Making Microsoft Word Usable

Lately I have been spending a lot of time in Microsoft Word 2010 for various tasks that are academic, and I have noticed that the 3 installations of Word I run all seem to start off with great amounts of annoying.

To make Word more usable I have taken the following steps:

  1. Set default font for Normal.dotx to be Times New Roman at 12 points. While Calibri is a nice font, a pretty font on screen even, it just isn’t appropriate for academic work, or any work that must be printed (remember the old Computer Apps rule, sans-serif on screen, serif on paper). Since I blog in a separate application (Windows Live Writer), I do not see any negatives coming from changing the defaults.
  2. De-claw Protected View. I got along really well for a long time without having Protected View. Never managed to infect myself with a macro virus or anything. Currently the thing pops up whenever I open a document that is from the server (which considering my files live on my server, ALL of them). I rarely open documents from anyone other than myself or an instructor, so I don’t feel particularly endangered by having Protected View off. I have changed my settings to not use Protected View except for documents that come from an e-mail client, and of course macros are disabled unless I manually enable them.
  3. Add ASA bibliography style sheet. ASA isn’t one of the styles that is pre-packaged with Word, so I had to add it. Not hard to do, but it actually does make Word more useful. I have to juggle 3 citation styles (APA, MLA, ASA) this semester, and if Word can help me keep the formatting straight, it will make my life a lot easier.
  4. Add myself to the dictionary. So many versions of Word have been released, but yet none will include the registered owner’s name in the dictionary to ensure it isn’t flagged (and keep the unhappy X from appearing in the status bar). When I am first flagged, I manually add myself.
  5. Turn off grammar checking. I haven’t done this yet, but Word continues to falsely flag some of my sentences as not being grammatically correct. I do use some strange phrasing as a matter of the discourse in my writing that Word makes assumptions about. I wrote a sentence involving the phrase “a masculinity” today, Word flagged it because it makes an assumption that “masculinity” is a universal single concept.

Just a few pet-peeves of word processing that I had to address today to make my world more functional.