New Navigation Pane boosts MS Word utility for writers

Hi Everyone,

Just to let you know that the new Navigation Pane in Word 2010 allows very, very easy content reordering. Finally, you can move chapters and sections around easily without using that ugly and confusing “Outline View”.

In this specific regard, Word 2010 is only now comparable to PageFour and WriteWay. But in other ways it is much more powerful. The key benefits of Word include: constant spelling and grammar check, integrated search (improved in this version), configurable auto-save and page numbering, advanced text formatting, the ability to save to one file (including PDF), and the ability to easily share content with others. (No more merging RTF files!)

The new Navigation Pane also allows easy “page browsing” that works alongside any of the main View modes. Essentially, this means that you can work in Draft mode (with its continuously-smooth text scrolling), while simultaneously keeping an eye on page breaks, page counts, and page layout in the Navigation Pane. So, you can avoid all that jumpy scrolling in Page View mode!!

However, Word 2010 does not include any special tabs / panes for notes associated with the main text (though there are work-arounds), any character development or story-lining tools, or any tool to scan for over-used words.

Still… all in all… Word 2010 is now an excellent option.

Cheers,

Jay

There is something interesting at the end of the brief presentation and discussion of the Nav Pane here:
http://blogs.msdn.com/b/microsoft_office_word/archive/2009/08/03/the-navigation-pane.aspx

Namely, the posting by Yip wherein he describes a Word plug-in he says he’s developing. He gives a description of a feature set that sounds suspiciously like it is taken from Scrivener. Hmmm.

Shameful.

Still, Yip gets it right when he says that, while Word’s nav pane is certainly “a step forward for editing long documents…, writers need more features than this navigation pane.” You can say that again.

Still, Yip gets it right when he says that, while Word’s nav pane is certainly “a step forward for editing long documents…, writers need more features than this navigation pane.”

An option for what, exactly? Word will always have feature-bloat, and MSoft does not create products for writers. They serve businesses that crank out formulaic documents, all neatly packaged as templates. “Dear First Name Last Name, We regret to inform you that your payment is now 00 months past due…”

All I see here is that someone at Redmond (and the illiterate Mr. Yip) have been studying Scrivener closely and looking to emulate it, but strictly within the usual bounds of corporate piracy, you understand.

Scrivener 2.0, Nisus Writer Pro, Final Draft 8: those are excellent options for writers, amateur or pro.

An option for doing all kinds of things, it seems, and a welcome one for the many writers, some actually pretty creative, who must use the tools their employers specify.

Scrivener and this forum are excellent. So why demean others as illiterate pirates? These writing tools aren’t just for English. Even the best of us might struggle to make ourselves understood, let alone appear literate, on a Chinese forum.

Self-contradictory … if they “must use the tools their employers specify”, it cannot be an “option” of any kind.

I don’t follow this … the “corporate piracy”, and Mr Yip’s version, seems nothing more than looking at Scrivener and emulating, or trying to, its features in their own software without acknowledgement … IPR I don’t think is in question, since I don’t believe Keith patented his look and feel, and does acknowledge his indebtedness to others. It is nothing to do with literacy, nor with languages, as you would discover if you actually read through the posts on these fora … I for one use Scrivener the whole time with Chinese.

I suspect what arouses ire is someone coming into the forum, who one suspects of not actually having used Scrivener, with a first post which smacks of the Redmond attitude of “We are producing the X-killer” whether that be the iPod, the iPad, the Nintendo whatever … OK you guys, you can give up Scrivener, Microsoft has just produced the Scrivener-killer!

It’s a matter of attitude …

Hello,

I put my post in this forum because it is clearly titled “Software by Other Folk”. I inferred it was for people interested in “software by other folk”.

Bottom-line: I’m enthusiastic about Word’s new features! Plus, there may be others, like me, who don’t own Macs, and can’t use Scrivener or Nisus Writer.

I also enjoyed the link to the MS Blog – that was interesting.

Jay

Don’t know about MS. But Yip clearly stated (on the Outliner Forum at www.outlinersoftware.com) that he was impressed and influenced by Scrivener when he developed his Word add-in. So “piracy” is an inappropriate term in my eyes.

Franz

Yes, he did, but I understand only after being contacted and only on this forum when he was launching his beta. His website still only acknowledges Google in relation to tagging … adding that his search is almost as powerful as theirs! No mention of Scrivener on the home page, apart from in the sidebar, which takes you to another blog on it in June and then on September 18th. And it is only at these points, up to 6 months after his beta launch.

But I still contend that JayUSA’s post is, which was my real point, even in a forum dedicated to the discussion of other software, including Ulysses, etc. is insensitive in its wording and attitude.

You’re right, Mark. In both cases.

Franz

One must question why someone who cannot use Scrivener should join a Scrivener forum simply to praise the capabilities of another piece of software. Isn’t it like someone joining a forum celebrating ‘The Wire’ (which they never intend to watch) to tell everyone how great ‘Murder She Wrote’ is?

Not that this post is really defensible, consider that Scrivener for Windows will be entering beta soon. There is some legitimacy in this non-user joining the forum.

The original post on the new MS Word capabilities seemed helpful, relevant, and appropriate.

I don’t know how appropriately (or not) Scrivener was acknowledged elsewhere by a plug-in developer not mentioned in the post. So I found references here to possible piracy and (English) illiteracy somewhat at odds with the generous spirit to which the “by Other Folks” forum owes its existence.

Having used both writing tools, I doubt very much that MS Word (2010 for Windows, 2011 for Mac, whatever) is a match for the current and future Scrivener in most situations.

But writers who must work at least some of the time in Word, for whatever reason, will now have more and better ways to organize their work.

No harm in pointing that out… And maybe Jay will give Scrivener for Windows a spin… And eventually buy a Mac too.

Agreed. I don’t like Word, but I use it because it is the easiest, most reliable, way to share documents with colleagues. Glad to see that it is becoming more use-friendly.

Given that Keith is very open in linking to alternatives to Scrivener (which, in fact, was one of the reasons I initially chose to trial Scrivener) I think Jay’s initial post was valid and helpful. I do hope he(?) hasn’t been put off Scrivener for Windows by the responses he received here. :frowning:

The subsequent link to, and discussion of, Edwin Yip’s “Scrivener like” Word-plugin is completely separate to the initial post and seems somewhat misplaced here.

I hope Jay will come back and continue to read & contribute posts here.

So, Mr Yip is illiterate because English is not his first language? That’s a pretty intolerant viewpoint, in my humble opinion. And whether you like it or not, Word is still the world’s most widely-used writing tool so any improvements to make creative writers’ lives a little easier are very welcome.

Thanks for the summary.

Since Office went over to XML for its document storage it has gotten a lot better at storing long documents without trashing them. The navigation stuff is a great improvement, but I still think that Word and a lot of these other programs are missing the ability to reformat entire documents before printing them. With Scrivener, I don’t have to worry about linespacing and indenting paragraphs: all that can be taken care of later.
When it comes to taking your piece out of Scrivener and putting it somewhere for polishing (really important now there are many more mediums to sell books) then this will make life much easier.

And I had no idea that WriteWay is still going. As far as I can remember, this was the first specialist writing app. I’m glad to see it’s back from the dead.

For its cost? That’s the one most off-putting thing for me. $260 local for one MS Office Mac license is definitely beyond what I am willing to pay for, when I rarely need the most extensive and extreme applications in the rest of the suite.

Cost still remains a huge factor for me when I choose software… Unfortunately.

:question:

I’ve been doing that to documents since Word 2000, which is the version I first started actually using for school and the like. All you need to do is use styles, and you can do whatever you want formatting-wise to the whole document (assuming you were consistent in style usage throughout) in a very, very short time.

I actually think styles were included in Word 97 or earlier, but I can’t particularly speak to that. They’ve grown in prominence since then, admittedly: Word 2003’s style browser got a lot better, and Word 2007 put the styles on the Home tab, along with making it easier to pick full font styles and color themes…

Word is, in my opinion, a fascinatingly powerful piece of software. Yes, it is a bit of a jack of all trades–but I consider that one of its strengths. In college, I could easily go from editing fliers, to doing a full academic paper with automatically-tracked references, to typing up math proofs, to fiddling with the manuscript of the book I was writing, to making up my own custom character sheets for Dungeons & Dragons. All in one program, with a minimum of fuss, and a minimum of re-learning software.

Two things to keep in mind: prior to the 2007 UI revamp, 9 of the top 10 feature requests for Word had been in the program since Word 97. People just didn’t know about them, or where to find them in the menus. The other is that 80% of people only use 20% of the features of any program–but that 20% changes from person to person.

So yes, Scrivener is absolutely astounding at what it’s designed for. It fits a definite niche in writing, along with some other things, and is an excellent product. But doesn’t mean Word can’t also be an excellent product, just for a different set of use cases.

I don’t know about colour themes, as that has never interested me, but to my knowledge, Word 5.1a for Mac had properly implemented styles. And you could already write separate chapter files and pull them together by means of a master file at print/publication time. It was small, it was fast … no infernal paper-clip … That was a great program, and for me Word has been downhill all the way from then on.
I think the time when it really sunk in how good 5.1a really was, was when a student came into my office in tears. She had written her dissertation in Claris Works. She only had one copy of her dissertation, on a floppy that had got corrupted, and not even a print-out … and the deadline was the beginning of the following week.
Our IT support-guru had done all he could, used every file-recovery tool at his disposal, including those for Mac as we had a lab of LCIIs — though without Claris Works … we provided Nisus Classic — but nothing doing. Because it was a Mac disk, he advised her to come and see me.
No, Claris Works wouldn’t open it; Nisus wouldn’t open it; disk recovery software wouldn’t touch it …
I thought, “Word 5.1 will open any file as a text file if necessary; let me try that.” Sure enough, the message came up saying “Did I want this opened as a text file?” Yes please! Whirr whirr whirr … “This disk has a bad sector, do you want me to continue?” Yes please! … The file opened; there were 512 bytes missing in the middle — the bad sector — I saved it out onto a brand-new floppy for her and told her to make sure she kept back-ups in future. All she had to do was retype the contents of those 512 bytes. She thanked me warmly … but she didn’t send me a box of chocolates :frowning:
I’ve never since met a program that’ll open a file from any word-processor as text if it’s not in a supported format, nor one which will x-out data from a bad sector and continue loading. If I could have a copy of Word 5.1a for Mac running natively in OS-X, I’d be using it still. As it is … I’m a Microsoft-free zone.
But even if I had it, it would be an option against NWP, not against Scrivener.
Mark

I actually think styles were included in Word 97 or earlier, but I can’t particularly speak to that.

In fact, Word for DOS had styles as early as 1988 (maybe even 1987). In 1988, styles were introduced in Starwriter, the precursor of OpenOffice Writer. And Wordperfect got styles in vs5 which was published in 1989 in Germany.

Franz

And Apple still hasn’t coded them into their RTF engine. Not surprising though, since they still haven’t got around to images or footnotes.