Saturday, March 22, 2014

(UPDATE) I *HATE* MS Word 2010 (and these are my work-arounds)

***Since I ranted about Word 2010, I've been hearing of other people using One Note for some of their creative writing tasks. There was a discussion thread over at Nanowrimo with interesting input. Writers In the Storm gives a nice list of their fave features. Write Out Loud has (like me) used Evernote. They read what Writers In the Storm had to say about One Note and got a jump on me and did a comparison of the two products. 
If you have experience with One Note, I'd love to hear what you think. I'm going to play around with it... right now... This video by Amir Parmar is so good that I want to thank him for making it. ***

I am on a rage against that damn Microsoft Word right now. (Let me just rant for a while, then I will post the links you might have come here looking for.)

Once upon a time, I fell in love with a beautiful Word feature: auto summary. Of course, because information swims in and out of my brain like a school of crazy fish, I forgot about that summarizing feature for a long time.

(Lesson One: Don't get sarcoidosis. It really effs with your brain. Getting old does the same thing, but I choose to blame my problems on a disease instead of natural aging.)

Last night, while having a knock-down drag-out fight with my manuscript, I decided I needed to step back and take a look at the story.

(Lesson Two: Never, ever, start writing a story without outlining it first. Even if you do outline, make sure to update it if you make major plot changes. Also, learn to take the advice you like giving to others - like what I just did.)

My first thought was, "Oh, shit. I need to get a handle on this manuscript." My very next thought was too complicated for someone as lazy as me. It involved a lot of scrolling back through a bunch of pages to highlight certain parts. The happiest thought came next. It was, "Hah! I'll have Word run a summary for me!" Then I did a little dance around my room and told myself that I am a freaking genius, no matter what my sister said to the contrary a few hours before when I kept accidentally elbow-dialing her from my phone. Don't ask about the elbow-dialing...

(Lessons Three and Four: Don't ever get so happy that you brag about your own genius. God might be in a humorous mood and decide to show you that you're not half as bright as you imagine you are. Also, don't constantly elbow-dial cranky people.)

Guess what? Microsoft does that thing they always do when someone finds a great use for a feature in one of their products: they either change it, move it where it can't be found, or they just yank that handy little whatever right out of the program. (Don't even get me started on that fiasco called Windows 8. I spent twenty minutes on my niece's computer jut trying to figure out how to get onto any browser other than IE.)


There is no auto summary feature in Word 2010. Thank you, Microsoft. If I could afford to go Mac, I'd leave skidmarks getting to Best Buy. But that's enough with the complaining. On to the links that might help you if...

You want to auto-summarize (an essay, article, etc.)**
You want to use more options in Word:
  • Kutools - available for Outlook & Excel too.
  • Office Tab - for multiple tabs within Word (by same as above)
  • Office Tabs - says it's free for personal use. (I get nagged bunch by the one above.)
You hate Microsoft & want alternatives:
While I don't like story my manuscripts online, I don't know that there's anything really wrong about doing it. It's probably great for co-authors. 

The most interesting product, in my opinion, is Calligra. For one thing, there is supposed to be a focus on authors in one of the releases. I'm still checking out information, but I'm holding back a happy dance, just in case.

Since there are quite a few alternatives, I like that Wikipedia did some handy comparison charts.


**I don't have to warn you, do I, that you must be careful of using anything that puts your writing out there for others to steal? Also, use your common sense when downloading to avoid getting unwanted stuff installed on your PC. I use various programs to watch for and weed out things, but still get burned often. You can do what I do and create a restore point in your PC before downloading stuff. It's up to you.**