Microsoft Word: Die!

I don’t know if there is actually anyone left on this planet who actually still likes Microsoft Word, besides the odd kid, of course, that likes to color in each letter of a word set in Comic Sans just for the hell of it, but if there is, he or she was probably forced at gunpoint into using it.

Yes, I grew up with it a millennium ago, vastly thrilled at all the possibilities it offered when compared to my portable typewriter, but as each successive version was rolled out, it first became a drag and today has become the number one reason for me to completely blow my top when, for one reason or other, I am actually forced to use it.

Microsoft Word has become such an authoritarian program that whenever I have to install or reinstall it somewhere, I am forced to spend an entire day trying to turn 99% of the functions off, hide them and/or trash them … if I can find them, that is.

A lot has been written about the most irritating thing Microsoft has ever invented, the “Ribbon”, and I’m told that Windows 8 will throw those at you at every turn, but it has to be said again: the “Ribbon” serves one purpose only, and that is to infuriate anyone with an IQ above a median of … say … uhm … 20, each and every day. I don’t know how many miles I have had to click away, and how many hours and days of my life I wasted trying to get to functions that usually just weren’t there or so well-hidden (and illogically placed) that my neighbours actually had to ask me not to yell and scream repeatedly and disturb their peace.

If you don’t immediately turn off all the automatic crap Microsoft has included for those of us too stupid to get our shoes on by ourselves, it will reformat damn-near everything. Type a number and Word assumes it’s a list. Type a “th” in the wrong place and it’ll get raised. Try anything creative outside of Word’s limited worldview and it will simply butcher it within a fraction of a second.

Then try saving anything you managed to glue together in Word to be used on the Web, the place where lots of things have moved these past, oh, 20 damn years and Word will simply blow the exported file up to gargantuan proportions. It inserts so much garbled and totally useless garbage into the exported file that “Hello world!” is turned into a 10-page document.

Then there is Microsoft’s totally irritating habit of changing Word formats all the bloody time so that I, for example, have to constantly help my dad who can’t open up newer versions with his older Word 2000. I suppose this is happening a million times around the globe as I am writing just this one sentence.

I could go endlessly, but before you ask me why I don’t simply use another program, I already do. I’m writing this post, much like every other text I have written these past years, in Notepad++ and I only touch Word 2010 when, for some reason, I am forced to, which is, fortunately, hardly ever.

It’s just sitting there, that bane of the western world, wasting precious hard drive space and sputtering every once in a while when fired up.

Word 2010 – and, for that matter, just about every other version I have ever used – needs to go away before some Microsoft software engineer gets shot.

And, mark my words, we really need to start thinking about organizing “Ribbon Help Groups” around the planet before Microsoft throws its oh-so-hip Windows 8 on the market. That version might be candy-colored and app-ready, but it sure as hell won’t help anyone get more productive.

Suicides, feuds, and violent crime.
That’s really all Word has been good for since its inception.
And misspelled, colorful invitations with horrific clip-art and Comic Sans, of course.

Posted by Volkher Hofmann

Volkher Hofmann (deus62) has been blogging on and off since the 1990s and deus62.com is all that is left. He loves music, literature, drumming and, most of all, real life. He thinks the open web is much more important than social networks, closed-in ecosystems and other severely commercialized online endeavors.

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