Word 2004: Still no ruler in footnotes!

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
July 12th, 2004 • 12:47 am

A while back, I complained about the fact that, in Normal view mode, when viewing a Word document’s footnotes or endnotes in the special pane at the bottom of the document’s window, it was impossible to make the ruler appear in order to change the text’s paragraph formatting, not matter how many times you selected the “Ruler” command in the “View” menu.

It was clearly a bug, because footnotes and endnotes, just like any other text in a Word document, consist of formatted paragraphs that can be formatted using the ruler.

So what did Microsoft do in Office 2004? Well, instead of actually fixing the bug, they now have decided to disable the “Ruler” command in the “View” menu instead! Can you believe this?

What is that supposed to mean? Why am I not allowed for format text in the footnotes/endnotes pane using the ruler? Why am I forced to go through Word’s paragraph formatting dialog boxes instead?

The MVPs that lurk in the microsoft.public.mac.office.word newsgroup would probably say that Word users should never use the ruler for paragraph formatting anyway, because they work on the assumption that using the ruler amounts to using “manual” formatting as opposed to the styles-based formatting that they universally recommend.

The problem with that is that the ruler can be used for styles-based formatting! If a Word paragraph (including a footnote or endnote) is in a given style (say, “Footnote Text” in the case of a footnote paragraph), then you should be able to use the ruler to change the paragraph’s indentation or tab stops and then use the “Redefine Style Based on Selection” command to incorporate the manual changes into the style’s definition.

But in Word 2004, just like in Word X, you cannot, because the ruler cannot be used in the footnotes/endnotes pane, for no reason other than Microsoft’s impenetrable whimsy. The difference in Word 2004 is that the whimsy is clearly exposed as such (the “Ruler” menu command is disabled) — as opposed to a bug that would appear to be unintentional.

And that, dear Betalogue reader, is extremely infuriating.

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