MS Word readability index?

Subject: MS Word readability index?
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, VERKERKEN Wouter <Wouter -dot- VERKERKEN -at- swift -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 19 Sep 2006 09:39:04 -0400

Wouter VERKERKEN wondered: <<Anyone ever used the readability index feature (Flesch score etc.) and found that it seems to work on some documents, but not on other? I mean: on some documents you get the index, and on some documents you don't, while you have requested it in exactly the same way. Weird.>>

It's a useless feature, and I wouldn't waste my time. Want proof? Type a sentence. Now type the same sentence with the words rearranged to completely obscure or even reverse the meaning. Guess what: you get the same readability index. Now try typing random letters, hitting the space bar occasionally. Oops! Same result. So much for readability indices.

If you want a bit more proof, I can probably find my photocopy of an article that appeared in Technical Communication several yearsa ago that formally and rigorously studied readability indices. The author found no correlation whatsoever with reading comprehension.

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Geoff Hart ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca

(try geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com if you don't get a reply)

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MS Word readability index: From: VERKERKEN Wouter

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