Thursday, June 08, 2006

Word and Acrobat, sucking it up together.

So I've got a couple of Word and Acrobat complaints. Since my laptop now sleeps with W's approval ratings, I've been forced into using public computers for all my work needs. Which means I'm dealing with the latest versions of Word, all defaulty and therefore full of suck. For exinstance...

At WU, they've got the acrobat toolbar set up in Word. I never have to print to a PDF, though, and I like to have as much open screen space available to see what I'm writing, so I delete the toolbar, freeing up a row. But the toolbar pops right back up - it doesn't even wait for me to close and restart. Ok, so I try moving it to the end of a higher level toolbar so that I still free up the row. Nope, it jumps automagically back down into its own row. Ok, so then I try deleting all the icons within the toolbar. That works - those fuckers stay deleted. However, this little trick doesn't let me delete the toolbar or move it permanently, so I've got an empty little toolbar hopping around and changing the window layout all of its own accord.

And just now I had a bucket of fun with Word. Now, Word always tries to automatically format things for me, and never does this result in a change that I like. Some common problems - hitting tab will sometimes set the left indent instead of inserting a tab space, autocapitalization at the beginning of a sentence wants to capitalize, incorrectly, every "at" in the common legal citation format "Id. at 793" ("same source as above at page 793"). And just now, I had to revise something I'd written and nothing worked quite as it should. I had a longish paragraph which told the story of a crime, using the actual people's names. I had to revise it so that it used anonymous language - instead of "Jay Leno shot Johnny Carson", "The defendant shot the victim." I start going through and doing this manually, and then decide I'm being a chump and I could automate this task.

Attempt #1. I put "defendant" in the clipboard buffer, so that I only have to type "the" or "a" or "the co-" or "a co-" to get all the anonymous language I want. Welp, it turns out that even though I never selected a white space before the word "defendant," Word has decided this is a mistake on my part and has generously added a space before the word "defendant." As a result, I can't type "co-", hit ctrl-v, and get "co-defendant." I do this, and I get "co- defendant," which means manual editing.

Attempt #2. Ctrl-H, Find and Replace. I put "Smith" into the find field, and "defendant" in the replace with field, figuring I can manually fix all the articles. Word decides that although I've specified my desired capitalization preferences, since all the words I'm replacing start with a capital letter, all the replacements are going to start with a capital letter.

I hope Writely doesn't pull this kind of crap, is what I'm saying. I'm ready for a word processing app with 90% less bloat, including no autoformatting bullshit, and 100% less microsoft.

1 comment:

Fishfrog said...

Word's auto-formatting sucks dick. It has pissed me off so many times. There has to be a better way.