Journal: News & Comment

Wednesday, November 08, 2000
# 10:21:00 AM:

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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.


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