Word 2011: A mind of its own?

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Microsoft, Pages
February 27th, 2013 • 10:16 am

Long-time Betalogue readers know that I could write about how crappy Microsoft Word is all day long. However, there is only so much you can say before the sheer inanity of the thing makes you want to do unspeakable things to a Bill Gates or Steve Ballmer voodoo doll. At that stage, I guess you just have to let it go and try to write about how superior Pages ’09 is instead (even though it is, of course, far from perfect).

Still, from time to time, because the reality of your work still forces you to use Word 2011, you encounter a behaviour that is so absurd and so stupid that you cannot help but write a short thing about it:

Before Delete

Note the position of the insertion point. Note the formatting of the two paragraphs. Note the fact that hidden characters are visible and therefore what you see here is supposedly all there is to see. And then press Delete:

After Delete

Where the hell does this change in formatting come from?

Oh, I am sure that, if pressed (which they never seem to be), Microsoft’s engineers could come up with an explanation for this. But it would and could never be a justification for such a stupid, infuriating behaviour.

For the record, I tried every possible combinations of cursor position + flavour of delete that I could think of (insertion point at end of first paragraph, forward delete instead of regular delete). Nothing helped. I ended up having to change the font back to Times New Roman 11 pt manually.

One way that people deal with this kind of stupidity in computers is that they describe the computer or the software as having “a mind of its own”. As if. The only “mind” that is behind such crap is the mind of marketing executives who are constantly trying to find new ways to milk a captive clientele of its hard-earned cash.

I for one cannot wait until the day Microsoft in its entirety becomes entirely irrelevant. We’re not quite there yet, but surely it will happen in my lifetime, in my working life. Surely?

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