Making Word for Windows Work (sort of)

Designers love to hate Word for Windows. They are accustomed to layout packages that do as they are told. Word is packed with features that are rarely used and hides those which should be front and centre. It tries to think for the user (applying styles automatically, for example) and loads documents with unwanted character and paragraph level styles. Precise placement of an element on a page is often difficult, if not impossible. When imported into layout packages such as InDesign, a designer's first task is to clean out all of the crud. This includes removing unused styles, special effects, embedded objects and images and more, while taking care not to disturb necessary items such as footnoting, italicisation, bolding and indents.

In short, the best Word document is one constructed with simplicity in mind. Just the essentials and nothing more. For the daring, Google's stripped down cloud based word processor might be a good alternative way of achieving this end. For those utilising Track Changes, Indexing and Footnoting, perhaps Open Office might be another option.