Word 2011: Bug with zoom button

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Microsoft
January 6th, 2011 • 4:38 pm

Here’s a rather unique bug in Microsoft Word 2011 that a Betalogue reader pointed out to me in an e-mail. It’s fairly easy to reproduce, but comes with a word of warning: Make sure you have saved all your current work in Word 2011 before trying it, because it will make Word inoperable and you’ll have to force-quit it, thereby losing all unsaved changes. (And another warning that will be familiar to TV viewers and video game players: Do not try this if you have a history of epilepsy.)

  1. Open two different document windows in Word 2011.
  2. Option-click on the green (Zoom) button in the title bar of one of the two windows.
  3. Enjoy the show.

These simple steps cause Word 2011 to start some kind of endless window dance that only a force-quit operation will stop.

As a Mac user with two 30″ displays, I rarely use the green (Zoom) button myself, since it is useless in most cases because it makes the window way too big, due to a failure to comply with Apple’s Human Interface Guidelines. The green button is supposed to toggle between the current “user state” and a “standard state” for the window, but Apple warns:

Don’t assume that the standard state should be as large as possible; some monitors are much larger than the useful size for a window.

No kidding. Unfortunately, the actual behaviour of the button varies from application to application. Needless to say, the behaviour in Microsoft’s application is of the useless variety. Even Apple’s own applications don’t all comply with the above, though. (TextEdit, I am looking at you.) There are some applications where the behaviour can actually be useful even to me, but they are too few to really matter.

What is for sure, however, is that I certainly never try to option-click on the green button. (On the other hand, I do sometimes use option-clicking on the red button [Close], especially in Preview, when I want to close a slew of windows in one fell swoop.)

Logically, option-clicking on the green button should toggle all application windows in one fell swoop between the standard state and the user state. It certainly does that in TextEdit…

But it definitely is not meant to trigger what it does trigger in Word 2011! Only Microsoft is capable of even coming up with something like this.

(Thanks to Peter C. for the tip.)

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