Microsoft Word

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CNET Editors' Rating 4.0 stars


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  • 2.0 stars

    "Won't upgrade until the ribbon is history!"

    December 1, 2011  |   By Phrixos


    Like another reviewer has said, Word is a good, reliable product—ruined by the ribbon.


    Narcissistically controlling & obtuse. It takes all the joy out of writing.


    Presently I'm using Word 2007, but Word—any version—is a classic example of dictatorial software. We are told (at a premium price) what we are SUPPOSED to like; and what we, apparently, are supposed to like is: tons of hardly-ever relevant bells and whistles from which we may choose, but a piece of kit nonetheless eternally burdened by its fundamentals, of which the Ribbon is but one. I'd have to say it's by far the biggest one. Two-thirds of it, I never use. Ever!

    Word is ... no surprise ... a word processor. One of its best features is one of its simplest: the ability to zoom in to see multiple pages on a single screen. Wonderful, especially if you've got a large monitor. This makes—in capital letters: VERTICAL—space in particular, extremely valuable.

    How can I put this? I want my inch back! At the very least, I would like the option to dock the ribbon—as I already do with the taskbar—on the SIDE of my screen ( On my 24" monitor I can afford to loose some horizontal space.)

    I DON't like:

    Having always to look at a glaring-white page. Particularly on a large screen, a sea of white is very hard on the eyes. Why is there no option for creme—or for that matter, other colors?)

    I don't like the highlighters. There are fifteen to choose from and only three of those are useable. (The rest are far too dark!) Given we have a near-infinite choice of font colors, why not some decent variety of highlighters? And why not, in particular) the ability to make them much less dense? (I repeat: all but three are too dark to use.) I want highlighters, not "paint" ~ers.

    Those miserably-tiny scroll arrows! If you want to scroll up, just a titch, you must hunt out that tiny black arrow at the top-right (only) of the screen; and if you want to go down (just a titch) you have to do the same at the bottom right (only) of the screen. On today's larger monitors that's a marathon of mouse-work! Why not have both, "up" and "down" arrows together—and in all four corners of the screen to choose from? That would reduce the relevant mouse-work by 400%. (Think about that.)

    Headers and footers: UGH! A nightmare to be sure. Trying, for instance, to manipulate the page breaks so a header or footer doesn't appear on a chapter's first page is a torture. Initially, it took two other people—who considered themselves experts at Word (indeed, I was paying one of them for the advice)—an entire morning to figure it out. A year later, it still has the power to flummox me.

    Endnote numbering: do the world a favor and shoot whoever designed that system. (Seriously; you know what I mean.) Perverted, to be sure.

    I could go on—and on, and on....

    Not bells—basics!

    You know what I think Microsoft needs to do with Word?
    Scrap it and buy-out Lotus Word Pro. Now those are people who know what word-processing means.
    (Why, you ask, don't I just use Lotus? In a word, compatibility.)

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2 replies to this review

  • Reply by trixx on May 16, 2012

    Totally agree about some of your comments. Headers and footers are hopelessly inflexible and complex, even for advanced users. I've been using Word for about 20 years and it's actually become harder to perform some simple tasks. I think that developers should visit real world users and look over their shoulders to see the problem.

  • Reply by Etamar L. on May 7, 2012

    Dude, just double-click any title ("Home", "File", "View"...) in the ribbon and it's collapsed. You will get your inch back.

    Not a huge fan of Microsoft as a company, but Word is a wonderful product. And they thought about the problems you mention.

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