Journal: News & Comment

Friday, August 06, 2004
# 11:50:00 AM:

The one thing

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Many people, when creating documents on a computer, prefer using a single application to the near-exclusion of all others, even when the program isn't designed for the kind of work they're doing.

Yesterday, for instance, I received a web-page mockup constructed in an Excel spreadsheet. I also have on file:

  • Letters writen in Excel
  • Flowcharts built in PowerPoint
  • Spreadsheets and web pages made in Word
  • Organizational charts drafted in Photoshop.

Objectively, it would seem to make better sense to create those files, respectively, in a word processor (like Word, Nisus Writer, or even AppleWorks), diagramming tool (Visio or OmniGraffle), spreadsheet program (Excel or whatever) and web editor (BBEdit, Dreamweaver, or, shudder, FrontPage), or charting/drawing application (Visio or OmniGraffle again, or even Illustrator or FreeHand).

But the people providing these files seem to do everything in their preferred application. Someone who writes letters in Excel often spends all day using it for spreadsheets, and also fires it up for flowcharts, lists, even photo albums. So, when there are better tools available, why do people shoehorn one program into all these roles?

I can think of a bunch of reasons, but do you have ideas?


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