Woody Leonhard's no-bull news, tips and help for Windows and Office
Home icon Home icon Home icon Email icon RSS icon
  • About Woody

    Q: Who is Woody Leonhard?

    A: I’ve been wondering that myself. Most people know me for my books. My first computer book, The Hacker’s Guide to the Univers – a massive compendium of bugs in Word 1.10a – made its way around CompuServe in May 1991. Andrew Schulman saw it, used it, and coerced me into writing Windows 3.1 Programming For Mere Mortals, a real-live printed book, which appeared in 1992. It’s been downhill ever since: Hacker’s Guides to Word and others; The Mother of All Windows Books in various flavors, spanning many versions; Underground Guides to Office, Word, and many more; Woody Leonhard Teaches Microsoft Office for a couple versions; Special Edition Using Microsoft Office 2000, Office XP, Office 2003 and Office 2007 – the four truly definitive guides to Office.

    My most popular books (and most recent ones) have carved out new niches in the Dummies line: Windows XP All-In-One Desk Reference For Dummies; Windows XP Timesaving Techniques For Dummies; Windows XP Hacks & Mods For Dummies and Office 2003 Timesaving Techniques For Dummies, followed by Windows Vista All-In-One Desk Reference For Dummies and Windows Vista Timesaving Techniques for Dummies. Now there’s Windows 7 All-In-One For Dummies and Green Home Computing For Dummies, Windows 8 All-In-One For Dummies, Windows 8.1 All-In-One For Dummies and Windows 10 All-In-One For Dummies. I’m really proud of those books because they’ve helped a lot of people take control of Windows and Office — without toeing the Microsoft Party Line. They’re kinda fun, too. I hate books that put people to sleep.

    I’m currently Senior Contributing Editor at InfoWorld, where I have a blog called Woody on Windows. I also put together reviews, features and slideshows at InfoWorld, frequently to Microsoft’s chagrin.

    I’ve taken home eight Computer Press Association awards and two Jesse H. Neal awards. My Erdős number is 3.

    Roughly 3 to 4,000,000 people, possibly more, have read my books and articles, in a whole lotta languages. I’ve hit 4,500,000+ monthly pageviews on the web. This site, AskWoody.com, runs more than half a million a month.

    Q: What is AskWoody.com?

    A: Most of all, AskWoody.com gives you the news you need to keep Windows and Office working right. There’s a little bit of gossip and occasional insight to boot, all delivered with a fiercely independent attitude. People tend to think of Microsoft as a monolith. It isn’t. Many Microsoft employees are embarrassed by the stupid things the company tries to do. My best tips come from current and former employees who want to make their voices heard — anonymously.

    There’s more. AskWoody.com offers the only one-stop, independent analysis of Microsoft patches available on the Web. With the rate of patches from Redmond approaching a hundred a month, you need a reliable resource to find out which updates work, and which treat your system like a wringer washer in a minefield.

    All of the comments posted on AskWoody are moderated. I do that to keep the site from degenerating into the kind of street brawls you see on other sites — sorry, but I know your time is too valuable to waste sorting through other peoples’ personality issues. You’re welcome to post anonymously, though – I don’t store any information about anyone, don’t keep email addresses, don’t even have passwords.

    Q: Why AskWoody?

    A: I used to write newsletters to keep folks abreast of the latest developments in Windows and Office. But blogging suits me better, I think. I like having a Web site. AskWoody.com gives me much more flexibility than I ever had with the old newsletters. I can post news items when they’re still hot, and issue follow-ups, warnings and corrections in the blink of an eye. You can send me your feedback, via the news comments, in real time. And by using a Web site, I’m not clogging up your inbox with more mail.

    Q: Why should you believe me?

    A: My opinions are more than a little controversial at times. (I still won’t set foot on the Microsoft Campus without a bodyguard. That’s only a slight exaggeration.) There’s a reason for my ongoing skepticism about Microsoft and its motives: I’ve been around the Windows block a few times. I calls ’em like I see’s ’em, and that makes me very unpopular in some circles. I don’t pull any punches, and I’m not accustomed to kowtowing to the Redmond deities.

    Q: Who pays for AskWoody.com?

    A: You do. I paid the whole bill for many years, but keeping the site going has turned into a near-full-time job. I’m experimenting with ads and donations — with the hope that AskWoody.com will become self-sufficient. Jury’s still out, but anything you can do will be greatly appreciated. See the upper right corner of the main page.

    Q: How do I contact Woody?

    A: You can send mail to me anytime: woody at ask woody dot com. There’s a link in the upper right corner of the site.