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No Windows 10, no Office 2019, says Microsoft


For any item you think Office handles well I name you ten things it handles badly. To name just one thing (or ten things, depending how you count): Style sheets.

Word is doing it so badly that there are professional text workers who refuse to use them, for instance scientific publishers. They still use .doc as a raw submission format (except for those handful of super-nerd journals that use LaTeX), but inside the file they prefer to just have as plain-text as possible. You could use a plain-text file, too, except that the senior people (the bosses) refuse to deal with this ugly shit. Images cannot be submitted inside Word files anyway – to much probability that Word reduces the quality to shitty – so you need to send separate TIFFs anyways. Besides, no one is using Word or Publisher to produce the final product – it's practically all InDesign (or the aforementioned LaTeX in very rare cases. Even this probably goes through InDesign at the very end). Scientific publishers typically use student interns to copy the raw submission Word into InDesign. By hand – mark, Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V, repeat. Truly.

Guess what Microsoft's own publishing department uses. You know, for brochures, manuals, etc.

Why do they sell and advertise this crap if they do not even use it themselves? There was a time – actually, it still is – where text related software houses were proud the manual was written with the product itself.

The problem is that there's no word processor on Windows (or Linux) that actually does it much better. They all are basically Word clones (except maybe WordPerfect, but that is too expensive to be a real replacement). On the Mac, there are a handful of proper WYSIWYG word processors that actually do it better.

Not that you actually need a proper WYSIWYG word processor if writing is your thing. For web publishing, a markdown plain-text editor works just fine, and there are plenty, each with its own specialty on top of the markdown. For long-term texts, there's Scrivener and its clones (albeit you need to produce and be able to work with a .doc file with comments and change tracking on the way to publishing, sadly. LibreOffice does work for that, mostly, though).

That leaves business letters. And let's face it, you do not need the massive functionality Word offers for that. Except that the business world has standardized on it. Mostly out of ignorance being pushed by the Redmonders..

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