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Bill Bennett

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Microsoft Word has a missing feature

Microsoft continues to develop Word and add features. The software is mature and stable. It has been around for almost 40 year.

Word first showed up on MS-Dos. It was on the original Apple Mac in 1983.

Word is feature packed. There are far more features than most users will ever need.

It’s unlikely most people use more than 10 percent of the product.

Yet there is one important feature missing from Microsoft Word. You can’t use it to create professional, high-end output.

Page design is not a strength

It’s not possible to produce a great-looking printed book with Word. There’s little point sending Word manuscripts to professional book printers.

Word is no better when it comes to crafting top-flight on-line layouts or creating classy PDFs.

Word does basic page layout well enough. It is designed for people who still print documents using laser and inkjet printers.

That’s something of an anachronism for many of us in 2020.

Microsoft Word is fine, although overkill, for mailed documents. Mail clients have all the editing tools you need.

Microsoft Word fonts are great

Word’s fonts are gorgeous. Calibri works particularly well on-screen. The problem is you never know for sure which fonts Word will use when you send a document to another computer.

Things can go wrong when you send Word documents to commercial printers or pre-press companies.

Colour is also a Word danger-zone. You never know for certain what colour you’ll see at the other end.

Word is good enough for low resolution work. For making everyday business documents.

When it comes to creating high-end documents or working with professional printers, you may to use Adobe InDesign. At around NZ$1,500 that’s an expensive sledgehammer cracking my layout nuts.

There are other options.

Apple’s Pages word processor is a solid alternative for digital documents. It has built-in layout features. Indeed, at times it feels more like a layout application than a word processor.

Life would be easier if Microsoft fixed Word to do these things.

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