The Comic Crappiness of Microsoft Word

I was merrily typing along in WordPerfect this afternoon when I began to question my oft-repeated oath that you’d have to pry this fine word processor from my cold dead hands. I’d recently run into some formatting issues when I converted WordPerfect files to Word in order to submit a manuscript and when working with grad students I often need to be able to read their material in Word and use its track changes to make comments.

So, I’ve felt the pressure to switch for some time. I just got a new computer this summer and put Windows 7 (a release candidate) on it and, since I have no major deadlines (at least, not this week) just now, I thought it might be fitting to try a new word processor.

I fired up Word 2007 and began taking notes on C. S. Tashiro’s Pretty Pictures, an interesting book on the history film that may provide some insights into Mad Men, on which I’m currently working. Almost immediately, almost comically, Word’s crappiness became apparent.

First, it crashed when I tried to make a simple configuration change (so that it’d use curly quotation marks). Did that twice.

I figured Word was getting pretty confused by then so I closed it and rebooted the machine. It still wouldn’t do curly quotations marks, but I gave up trying to configure it. Then I attempted to open the file that I’d been working on. It refused! “Word experienced an error trying to open the file…”

I tried, as suggested, to use the Text Recovery converter. No dice. My notes were inaccessible.

WordPerfect to the rescue! I asked WP to open this Word 2007 document and bada bing! Success!

How beautiful is that? WordPerfect is so generous that it even opened a competitor’s file. Can software be equanimous? If so, then I think WordPerfect qualifies.

What did my experience with the comic crappiness of Microsoft Word teach me? It taught me that my oath was not in vain! Just try to dislodge WordPerfect from my hard drive now!


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