July 26, 2005
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"It's a 'feature'"

JOrzech, the Page Editor for the Microsoft Word topic area, came across this question, and when we sent out our occasional call for articles, she sent it to us. We've edited it a bit, but it gets the point across.

Solution Title: Why does Word always switch to 'Print View' when I format a table?
asked by MitchellVII on 07/22/2005 04:10AM PDT
This solution was worth 500 Points and received a grade of A

I do a lot of work with tables on my Word Docs. One thing I've noticed that is truly a major PAIN is that if I want to format my tables at all (change border colors etc...), Word always goes from Normal View to Print View automatically. I HATE this! I always have to switch back to Normal View before I proceed as I can see my tables better in Normal View.

Is there some way to turn off this behavior or is it yet one more 'feature' some idiot engineer at M$ decided that they should ram down our throats whether we like it or not? Kind of like the stupid 'modal' MailMerge Field Dialog box for instance that you have to close and reopen every time you add a field (whose 'idea' was that? - that has to be the worst piece of 'user-hating' programming I've ever seen!)

Anyway, LOL, anyone know this one?

Comment from haikle

What version are you running? I currently have 2003 and can't duplicate the problem. I didn't noticed this problem in previous version either. Can you describe specifically step by step what you do that causes this to happen?

Comment from MitchellVII

I am on Word 2003. If the documnet is in Normal View and I select a table, then select a change border color from the toolbar, the window automatically goes to print view. As far as I can recall, Word has always done this.

Comment from haikle

Ah, I see. I've never used the toolbar to edit a table. I do everything from the right-click context menu. From the toolbar, it would seem to me that clicking the Border Color button that Word puts me in a WYSIWYG edit mode and the Normal view mode probably doesn't support that.

Accepted Answer from JOrzech

This is common behavior for Word. It's a "feature".

Comment from MitchellVII

Much as I suspected. Yet another incredibly stupid feature that M$ deems to be so wonderful that they have hardcoded it in and we can't write a macro to change it.

Considering that visually with tables it is MUCH easier to design in Normal view, I find it truly unbelieveable that M$ would have decided this way was 'better'. This is sort of along the same lines that they decided for 'some' reason we could't possibly wish to view pictures in Normal mode (unless of course we have them in frames, THEN we would want to see them...). They even coded in blank 'image boxes' so I can see where my pictures would be if I could ACTUALLY SEE THEM!

But as I said before, this is the SAME company that took a mailmerge that worked pretty well and TOTALLY DESTROYED it in a new release. It's like they had a meeting on 'hey this works, how can we make it suck?...'

I just want to sit down with the moron in charge of 'user friendliness' at M$ and say "dude, what the **** were you thinking!?"

Comment from JOrzech

I agree wholeheartedly with you, especially on the merge feature..... it's dreadful!

Comment from MitchellVII

The thing that amazes me most on the Merge feature is the way they have forced the 'fields' dialog box to be 'modal'. If it wasn't I could click where I want a field, select it from the box, then click where I want the next field, select it from the box, etc. That would be the 'intuitive' solution. But the way they have it set up, you have to close and open the darn thing every time you want to add a new field. And when it reopens it starts back at the top so you have to find your place again.

Heck, I assumed when the dialog box first popped up that it would have 'drag n' drop' functionality - it doesn't even do THAT! It's a NEW feature and it doesn't do anything NEW. It's even less new than the OLD version - LOL.

Really really really stupid programming. If it is obvious to ALL of us, why can't they see it?

Comment from JOrzech

Better write to their wish list LOL! http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/features/2004/apr04/04-20OneNote.mspx

But just try to FIND the wish list................

Comment from MitchellVII

My first wish on the list would be that they would stop ignoring the wishlist.

You know, I think the biggest problem M$ faces is that, after all is said and done, it is STILL basically pretty pictures put on top of DOS to imitate (steal) the MacOS. So much stuff within the M$ OS is just 'ghost code' from the old days and it limits the functionality they can use now.

For once, I wish M$ would just take a step back and create a new Office version from whole cloth. Something that is truly an interactive office, not just 5 programs glued together with spit and chewing gum.

Really, M$ products are crap but the are very commonly accepted crap so we have to live with them. If Bill Gates was as good at writing software as he is at selling snake oil, we would all be happier little monkeys :)

Comment from JOrzech

Ah yes -- again I agree wholeheartedly. Thanks for the very interesting conversation Mitchell. Will keep in mind for the future.

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More News and Notes
Nata's Corner: I want stock in these guys

woman in specticals I wonder why nobody's thought of this, but it's about time. An article in New Scientist says that a team of researchers from IBM and Cornell University have developed software that uses a spam email's header information to trace it back to its source. The article says that a technique called "SMTP Path Analysis" uses an algorithm to retrace the steps an email takes to get to your inbox.

If it works the way it's described, the software will allow ISPs (at least) and maybe even the rest of us to block spam based on where it comes from, rather than what it says. I saw something a few weeks ago that said that using a standard keyboard, there are something like 650,000,000,000,000 variations of the spelling of a well-known medicine commonly advertised by spammers. Add to that the allegation by Spamhaus that 70 per cent of current spam comes from proxies, and it starts making sense to cut spam off the same way you get rid of an ant infestation -- at the nest.

Blue Security has come up with another good idea: a Do Not Include registry that turns the tables on spammers by automatically sending a complaint each time you receive a spam email. Some people are saying it's a vigilante system, but considering the ineffectiveness (or unwillingness) of governmental action, and considering that the only people who will get hurt are the people hurting the rest of us -- how bad can it really be?

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