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back to article Oi, Microsoft, where's my effin' toolbar gone?

Half-life Wife is angry. She has begun swearing loudly through gritted teeth and is shaking her fist in a threatening manner. This, believe it or not, is a relief. Mrs D tends to not so much experience emotions as perform them, so the shaking fist is less a warning of intention, more the art of expression. And while I probably …

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Meh

What is this article supposed to be?

Is it supposed to be funny? Is it being 'irreverent'? It's a load of old bollocks, for sure.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What is this article supposed to be?

Just an excuse to bash Microsoft quite possibly...

This is blatantly not intended behaviour...The software runs on a staggering range of hardware, sometimes it's going to go wrong.

No idea what machine the authors Mrs. is using, but sounds like a common thing that happens when your trying to use some poor, underpowered machine like a Netbook, not specific to Word necessarily.

Don't get the relevance of the article what so ever. The authors "speaks" as if the behaviour is intended, then goes and blames web browsers for it...

And if you hate word so much don't buy or use it...simple.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What is this article supposed to be?

Oh lighten up a bit. Windows is full of bollocks, Linux is full of bollocks and as a user of OSX, that has some serious crap stuffed up it's sleeve that really peeves me sometimes.

It's a Friday lunchtime, throwaway article. No one put a gun to your head to read it! It was obvious from the title it was going to be a throwaway silly article, let it go and head down the pub with a new talking point!

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Pint

Re: Oh lighten up a bit

Indeed. It's Friday! Have a beer!

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Coat

Re: What is this article supposed to be?

"Just an excuse to bash Microsoft quite possibly..."

As if they don't get enough bashing in these forums??? Okay, a lot of the time they deserve it, but...

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Re: What is this article supposed to be?

Then, by your own logic, the same applies to Linux and every other OS maintainer etc.

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N2
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Re: What is this article supposed to be?

Sorry, but they are far from alone, I gave up using Word some years ago but its lack of ability to display formatted text correctly as one in putted is legendary. Try as I may to produce, a simple piece of formatted text in a list with numbers? no chance; I got bold alternate numbering and all sorts of other malevolence appearing randomly from then on.

Copying & pasting the text from notepad diddnt work either & whilst my computer was powerful enough to accurately predict the entire worlds weather system for the next billion years, this opus magnum of hand crafted bloat-ware from Redmond bought it to its knees.

The author describes what should have been a fairly straight forward experience, made impossible by software touted to be the best in its class, IMO the earlier versions were OK but not any more. Personally, I dont want bells & whistles, I just want to get the job done and fast without the joys of a general protection error - Word has tried saving your work... but never has.

To be honest, Id much prefer the ancient little dos program called Professional Writer that ran from one FDD, but there you go thats my preference, Im sure it will of course all be fixed in the next version...

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jai
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Re: What is this OP's comment supposed to be?

Is it supposed to be funny? Is it being 'irreverent'? It's a load of old bollocks, for sure.

There, fixed it for you. You didn't really come to El Reg to read in depth technical discussions on the technology world, did you? Is this your first time here?

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Pint

Re: What is this article supposed to be?

Is it supposed to be funny? Is it being 'irreverent'? It's a load of old bollocks, for sure.

It is. It was. It's not.

Cheer up and have one on me.

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Devil

Re: What is this article supposed to be?

Quote: Sorry, but they are far from alone, I gave up using Word some years ago but its lack of ability to display formatted text correctly as one inputted is legendary.

You forgot to put the correct emphasis on "inputted" - that word has a ligature. Something which Word has failed to render correctly to this day. It is still not even to the level of ~ 1980es typesetting.

Write the following sentence in word (at 44pt to see the difference clearly): "It does not matter if you inputted it or not - it is still utter garbage demonstrating that MSFT cannot render correctly basic English like 'f*** off'". Try the same in LaTeX. Print. Compare. Weep (Hint - look carefully at how ligatures - t followed by low letter, double t, double f, etc are rendered in either case).

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Thumb Up

Re: What is this article supposed to be?

Sounds like *somebody* needs to go watch Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie's _Every OS Sucks_ again:

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/loadingreadyrun/2516-Every-OS-Sucks

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Re: What is this article supposed to be?

You forgot to put the correct emphasis on "inputted" - that word has a ligature. Something which Word has failed to render correctly to this day. It is still not even to the level of ~ 1980es typesetting.

I haven't tested this yet, but I've heard that recent versions of Word have options for ligatures. Unfortunately they're off by default and so many people are so used to horribly printed documents that no-one thinks to look for them.

And I agree: look at LaTeX output and weep at everything else!

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Sil
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Yes it does

Why are you hysteric about ligatures, which isn't part of the English language?

It's just a typographical style choice, it's not a universal given.

Anyway if you knew how to use Word you would know that many ligatures are supported.

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Re: What is this article supposed to be?

"Sorry, but they are far from alone; I gave up using Word some years ago but its lack of ability to display formatted text correctly as one intended is legendary. "

There. Rendered it into English for you.

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Joke

Re: What is this article supposed to be?

You are all misunderstanding it. It a very cunning advert for LaTeX. If you adjust your monitor settings properly, the message "LaTeX RULES!!" can be made out in the background.

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Unhappy

Re: What is this article supposed to be?

If you were that concerned about ligatures, then you should not be concerned that a "word processor" is not applying them correctly.

Ligatures are due to the page layout typesetting and LaTex is page layout, so comparing apples to oranges is quite unfair. Word makes no claim to being a "page layout" application; you should, therefore, be properly using InDesign or Quark if accurate page layouts are what you seek. A generic "word processor" application, like Microsoft "Word", where the word processor functionality is mentioned but extreme layout accuracy is not, is unfairly asking too much of the wrong tool for the wrong job.

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Windows

Re: What is this article supposed to be?

"..a simple piece of formatted text in a list with numbers? no chance."

I agree that the list formatting tools in Word suck (always have in every version, probably always will). I find the best (least frustrating anyway) way to get reproducible results, is by forcing everything into hidden tables, then use cell formatting.

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Re: What is this article supposed to be?

"The software runs on a staggering range of hardware, sometimes it's going to go wrong."

It's the OS job to fix that problem - also by Microsoft so you've shifted the blame from Microsoft Office division to Microsoft OS division?

Do you work for MS technical support?

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Re: What is this article supposed to be?

>> And if you hate word so much don't buy or use it...simple.

So your suggestion is that after I buy a copy of MS Word, use it and subsequently not like it, I should not buy it? Can anyone else here spot the flaw in this chronological sequence of events?

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Boffin

Re: What is this article supposed to be?

"I agree that the list formatting tools in Word suck"

Actually they are really rather good if you learn to use them properly. When you finish a list you need to end it in order for Word to know that's what you've done - do this with a double <enter>. To go "in" a level, press tab, to go "out" a level press shift+tab, if you're in a table you need to use the buttons on the menu because tab and shift+tab navigate tables. You should also be using styles to modify the appearance rather than bold, italic and sizing buttons otherwise a proper mess is the only expected result.

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N2
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Re: What is this article supposed to be?

Take 'help' for example, its your new friend!

No, Im off too the pub as well.

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Re: What is this article supposed to be?

Amen to that. Why are there five ways to run a programme in OSX?

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Alien

Re: What is this article supposed to be?

> As if they don't get enough bashing in these forums??? Okay, a lot of the time they deserve it, but...

Having had to use Word 2010, I'm convinced it is a cunning ploy to convince people to sign up for the ever-being-patched Office 365.

In MS' coders' defense, it does appear to be due to dumb design decisions rather than buggy code. Three which come to mind are:

1) With track changes on, if you delete text it isn't really deleted, (its just formatted with strike-out) so search and replace affect deleted text.

2) A table caption isn't a table caption (i.e. a property of the table), its just some formatting, so anything inside the formatting codes (including the table) becomes part of the caption and handily appears inline in your table index.

3) Being a table header-row isn't a property of a table, but of a row... any row. Also, don't break row over a page is a per-row, default off option.

I haven't seen the author's SLW's issue, but there are plenty of unexpected and unexplained things going on in that suite.

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Devil

Re: What is this article supposed to be?

Tables for layout are the devil's own work.

It also took me ages to work out why some list items appeared to reset to 1.1.1.1.1.

Turns out that increasing list levels indents, but out-denting(?) them doesn't do the opposite and don't expect the indent level to relate to the list level in navigation view either. You have to "promote" the item until it regains a sensible number and then re-demote it.

A curse on all such formatting options which project managers love and makes everyone-else's lives a nightmare.

DocBook anyone?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What is this article supposed to be?

"I gave up using Word some years ago but its lack of ability to display formatted text correctly as one in putted is legendary. Try as I may to produce, a simple piece of formatted text in a list with numbers? no chance; I got bold alternate numbering and all sorts of other malevolence appearing randomly from then on.!

Myself, my children and every secretary I ever had don't seem to have any issues with such basic functionality. Therefore I suggest the problem is you.

There really isn't a good alternative to Word - it is the best. There are other options like Libre Office or Google Apps but they are all considerably inferior in a business context.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What is this article supposed to be?

Word has a free trial. It installs using Microsoft's streaming technology and is quite incredibly fast!

http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/business/products/new-office.aspx

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Re: What is this article supposed to be?

Evidently AC you don't know much about software or computing.

Why the f**K would a toolbar vanish be dependent on the f**ng hardware??

Yes, there's lot of different hardware out there, but with abstraction layers, device drivers, an application which sits on top of the operating system (in a layering model) the hardware should have little effect on the application (save for performance).

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Facepalm

Re: What is this article supposed to be?

Which is why you shouldn't buy it in the first place really.

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Megaphone

Re: Wrong tool

Thing is, MacWrite on a Mac SE in 1988 could handle ligatures better than a modern copy of Word does. Besides, Word _claims_ to handle ligatures, so it is an entirely fair complaint.

Sure LaTex does it much better, but that merely goes to show that the task is entirely achievable.

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Re: What is this article supposed to be?

"Tables for layout are the devil's own work."

Thank $deity I thought I was going crazy and it was just me.

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Re: What is this article supposed to be?

"Ligatures are due to the page layout typesetting and LaTex is page layout, so comparing apples to oranges is quite unfair. Word makes no claim to being a "page layout" application"

That's about the stupidest thing I've read the most idiotic comments list I've seen in a long time;

it's like saying that biological cells shouldn't contain DNA because DNA is an ecological thing, or computers shouldn't do floating point operations because that's a cloud feature.

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Re: What is this article supposed to be?

You're so wrong about this.

A word processor ultimate usage is to produce a printed paper. If a word processor fails in page layout, it's not a word processor, it's merely a text editor.

The biggest problem with MS software is that they never intended to make WYSIWYG. In fact they crippled the whole text rendering engine in Windows just so that it wouldn't be compatible with other systems out there. Just consider what the 96-120 dpi slider for text actually does, and why it's there. While other systems had standardized at 72 dpi for very good reasons.

Back in the old days you could set up an mac system and take your ruler on the screen and the measurement did exactly match what you got out from your lazer printer and then from you offset.

MS used their almost monopoly situation by making material produced on their system look bad in WYSIWYG systems, just as they did with holding their own HTML "standards" during the IE 4-6 era. It's a pure business strategy from Redmond.

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Windows

Word.

People pay for this crap. (The sw, not the article).

Hilarious (Life, and the article).

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There is a simple explanation

Word is utter shit and the UI is designed by morons. This has been true for many years now.

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Thumb Down

Re: There is a simple explanation

Word *used* to be fine. A fully featured word processor. This was back in '97 or so. Soon, everyone who needed one had a copy, and Microsoft's revenue stream from Office was drying up. THIS is when the troubles began.

Yearly releases were decreed...incompatible file formats were mandated and frivolous "features" were added. And the "ribbon" was born! A time-tested UI, with which every user was familiar and comfortable, was replaced with something that took up more room and required more clicks to use. Because it's so big and special, you have to have tabs. And, of course, there's no going back to the clean, simple, functional menu interface that you were familiar with, because Microsoft just KNOWS you're going to LOVE the ribbon, if only you'll give it a chance!

Such mind-boggling stupidity does not deserve to be rewarded.

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Re: There is a simple explanation

Oh hell, yeah... my university faculty had the latest version of Word, the campus reprographics department, where we were to get our projects printed and bound to a deadline, didn't. Genius.

Shame, because some bits of Word I really like, such as the Document Map.

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Re: There is a simple explanation

Not to mention changing the bloody file format every sodding version.

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FAIL

Re: There is a simple explanation

I'm trying to work out if it's deliberate irony that you posted a Ribbon bashing comment on a post that effectively describes exactly why the pre-2007 menu/toolbar ui was so frustrating for most people. But then I'm also wondering why the article author doesn't just upgrade his apparently ancient copy of Word and let the wife have an easier life.

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Facepalm

Re: There is a simple explanation

It never ceases to amaze or sadden me that apparently the Word UI is the result of extensive testing in usability labs. I'd like to meet some of the people they've been testing it on. Or maybe not. I suspect some of them may not be house trained yet.

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Re: There is a simple explanation

"the Word UI is the result of extensive testing in usability labs"

Usually i'd save this comment for more serious matters: That's an extraordinary claim, and as such requires extraordinary evidence.

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Go

Re: There is a simple explanation

That's an extraordinary claim, and as such requires extraordinary evidence.

Evidence 1

"Usability at Microsoft has come a long way in the 10 years it's been around. When the group started, there was one small lab in building 5, in the middle of the oldest part of the Redmond campus. Today there are over 30 individual labs, and even more usability engineers that work with product teams to run the studies"

Evidence 2

Just sayin' ;)

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Pint

Usability at Microsoft has come a long way

"Today there are over 30 individual labs, and even more usability engineers that work with product teams to run the studies"

And more effort expended to justify existence.

Gawd, Douglas Adams had it so spot on about focus groups, marketing, etc. The shoe event horizon plays out over and over.

A pint for Mr. Adams.

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Re: There is a simple explanation

Robert Long 1

"There is a simple explanation

Word is utter shit and the UI is designed by morons. This has been true for many years now."

It always sucked, and then they threw in "The Ribbon" to see if they could make it even worse. At this they succeeded...

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FAIL

Re: There is a simple explanation

"..and even more usability engineers that work with product teams to run the studies."

Ah-HA! There's the problem right there, usability engineers. Two engineering departments and their management fighting for control of the final product, recipe for failure every time. I can believe in the msdn they actually try to make sound like a good thing.

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Pint

Re: There is a simple explanation

There's a simple explanation for that as well:

That's how they force people to but new versions.

All it takes is some idiot to adopt the new version, and all of a sudden, incompatibility problems rile up the entire organization. To restore peace, everyone is forced to upgrade to the new version. M$ is not mis-named.

Even this is almost forgivable, after all, they have to make a profit to deliver us new and better software (right!).

The madness is when they move commands and options hither and yon, some in the ribbon, others in the toolbar, the formatting palette, a dozen special option windows, toolbars, galleries, menus, (am I forgetting any other?).

More than that, the commands that work on a particular object are frequently split up & dumped in various places, that makes it like a game of treasure hunt.

If Office was a horse, it would have been humanely put down a long time ago.

Now I need a beer to calm down.

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Re: There is a simple explanation

" A time-tested UI, with which every user was familiar and comfortable, was replaced with something that took up more room and required more clicks to use."

The time tested UI was the cause of the vast majority of users misusing Word. The ribbon bar helps users to learn to use Word properly by presenting styles and other core features to them in a more understandable way. You may disagree with this, but if so then you're probably the sort of person who uses the bold and italic buttons and even the dreaded "text bigger" and "text smaller" buttons rather than creating styles for the whole document.

Sorry, I have to rant. At a previous job I tidied the office manual which had 400+ styles in use when I got to it and many thousand double paragraph marks which were used to space the document for layout. If you don't know that using the enter key for spacing is wrong PLEASE seek training!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: There is a simple explanation

The whole of Office is a mess which they just add new UI carp and most;y useless features to periodically

* The diabolical Ribbon which so annoyed me that I got a plugin to restore the menus via a new tab, so that I could see ALL the options, many of which can't be accessed from the any ribbon tab or normal customisation!

* You have to use very specific settings to allow Excel to make two spreadsheet visible at the same time in separate windows, because their automation interface sucks so bad.

* You have to add a macro to do basic operations like refresh a whole Word document for changed referenced values and structure changes, because Microsoft were too stupid to add it.

* The only good addition I discovered was the canvas in Word, because it makes word-art sane by separating it from text.

* LibreOffice by-default allows several spreadsheets to be visible in separate windows, and is way better at importing text into a spreadsheet, it _really_ shames Microsoft.

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Re: There is a simple explanation

"The time tested UI was the cause of the vast majority of users misusing Word. The ribbon bar helps users to learn to use Word properly by presenting styles and other core features to them in a more understandable way. "

P!ss off mate - it just adds big colourful icons to *exactly the same functions*. It wastes screen space and slows down the production of a document noticeably.

"you're probably the sort of person who uses the bold and italic buttons and even the dreaded "text bigger" and "text smaller" buttons rather than creating styles for the whole document."

So you're going with "you're holding it wrong"? Seriously?

I shouldn't have to set up a complete set of styles to write a 2 paragraph letter. MS formatting sucks, as demonstrated by the fact they made the formatting brush to correct the constant automatic f%^& ups by Word.

If you're trying to feel superior because you know what styles are I seriously think you need to get a life...

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@Lusty

you are kidding

My day jopb is not being a professional type setter; it's being an engineer.

The TOOL I am given to write reports in; is a piece of unmittigated crap called MicroSoft Word.

All I need to be able to do is

open ANY document (odp; amw etc as well as M$ - oh and 5 year old docs)

type using simple effects - bold underline italics sub/superscript proper paragraph; proper bullets and some simple tables.

I do not need to be able to reproduce the skill set of a type setter working pre-Murdoch.

I use the buttons - why the hell wouldn't I ?

I expect at the very least a wysiwyg interface.

I do not expect some pointless relocation of options; or the hidding of options just for the sake of it

Enter key -- inserts new line & carriage return charecters into document - if some random half arsed program wants to use it for something else; it is the publishers of said programe who need training

If the ribon is supposed to stop people 'misusing' word; I wish you joy; I for one use it the same way I've always -used WORD PROCESSING programmes :-

(supposedly) to EASILY and EFFICIENTLY write WELL PRESENTED documents.

The solution to YOUR problem is not training for the vast majrity of users but to cut out all the bloatware in Word(excell) that isn't needed by 90% of its user base. Then you can be given a PROPER tool for correcting our miserably incompetent attempts to play at being typestters.

If Word & Excel worked properly PowerPoint would NOT be needed

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