It’s becoming an obsession, how much I hate Microsoft Word. It started with the Horrible Homunculus, the boss from the Seventh Level of Hell who shouted at me because I had an error of a single space on a document, and could never explain why, if Microsoft Word is the greatest thing since Jesus Christ and everyone else on the entire planet is a total expert with it, her boilerplate document was completely fucked up.
I recently finished a business tech class that included Word, to make sure I’m really not the problem and to move forward from a horrific experience and because it’s basically free (thank you, Pell grants). I signed up for the class thinking “knowledge is power,” “know thy enemy,” “the best defense is a good offense,” all that happy stuff.
The most important thing I learned, thanks to a good prof and my own mostly high-functioning brain and all the gods there are, is that I definitely was not the problem.
By the way, this is the book for the Word instruction. As I’ve mentioned before, every other word processing program I’ve ever used, from the stand-alone Lanier machine to Lotus, WordStar, WordPerfect, I can’t even remember them all now, I used without even bothering with instructions. They were sensibly set up and quite intuitive. You messed around and figured them out. I didn’t need a seven-pound book (softcover) with 1,144 pages. I’m not making that up.
So, enough bitching. Let’s get this done. It’s the weekend and I’m working on this class assignment. Look at that, pretty border and shaded text, looking all spiffy. Right?
Oops. Double-checking the instructions and my work, I see I should not have centered the text. It is supposed to be aligned to the left, and tabbed in. But hey, no problem. I’m working with the almighty Word! So I realign the text to the left. Simple.
Now I go into tabs, and set a tab where I think appropriate, per instructions. One inch would look good to me, and there should be plenty of room. Awesome. Then I go to the first line, and tab in.
So far, so good.
Then I go to the beginning of the next line and tab in. This is what I get:
Okay, maybe it’s one of those stupid things Word does that straightens itself out if you keep plowing through. So I go to the third line and tab that in:
Nope, nope, nope.
I save my screenshot and return to my document to see this. At no time did I select any text and tell it to italicize. At. No. Time.
Do you see why I hate Word so much? It’s got a mind of its own. It is AI, and it is evil, and it doing this just to screw with me. And yes, there is a part of me that really believes that.
This should have been a simple assignment. Granted, it would have been simpler if my eyes had not seen “centered” instead of “tabbed left” when I read the instructions that told me to type the text as it appeared on the page of the textbook. But, what the hell, Word. The whole point of word processing is ease of editing. What does Microsoft not get about that? The point of word processing is the easy-peasey-lemon-squeezey-ness of being able to decide you don’t like the way something is formatted and just change it, insto-presto, without some bug in the program completely screwing up the entire document.
Google Docs does not pull stunts like this. Neither does Libre Office.
Word processing is for sissies, when you come down to it. I’m a crusty old broad from the old school. I took a typing class in high school, not a keyboarding class. I could type 85 wpm on a manual typewriter, with no mistakes, with long manicured fingernails (that was before I had kids and had time for such things). On a good modern keyboard my speed is 120. Back in the day, if you needed to italicize text, you thought about it carefully to be absolutely sure you needed to italicize, and then you had to stop typing, change the font ball in the machine, type your text, then change the font ball back to the original. As many times as it took. To bold text, you typed it over and over until it was dark enough. You didn’t just click a button with lines on it to center text, oh no. You counted how many characters and spaces in the line you wanted to type, positioned the carriage to the center by eyeballing it, then backspaced half the number you’d counted and typed your text, hoping you’d got it right. Back then, a resume with headings that were bold or italicized, or both, with snazzy indentations and centered headings, pretty much got you hired without the formality of an interview. I once typed an entire library catalog directly onto good old-fashioned paper, using a good old-fashioned IBM Selectric typewriter, camera-ready for the printer and without a single error. I know my shit.
Again, somebody, please tell me how this Word garbage got to be the industry standard. I am only slightly mollified that I got Office free because I’m a student. If I’d paid money for this crap, I’d be sitting on my left ear.
The only way I could see to get this assignment perfectly correct was to delete it and start over. If I wanted to do that, I’d still be using a typewriter. I chose to undo everything so it was centered like I originally had it, albeit incorrectly, and turned it in that way. I got dinged a whole point. Whatever. I had lots of points, an A’s worth of points. I spent a point.
Besides, I’m a busy woman. I got shit to do. Like blogging about how much I hate Word.