Word 2004: Strange behaviour when double-clicking on text alignment buttons

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Microsoft
May 31st, 2005 • 4:49 am

I just wrote about the lack of responsiveness of the text alignment buttons in the Formatting Palette in Excel 2004. Interestingly, and unsurprisingly, the behaviour of the corresponding buttons in Word 2004 is different — but equally flawed.

As far as I can tell, here’s what happens when you double-click on Word 2004’s text alignment buttons (either in the Formatting Palette or in the Formatting toolbar).

If the button you double-click on is the button that’s already currently depressed, nothing happens — which is expected.

If, on the other hand, the text alignment button you double-click on is any button other than the text alignment button that’s currently depressed, then Word 2004 reverts the selection to… left-aligned text, regardless of the button you’ve double-clicked on.

In other words, if your selection is centered and you double-click on the button to right-align the selection, Word… left-aligns the selection. Funky.

Interestingly, if you try to undo this double-click, Word actually undoes the action in two separate steps, one of which is the correct text alignment. Yet you never get to see that step when you double-click on a text alignment button other than the currently depressed on. Regardless of what the button you double-click on is, Word left-aligns the text.

This double step uncovered by the Undo feature also means that, in Word 2004, a double-click on a text alignment toolbar button is actually registered as two distinct clicks. Which is exactly the opposite of what happens in Excel 2004 with the same buttons, as we’ve just seen.

I think it really takes a company such as Microsoft to introduce unwarranted inconsistency across its applications even at such a basic level.

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