Word 2011: Keeps switching windows back to main screen

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Microsoft
August 8th, 2011 • 3:15 pm

In the past couple of weeks, I have, once again, been forced by my work to use Microsoft Word 2011 instead of Pages ’09 as my word processor, and I just cannot believe how painful it has been… Microsoft’s developers obviously do not care about quality control or otherwise they would not let so many bugs slip through and force us to live with them for years. And each new version brings a brand new range of annoyances to add to the list.

I have already written about the fact that each and every use of the “Copy” command or command-C triggers some kind of background saving operation that interrupts the flow of one’s work. If, like me, you are a fast typist and depend on the application’s responsiveness to your keyboard input, you are out of luck. Each and every use of the Clipboard will force you to pause in your typing because otherwise you might end up with results that you didn’t want due to the disconnect between what is shown on the screen and the keystrokes that Word has actually registered and only failed to process in a timely fashion. It is positively maddening. Am I supposed to refrain from using the Clipboard altogether? Or to force myself to slow down and work at the leisurely pace imposed by Microsoft’s lousy software instead of my own normal pace? Who are they to decide how fast I should work? On a 2009 Mac Pro with 16 virtual cores and 12 GB no less… Apparently, that hardware is still not fast enough for Microsoft’s developers to be able to offer responsive software to their users.

And then there are all the other bugs… One particular bug that has been endlessly irritating for me in the past couple of weeks is that Microsoft Word 2011 is simply unable to reliably preserve my document windows’ positions on my dual-monitor set-up. More often than not, after Word 2011 has been running for a while, all the windows that I have moved to my secondary screen are forcibly moved back to my main screen by Word 2011 every time I use command-Tab to switch back to the application from elsewhere (and I do that a lot, because I constantly have to look things up with various other applications).

Of course, since Word 2011 is unable to remember a document window’s position when you close the document window and then reopen it, I probably should not be surprised. But this happens even without touching the document windows! They are still open, but instead of staying on the secondary screen, they are forcibly moved back to the main screen, and I have to manually move them back to the secondary screen again and again.

The only solution once this starts happening is to quit and relaunch Word. But of course, since Word 2011 fails to remember my document windows’ positions and also the cursor’s position in each window when I close the documents and reopen them (which quitting and relaunching forces me to do), this means that, each time this bug hits, I not only have to quit and relaunch Word, but also manually reopen each and every one of my document windows and position it back where I want it and manually scroll down to the desired position where I was when I was forced to quit Word. When, like me, you frequently have multiple document windows open side by side, this is a major annoyance. Grrrrr!

I know that Lion introduces a new behaviour where applications are supposed to remember their exact status (including all open windows, window positions on the screen and scrolling positions within each window), but of course, Microsoft Word does not support that Lion feature and probably will not until at least the next major iteration of the software, which will be several years down the road. And even then, I wouldn’t count on Microsoft’s engineers being able to support this feature properly. After all, they have effectively made Word 2011 worse than previous versions of the software when it comes to remembering window positions. So obviously they don’t care one bit about such issues. Maybe Apple’s own improvements will force them to start caring, but I wouldn’t bet a cent on it myself.

Even after all these years, I still cannot believe how crappy Microsoft’s software is and how absurd it is that we are forced to use it and live with its hundreds of annoyances and bugs on a nearly continuous basis.

One Response to “Word 2011: Keeps switching windows back to main screen”

  1. Betalogue » Word 2011: Split bar in background window says:

    [...] and if I leave Word document windows open on my secondary monitor, after a while Word 2011 starts switching the windows back to the main screen all the time. The only way to stop this behaviour is to quit and relaunch [...]