[LINK] Dvorak Says "Scrap MS Word"
link at todd.inoz.com
Thu Aug 26 11:59:54 EST 2004
>>But oh, I so sympathised with this line:
>>"Users of plain-text editors know that Microsoft has never been able to
>>get Word to generate a simple ASCII file without issues. First, there is
>>no option to create a plain ASCII file. Instead, we can create a variety
>>of so-called "plain text" files, none of which seem to be plain text."
I can create a plain text ASCII file from word. The only problem is, it
looses all the stylised formatting - spacing and such. I rarely use
bullets and things anyway, unless I intend printing it from word.
However, using "MSDOS Text with Layout" whcih saves an "asc" file, you can
rename to a TXT, one gets this:
Yours get stuck too?
(The Camera moves to capture Chris talking to Mike over
Your chocolate Bar, did it get
stuck as well?
Nah, a pack of twisties.
Bloody thing, and its for my
(The mood between the two becomes lighter as Mike becomes
more receptive to the strangers chatter.)
Here give me a try, The same
thing happened last time I was
Which is perfect. Now I didn't try it across multiple pages, and I'm sure
it probably looses headers and footers and page numbers, which is a MAJOR
I've resorted to using RTF for sending out Scripts as it's the only way I
can be somewhat sure the file will arrive intact. Only problem with RTF is
we have a watermark and embedded logo in the document and it makes the
documents quite large.
>It is pathetic that the most popular word processor cannot even produce
>a decent plain text document. I am engaged in a constant battle with
>MS Word users who cannot even open a plain text attachement, let alone
>write a plain text document.
Really? MS Word opens .txt files no problem for me. Mind you I'm STILL
using Word 97 :) Maybe that's the problem!
If I could convert our Admin network to LInux Desktop and Startoffice, I
would, but we still have too many applications built around MS or Windows.
Access (only used as a GUI interface to a MySQL database server, it's
hopefully being phased out as the new 700 lines of code CGI and hundreds of
html template pages are rapidly created and look a LOT better and of course
can be accessed anywhere, on any platform any time!!)
Word - but that's neither here nor there. It's just convenient.
Eudora - but again, I have Pine too :)
Excel - not heavily used, but even the basic spreadsheet under
Linux is good enough for our 'level' of use.
That's about all I use.
>At the risk of being labelled "too technical" (which is ironic), I have
>eschewed word processing and even text processing unless under extreme
>duress. It is laughable that it is supposedly easier to write a formatted
>MS Word document than plain old text.
Actually, it varies. Sometimes it's faster if you want the automatic
formatting controls. But I'm well experienced in both and have to admit,
sometimes a one page TEXT formatted document in word takes longer than
keying the same document and using a lot of tab and spaces in JOE.
>I say supposedly because of my experiences with this odious medium:
>(*) I reviewed some 50+ job applications last month; most were written
> in Word, and so badly written and formatted I had to short list
> them to about 10 that were easy to read and comprehend; these documents
> were written by programmer/analysts, who one would think could
> master a simple thing like a word processor
Yep, know that feeling. I get anywhere from 50-100 CV's and Resume's a
week form Actors and Crew and they come in all kinds of styles and formats
from the very elegant and readable to the most ridiculous and unreadable.
I no longer actually look at them.
>(*) I often review technical documentation in my job; what worries me
> is that often form takes precedence over substance when someone gets
> hold of a word processor. (Of course there are many good technical
> writers out there, but there are far fewer capable of type setting
> a nice looking document.)
Template styles are the key here. A document must look good to be easy to
navigate and read, however it's only going to look as good as the content.
Some people over stylise a Manual with very little content. It looks silly
and is almost unreadable.
I had to create a "Procedures" manual recently. Yes, I did it in Word. I
used the Index, TOC and a few fancy formatting features. The rest was in
plain block text because it's only 20 pages long and most pages only had a
few lines or a check list on them.
If there was more substance, I'd probably have done a more complex layout
with indented left and right margin, body text in the center of the
page. But it's not 200 pages and it doesn't need it.
>(*) MS Word is misused when a typesetting (text processing) application
> should be used. Examples: theses, books, ver long publications.
> Much preferable is to either use a typesetting application or a
> markup language that converts the text into a typeset document.
Do agree. Word Processing and Typesetting are two very different
things. Although these days people lean heavily towards pretty Desk Top
Publishing. Often leading to useless documents that are so pretty you
can't find the info.
>My preferred media of text interchange is plain text. As in "the email you
>are now reading is in plain text." Nothing could be simpler. Literally all
>of the RFCs in information memoranda that define the open protocols and
>standards are written in plain text.
Totally agree. I even hate HTML email.
>majority of circumstances, "fancy formatted" word processed documents
>are overkill. The only thing the formatting accomplishes is some sense
>of "wow" factor that is possibly meant to impress superiors at work,
>or peers or customers. The formatting rarely if ever conveys any meaning
>or adds to the semantics of what is being written.
Totally. Hey, even a script is 12 point courier, tabs and spaces, and no
fancy formatting. OK, we like to BOLD the scene headings these days, but
Letters and Formal Documents I do like to use my built in crafted letter
heads. The colour or laser printer handles those just fine. Even the
virtual fax handles them! Saves spending money on pre-printed letter heads
and much easier to change as needed.
That's the only benefit I get from MS Word.
>I don't know if other Linkers would agree, but I find that the majority
>of MS Word docs I read are poorly formatted, their authors do not understand
>the concept of "styles" and often the document would have far more easy
>to understand if written as plain text.
Oh, gosh, even people sending me scripts. Seriously. Like the industry
doesn't say "COURTIER 12 POINT, indents as follows" and I get them in
blocks of italics, almost any imaginable font face someone chose when they
were feeling excited, and the range of colours - oh my god, the range of
Dialogue Text is "centered" across the page looking like Christmas trees,
with Carriage Returns breaking lines mid sentence because "that's where
they need to break."
Then there are font sizes, people try and cram their script into a 7 page
document - we're told it's a minute a page.
So they write in 7 point font, with no line spacing, because that means
their script is only seven minutes. Try converting that to 12pt Courier!
I've also noticed when I ask people to type up minutes for a meeting I get
all kinds of weird results when they use word and normally it takes me 2-3
hours to reformat it to a readable structure. I could probably type it in
>BTW: As I have mentioned in earlier posts, I chose XHTML as a simple
>markup language when I do require some fancier formatting. And I still
>do not understand why learning XHTML and basic CSS is perceived to be so
>much more difficult than learning MS Word or a text processor.
I'm not a fan of CSS style sheets. Personally I prefer HTML 1.0 :)
But I'd prefer PLAIN ASCII with NO markup at all, really. It's more
compact, easier to manage and much easier to read with ANYTHING.
>Keep in mind the much higher value in learning XHTML/CSS: that skill
>translate directly into the rather huge area of web publishing. Skills
>learned by learning text/word processing are rather wasted once one is
>asked to publish a web page ;)
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