Friday, January 27, 2006

thank you, Word

The article was finished. 60 pages, a couple hundred cross-referenced footnotes, table of contents. I printed it out, flipped through, and noticed "Error! Bookmark not Defined!" Many, many times. Apparently, Word trashed all the cross-references among the footnotes just before printing the file, so there went 60 pages of paper, ink, and the time to print them. Happy, happy, joy, joy. I checked the help system to see if there was anything useful. There wasn't. (And the help system crashed.) So I reverted to an earlier version of the file and found out Word had messed up the formatting there. Another hour went down the drain while I fixed the formatting, rebuilt a few broken cross-references, and re-added the table of contents.

It's unfortunate this program has such a lock on the market. I much prefer Writer from, which has generally been quite solid. I'm only using Word now because the people who are getting this article accept only Word format, and I need to make sure the formatting they get is exactly what I see on my screen. (There are painfully specific formatting requirements.)

The folks are now pushing a new file format called Open Document format. It's supposed to be a sort of universal file format for word processors. It doesn't seem like Microsoft or the WordPerfect people have much incentive to adopt it right now, but it'd sure be nice if it caught on. Then you could use the word processor of your choice to produce a file that any other word processor could open.

1 comment:

Maria Elisa said...

I agree. Mircrosoft Word sucks ass, to put it nicely.