Friday, September 19, 2008

Billy: What is "normal layout" supposed to mean?

The lovely Carol is heading off to a writing seminar, where she has to use Mi¢ro$oft Word. Normally I prefer to avoid all things M$ but since it's her...

So she sends this M$_Word doc off to the instructor, who makes some changes on it and adds some comments. We can't see the comments, though.

We look at the "View" menu: "Markup" is turned on, so we ought to be able to see things like that, right? Then the lovely Carol says, "Why is this line here? It's ugly."

By now, I'm embarrassed to admit that I know what that means; it means you're at a page boundary -- but because you're not viewing the document in "Page layout" form, you see an ugly dotted line rather than something that looks, graphically, like the end of one page and the beginning of another.

So I pull down the "View" menu and select "Page layout."

You know what's about to happen, don't you?

That's right -- the comments all appeared! With bright green boxen around them, in the right-hand margin. (How does M$ decide the colors of these things?)

So we try turning off "Markup" (also in the View menu). Comments go away.

"Oh," I say to myself, "Maybe they have options tied to the layouts -- maybe the last time we did Normal layout on this document we had Markup turned off, so now whenever we're back in Normal layout it doesn't show comments?" So we switched it back to "Normal" layout, still no comments. We turn on "Markup." Still no comments. Wha...?

We switch it back to "Page layout." Comments appear.

Since when does "Normal" mean "I won't show you the comments even if you ask for them"? How is that normal?

Oh, normal for mi¢ro$oft. I forgot.

Why do they make such weird and crappy stuff? Why do we have to use it?

"What does not kill me makes me stronger" maybe? Sheesh, Nietzsche the software architect. Reminds me of Klingon programmers.

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