Author Topic: I love Mike's add-in  (Read 4733 times)


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I love Mike's add-in
« on: January 24, 2003, 02:40:03 PM »
I?ve been using WordStar ever since the old CP/M days.  Over the years I?ve watched it grow, and I?ve learned to make it stand on its head and dance a jig.  At 69, I never doubted that I would be faithful to WordStar until my dying day.  And so I am being, in a way.  

But compatibility problems kept cropping up, and I had to get Word (97) for some jobs.  I hated it, and used it as little as possible.  Then I heard about Mike Petrie?s add-in ? and soon after my faithful Laserjet III died.  I decided to abandon WordStar, and go over to Word full time.  I now like Word.  I never thought I?d find myself writing such words, but there you go.  I like the clear screen, the WYSIWYG bit, and the fact that you can adjust the size of the type on the screen.  And of course Word can do many useful things that WordStar can?t.  Word is terribly slow sometimes, even on a computer a thousand times faster.  (WordStar became effectively instantaneous with the arrival of the 386!)  But you can?t have everything.

The secret is Mike?s add-in.  To any serious typist, naked Word is truly awful.  Whoever decided that mice were compatible with typing deserves to be shot.  And the keyboard short-cuts are so badly designed that they are not much better.  Mike?s implementation of the diamond cursor commands (^D, ^F, ^E ^X etc) fix a lot of that.  But he has gone further.  The next most important, to my mind, is his modification of the FIND command (^QF) ? though it takes an age to come up the first time you use it.  I use this a lot, and it is ever so much better than in naked Word.  After that comes Block Manipulations (^KB,^KK, ^KV & ^KC).  Somehow Mike has managed to ensure that Word no longer ?loses its place? when you scroll down more than a screenful.  I have some very long files, so I find this a huge advantage.  The only problem left now, is shifting blocks to another file.  Mike?s implementation doesn?t go that far, so you are left with the naked Word method.  And if you want to transfer a large block then this is a real pain.  Mike suggested a solution to me, but I couldn?t make it work.  Perhaps it would work better on later editions of Word.  (The best way I?ve found to transfer a large block, is to first shift it to the top or bottom of the file using ^KB, ^KK etc; and then ?drag? the block across using Word?s facility.)

I?ve given up trying to use Mike?s implementation of ^PB, ^PS etc., because I don?t find them reliable.  Again Mike suggested a fix, but unfortanately I couldn?t make this one work either.  The problem is Word?s tendancy to think that it knows what you want better than you do yourself.  My solution is to type a few words past the text I want to embolden or whatever, and then resort to the hated mouse.  This makes it clear, even to arrogant Word, that you only want to modify the text that you have actually marked.  

While I?m on the subject, I do have one remaining grouse:  if you have more than one window up,  you have to resort to the mouse to change from one to another.  I would love ^OK to be used to switch between windows (or cycle round them if you have more than two).  Perhaps, if you only have one window up, then ^OK could invite you to open another file.  Mike says that he has agonised a good deal about the most logical and helpful use of ^OK.  For what it?s worth, I think this would be it.  

Mike makes no claim to have made Word a modern clone of Wordstar.  I?m sure he?s right that this would be silly.  What it needed is the best possible package ? borrowing from WordStar the things that it does better ? but leaving Word to do what it does best.  

With all its faults, Word is actually a much better and more powerful package than WordStar could ever be.   Mike has already made it considerably better still, and even if he stops now we will all be in his debt.  However I?m sure we all hope that he won?t stop now.  
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