Re: Real World Advantages of Office / Word 2007 and Windows 7

Subject: Re: Real World Advantages of Office / Word 2007 and Windows 7
From: "William Sherman" <bsherman77 -at- embarqmail -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 8 May 2012 12:56:08 -0400

This is really going off.


For Ben

But assuming an engineer knows how to format a document,
and then blaming Microsoft Word because he didn't know
how to use it properly seems a little biased.

and Richard
And I don't care what authoring tool you're using, it's
extremely unwise (to put it politely) to let your SMEs make
changes directly in your 700-page manual. Extremely. Unwise.


It may be unfair to blame Word, but it isn't unfair to blame Microsoft. Microsoft has marketed Word as a tool EVERYONE can use and designs it so that in 5 minutes, even people with very little computer skills can produce a page that looks somewhat professional. It is similar to how the '80s with Macintosh and MacWrite did.

As such, almost every engineer and programmer think they are capable of using Word as well as us, and their managers back them. After all, who here works for a company who places the value of their technical writers higher on the corporate scale than the engineers or programmers? So Richard, often as unwise as it is to give that 700 page manual to a programmer you know hasn't figured out how to even use tabs yet, one often doesn't have a choice when his manager may be your manager's manager's manager.

Often we have to deal with people who get their hands on a Word doc who haven't figured out it is something much more powerful than an electronic typewriter. Format a paragraph? Sure.


SPACE, SPACE, SPACE, SPACE, SPACE, SPACEBegin the sequencing procedure like this:ENTER
SPACE, SPACE, SPACE, SPACE, SPACE, SPACE, SPACE, SPACE1.SPACE, SPACETurn on the computer.SHIFT ENTER
SPACE, SPACE, SPACE, SPACE, SPACE, SPACE, SPACE, SPACE2.SPACE, SPACEOpen the file directory.SHIFT ENTER
SPACE, SPACE, SPACE, SPACE, SPACE, SPACE, SPACE, SPACE3.SPACE, SPACEClick on file ......

I've even worked with other writers whose grasp of Word was that level.

Use styles? What is a style?


On the other hand, these same people would NEVER attempt to fool around with FrameMaker, RoboHelp, Doc To Help, Flare, and so on. They KNOW they don't know anything about it. But they ALL know Word. Every single one of them.

And that may be the reason many find no value in Technical Writers. We know Word; they know Word. So what makes us special?




And Ben may have really hit the nail on the head.

The out-of-the-box default Word 2010 is a complete joke
that is geared towards new users. If you don't know anything
about styles, you never will when using Word 2010, because
Microsoft seems to have made every effort to bury styles even
further down the rabbit hole. Now you need 3 or 4 clicks just
to open the styles menu


I bet some of this is true in 2007. This past year when trying to set styles in a few existing documents, I noticed the "style" buttons in the ribbon just didn't seem to work right. I couldn't put my finger on it, but they didn't change, set, and modify like they should. I bet this is the reason.




-"it's unintuitive" versus "you have to learn new ways of doing things"

I'm always learning new things. But the older I get, the more I question the need of a new thing just for the purpose of being new.


-"it's not as powerful" versus "you have to learn how it works"

I'm not sure how I am in this. Newer software is usually more powerful, but sometimes it isn't that much more powerful. Kind of like marginal costs and revenues, at what point is it profitable to have that extra power and when is it not really worth the effort for the little bit more power you get?

And then there are the costs? To get a ribbon for a $500 investment? To have to upgrade RAM to get a couple of extra buttons? Maybe yes, maybe now. That was the point of this original, is it worth the change?




-"the old one was better" versus "you'll have to upgrade in the end anyway, so get used to it"

I'm pretty sure I didn't say the older is better. Actually, no one has to upgrade either. Surprisingly, there are small groups who flourish in the world of DOS and Windows has been mainstream for 20 years. You just don't get any support from Microsoft, but then, how many of you actually called them anyway? The Knowledge Base was good, but frequently you can still find the old information if you know where to look.

I actually sold a Windows 98 PC this last weekend which had done quite well at taking care of some tasks but due to downsizing to move in a year, it was decided the value it gave me was less than the value of not having to lug it around or have it take up space.



Ben
So obviously there is some value in what the product
offers if you use it correctly, and provide proper training
for other users.


I agree, but what company do you work for that actually offers, or requires, decent training? Most training for applications like Word may be a web based training video you can watch in your spare time and it will usually only cover basics. If there is a more advanced version, how often is it used? Does anyone use it? I've been in some places where they REQUIRE you attend the training session to have access to some servers and databases, but everyone is turned loose with Word with no required training.



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Follow-Ups:

References:
Real World Advantages of Office / Word 2007 and Windows 7: From: William Sherman
Re: Real World Advantages of Office / Word 2007 and Windows 7: From: William Sherman
RE: Real World Advantages of Office / Word 2007 and Windows 7: From: Coe, David E
RE: Real World Advantages of Office / Word 2007 and Windows 7: From: Ben Davies
Re: Real World Advantages of Office / Word 2007 and Windows 7: From: Phil Snow Leopard

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