Word 12 – full screen reading

One of the great things about being an Office PM is that whenever I do briefings to press, I'm always assured of one thing; they may love my product, they may have gripes but they all know what it is and most of them use it everyday.  On the whole, whilst most journalists have pet hates about the way Office does things, usually they are grumbling about an application they do fundamentally like - even if sometimes they don't like to admit it.  In the same way your partner/spouse might have annoying habits that drive you mad, you still love them nevertheless.

Case in point, is the interesting view in Charles Arthur's excellent "Technobile" column. 
As he notes in his blog post, "Why??? Why does Word show the same size of font in different sizes between documents??? "
I offered to help get to the bottom of his issues with Word fonts - (btw, thanks for the compliment on my blog Charles 😉 ).  He does raise a good point though - should a document open with the formatting that the author used so that you see it as they intended (as far as possible) or should you be able to force all documents to open in the way you as the reader like to view it?  I was amused by the way that next to his post, there is a big advert for the Guardian online with the tag line "View it the way its printed" - why not view it the way you like to see it?  🙂 anyway I'm not having a go - its a fair point. 

So in Word the way we have begun to approach this issue (right or wrong) is with the reading view.  In Word 12, this has been significantly enhanced.  First we have a new view across all the core products call the "Page Layout view".  You can configure Word to always open in this mode or access it with one click in the view toolbar in the bottom right or with the view menu there:

A document opens then, making full use of the screen real estate and with further options in the top toolbar:

Now this nearly does what Charles wants in that it will force the document to display in a reader centric way.  It seems (in beta 1) to remember some settings from document to document - like whether you like to see just one page or two and what margins you like to see but it won't let you change the default font (AFAIK) and although you increase or decrease the size of the font on the menu or by ctrl+rolling the wheel on your mouse, it doesn't seem to store last used setting on this between documents. 

The investments in ClearType are a significant step forward which is technology to make reading on screen better.  It uses very sophisticated fonts and also colour to make the text more readable.  Well worth checking out, if you haven't already, is the ClearType Tuner power toy.  Also check out the recent video on this.

So I'll feed it back - and we'll see if we can get it in..  thanks for flagging Charles!

Comments (4)

  1. Charles says:

    "Nearly" there? Um, yes, but have a look at that second screen. *Ten* menu options, and three of them have sub-menus, and the one that’s selected has a sub-sub-menu. Argh! You are lost in a maze of twisty passages, some perhaps having relevance to the document you’re editing!

    It’s too complex. Too complex. It’s like giving soldiers a gun that’s also a rocket that’s also a tent and a water purifier and a breathing apparatus and a biscuit maker and a cigarette roller. Look it can do all these things! But you only want it to do one. Word exposes too many of things at once. That’s its problem. It needs to be detonated into its constituent bits.

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