Wednesday, May 13, 2015

How can Microsoft Word possibly be as awful as it is?

This program has been in development for roughly 30 years. Nevertheless, the simplest tasks are often impossible for ordinary mortals to achieve. I am finishing a review with a blockquote style defined. I have a block quote with an extra line above and below it.

I can easily delete these lines with no effect on the formatting of any other text, right?

Wrong! Sometimes, when I delete the line above the block quote, the previous four paragraphs will all become block quoted as well! The Microsoft attitude seems to be, "The user is an idiot, who cannot possibly know what he wants, so we will have to guess for him." But their guesses are often ludicrous. It seems I will have to just leave blank lines around this block quote and hope my publisher can sort this out.


  1. Anyone can do bad software; only corporations with deep financial resources can do truly awful software.

  2. Why don't you unzip the DocX file and play around with the XML inside? I'm sure you could find the correct pattern.

  3. Word has numerous different display formats so perhaps you just need the print view though then editing may be more difficult.

  4. Does Ctrl + Z work (or whatever the Mac equivalent is)? On Windows, auto-corrections are considered additions to the "literal" change you made, so "undo" should do the trick.

    Also, sometimes doing a forward delete brings fewer formatting headaches.



"If your approach to mathematics is mechanical not mystical, you're not going to go anywhere." -- Nassim Nicholas Taleb