Subversiveness and Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For years, I encountered Microsoft Word only in my academic work. Word was a necessary evil as I wrote paper after paper on Aristotle, E.M. Forster, Stanley Fish and Michael Osborn  from 2003 to 2005.

When I said goodbye to my pal Quark CopyDesk in 2008, I found that the rest of the world uses Word almost exclusively.

Perhaps that explains why so many people still struggle with “your” and “you’re.” Word likes to pretend the two interchangeable, and that sound you hear is the sound of editors’ heads hitting their desks around the world.

I put on my big-girl shoes and mastered Word. Or so I thought. Trial and error, and a good bit of Googling, help me through the rough patches.

Then I discovered a gold mine in Carol Fisher Saller’s tips on effectively wrangling Word. Her not-so-secret secret? In a word: macros.

I always felt macros were for more tech-savvy folks. I have a few devoted to bits of HTML code. But that’s about it. On further reflection, I’m surprised I haven’t done more with them, given how much I hate mousing. With other word-processing software, I’ve leaned heavily on keystrokes, almost to the exclusion of clicks. So it’s not like I don’t already know how much they speed up ordinary tasks.

Besides, when macros get such a hearty endorsement from someone seen as nothing short of heroic in the editing community, it’s clear I need to revisit my Word-taming strategy.

Saller’s genius is in her ability to admit to the necessity of Word, offer great practical advise and top it off with a cheerful “Control-F you!” to Microsoft. Subversive? Maybe. I prefer to think of it as sensible.

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