Is Microsoft Word Good for Writing?

Since I finished my novel in Dec., I’ve submitted it to a couple of contests (both in its entirety and selected sections), printed up a nice copy for my family for as a Christmas present and started blogging. In my day life I’m a technical writer, so in that same period of time I’ve written a few white papers, articles and a lot of notes for more white papers and articles. Like 90% of the writing population, I’ve used Microsoft Word for all of this.

I suspect that there is a better way.

If you are clever with templates you can create different print versions of a Word document, but I do that sort of thing for a living and I find it hard. Word it doesn’t handle the concept of different versions, where I want the same body text, but, for example, different covers depending on whether it’s going to an agent, bcoming a presentation copy, or printing a copy that will eat up less paper than the double-spaced format that the industry wants. And who wants to look at Courier?

You can create a “master” document and make a copy every time you have a special need , but I guarantee that when you do, you will find three typos and/or have a brilliant idea for an important improvement, and then you’ll have to fix the copy and then be sure to get back the fixes back to the master. And woe is you if you get your files mixed up.

Over the next few weeks I’ll post the details on how to create different print templates in Word, and review other tools that handle certain types of tasks better than Word does. Call it “Building Your Writing Toolbox.”

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