“Death to Word”

Death to Word? So suggests a writer for Slate.

My question is: Why the HELL does anyone use Word in the first place?

If there is a clunkier, stupider, less elegant word processing program out there, I want to see it. (I don’t want to USE it. I just want to see it.) (*1)

Way way way back in the day — back in 1985 — Word was a lovely, elegant program. Intuitive, easy to use. Smart. I loved it.

Then one day — it wasn’t. It was this incredibly, well, stupid program that was hard to use and made zero sense to me. I was annoyed. I even called up Redmond to ask “what gives, people?” (This was back when you could call Microsoft and get a real person on the phone. At that time the company had, what?, 15 employees?)

A nice guy at the other end of the line told me, with a sigh, that, yes, the company (read: Gates) had re-invented Word and this was the new version.

I’ve never used it since then, at least not intentionally. There are times I have to translate documents into Word format and it takes too long and causes me to swear too much.

So. Yes. Death to Word!


*1: I read somewhere that that early version of Word was based on a program called Xywrite. I was not surprised to learn that the program I’ve been using since 1987, Nota Bene, is also based on Xywrite. NB is also intuitive, simple, elegant. (*2)

*2: For years, I resisted switching to a Mac, because NB was and is only available for PCs. But about a year ago, I thought “Doh! The really GOOD writing software is written for Macs! So switch, you idiot.” So I’m waiting for the new iMacs to come out — in June — and then I will. And I will not be sad to say bye bye the world of the PC. I’ve used one since 1983, and owned one since ’86, and they feel and behave like relics of that era.

4 thoughts on ““Death to Word”

  1. I’m probably a dinosaur for admitting this, but…while I agree with you on Word — WHY did they change it so much, and continue to change it so much (and yes, we all know why: to get people to buy upgrades) — I still like using WordPerfect. And I use OpenOffice on my Netbook. And I’m not really amazingly proficient at any of them.

  2. I used to be a WordPerfect/QuattroPro guy back in the day. When my firm switched to Microsoft Office – and forced everyone to switch – I was not a very happy camper.

    Life without WordPerfect’s view codes feature just sucked.

    I learned to accept Excel but to this day I still…hate…Word. Fortunately, as I’m now retired, I no longer have to use it 🙂

    I’ve been a Mac user in my personal life (at work I had to use PC’s and I do like to build PC’s so I still have a couple at home and am planning to build a new one later this summer) since the mid-80’s (Mac SE). I bought a loaded 27″ iMac last year when the latest version was released. It is an awesome beast and I am pretty sure you will like yours. At the other extreme, I also really love my MacBook Air which I think is the best laptop on the market.

    I no longer have to do any ‘serious” writing so I rarely use a dedicated word processor. Usually I just use a text editor and then throw that into OpenOffice to polish it up.

    The writer types I know swear by Scrivener which was originally Mac only but they have recently released a Windows version which you may be interested in checking out – http://www.literatureandlatte.com/index.php

    Anyway, I hope you enjoy your transition to Macs!

    • HeavyG: Are you ready for this? Scrivener was precisely the program that convinced me to switch to a Mac. I’m dying to use it. So as soon as Apple releases the new iMacs, first it’s the Mac, and then it’s Scrivener.

      • You should go ahead and play with the Windows trial version of Scrivener on your PC.

        Also, keep in mind that you can easily run Windows on your new Mac if for some reason you find that there are some Windows software applications you still want/need to use. So fear not – your new iMac can run Nota Bene if you find that you just can’t part with it completely.


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