateur punctuation on their hats.

I haven’t used Word in about five years and haven’t missed it one bit. If I need some heavy word document lifting, I’ll use Open Office or Google Docs.

His closing line is just stellar: “A tool that’s lost its purpose makes a great toy.” Word has certainly become a great toy.

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