Word 2011: I-beam cursor over dark background

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Microsoft
December 15th, 2010 • 6:17 pm

Here’s a little movie that really says it all:

Do you see an I-beam cursor anywhere in there? I sure don’t. In this movie, I am simply typing (with the extra space between “This” and “is,” of course, since I cannot see my cursor and therefore cannot see that I already typed a space) and then I am selecting text, first with keyboard shortcuts, and then with the mouse.

How is one supposed to know where the insertion point is if one cannot see the I-beam cursor? If you are “smart” enough to use white text over a black background by default, why aren’t you smart enough to use a white I-beam cursor when the background colour is black?

And of course the problem is not limited to text boxes and to black. It affects any text that is formatted with a dark background. In all those cases, the I-beam cursor is at best barely visible and that makes editing the text particularly painful and error-prone.

For the record, the text box in the movie above was created using one of Word 2011’s own “quick styles” for text boxes, in the Ribbon. So it’s not like I created a totally unusual and unexpected situation here.

After all these years, Microsoft is still unable to guarantee the most basic aspects of their software’s usability.

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