Home > Articles > Home & Office Computing > Microsoft Windows Vista & Home Server

  • Print
  • + Share This
From the author of

"Change" Isn't Necessarily "Improvement"

In Word 2007, click Insert > Textbox, draw a textbox, and type some text. Depending on your settings, and generally if you haven't modified them, you'll get a textbox that looks like the one in Figure 6.

You probably don't want vertical text. If you click the Format tab on the Textbox Tools on the Ribbon, and click Direction, even though the direction shows horizontal, the text stays vertical. This can drive you nuts. If you drag the handles out wider on the textbox, the text will straighten out to horizontal. But if you drag the handles back in tight, even if there's enough room for the text to run horizontally, it goes back to vertical.

This last tidbit may give you a clue—the problem is the Indent setting. You need to go to the Paragraph group on the Home tab and click the More button to open the dialog box, take the 2.5-inch right indent down to 0, and then you get a "normal" textbox, as shown in Figure 7.

Again I ask, why make it so complicated? And try searching for the answer to this problem anywhere—it's virtually impossible to find.

The answer to these types of issues is obvious once you know it, and I'm sure it seemed obvious to the interface designers. But for someone who's used to another interface, it's incredibly frustrating to know that something that was once simple has been made into a hurdle to productivity and efficiency. If it needs to be so complex, at least provide an explanation!

My real point here is not to complain about one or two anomalies in Office 2007 and make a big deal about them, but rather to illustrate an important issue: Instead of enhancing performance and productivity, a "new" version that requires the user to unlearn old features is a severe disservice to those users. Reinventing a wheel that wasn't broken (and makes end users suffer) is just an exercise in self-indulgence for the software publisher.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account