Is Microsoft Word useful for writers?
It seems like a silly question, but the world's most popular word processor, Microsoft Word, has a lot of poorly designed features and outright bugs that annoy people who write for a living. I helped start a discussion on the topic at the online magazine TidBITS, and it became very wide-ranging, including writers like me who've been driven away from Word, and Microsoft employees working on Microsoft Office 2001 for Macintosh.
I'm one of the Word defectors. I write using three other programs:
- BBEdit, an extraordinary text editor from Bare Bones Software.
- Nisus Writer, a quirky but powerful word processor from Nisus Software.
- The editing window of Microsoft's own Outlook Express for Mac -- my e-mail program.
It says something (both about Word and about me) that I prefer Microsoft's e-mail program to their word processor for writing. The last version of Word I liked was 5.1a for the Mac, released in 1992. I still have it installed and use it on occasion.