Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Two Minutes Hate

Lack of Consistency (in computer programs)

I use a lot of Microsoft Office programs during the work day. I am not a Microsoft fanboy, nor am I am person who refers to them as Micro$oft. I think they have decent programs for the most part but I find it hard to really love or hate a company that makes utilitarian products.

I will admit that it the various programs do drive me a little crazy once in a while. My biggest pet peeve is that inconsistency in the features of the programs. I think if I get a program from the same manufacturer (in the same suite) that they should have similar options. I am not talking about the main function of the program - I don't expect MS Word to be a full database program, and I don't expect Access to be able to type letters. I am talking about the smaller things, the options that it seems would be easy to implement to allow all the programs to work similarly.

A few Examples:
  • In Excel, there is the option where you can choose that you want to print your data X pages wide by X pages tall. This is pretty much the greatest thing when printing. To have the program automatically scale everything down to fit in my desired size is awesome, I use this all the time. Why can't I do this on Word? Why do I manually have to play with borders, line-spacing, and font size to get a letter that is just a few words over 1 page in length to print on one page? Why can't I have the button to click that says - "hey print this all on one sheet"?
  • In Word, I can "Snake" columns of data, so that when it gets to the end of the page it continues the data in the next column on the same page. Why can't Excel handle this? It is a database program...why can't I specify that I want there to be 3 columns per page and I want the data to snake? Seriously, this would save so much time and paper.
  • Excel can have cells with 32,000ish characters in them, a memo field in Access can have 63,000ish. Why can't these be the same? In fact, as they are, they don't seem to work have the time when exporting & importing. My data almost always gets trimmed to 255 "text" field characters. What is up with that? It should be much easier.
  • I usually want my default views, my toolbars, and other defaults to be very similar between programs. Why can't I set a master toolbar that works for all MS Office programs and then have another program specific toolbar that contains more specific functions. Why do I have to go into each program and say that I want "New File, Open Close, Save, Save As, Print Preview, Quick Print" to show up on each program?
These are just a few examples of the idiocies about computer programs not working together as they should. I do have to hand it to MS for helping make the menus more consistent (although still room for improvement).
End Hate


Anonymous said...

I have bought the upgrade windows 7 pro 64-bit - download through digital river and have also got the back up disc from them which just came in the mail. What i need to know is exactly how do a clean install on a new system with the upgrade that is a download. I have looked online and found a ton of answers for this, but does anyone know which way is the easiest and safest way to do this in my particular case? Has anyone done this and confirmed it will work? I just don't want to mess something up
Thank You.

Michael said...

Sorry Anon...this really isn't a tech blog. No idea.

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