I’m on a Mac (I’m one of the Fervent Faithful) and have been using Microsoft Word forever. I use many of its bells and whistles: comments, hidden text, footnotes, styles. My relationship with Word is conflicted, however: I use Word 2004 because I find Word 2008 impossibly confusing. And lately, Word 2004 has been sluggish and—worse—buggy. Several times in a day it has crashed on me; I’ve lost work and had to retrace. This is a terrible problem!

So I’ve been looking into alternatives. OpenOffice.org does seem to be a possibility, but I quickly discovered that I couldn’t insert a space above a line (how basic is that?), that zooming and hiding text was cumbersome, and worse, that I can’t split the screen. I’m constantly referring back to part of the manuscript I’m working on while working on another part. I need to be able to see both, scroll through.

(What’s really nice about OpenOffice—other than the fact that it’s free—is that clicking on “full screen” actually does fill the screen.)

I also tested Pages, which has a nice feel. Zooming was a little easier, but I couldn’t see how to hide a text selection. But the clincher, for me, yet again, is that it does not allow one to split the screen.

If I could find a comfortable program that had these features, I would consider switching.

I was reading Wen Fu this morning, the ancient text on writing, and nowhere does it deal with the frustrations of a word-processing program.

P.S. “Print out manuscript” is still on the To Do list. Spellcheck took a day!

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