Thursday, October 28, 2010

Word vs. Wordperfect

Dear Diary,

I was just looking at Smashwords, a site for self-publication of electronic books, and I found that they accept uploads in the .doc format. Not .rtf, not .txt, and not .html. It's .doc or nothing. And .doc is a document created by Word. It can be created by other word processing programs which play well with Word, but my favorite, Wordperfect, does not.

Why do they only accept Word? The style guide explains that this is because Wordperfect gives authors headaches. Huh?

As you can tell by now, I am a fan of Wordperfect, because Word gives me headaches. Word does a lot of fancy tricks, yes, but I don't care for them. Word often tries to think for me, adding in features that I did not want to add, and it gives me no easy way to get rid of them. If I make a mistake while typing in Wordperfect, if I accidentally add a bit of formatting code that I don't want, I find it easy to remove. I just look at the revel codes pane, grab the offending code, and pull it out. With Word, I can only delete the whole section and retype it.

Worperfect creates cleaner HTML, as well. There is an option in Wordperfect to publish your text to HTML, and it's pretty clean. Easy to clean up if you are doing an eBook. Word, on the other hand, loves to hear itself talk. All those nice additions end up as long strings of code in the finished product which must be stripped out by hand.

A sore, aching hand, after a few chapters. With many more chapters to go.

On the other hand, Word is the "industry standard" for the publishing world, as seen with Smashwords. Most markets will take, or even prefer .rtf for their submissions, but I have to wonder if .rtf derived from Word files look different than .rtf from Wordperfect. I may have to become bilingual at some time.

I hope it won't be soon. I still have nightmares about Clippy...

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