Distraction-free word processing appeals to writers looking for lightweight tools that stay out-of-the-way. The thinking is heavy-duty word processors like Microsoft Word 2010 take your focus off words. Word’s array of tools, together with its fancy layout features, distracts writers.
Distraction-free writing tools like Q10 offer a fresh approach.
Sadly Q10 is unstable. Crashes may not worry casual writers, but I write for a living. I can’t afford to use an unreliable word processor.
So I returned to Microsoft Word.
Word is a huge program. It packs more features than I’ll ever use. I rarely go beyond typing, emboldening, italicising and inserting a hyperlink with Control-K. 95% of Word’s features are untouched on my machine.
Word’s stability is important. It makes automatic backups. And, as the industry standard, it allows me to file copy to editors in a format they like.
Earlier this year I upgraded to Word 2010 and turned it into a distraction-free writing tool:
- First, I hid the ribbon by clicking the tiny up-arrow next to the question mark in the top right corner of the display. This makes Word 2010 much less distracting.
- Next, I hit the Alt-V key immediately followed by U. This removed everything on the screen except my words.
- The escape key brings back the menu and status bars.
This gives the best combination of all: distraction-free writing, stability and compatibility with co-workers.