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Mick Moignard: Has Word Hindered Collaboration?


I recently came across this most insightful of articles by our friend Mick Moignard that appeared nearly 5 years ago but is no less relevant today. As Mick points out:

Word's biggest issue is that it's designed purely to print paper. It exists to format content on to paper. It has a page-oriented paradigm. Word users are forced to think with a page-oriented and paper-oriented mindset. Word was not designed as an information exchange mechanism. All of its functionality is there to enable people to get words, in ever-prettier form, on to paper. And while paper is an information-dissemination tool, it's not a collaboration tool. Pretty much all of the functionality of Word is there to print paper, not to help me get the words I write to other people in a collaborative context.

Link: DominoPower: Has Word hindered collaboration?


1 - I've told people for years, "word processors are for printing things on paper." They are not a storage or collaboration medium, they are not a data entry tool, they are not a graphic design tool. And if, like me, you could give a rat's nads about putting small marks on flat pieces of torn-up trees, then you have absolutely no need for a "word processor." The single worst option in software history was added early in the Microsoft Outlook revision history: USE WORD AS EDITOR.

None of us uses a keypunch any more. Why are we still using word processors for information that not only is not intended for paper, but should NEVER be printed.

To give you an idea of how strongly I feel about this, early versions I did of a major document-management system included a hardcoded printer footer: THIS INFORMATION MAY ALREADY BE OBSOLETE.

People would call up and ask questions like, "why doesn't this print out right?" and I'd ask them, "why are you printing this?"

Word was cool in 1997.

2 - in other words: in a paperless office there is no room for Word.

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