Friday, 15 August 2014

Breaking up with Microsoft Word


My relationship with Microsoft Word is no longer personal, although I will continue to work with it on a professional level assuming there's a team of experts at the ready to fix whatever goes wrong with it.

Two months ago, I "tried" the new Office Suite for "free" for a month. I did this to get more familiar with the new PowerPoint, as a firm I know of was considering hiring freelancers and I needed to know more about that program. After poking around in it for a while, I realized how little experience I had with it, the company decided not to hire a freelancer, and all was forgotten. My "free" month was up, and it was time for me to take it off my computer.

I removed PowerPoint- no problem. Excel- check. When it came to Word, however, it didn't want to default to the old bought-and-paid-for Word 2010. The new 2013 Word hung on. Finally, my in-house IT department (Husband) figured out a way to get it off my computer. Whew! I thought. Prematurely.

My first clue that there was a problem came when I'd open my book to work on it, add a few new scenes, smooth out some other areas, save and close it- then open it to find that the changes hadn't been saved. OK, I told myself, that was my fault. I did something wrong. But seriously, after working with MS Word every day for the last 14 years full of workdays, was I really capable of "forgetting" to save my work all of a sudden?

Nope. It was not saving my work.

The work of a writer isn't easy when the systems work well. We're still trying harder and harder to get our words to say what we want them to say. Being stymied by the system isn't cool.

This problem also affected my freelance work, which completely horrified me. By now, I've righted everything that was wrong, but I am so disappointed that mistakes were made on my watch.

So I'm upset with MS Office and ready to un-install it from my computer. Diva and I have shared MS Office 2010, and if she mails it to me, perhaps I'll reinstall. For now, though, I'm taking a much-needed break.


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