A year without Microsoft Word

As I’m building and rebuilding machines, I’ve come to realize it’s been nearly two years since I’ve used Microsoft Word. I’m being quite serious here, it’s been nearly two full years since I’ve actually written anything using Word as my editor.

At the end of 2011 I discovered software known as distraction free editors. FocusWriter became my tool of choice and since then I have used it to compose just about everything I’ve written since then. That is two full years of writing website articles as well as writing documents for work. I just simply don’t have a need for Word 99% of the time. Unless you are actually editing an already heavily formatted Word document, there simply isn’t a need for Word.

A tool like FocusWriter serves my needs much better. I can simply write without worrying about menus, formatting, styles, headers, bullets or any of that. FocusWriter lets you get the idea down. It’s what you should be using to get that first draft done. Styling and formatting come right at the end, after everything else is complete. Word almost makes you work backwards by forcing the presentation on your from the start. That doesn’t help get ideas on the page.

So much of what I write doesn’t need formatting and when it does, half the codes from Word don’t translate to the web. It’s easier just to set the formatting as needed.

That ideology started me using FocusWriter and OneNote. Oddly, I don’t like Word 2007, but I love OneNote 2007. I’ve never liked that Ribbon Bar and it’s only gotten worse. OneNote 2007 uses the old menus and looks like a regular, clean and simple application.

OneNote lets you type in the resizable “text box” and if you have a big enough monitor you can two of them side by side. It’s fantastic for writing notes in one and the actual document in the other. All the topics you want to cover are right there next to you. Additionally, it makes it very easy to cut out pieces you don’t need without actually throwing them away. If you have a good idea that simply doesn’t work in your current context, just cut and paste it off to the side. You preserve the flow of your writing and keep good ideas for later.

Unfortunately, OneNote 2010 took on the Office Ribbon Bar which I didn’t like although the functionality was still decent. 2013 looks horrible and I simply can’t use. That primitive UI is offensive.

I just find it interesting that writing down ideas in FocusWriter and organizing and writing ideas in OneNote is so much more beneficial than using the actual word processing tool. I think Word has turned into a quasi desktop publishing app and really isn’t for writing anymore.

Anyone else find that Word has too many features that prevent you from getting work done with it?

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