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How can people say MS Word is a good program?

I have a table inside MS Word. In the table, I have several paragraphs of text.

I want to select one of the paragraphs, in order to cut it to clipboard and paste it somewhere else.

I try selection with Shift+Arrows. The moment I select the entire paragraph - WHAM! the entire cell gets selected automatically.

The same happens when I select with the mouse.

This "feature", and other selection-related problems which happen mostly when working with tables, are extremely annoying.

How can people say Word is a good program? They can't get even a basic thing, like a selection, right?

In fact, I am convinced that this selection is a <large_blinking_font>BUG</large_blinking_font>, and not a feature.

No sane person would design a program this way.

Jaxxon
Friday, October 24, 2003

The don't.

My pet peeve with Word is image positioning. In fact it was so bad I stopped using Word and now prepare documents in Groove, laying them out for publication in Pagemaker. Which has its own problems but at least images stay put.

theWeasel
Friday, October 24, 2003

Well, it's says 'User Friendly' on the box, doesn't it?

theWeasels comment says it all.  I used the wrong tool, therefore it is crap.

Use Publisher for newsletters, etc.

Word is crap because people want it to do Publishers job, so MS met them halfway.  Feature creep is bad, mmmkay?

AJS
Friday, October 24, 2003

I've tried Star Office. Terrible.

Whenever I'm disappointed in MS and decide to try something else I get disappointed even more.

I usually get so used to MS high standards so even start blaming it myself. But it always proves that everyone uses Office, Windows etc, because it top products in the market.

I've never seen a business user who would say: "Star Office is better". Just because they are not religious about software.

Plumber
Friday, October 24, 2003

I think Word has taken a serious dive since 97.

It keeps trying to tell me what I really want.

For example, I write a list of items, highlight and press the icon for a bullet.

The result is that the text's style is change from normal to Heading 3.

I didn't select heading 3 from the style list, I selected the bullet Icon.

I think the main problem is that Microsoft have ran out of features to add, and they're starting to get desperate.

Ged Byrne
Friday, October 24, 2003

I think nearly all modern word processors have a fundamental problem with mixing up content and presentation too much. I'm just off to re-read my latex handbook.

Latex is best
Friday, October 24, 2003

Ged, the answer to most of those problems is:
Tools / Autocorrect options (at least on Office XP, I have a feeling they've moved from Office2000) Turn off virtually all the "Autoformat stuff" and the autocorrect and the "AutoFormat as you type"

Life becomes much simpler. (Word redefining my styles drove me nuts until I found this lot)

There are a few more under tools/options as well (Particularly on the edit tab).

Peter Ibbotson
Friday, October 24, 2003

Jaxxon,

Try this:
1. To select a whole paragraph, triple click on it.

2. To select a whole cell's contents but not the cell itself, click to the left of the text in the cell (short, black mouse pointer pointing right) to select the whole cell, then press Shift + Left Arrow.

3. To select the contents with keyboard alone, go to the cell next to the one you want and hit Tab (or Shift+Tab)

4. To select the last few rows in the cell with the keyboard alone, go to the start point, hit Shift+Down until the 2nd last row is selected then use Shift+Right (quicker if you use Ctrl+Shift+Right).  If the whole cell becomes selected, press Shift+Left.

Word's not the be all and end all but it is a pretty comprehensive word processor.

It s**ts me when people bag a program because it didn't behave exactly as they were expecting.  Especially when the feature they're looking for is easy to find.

Next time you're looking for a function, try futzing or searching the help.

Patient PC User
Friday, October 24, 2003

Adding to Patient PC Users comments, double-click will select a single word.

There is also select, drap & drop for moving text about.

These comands work in most Windows applications, including browsers (IE at least), try it!

AJS
Friday, October 24, 2003

I agree, Word 97 was the peak of Word.  My biggest problem with Word is that it always thinks it knows how much text I want to select, no matter where I stop moving the mouse, it always thinks I want the space around the word.

Name withheld out of cowardice
Friday, October 24, 2003

The really useful feature I've found taken out is that when you want to insert rows / columns into tables you can no longer specify how many, only do one at a time.

Unless I'm missing something.

James 'Smiler' Farrer
Friday, October 24, 2003

I use OpenOffice at home, and it is decent. But I'd use Word if I were willing to pony up for it. I think it's a pretty good product.

Re: Word selecting more than you want it to: This is selectable somewhere in the options dialog. I leave it on because, more often than not, it does what I want it to do.

Re: AutoCorrect: Most of the AutoCorrect options make life easier as well. As a previous poster mentioned, you can disable it, but you can also just hit Ctrl-Z immediately after a change you didn't want. It undoes the AutoCorrect-ion without undoing your keystroke. (You can hit Ctrl-Z again to undo what you did.)

Re: mixing content and presentation: I personally prefer this. The overlap between Word and Publisher is a little confusing to me, but maybe there's a good reason for it.

Zahid
Friday, October 24, 2003



Patient PC User: the triple click thing works if you have more than one paragraph in a cell and click on a not-the-last-paragraph. (I.e. if you triple click the last paragraph, you get the whole cell.)

I've had to do this many, many times. Word's behavior does not seem to be egregious.

The following approach seems to work well for me.

If you want to select the last paragraph in a cell (note that there could be only one paragraph), select from the end of the paragraph to the front.

Jaxxon's comment is a bit puerile. It roughly translates to "here's a complicated product that many, many people use and I can't figure out how to do something fairly simple. Therefore, the program must be terrible".

njkayaker
Friday, October 24, 2003

I don't want to turn off autocorrect, because the majority of its features are useful.  This one, though is simply frustrating.

Also, every other autocorrect I've come accross can be undone.

If, for example, I type nad and word translates it to and I can get nad back by hitting ctrl-z.

However, if I click bullet and get Heading 3 then ctrl-z returns me to normal without bullet.

I am yet to figure out a way to get just normal bulleted text, or find the option that will turn off just this feature.

Ged Byrne
Friday, October 24, 2003

What I hate?

"--------" and ENTER creates a hard rule across the document.

Whups!  Didn't mean to put it there.  Here, I'll just delete it ...

Wait.  I can't select it?  Okay, I'll just right click and select cut.  Hrmm, that doesn't work.

Oh well, I'll just delete some text before and after it.  It's a pain, but I can type that stuff back in.

There, that seems to work.  Okay, time to type a new paragraph.

ARGGGGGH!  It's back again!  It's the HARD RULE THAT WOULD NOT DIE!!!

Okay, new document ... select all ... paste special as unformatted text ... format format format format ...

Been that way as far back as 6.0, if I recall correctly.

Alyosha`
Friday, October 24, 2003

btw, the 'select whole word' feature when multi-selecting with the mouse is supposed to also have a 'didn't mean that' bit.

it half-works in internet explorer, might be better in word.

select from the middle of a word. drag right. it will select the whole word. now (while still holding the button) go back to the first word, then forward again, it should now be back to traditional character-at-a-time mode.

the problem with all these 'autocorrect' features is that they're almost always right. but you may not notice when it autocorrects sometihng it shouldn't, or not be able to figure out how to undo the autocorrect it shouldn't have done.

mb
Friday, October 24, 2003

The 'hard rule' that's autoinserted for a line of dashes is really just a border on the bottom of the line of text above it.  To remove it, you just put the cursor on the line of text above it and click the "No Border" toolbar button. 

It seems like everyone here is using an older version of Word.  Word 2002 (from Office XP) has a little AutoCorrect thing that pops up whenever it makes an automatic change that makes it obvious that a change has occurred and gives you some control over that change.  For example, when the dashes are changed into a border, you're given the option to undo this or to disable it completely.

There is also an AutoCorrect Options dialog that allows you to selective disable various actions.  Personally, I find myself using that dialog to add more things, not to remove them. 

SomeBody
Friday, October 24, 2003

Personally, I just used Word (+ Acrobat) to make a very nice, professional-looking brochure for a medical symposium our department has coming up.

How?

Easy.  I designed it in WordPerfect first, so I could see the codes and things I'm moving around.  Then once it was in perfect shape, I copied all the text into Notepad (to strip formatting), then into Word.  Then I formatted blocks of text in Word to get it identical to the WordPerfect document.  Then I output to Acrobat, and we send to the printer!

Word is not made for on-the-fly formatting.  Word is only really useful if you already have your text in a finished state, and formatting is all you have to do.  This is why Word doesn't have Reveal Codes like WordPerfect.

Once I grasped this, I was at peace with the universe.  Finish your text.  THEN go into Word.

(No, it shouldn't have to be this way.  What's your point?  This is how to deal with it because it _is_ this way.)

Kyralessa
Friday, October 24, 2003

Word has outgrown its britches.

The most important part of being a painter is knowing when your painting is finished.  It'll never be perfect.  Maybe that girl's face needs to be a little brighter, but then that would bring too much attention to the right side of the painting.

The advancement of Word has not been about making a better word processor, it's been about adding marketable features to get people to upgrade.  And it shows.

I'm not saying the other word processors are better.  I just don't use Word Processors at all anymore because the get in the way too much and universally make writing about technical issues too difficult by complaining about all my technical terms.

Richard Ponton
Friday, October 24, 2003

Alyosha`

You can easily turn that off, go into Tools / Auto Correct

Go into the Auto Format tab and de-select "Borders"

--------------

All the rest - yes Word does some wierd things sometimes but you are able to turn everthing off if you want.  Most of the time I like the spellcheck and auto-correct

What a bunch of whiners - either learn how Word works or go back to notepad.

DJ
Friday, October 24, 2003

Jaxxon

I agree that selecting text in tables can be frustrating. So I looked in the Help - 10 seconds later I found the solution:

Hold the Ctrl key down and click anywhere in the paragraph. Works just fine - even on the last paragraph in a table

Cheers!

DJ
Friday, October 24, 2003

The last suggestion appears to select sentences not paragraphs.

njkayaker
Friday, October 24, 2003

Oops - you're right.  If you have a paragraph  with more than one sentence - after you select the first sentence, hold the Shift key down and click on the last sentence. That will select the whole paragraph.

DJ
Friday, October 24, 2003

Doesn't matter if it's good or bad. If Microsoft sold black yogurt, you'd buy it. This is how the world works. So stop whining and go patch your servers.

Microsoft all time fan, yeah right!
Friday, October 24, 2003

Ged, go through all of your styles (especially Heading 3 from the sound of it) and make sure "Automatically update" is NOT checked.

Kyralessa, WordPerfect?!? Ugh. Shudder. And I don't get it - if you're stripping the text through Notepad anyway, why bother with formatting it in WordPerfect? Yes, it's true that Word works best if you write the text, then format it; but that doesn't mean you can't write the text *in* *Word*.

MS Word is a good program at heart, but the marketing people couldn't leave well enough alone. The end product is a styles-based very powerful word processor that's been crippled with WordPerfect-imitating direct formatting tools, because the marketing folks decided that that's what users want.

Martha
Friday, October 24, 2003

"What a bunch of whiners - either learn how Word works or go back to notepad."

Note that many already have (WP, Notes, Latex, vi, etc.).

Me, my main editor these days is the text box I use for JOS forum entries. :)

Jim Rankin
Friday, October 24, 2003

Two thousand three hundred and ninety-two.

That's how many words are written above about whether or not it is possible to select a paragraph in a table cell in Word and if so how.

I think the original poster's point is valid -- Word is impossible to use and gets in the way of Getting Stuff Done.

I regret having bought it and have moved on to better alternatives.

Fortunately there are many and all of them are less expensive.

Dennis Atkins
Friday, October 24, 2003

Did you figure that out by copying the above text into Word and then running the Word Count on it?

Alyosha`
Friday, October 24, 2003

No.

Dennis Atkins
Friday, October 24, 2003

Tell the truth.  Did you use your fingers?

XYZZY
Saturday, October 25, 2003

I used my right thumb, index and middle finger to accomplish this remarkable feat, which doesn't change the fact that this is a BORING thread of inquiry.

Dennis Atkins
Saturday, October 25, 2003

Selecting in cells in Word 2000 is a mess. For some reason if you enter it with a mouse the whole cell gets selected and the cursor changes.

If you use the arrow keys I think you have the normal insertion point.

I'm wondering if the change came with a service pack because I don't recollect it happening before.

I'm sure there must be some setting to change it but I don't seem able to find it.

Stephen Jones
Saturday, October 25, 2003

It looks like customizing word is now as complicated as customizing emacs, and you almost never get it right in both cases ;-)

Wow!

I guess they have to think more about natural language interfaces - word's options dialog has gotten too large.

Michael Moser
Saturday, October 25, 2003

The problem isn't that Word or Word's options have gotten too complicated.  It's that people don't bother to look for them for some reason.  Most of the stuff on this thread could've been easily found by typing a few keywords into the help box (it's part of the menu bar in Office XP apps). 

SomeBody
Sunday, October 26, 2003

Martha,

I've done something much quicker that checking thourgh all my auto styles, etc, etc.

I've installed a local wiki and type up almost everything in it.

The amazing this is that I now find typing __bold stuff__ so much quicker that typeing ctrl-bbold stuffctrl-b.

When I put the benefits of WikiLinks on top then I just have no reason to tolerate Word.

DJ,

I worked as a Word expert for several years.  In the end I just became fed up learning ways round words 'features.'

This was Word 97.  Back then the applications activities were puzzling for the beginner, but now it is becoming a pain even for power users.

Is there a compelling reason why I should have to waste time learning to use Word 'properly', when all I want to do is type up a document?

Ged Byrne
Sunday, October 26, 2003

If you think about it, using a Wiki is 'going back to notepad.'

DJ, thanks, your advice worked!

Ged Byrne
Sunday, October 26, 2003

or like using google to enter data. it's admitting that sometimes magic words in plain text really are more like the way people think.

mb
Sunday, October 26, 2003

pass me a sugar will ya?

Microsoft all time fan, yeah right!
Monday, October 27, 2003

"Kyralessa, WordPerfect?!? Ugh. Shudder."

Two words:  Reveal Codes.

"MS Word...The end product is a styles-based very powerful word processor that's been crippled with WordPerfect-imitating direct formatting tools, because the marketing folks decided that that's what users want."

Well, it _is_ what a lot of users want.  Defining styles is great if you're going to do a lot of stuff in the same style or have a certain complicated but standardized format for documents in your company (in which case one person should be appointed the head style distributor).

Neither of these is true for a lot of people, who just want to be able to format one-off jobs and can't do it with Word's magical mystical utterly invisible formatting.

Kyralessa
Wednesday, October 29, 2003

When dealing with tables I make a colour change to one word and then the autostyle changes every word in the table to that colour

yes i can undo this with cntrl z but what else Ive noticed is when pasting pictures and graphs words attempts to autoformat the document uses 100% of CPU 2.4Ghtz 500mb ram and usually crashes the document

does anyone know how to turn off the autostyling function permanently

they need to add a check box -
revert to using a previous version of word - yay for that

1 step forward - MS 3 steps back
Wednesday, May 19, 2004

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