Matt Neuburg on Word 2004

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
June 22nd, 2004 • 5:25 am

TidBITS contributor Matt Neuburg has a fairly extensive review of Word 2004 in the latest TibBITS issue.

It’s a pretty fair — if depressing — evaluation of the software. I wasn’t aware that Word’s support for AppleScript was vastly improved over previous versions. On the other hand, I am not likely to start rewriting all my macros in AppleScript. And the improvements made to the Track Changes feature sound good overall — although I am waiting for the next opportunity to use them myself before passing judgment.

The depressing side of all this is that Matt is of course right when he says:

By now, however, long-time Word users are surely accustomed to all of this. They know from long experience that an upgrade to Microsoft Word is like buying a new car: it’s expensive, it looks better in the showroom than in your garage, and it has the potential to reveal previously unknown problems at some inconvenient moment down the road. Frankly, we should all just take a deep breath, douse our faces in cold water, and face reality: Word is a massive, complicated program, full of legacy code and constantly treading the fine line between the Macintosh and Windows worlds. Word will never get any simpler, and Microsoft may never get to the heart of some of Word’s deep-seated issues.

The car analogy has its limits though. What Matt kind calls “previously unknown problems” might turn out to be “life-threatening” problems that lead to serious data loss. I don’t think anyone has ever bought a new car that, all of a sudden, “at some inconvenient moment” — like when driving at 60 mph on the highway — decided to self-implode or crash into a tree. I don’t think any can manufacturer would get away with that.

One Response to “Matt Neuburg on Word 2004”

  1. Henry Neugass says:

    Interesting how descriptive analogies converge. I’ve been using a riff about the steering wheel coming off in one’s hands.

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