Re: Long Documents in Word

Subject: Re: Long Documents in Word
From: "John Fleming" <johnf -at- ecn -dot- ab -dot- ca>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2001 07:15:06 -0700

> Subject: Re: Long Documents in Word
> From: "Elna Tymes" <etymes -at- lts -dot- com>
> Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2001 05:46:57 -0800
> X-Message-Number: 2

> Lee Perkins wrote:


> You have my sympathies. The archives of this list have some
poignant examples
> of Word's failings, in particular when using the Master Document
feature. The
> moral to the stories: don't use Master Document unless you have
absolutely no
> other option, and don't let files get more than about 20 pages.

Word does seem to have some interesting problems that arise with
longer documents.

A project I'm working on right now has tables that cover 10+ pages,
and a funny thing happens when the file is saved. The top two or
three rows of the table hide.

Oh, you can get them back, temporarily, by going into Table Properties
and setting the minimum row height for the top row to something
greater than zero. But before long the top couple of rows are out of
sight and out of mind--until you "reset" the row height again.

> These are
> problems that are well known, and eventually Microsoft will get
around to
> fixing them because those who are doc pros normally prefer
Framemaker to Word
> for serious work.

I wouldn't count on it. See below.

> On the other hand, the vast majority of Word users are NOT
> doc pros and generate considerably smaller docs, so Microsoft may
take their
> bloody time about releasing an update that fixes these problems.

I expect the average Word user isn't creating long documents. Perhaps
one or two page letters, five hundred page essays for school, short
reports for work, and the like.

Result. Fixing the bugs that are part of Word's long document
features may not be that high a priority for Microsoft.

If it is something that affects short documents, expect to see a
relatively quick fix, because it will affect a lot of users.

I think a part of the problem is that Microsoft puts a lot of effort
into trying to be something for everyone, and that doesn't really
work. Right now, they are chugging along like the big three
automakers did in the early 70s--everybody will buy Microsoft because
there really isn't anything else. And like the big three automakers,
Microsoft will get its comeuppance the day a competitor shows up who
has a better product at a comparable price.

In fact, we may already be seeing a bit of that with Linux.


John Fleming
Technical Writer
Edmonton, Alberta
email: johnf -at- ecn -dot- ab -dot- ca


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