Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Ignore MS-Word at Your Own Peril

Not using MS-Word to at least draft all your documents on your PC is like not using a toothbrush to brush your teeth. Both injurious to your personal and writer's good health.
   Why? Simple. Right now (2016-2017) there are over 1.25 BILLION Microsoft PCs in the world. 400 million are running Windows 10 and that's growing fast. The majority of businesses and all levels of government also use Microsoft Operating Systems and software products. By contrast, there are an estimated 60 million Mac users worldwide. And there's been Windows to Mac migration and compatibility for some time, both from the Windows (Microsoft) side, and the Mac (Apple ) side. That tells you the writing on the wall for anyone typing a document on any type of computer. Google is trying to get Drive established but it's clunky and limited as a word processor, in my opinion, and I only use it for a few things.
   "But I like my own word processing software," you say. 
   "Well, get off your high horse, learn new ways, and join the rest of the world for a change, because frankly, your product is not going to be accessible to all 1.25 billion people, or even a fraction."
   That especially holds true for using MS-Word to type, edit, revise, polish and format all your poems, stories and manuscripts. Word has such a wealth of features, many one-click and easy mass changes, that it's silly not to use it. Yes, there are other author tools -- some very sophisticated -- or simpler. You can find a list of them at
   Whatever you choose, do your due diligence. Do not spend money for one sight-unseen. At least try it out somehow first, or go thru video demonstrations or tutorials. If those aren't available Google product reviews, user forums, Knowledge Bases; or look for an online user's manual or help manual etc.
   Full disclosure: For sheer ease of use I like MS-Word best because it's feature rich. And although exasperating at times with its glitches and often very inadequate Help screens, most products have the same issues. And it's affordable. And stable for the very most parts. 
   Plus I'm biased. I grew up in the early 1980's using WordPerfect in my employment with the State of New Jersey. All software was clunky and limited back then. When the State switched to Microsoft products it was a refreshing breeze over the old. For the next 30 years, I learned and used Word, Excel, Access and Powerpoint exclusively, so it all just comes naturally to me now.
   There is still a learning curve, of course. Every product has a neverending one. Recently it took me 3-hours to figure out how to number my manuscript pages with page 1 starting AFTER the front matter,  but I figured it out alone.
   There's a lot of help, including MS articles, and help forums and knowledge bases built up for MS-Word issues. These are other reasons to use it. MS-Word is truly universal.
   So get with the program. On your PC, no matter what kind, at least be compatible with MS-Word documents so you can create and save them and share them, or receive and open and edit them etc.
    You'll find a willing audience of other writers and authors also using Word always ready to help you with advice and tips, like this blog now.
   Avail yourself of the wide field of Microsoft knowledge you have available.
   Don't limit your Word Processor to some dinky, unknown system, or the opposite, unless you have no choice. Is there a specialized place for their attributes? Sure. But not for the universality we're talking about here.

Go for it with A Word to the Wise...

If you have happy or sad stories about using Word, share them with me.
   Or if you have great recommendations for another word processor program share that and why too

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