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Microsoft Word: Stop Trying to Think for Me

Updated: Jan 30

By Bob Deakin


I’ve been using Microsoft Word for decades, and for decades it’s been a fight. It’s a great program, really, and has served me well. The program can do anything, including making decisions for me that I did not approve.


I’m simple in my usage of a word processor. I don’t employ macros, insert much in the way of video, charts or exotic formatting. I like to insert artwork, photos and links with lots of words that can all fit together to make stories for websites and various publications.


Sounds easy enough but Microsoft Word wants to give me constant word processing exams while I work. I know how to create style templates for myself so it will look the same every time I start a new paragraph, story, heading, etc. I format it once then simply choose the pre-formatted style for that particular part of the story. Easy, right?


Not in Word. Word wants to do away with your previous hard work and make you do it again, every time you walk away from your computer. Hmm, I say to myself as I begin a new story. I set the first paragraph to indent two spaces but that doesn’t seem to be working? I clicked on the correct style format, why is there no indent?


And so it goes. Maybe I did something wrong but after 20 years of using this program I’m confident navigating my way through a document. Something changed and I don’t know what, but I don’t want to spend another 20 minutes figuring it out while I have ideas flowing out of my head in rapid succession.


Okay, I want to use the paperback template I painstakingly created to import my stories in order to format my book for release to book distributors. Wait a minute... I set the size for 6” x 9” with no bleed and 1” margins. Why is it now configured for .375” margins with bleed?


Welcome to Microsoft Word. Didn’t I format it just like they require at Amazon? Yes, I remember the entire afternoon spent doing just that. Why did Word change it? Seemingly on its own whim?


Man o' man! Maybe I’ll use Google Docs right now so I can get some work done today.


Time to take a walk.

 

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