Considering that Word 2007 is such a popular software application, I used to think that Microsoft’s Office development team should have implemented every single feature they could think of and justify. Isn’t that logical to believe – this team has access to huge budget, and is under pressure from competition (including online document management tools), so really, if they can think of a good feature, they should implement it, right?
How about this one:
When you try to update the “Update Table of Contents” feature, it gives you this option:
So, what does this option mean – why is it even presented? I can think of two reasons: (i) for efficiency, updating the page numbers is easier and faster than updating the entire table, or (ii) if the user deliberately does not want to add new sections into the ToC (this happens, I know).
The basic problem with this feature is that it does not allow setting of a default, so it always pops up, and assuming it is 99% of the case, when user wants to update the entire table, the user has to select the right choice and click OK. Disgusting.
Let us focus on efficiency for a minute – how long would it take to update the entire table anyway, if the document is 10 pages long? For short documents, the efficiency gain is simply meaningless and not worth the hassle of this dialog. With faster computers, I think unless the document is more than 40 pages long, the time to update the entire ToC would still be less than 3 seconds, so not really worth this extra option.
So, how about Word 2007 do this instead:
- Allow a checkbox on this option dialog, that allows user to always update the entire table, unless the Alt key is down or the document is too large. Then, if it is a small document (say up to 100 pages), update the entire table. If it is a large document, show this option anyway.
- If the Alt key is down, show this option.
Ok, now that I have shown you my pet peeve, let me also present two partial solutions to it:
(i) Keyboard Shortcuts – My fingers are programmed to: Right click key, U, Alt E, Enter. This basically selects the “Update entire table” option and hits enter.
(ii) Using a macro – You can program a macro to do the same thing, I use Ctrl-R (for refresh).
What are your least favorite Word 2007 features?