July 12th, 2007 • 6:19 pm
This is precisely the kind of thing that is so irritating about Microsoft Word: You are just using it normally, for the most basic of tasks, and it’s not even able to behave in a normal, predictable manner.
Right now, I am working on two Word documents that were sent to me by a client. That gives me no choice: I have to use Word to work on those. I have both of them open in two separate windows, both with a zoom setting of 150%. Both documents contain a few paragraphs of text formatted in MS Trebuchet, size 12.
It just so happens that one of the documents contains a phrase that I need to insert in the other one. So I go to the former and select the phrase in question:
I just press command-C to copy the selected phrase, and switch to the other document and place my cursor where I want to insert the phrase:
And then I press command-V. And here is what I get:
Why on earth is the pasted text in a font size of 8 pt?
I know that, when you press command-C, what Word copies is more than just plain text. It also copies the formatting. But precisely: it is quite obvious here that the text formatting is the same in both documents.
I also know that I can use the “Paste Without Formatting” command to force Word to insert the copied text stripped of its formatting. But why should I have to do this here, since the formatting is the same?
(Besides, the “Paste Without Formatting” command has several annoying side-effects, including the fact that it not only strips the formatting, but also changes some characters, most notably the non-breaking space, which is an essential part of French typography.)
It’s just mind-boggling. In both documents, the text formatting is the same. The font is MS Trebuchet, size 12 pt. The style is “Normal.”
Of course, when I actually check the style definition for the “Normal” style in those two documents, I see that the font size specified in the style definition happens to be… 8 points. So that means that the author of these documents didn’t bother to modify his “Normal” style definition when he decided that he wanted to use 12 pt text. He just manually changed the font size to 12 pt. (I don’t blame him. Word’s user interface for editing style definitions is atrocious.)
Still, this does not explain the behaviour. When you copy text, Word copies the text with its formatting, whether it’s style-based formatting or manual formatting or a combination of both. So why does it remove the manual 12 pt size format setting here when pasting the text?
It is just so irritating. Such a fundamental failure, at the most basic level, for the most basic of operations, is simply unacceptable in such a product.