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Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Another Reason Why Word Bugs Me

I'm not a huge fan of Microsoft's Word. The two biggest issues I have with it are 1) it doesn't show me exactly where the format codes are, and because of this, when there's a formatting issue, it's a pain to fix. WordPerfect, BTW, will not only show you exactly where the format codes are, it will allow you to edit them in a split screen so that the formatting can be fixed.

And 2) Word tries to take over and do too much. It makes assumptions that might work for a business person writing a short letter, but doesn't work for a writer. I ran into a new case of this recently and I had no clue this feature even existed! This is despite the fact that I use Word all the time at work and frequently at home because whether I like it or not, it is the de facto standard in the world of publishing.

What is this new helpful feature Microsoft thinks I need? It's the Do not capitalize the next word after this word (with a period, of course). This feature isn't bad. I mean no one wants Word to capitalize the word following an abbreviation, but writers don't use many abbreviations in their stories.

Here's what happened. I end a sentence with tea. But when I type the next sentence, Word chooses no to capitalize "the." This irks me. I have tendonitis and pushing the shift key aggravates it. I count on autocorrect to take care of most capitalization for me. I put in all my characters names and place names to be automatically capitalized and Word takes care of the first word in the sentence. Only it doesn't always do that. I was irritated enough to find out why.

It's because if Word has auto-capitalized a sentence for me in the past and I hit backspace, the program assumes I don't ever want that combination capitalized. I know, big WTF. As a writer, I do a lot of backspacing because I think of better ways to say things.

If you're having this problem, too, go into your autocorrect and click Exceptions. You can check the words that Word has chosen to add to this bypass list and delete as needed. Also, you'll want to uncheck the box at the bottom "automatically add words to list" to turn off Word deciding to add words to the Exceptions list without your permission.