Sunday, June 18, 2006

Bend Word to Your Will

Everybody loves to hate Microsoft Word. That includes famous people like Dvorak, Slashdot folks, Kuro5hin folks and people who dislike WYSIWYG in general. Some of the criticism's that Word faces include:
I have a theory that people love to hate Word because they don't understand it well enough. After all Word seems easy enough. It opens to a seemingly easy to understand interface. There's the text area where you write things, there's the fonts tool, the indentation tool and all sorts of other sundry tools which fit into the mental model that people have about Word. It's just that the interface seems to be boneheaded if you try to type anything more complicated than a simple letter.

The problem is that Word is designed to be easy if all you are interested in doing is writing a simple letter. To do anything more complicated you have to RTFM. Just like DocBook, just like LaTeX, just like all the supposed alternatives to Word. Of course, if you decide to learn Latex or DocBook, you have to read the manual, you won't be able to do anything at all if you don't. Word on the other hand seems to bring out I-don't-need-to-ask-for-directions behavior in people. Especially in highly technically savvy people. So if you're a geek or just someone who's lost a lot of hair over Word, here's what you should do:

First bookmark the Word MVP Site. You're going to need to look-up everything that's over there time and again.

Begin by reading the Tutorials and FAQs. Make sure you don't miss:
Follow up by downloading and reading Bend Word to Your Will.

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