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Subject: Microsoft Word for the Mac
Date: Tue, 12-Feb-85 05:27:10 EST
Posted: Tue Feb 12 05:27:10 1985
Date-Received: Wed, 13-Feb-85 03:47:42 EST
Organization: U of Washington Computer Science
I have spent most of the last weekend fooling around with MS Word.
In general I like it ALOT, although (like most software) it has its
share of zits. Here are a few of the things I've learned about it:
- It performs quite nicely on a 128K Mac. Scrolling is about the
same speed as scrolling in MacWrite 2.2, but seems to slow down
less when it crosses "ruler" boundaries than MacWrite does.
- Page formatting (margins, etc.) differs quite a bit from the way
MacWrite does things. The "Page Layout.." item in the File menu
lets you set the boundaries of the page - minimum margins for
the Imagewriter are .5" on the left, right and top - I'm not sure
yet about the bottom. This is a nice improvement over MacWrite's
minimum 1" margins. Once you have set the page boundaries, all
"ruler" measurements are relative to those boundaries.
- Each paragraph (a portion of text that is terminated by pressing
the return key) gets its own ruler. If you don't explicitly alter
them, a ruler's characteristics are inherited from the immediately
preceding paragraph. This means you never have to "insert rulers" -
each paragraph already has one. This scheme seems to work out very
- Style, font and font size changes are all on the same menu. The
style changes actually appear in the menu; if you want a new font
or size, you select the "Formats.." item and are presented with a
dialog box showing the available fonts, sizes, etc. This makes it
a bit harder to change fonts and sizes than with MacWrite. There
are, however, command key sequences to let you select fonts and
sizes without putting up the dialog box.
Style selection also has command key sequences - they are NOT
the same ones used by MacWrite. They ARE similar - you must use
"command-shift" instead of just "command", so requesting (for
instance) underlining is done with "command-shift-u". One thing
I distinctly DON'T like is that Microsoft did not make the
keyboard sequences "toggle" the item, like MacWrite - you can
only SET the item. For instance, after selecting underlining,
you have to select plain text (command-shift-p) to get rid of
it. This means that if you have SEVERAL style items selected,
you can't just turn off one - you have to select plain text
and then reselect the ones you want. Yuch.
- You can have multiple columns of text on a page. This works well, but
is not WYSIWYG - you only see one column while editing the text, and
Word does the conversion to two (or n) up upon printing. The single
column you DO see when editing is the same width as the printed
one will be. I liked this feature ALOT.
- It's easy to deal with text that is wider than the window - Word
will scroll in the appropriate direction automatically as you enter
text. I liked this alot, too.
- The automatic footnoting works well. Word will number the footnotes
for you or you can specify your own footnote "mark". Footnotes
can be printed with the page they are referenced on or at the
end of the "division" (which you define).
- Split bars are supported, so you can be lookng at two different parts
of the same document at once. You can also have multiple documents
open at once (making cut and paste between documents very easy).
There is a limit of 4 windows open at once (with a split window
counting as 2), and there are windows other than document windows
(like the footnote window, clipboard, glossary, etc.), so this
doesn't necessarily mean you can work with 4 documents at once.
- There is a "glossary" feature that lets you define frequently used
phrases and request them with only a few keystrokes. Style and font
information is kept with the phrase. You can save a glossaries with
different names and indicate which one you want. Each glossary that
you open has its contents added to the "active" glossary. This
works very well and can be a real timesaver.
- I haven't yet had a chance to try the mail merge feature, but it
looks both powerful and easy to use. I also haven't tried to
paste a MacPaint picture into a document, so I don't know what
control you have over the position of the picture, or whether
you can enter text around it (which you can't do with MacWrite).
Overall I am VERY pleased with this product. If you have any serious
word processing to do I highly recommend it.
[The usual disclamer stuff - no, I DON'T own stock in Microsoft, I
won't make money if you buy it, and the opinions expressed here
reflect ony my own stubborn, pigheaded persona.]
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