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Lamentations of a Microsoft Word User

Updated on May 2, 2012

Do you find yourself annoyed at Microsoft Word?

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The Hurtful Helper

Having used Word for years, I have to say that it is a very good program. However, there are many problems with this cluttered program which at the worst of times makes me want to toss my computer through the window and be done with it forever. There are many glitches, formatting errors, and “helpful” things that are quite unhelpful.

The main lament I have concerns the “helpful” things that word does. Formatting anything in Word has always been a nightmare for me. As a history major my formatting had to be exact lest I incur the wrath of my teachers.

Here are some examples of formatting nightmares.

Please print out before use, monitors are delicate.
Please print out before use, monitors are delicate.

Requirement: Block Quotes

Word likes to keep things formatted in paragraphs, attached, and the same throughout. This meant I could not have offset block quotes which are both offset and single spaced rather than double spaced. The problem is when I want to offset text and have a non double spaced paragraph it would not so I could either format the entire paragraph as single spaced and manually double space or have numerous complaints lodged at me.

Spell Check Harassment

Nouns are famously underlined. The common cry is “hey, I think I know how to spell my own name!” This goes for all names, strange words, or anything. This is not bad in itself... until it tries to stick auto-correct on without allowing you to turn it off. Furthermore if you are trying to quote old English with auto-correct on, say goodbye to your correct quotes.

On a related subject, about 90% of the ‘grammatical error’ underlines I find are completely correct but constantly stress me out because I assume it found something I missed.

Musical Foot Notes, Headers, and Page Numbers

Why can it not logically number a page right in a header? Then if you try to write a long foot note, if it is too long it goes onto the next page to the next page’s footnote instead of raising the line up more on the page you are working on. This makes numbering and correct notation nearly impossible without great frustration.

Crash Crash Crash

One large bug: Word crashes on internet pasting. I’ve looked it up, and it isn’t just me. Words, pictures, anything pasted into word tends to have a high chance of crashing the program. If I need to copy a large quote from the internet I have to paste it into notepad first, recopy, and paste again. This can be a lengthy process if I have to do a lot of little quotes and is very inconvenient.

Clutter Clutter Clutter

Has anyone used half of the buttons and configurations attached to Word? While creating Word they put in everything but the kitchen sink in order for it to be able to do anything people wanted; however I believe this makes it not only hard to use, but at times annoying. When Notepad begins to look like a viable option just because of how simple it is, how little it interferes with your work, and how mad you are at formatting Word incorrectly you know something is wrong with the program and you need a change…


My last research paper had 30 sources and 50 pages to it. I had footnotes, endnotes, page numbers, headers, etc. Formatting errors abounded. I had way too much ‘help’ formatting my paper. After an hour of struggling I decided to manually space my paper, and cut out some of my foot notes in order to accommodate them all on the pages they should have been. This was ridiculous and took another hour to properly format. I dislike change, but find myself looking for other applications for my word processing needs. There are many out there. For instance Google has one - but I am not sure I trust it as it can change day to day. Open Office gets some good reviews, so I think I will try that along with a few other programs.

I intend to try a variety of Word Processors and come up with the best. After I have completed testing, I plan to write an article on the pros and cons of each processor and which I found the best.

Here's a kitty to make you feel better after fighting Word.
Here's a kitty to make you feel better after fighting Word.


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    • Danieljohnston profile image

      Daniel Johnston 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      I've had problems in 2003, 2007, and 2010 Word programs. The most documents I have had open were about 10 at the same time, so now that I know about the 'Word Color Scheme' I will make sure not to do that... I really don't see the point, it seems like some ill conceived bonus unlockable rather than a better configuration scheme.

      In my last history seminar was someone who said that he knew one of the developers and they wanted feed back on their [horribly broken] citation maker in the program, and were asking for more input on different settings and tools people would like to see added. I was unhappy to hear this as I was already forming a dislike of the 'all but the kitchen sink' mentality of Word. I hope they learn and release a bare bones version.

      Thank you for your great response!

    • Paul Wallis profile image

      Paul Wallis 5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      The extended footnote is actually a bad habit from very old literature circa the 1920s. It was phased out years ago, but someone probably thinks it's correct to this day. Check out your formatting options, because I think that's the default, but it is correctable.

      You don't say which version of Word you're using. I have 2010, and it's irritating at times but a bit more productive than the old 97-2003 in several ways.

      Notepad is actually suggested by Smashwords publisher's tips manual to clear formatting from docs that interferes with their ability to manage docs for transfer to e-book formats.

      Turn off grammar. It does get in the way, and you have to deal with Auto Correct on its own terms. Delete regular nuisances and insert as much of your own stuff as possible, which seems to shut it up.

      Use paragraph formatting- This takes a while to learn, but it's worth it, and will definitely save you from the spacing problem, which used to drive me nuts until I figured out how it was done.

      Internet pasting fouls up on links and HTML formatting, which Word for some reason still, all these years later, isn't geared to take. Text is OK, but stay away from anything vaguely resembling pics or exotic stuff that Word can't read.

      Here's one you may not have met yet- When there's about 20 docs open, the screen starts blacking out! In one case it kindly told me it was reverting to the Word color scheme, which apparently did nothing, but it seemed pleased with the result and stopped blacking out the screen. Fun indeed, when you're writing hundreds of pages of SEO copy!

      A review of the software is a very good idea. It's about time these guys got some sort of imperative to improve, not just keep adding "features". I do use quite a lot of the buttons, but it's always a learn as you go process.