• Tame your tech: Office

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    OFFICE By Susan Bradley We all have a love/hate relationship with Microsoft Office. Chances are, Word is not the first word processing program you sta
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    Susan Bradley Patch Lady/Prudent patcher

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    • #2507332

      I started with Wordstar, with it’s peculiar point-commands. Soon to be replaced with WordPerfect – what a difference! Combined with WordPerfect Shell you could do many neat things. The ‘Program Editor’ that came with Shell having features I still very much miss in today’s text editors. And then there was Word. That didn’t have the ‘look under water’ feature. Driving me nuts when trying to find those pesky ‘Section ends’.

      We’re now on Office 2019 and I still have the feeling the Ribbon is WIP. And a lot of UI elements going way back to Office ’97 are still around – like insert a link and you’ll be presented a tiny window to browse to the file / patch to link to – no way to stretch it.

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    • #2507427

      For an alternative to the ribbon interface, I use UbitMenu. Free for personal use, very cheap for commercial use. It adds Office 2003 type toolbars and menus to Office 2007, Office 2010, Office 2013, Office 2016 and Office 2019, according to its website. Works like a champ for me on Office 2010 and 2016.



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    • #2507442

      I was on WordStar from the early 1980s and used it every day into the late ’90s. It had features that Word lacked for a long time, topmost among them the ability to select items by column and then sort them. I think you could also add up a selection of numerical items.

      The main reason I switched to Word was that customers started asking for documents to go back to them electronically (via email) in .DOC format rather than printed on paper. Later editions of WordStar (such as WordStar 2000), intended to bring the program up to date, were very different from the original and not nearly as good, so if I had to learn new software anyway it might as well be MS Word.


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    • #2507484

      Word Perfect is still a GREAT product! I have it on all my production computers.

      WP doesn’t require learning some basics with every new version as does MS Office. And it is still much easier to use.

      I have MS Office on my computer also. But only use it Kicking and Screaming when having to work with the masses.

      For those that don’t know the history – Microsoft heavy marketed Office to the government. So, it was required for any government e-documents. Hummmm… wonder how many received MS stock in return for the government requirement? Asking for a friend.

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      • #2507794

        Word Perfect

        I think it was the first software i ever bought, for x86 PCs anyway (ok MAYbe windows 95 for $5 at The Egghead). I went to a Wordperfect presentation at the local county center and bought that and “Presentation’ (which I don’t think I ever used, so much for the bargain price for WP) I think I still have the complimentary legal pad with the WP logo on it!


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    • #2507508

      After however-many years I still hate the ribbon.  I get around it by not using Microsoft Office, myself, but I still have to try to help my parents with it from time to time.  Of course, I also go back to the days of paper tapes and punch cards, and I type about 180wpm — anything that increases mouse usage slows me down considerably!

      Like the others who have posted so far, I started with WordStar and quickly moved to WordPerfect.  I think the latter became less relevant because they were too slow to come up with a useful Windows version, but that’s neither here nor there.  Now, though, I use LibreOffice.  The features where Write and Calc differ from Word and Excel are not anything I ever use (Presentation vs. PowerPoint is a completely different matter; thank goodness there is the presentation program equivalent of PDF for the rare occasions when I have to share a presentation with audio).

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    • #2507597

      Re: WordPerfect and attorneys/courts: as someone who did WP priority tech support years ago, it isn’t that Novell and Corel did a better job marketing WP them. Word had serious problems formatting pleading papers correctly.  WP doesn’t, so it became the word processor of choice for a number of court systems. Having also helped people with Word, WP is far better at actually formatting documents the way you want (without having to use tables the way Word does in templates, which average users I helped with resumes had no idea was why they had formatting problems when they tried changing stuff). That flexibility, actual toolbars, and the blessed Reveal Codes function are why I have paid for WP.

      • #2507636

        Although WP can be quirky (Tables) and crashes unexpectedly, I couldn’t live without it, especially the Reveal Codes.  I have Office 2019 installed, but only to deal with documents sent by clients.  WP to Word doesn’t usually convert well (especially the formatting), but Zamzar does a pretty good job.  Unfortunately, WP tech support has been mostly useless.  Anyone know of a good user’s group?

        You can tell that I’m an old guy cuz I still use Lotus 1-2-3 also.  Financial functions (important for my work) better than Excel.


    • #2507675

      Amazing how many people had the same journey as me: Started with Wordstar, then moved to WordPerfect. I then moved to Ami Pro, then finally to Word.

      WordPerfect was absolutely my favorite. It was a quality operation through and through.

      If the original WordPerfect owners had not sold out to Novell, perhaps WordPerfect would have stayed at the top. Alas, Novell had no clue how to deal with a product like WordPerfect, allowing Microsoft to zoom past them on their way to the top.

      Here is a fascinating look at the WordPerfect Corporation, as written by Pete Peterson, one of the three original owners of WordPerfect Corporation:


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    • #2507879

      Back in the day, our IT department forced us to use IBM DisplayWrite on PCs — mostly because “it’s compatible with the mainframe.” Users hated it. In those days of standalone DOS PCs, users could install any software for which they had the diskettes. Soon enough, WordPerfect began popping up and became the de facto standard.

      As others noted, I always thought (and still do) that WordPerfect was superior to Word.

      WP was too slow to adapt to Windows. (They produced a version for OS/2, though!)

      Of course, MS was the first to package separate programs into an “office” package, selling it to IT departments as easier to maintain and easier to use because the programs would have the “same interface.” Ha.

      Then, there was the ribbon… For me, the worst thing was the loss of multiple custom toolbars. Before the ribbon, I had my own toolbars that gave me easy access to whatever function I needed or information I wanted to see. With the ribbon, even with the quick access toolbar, when editing or formatting a document, I still have to make multiple mouse trips to the ribbon to do so many things.

    • #2507905

      As others noted, I always thought (and still do) that WordPerfect was superior to Word. WP was too slow to adapt to Windows. (They produced a version for OS/2, though!)

      FWIW, there is a very interesting read titled “Almost Perfect” and written by W. E. Pete Peterson who was on the WP Board of Directors until 1992; in it he describes what he says is “the rise and fall of WordPerfect Corporation from my point of view”.

      It can be read online and/or downloaded as a PDF here: http://www.wordplace.com/ap/

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    • #2508026

      IIRC, there were some other applications in the pfs: series, in addition to write. But, they all shared the same basic concept, which is also the “source” of their pfs designation in their name…they were (per my boss at the time) “pretty (ahem) simple”!  😉

      In reality, per the link to Wikipedia provided in Susan’s original post, pfs actually stood for Personal Filing System.

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    • #2509301

      I started with Write Now! from Cardco, on the Commodore 64. From there to Pocket Writer 64/128, then to the PC platform with Winword (Word for Windows, version 1.1b), then Word for MS-DOS (Winword took way too long to print a document– a ten page document could take 45 minutes).

      Now, I don’t really do any word processing, but I do have LibreOffice 7 installed in case I need it. I use the spreadsheet more than any other bit of LibreOffice.

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