Office 2008: Word now supports ‘live’ window resizing, but not Excel

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Microsoft
January 19th, 2008 • 12:11 pm

With Word 2008, Microsoft has finally caught up with the rest of the Mac OS X world and introduced what is called “live” window resizing. This means that, when you go to resize a document window, as soon as you start dragging the bottom-right corner of the window, instead of just showing a rectangular outline of what the new resized window will look like, Word 2008 actually redraws the window and its contents in real time.

To me, whether this constitutes real progress is still an open question. It’s a good idea in theory, but in practice, even on a fast machine such as my one-year-old Mac Pro with four cores and 5 GB of RAM, there is still a noticeable lag between my mouse movements and the actual redrawing on the screen for most windows in most applications. Things have considerably improved in recent times, but not to the point that I no longer notice the lag, so it still bothers me to a certain extent, although I have learned to live with it in Mac OS X applications.

This is certainly not something that Microsoft can be blamed for. Live window resizing has obviously become the standard in Mac OS X, and the Office applications had to embrace this standard sooner or later. (It’s also worth noting that Adobe’s applications still do not use live window resizing.) The performance of live window resizing in Word 2008 is, in my experience, neither worse nor better than in other Mac OS X applications.

What is rather inexplicable, however, is why Microsoft decided to introduce live window resizing in Word 2008, but not in Excel 2008. Excel 2008 still uses the old rectangular outline from previous versions. I cannot understand this, because my user’s impression was that it would be easier to implement live window resizing in Excel than in Word. Word documents can become fairly complex, with lots of pictures, text frames, etc. By comparison, most Excel documents are pretty simple, so redrawing the window’s contents on the fly should be easier in that application.

I suspect that the Excel developers simply had other priorities and since Microsoft has never demonstrated a high level of consistency across its Mac applications, I am not really surprised that they allowed this new discrepancy to be introduced in Office 2008 between Word and Excel.

(PowerPoint 2008 does not have live window resizing either.)

Comments are closed.

Leave a Reply

Comments are closed.