I don’t know what they’re feeding the Microsoft iOS development team but I wish they’d give some of it to the Mac team too. I’ve been using Word’s latest new feature that lets you annotate Microsoft Word documents on the iPad with the Apple Pencil. It feels super natural and makes a great deal of sense once you get the workflow down. I was going to write it up but Jeff Richardson covered it thoroughly today so I’m just going to point you over there.
At this point I’m beginning to wonder if it’s inevitable that I’ll be moving my Apple Pages template documents over to Word and just go all-in for Word. There’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.
About a month ago I wrote a snarky post about Microsoft updating Word. In my defense, Word for the Mac has not had the best track record over the past several years. Nevertheless, I do frequently need to use Word in the law gig and I’ve been using the new beta on nearly a daily basis and have to admit, I like the new version. It’s still Word and full of features, buttons, and dials, but this is the cleanest user interface they’ve had yet. Most importantly, it is the most stable version of Word on the Mac I’ve used since before the Intel switch. I’ve not had a single crash.
Earlier this week Microsoft released an update to the beta that you can download here. I asked around to some other Office power user friends and I’m hearing that Outlook is having issues but if you are just using Word, give it a spin.
Today Microsoft released a preview of the new 2016 Office for Mac update. I think complaining about the menus in office and the massive number of features is pointless. Office exists to satisfy IT checklists and every obscure feature has its group of advocates out there … somewhere. Put simply, Microsoft Word is going to be big and ponderous just like the scorpion will always sting the frog. Nevertheless, I spend time in an industry where Word is used often and I, necessarily, must get over it. While I don’t like big and ponderous, I’d be able to deal with it, if Word were otherwise stable and stopped messing with my head.
I can’t help but feel Office for Mac and I have been in a dysfunctional relationship for several years. When Apple switched over to Intel, Office would toy with me. I’d type a letter and then Word would think about it just for a moment before deciding to put that letter on the screen. In the years that followed, new iterations would get released that would find new and interesting ways to toy with me. The 2011 version, for example, insists on rendering worse on retina screens than virtually any $1 utility app currently available in the Mac App Store.
So when I read about the beta today (which you can download right here), I decided to try it out. I even wrote a rather detailed contract in the new version. My initial impression is that Word is still big and ponderous. However, I also didn’t find any terrible lag, poor rendering, or any of the other sins we’ve seen in prior versions. The new version is based on Cocoa, where all prior versions were based on the aged Carbon.
Granted I’m only a few hours in but I already like this new version better. My initial impression is that Microsoft has pulled Word forward quite a bit with this new release. I’d love for Word to be more stable so I can get back to my old hobby of just complaining about its feature bloat.
I vented my spleen a bit on a recent Mac Power Users episode about instability in Microsoft Word on the Mac. I received a lot of email about that and it appears I’m not alone. I did, however, also receive a very nice email from listener Don that explained how he made Word crashes go away by unchecking Word’s “Use smart cut and paste” feature. I’ll try anything once so I went ahead and unchecked it a week ago. I’ve got a big “thing” at the day job starting Monday so I’ve been working in Word most of this week. Guess what? No crashes. Now if you’ll excuse me I’ll be knocking on a lot of wood.