I hate Microsoft Word!

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I hate Microsoft Word!

#1 Post by jpm » Sat Jul 08, 2017 6:54 am

Just lost half a days work on my files for GenCon this year. I HATE Microsoft Word!. I really do. I've come to the realization that much of the frustration I suffer from in my life is due to Microsoft Software and it's poor performance. (Don't get me started on Power Point). I've tried to adapt to Pages on my mac and even Scriviner (which I really like except for it's horrible support for tables).

What are others using?

Thanks.
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Re: I hate Microsoft Word!

#2 Post by Rothesay » Sat Jul 08, 2017 8:25 am

I too hate MS Office, and view it as an evil to be endured. Sadly, the Mac apps lack power - they are more concerned with pretty than product.

For large writing projects, I use Scrivener. (Caleme was written in it most recently. :wink: ) I also like iA Writer for smaller projects. These both have the virtue of being Mac/iOS compatible with cloud syncing. I always have what I need at hand. Not sure about their table support, since when I do that sort of thing, I still resort to Office.

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Re: I hate Microsoft Word!

#3 Post by jpm » Sat Jul 08, 2017 4:50 pm

Well after much effort I've re-written the content (even improved it a bit) though I get the feeling I missed a couple of things. We'll see how the playtest goes next weekend...

I started this project on Google docs, moved it to Word and should have used Scriviner... I'm liking it for the most part, again, except for their lack of support for tables. I don't really want a lot of functionality, I'd just like it to work better...

Looking forward to Caleme... Do you have a Scriviner template you've used for it?
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Re: I hate Microsoft Word!

#4 Post by Rothesay » Sun Jul 09, 2017 2:44 am

I generally just rename a similar project and start from there. I know, I should take the time to do a proper template, but then I could be writing ... :D

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Re: I hate Microsoft Word!

#5 Post by rob » Sun Jul 09, 2017 9:14 pm

Hey Pat, Bill Gares is the chief 'terrorist' of the software world! LOL!

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Re: I hate Microsoft Word!

#6 Post by Leitchy » Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:33 am

I use MS Word all the time. The issues that I find isn't that is doesn't work...it's that it's too smart for my own good. It does things that it thinks are correct, that are the exact opposite of what I want. That's why I think Microsoft's motto should be:

"Microsoft: We know better!"

...in that smug, self-satisfied voice that makes you want to punch it in the face! :evil:

If I need tables, then there's really no choice. But Word tables are also a learned skill...and don't get me started on Tables of Contents! Of all the stupid, most brain-dead....

The problem is, as bad as it is, it's still the best there is. I've tried the others and they have just as much trouble, or nowhere near the same functionality.

But if I can get away without having a table, then I write in Q10, a simple, full-screen text editor that has very few functions. Then, if I want to make it look nice, I'll use Adobe InDesign....nothing beats InDesign for page layout!

Except of course, I don't have it anymore because Adobe insist of charging like a wounded bull for it...and it has to be on the cloud! :(

I've tried Scrivner a few times and never been happy with it. It might be OK as a page layout tool, but like InDesign, it's not much chop as a writing tool.
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Re: I hate Microsoft Word!

#7 Post by jpm » Thu Jul 13, 2017 11:09 am

Yes, I understand that perspective.

<rant>
I've used Word for years and have battled it's idiosyncrasies for the better part of three decades. I understand (but cannot fathom a purpose for) the Microsoft engineers desire to select the most counter-intuitive default behavior possible and to bury the most important and commonly needed functions deep within an unfathomably complex menu system, which they are required to re-design every year so that they may further embed additional functionality and obfuscate the most important functions. However, I find in fact that there are things that simply just don't work.

Take for example the fact that a sections formatting is bound up in the last paragraph mark of the section. Yes. You need to store that information somewhere and that may be as good a place as any, however, I still don't understand why when I delete the last section in a document the previous sections format (which was different) is converted to that of the now deleted section. This is not a feature and has been a problem since at least Word 2.0.

Or the fact that sometimes, information in a table is not visible on screen via the WYSIWYG but is visible when printed in indelible ink as well as PDF.

Or the fact when trying to place an object someplace on the page it is impossible to actually drag and drop the image to the place on the page you wish to place the image. Or that by clicking on the Lock Anchor or Move object with Text options in the format window sometimes doesn't lock anything and that selecting Do not Move object with Text sometimes will ensure that it does in fact move with text.

Tables seem to have a mind of their own. Setting column width and row height is simply something the engineers have decided the user is not allowed to do. Nor can any control be exerted over the ruler, tabs, or margin without first correcting or unlocking some feature deeply embedded within the software...

</rant>... (And in case it need be said not directed at anyone other than Microsoft)...

I am moving toward a workflow that I think will eventually serve my purpose. I am truly enjoying the iA Writer interface. Thank you for the reference Rothsay. Smooth, slick, clean and lightning fast. Yes best for shorter works, but suitable for 1 chapter per file; I expect I will then move content to Scrivener for completion and compilation. With possible addition of LaTex for tables (and equations; which I sometimes use in my work.)
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Re: I hate Microsoft Word!

#8 Post by Rothesay » Thu Jul 13, 2017 1:57 pm

Pat -

Every time I upgrade to a new version of MS Office, the first thing I do is go through the settings. The very first thing I turn off is grammar checking since it appears no one at MSFT actually knows grammar. It shows. Fortunately, this only happens every three years or so. Don't get me started on the nightmare that is sections or image placement.

I like iA Writer for just that - small projects. Easy to port to a more powerful app if need be.

The truth is, right now there doesn't seem to be one go to app for writing. I mostly write on my Mac. But I want my iPad right there too. And I also need my iPhone to be able to pinch hit. When Scrivener finally combined Mac plus iOS syncing they hit a nice spot. (Granted, everything needs to be saved to Dropbox for that to work. I'm looking at deploying a personal cloud.)

For a time I used Simplenote for quick cross device notes, but Apple's Notes app has improved to the point that it works better. Especially when I'm grabbing internet content. Evernote was good for a number of years, but they've fallen behind. When they decided two devices were good enough for free, they lost me. I use three devices. Notes combined the functionality of both a year or so ago - yea!

So I have a hierarchy:

Notes
iA Writer
Scrivener
Word (if necessary)

The first three right now are seamless between devices.

I use Word if I have to use other features. Word is awful for layout which is a major issue. It also doesn't work that well in iOS. It remains mostly because it's the main format for sharing with clients. Pages is good if one is working with simple - I just need to print it - graphics.

The developer who can combine all this functionality in one reasonably priced app* will get my business yesterday. I just don't know who that is right now.

* Defined as less than $100 for three devices. And don't make register for your proprietary account.
Last edited by Rothesay on Fri Jul 14, 2017 3:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: I hate Microsoft Word!

#9 Post by Leitchy » Thu Jul 13, 2017 3:27 pm

Hmmm...this information doesn't help if you're an Apple hater like me. I use Windows 10 on desktop and tablet, and Android on phone.

I use Microsoft's OneNote more than Word for writing. As most of the writing I do is for myself, OneNote is just fine for my needs. And it's in the cloud and synced to all my devices, and even available to me from my work computer if I need to.

You can actually do layout in Word but it takes some effort and that's the problem. It takes a lot of effort and one small change can inexplicably cause everything to go pear-shaped. That's sent me into a screaming rage more than once, I can tell you. But the problem is Word is really the only game in town for work. There *is* no other choice in the office environment, so you have to learn to live with it and avoid the worst of its stupidities.
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Re: I hate Microsoft Word!

#10 Post by Targan » Thu Jul 13, 2017 3:30 pm

I too have a love-hate relationship with MS Word, tending more towards the hate. It's true that in the business environment Word is near-ubiquitous. One small consolation for me is that because my workplace uses MS Office suite, I can purchase the same for private use at a heavily discounted price. And as I'm sure Leitchy can attest as well, software prices in Australia are absolute daylight robbery.
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Re: I hate Microsoft Word!

#11 Post by MDMann » Thu Jul 13, 2017 4:37 pm

A personal bugbear is the date format. If you insert a date field you cannot just cannot get it off American date layout. Very irritating.

More actively problematic is inserting graphs and tables which are a nightmare. Formatting for layout is also a major hassle. For work of course there are few alternatives.
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Re: I hate Microsoft Word!

#12 Post by joseph_mccallum » Fri Jul 14, 2017 12:26 am

As an IT guy I have been using MS Visio as an alternative to Word for years. Out of the box you can simply drag and drop stuff and so formatting, layout, graphs, pictures are a breeze. Of course the issue is it doesn't come as part of the generic office suite but if you have a copy anyway I'd give it a go as a potential alternative to Word. I find that with Visio I don't have to spend most of my time fighting the program. If you intend to try it do turn on the Developer tab (options --> Advanced --> General --> 'Run in developer mode') as this has a number of VERY useful operations like join and merge in it (under Operations)

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Re: I hate Microsoft Word!

#13 Post by jpm » Fri Jul 14, 2017 12:43 am

I'm experimenting with a hierarchy similar to Rothsay...

vi (Bought a mac because it was unix under the hood...so yes, I'm weird... but then you already knew that....)
iA Writer
Scrivener
Sribus and or LaTeX (yes I may be quite insane but so far I like the ability to drive typesetting with code...Now wishing I'd used it instead of Word 2.0 for my Thesis... )

On Mac the absence of Visio has been painful for some time but I've found ConceptDraw Pro to be a decent replacement in a work environment ($-wise it's a bit pricey, I think between Visio and Visio pro and that might be much for personal use if you are paying out of your own pocket... )

We'll see how this goes...
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Re: I hate Microsoft Word!

#14 Post by Rothesay » Fri Jul 14, 2017 3:44 am

Leitchy wrote:
Thu Jul 13, 2017 3:27 pm
Hmmm...this information doesn't help if you're an Apple hater like me. I use Windows 10 on desktop and tablet, and Android on phone.
No, it doesn't, but I believe Pat is a Mac user.
Leitchy wrote:I use Microsoft's OneNote more than Word for writing. As most of the writing I do is for myself, OneNote is just fine for my needs. And it's in the cloud and synced to all my devices, and even available to me from my work computer if I need to.
I know quite a few people who like OneNote, and if you're locked in the Office ecosystem, it makes sense. It does have the syncing between devices feature that's now a sine qua non.
Leitchy wrote:But the problem is Word is really the only game in town for work. There *is* no other choice in the office environment, so you have to learn to live with it and avoid the worst of its stupidities.
Yes, and no one is likely to try to displace it at this point. Google Docs is the only real option, and it's basically the same.

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Re: I hate Microsoft Word!

#15 Post by Rothesay » Fri Jul 14, 2017 3:47 am

Targan wrote:
Thu Jul 13, 2017 3:30 pm
One small consolation for me is that because my workplace uses MS Office suite, I can purchase the same for private use at a heavily discounted price. And as I'm sure Leitchy can attest as well, software prices in Australia are absolute daylight robbery.
Full price for Office isn't much better in the States - MSFT like others is trying to push people to the subscription mode which works for Netflix and Spotify but not productivity software.

Through my wife's employer, we can buy a MS Office seat for $10 and own it. At that price, we bought one for each computer. 8)

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Re: I hate Microsoft Word!

#16 Post by Brian_Smaller » Fri Jul 14, 2017 6:30 am

Rothesay wrote:
Fri Jul 14, 2017 3:47 am
Targan wrote:
Thu Jul 13, 2017 3:30 pm
One small consolation for me is that because my workplace uses MS Office suite, I can purchase the same for private use at a heavily discounted price. And as I'm sure Leitchy can attest as well, software prices in Australia are absolute daylight robbery.
Full price for Office isn't much better in the States - MSFT like others is trying to push people to the subscription mode which works for Netflix and Spotify but not productivity software.

Through my wife's employer, we can buy a MS Office seat for $10 and own it. At that price, we bought one for each computer. 8)
Ditto. I am not sure what the ticket price is but in New Zealand the full suite of MS Office costs at least a kidney.

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Re: I hate Microsoft Word!

#17 Post by pokep » Fri Jul 14, 2017 7:21 am

Doesn't anyone else use OpenOffice? I standardized my company on it ages ago. It's not perfect, but it's pretty good, and it's free. There was a time, a decade or so ago, when I'd run into occasional problems with MS compatibility, but it has been a long time since I've had any problems. I even curate a 200+ page technical document for an industry association, with hundreds of tables and links and rigid formatting requirements. No problem.

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Re: I hate Microsoft Word!

#18 Post by Leitchy » Fri Jul 14, 2017 8:44 am

pokep, I've tried to love OpenOffice, and LibreOffice as well, after the split. I've tried 3 or 4 times to love it. I just... can't. I'm sorry, it's horrible. For all its imperfections and outright stupidities, I find Word is just better than the OpenOffice equivalent. It looks better, it performs better. Most importantly I understand Word better, and I can find help easier. This is just a natural result of having no other choice at work, and that's where I do most of my word processing, of course.

And there's no denying that Excel is the bee's knees (I can make Excel spreadsheets sit up and beg, these days!) I just wish people wouldn't use Excel for purely word processing purposes, but the problems with tables in Word mean regular users are going to continue to use what is easiest.

I pulled together Scrivner and Scribus last night. I'm yet to play with Scribus (there are going to be some hard comparisons with Adobe InDesign), but Scrivner is better than I remember it. The problem is that it seems to be way more than I need. It looks great for writing a novel, but I'm not that kind of a writer. My stuff tends to be short. And Scrivner is overkill for short things.

I think if I'm in a writerly mood, I'll continue to use Q10; it gets completely out of the way with very few options and hardly any formatting, full screen black background and appropriate green text...and cool typewriter sounds. :)

For games and such, I'll continue to use OneNote as that is available to me everywhere I have a network connection (full syncing across all my devices). And that means pretty much anywhere these days. I have even used OneNote on my phone (it's a Galaxy Note Edge, so big screen) to jot down random thoughts about an adventure I'm creating. :) I reckon with the right Bluetooth battery powered keyboard I could even use it as a laptop replacement (although my new slate computer is even better).
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Re: I hate Microsoft Word!

#19 Post by MDMann » Fri Jul 14, 2017 8:53 am

I do like excel a lot, though I've been trying to get into R and SPSS lately.

Adobe is garbage. It doesn't handle data at all well and trying to edit it or extract from it is torture.
Last edited by MDMann on Fri Jul 14, 2017 9:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: I hate Microsoft Word!

#20 Post by Rothesay » Fri Jul 14, 2017 9:02 am

Leitchy wrote:
Fri Jul 14, 2017 8:44 am
I just wish people wouldn't use Excel for purely word processing purposes.
I just wish people would stop thinking it's a database program. :lol:

But as we've been focusing on text, it must be allowed that Excel has no peer if you need to crunch numbers, model, or produce chart data, then Excel is the tool.
Leitchy wrote:I pulled together Scrivner and Scribus last night. I'm yet to play with Scribus (there are going to be some hard comparisons with Adobe InDesign), but Scrivner is better than I remember it. The problem is that it seems to be way more than I need. It looks great for writing a novel, but I'm not that kind of a writer. My stuff tends to be short. And Scrivner is overkill for short things.
Indeed. As I believe Scrivener was written for the Mac, it may also be that the PC version isn't quite as utile (kind of like Office used to be in reverse :wink: ).

One of the things I like about Scrivener as a writing tool is its easy ability to manage sections. Each 'article' is its own section. It can be moved, combined, split all without the hassle that Word puts us through. Nesting is as simple as click and drag. On a Harn article for example, if it's a big black title, that's its own section in Scrivener. Ditto a sidebar. I can also tag them separately - especially on status - which allows me to see very quickly where I stand.

Scrivener certainly has a lot of functionality I don't use, but it is nice to know that if I need to 'scale up' a project, Scrivener is already ahead of me. But, as I said above, for short stuff, I tend to use iA Writer. There has got to be a PC equivalent to that, but I can't help you there alas. 8)

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Re: I hate Microsoft Word!

#21 Post by Leitchy » Fri Jul 14, 2017 9:28 am

Rothesay wrote:
Fri Jul 14, 2017 9:02 am
But, as I said above, for short stuff, I tend to use iA Writer. There has got to be a PC equivalent to that, but I can't help you there alas. 8)
None of the ones I've looked at suit me. Mind you an exact copy of iA Writer might not suit me; I'm a picky bugger! :)
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Re: I hate Microsoft Word!

#22 Post by Rothesay » Fri Jul 14, 2017 9:42 am

Leitchy wrote:
Fri Jul 14, 2017 9:28 am
Rothesay wrote:
Fri Jul 14, 2017 9:02 am
But, as I said above, for short stuff, I tend to use iA Writer. There has got to be a PC equivalent to that, but I can't help you there alas. 8)
None of the ones I've looked at suit me. Mind you an exact copy of iA Writer might not suit me; I'm a picky bugger! :)
Gee, look at this thread. Aren't we all? :lol:

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Re: I hate Microsoft Word!

#23 Post by MDMann » Fri Jul 14, 2017 9:53 am

Harniacs picky? :argue:
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