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  • 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 (with Vince Chen and Scott Krueger) and others; The Mother of All Windows Books (featuring Barry Simon) 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 — all with Ed Bott — 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’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 and the AskWoody Lounge?

    A: Most of all, AskWoody 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.

    Starting in February, 2017, AskWoody grew an appendage called the AskWoody Lounge. You can see links to the Lounge over on the right side. You don’t have to use the Lounge, but you’ll probably find stuff there that’ll interest you. You can post anything you like anonymously, but all anonymous posts are moderated (vetted) before they appear online.

    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.