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  1. #1
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    Help files gettin worse (Office XP)

    <img src=/S/ranton.gif border=0 alt=ranton width=66 height=37>

    Hey, gang. The next time you need to vacuum the carpet, try using the help files in Office XP instead of your Hoover. You might find the help files suck more.

    What ever happened to the "Find" tab that would show every page in the system where the word was used? It's been replaced with "Index" which is really just the "Answer Wizard" in redundancy using a different syntax. It only displays pages where the term is part of the topic, not usage in the body. Type "print" in the Index and then "Change the page number for the first page". Try to find "print" in the page. It's not there. Big waste of time.

    Good luck in doing a word search in the Help files. Because MS opted for HTML pages, your sought word might be buried in one of the expandable links on the page. In older versions, help expanded into separate pages. This allowed the specific page to be displayed for a search, not the entire chapter. Jeez.

    I've already reported to MS about the Answer Wizard bug that disallows a user to edit their text entry. It's a real pain in the as I was saying, the help files suck compared to previous versions.

    Have you noticed that as Office gets great improvements even in complex areas, it gets worse in simple areas? Thinking about it just makes me want to... well, it makes me want to dance. Let's do the Microsoft shuffle... one step forward... two steps back...

    <img src=/S/rantoff.gif border=0 alt=rantoff width=66 height=37>

    -Lenny <img src=/S/gent.gif border=0 alt=gent width=17 height=25>

  2. #2
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Help files gettin worse (Office XP)

    Setting aside the question of whether it is legal, I wonder whether anyone has tried to recompile the Office help as an old-fashioned winhelp file. I think there are tools "out there" that will do this, but I don't want to pay $500 to test the theory.

  3. #3
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    Re: Help files gettin worse (Office XP)

    Aw shucks, the Help in VS .NET is even worse.
    I won't even begin to describe it.

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    Re: Help files gettin worse (Office XP)

    One would think that three releases worth of escalating complaints about HTML help would get *someone's* attention at Microsoft. There must be an ego wrapped up in that technology somewhere in Redmond. <img src=/S/shrug.gif border=0 alt=shrug width=39 height=15>
    Charlotte

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    Re: Help files gettin worse (Office XP)

    <img src=/S/ouch.gif border=0 alt=ouch width=15 height=15> Let's see now ... convert all the help pages to documents, insert all the hot spots to replace hyperlinks, insert all the contextIDs into all the apps that (supposedly) use the help, uh ... Nope, I think I'll pass on that experiment. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>
    Charlotte

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    Re: Help files gettin worse (Office XP)

    It's more than ego.
    Users would not believe what lies behind such decisions at the large companies.
    I saw this at DG and DEC and am aware of cases at others.

    For example, DEC had a great "PC" a bit over 20 years ago called Rainbow.
    One of the reasons the product failed was that the floppies had 1 extra sector per track, which was incompatible wit h IBM PCs.

    I, and others, beat up on the guy responsible for this stupid decision, but he would not relent, so the product got out the door anyway. A few months (less than a year later), the product was changed to handle bot the "better" DEC format and the IBM PC format, but by then it was too late.

    Talk about ego!

    And then there's the case of ...!

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    Re: Help files gettin worse (Office XP)

    <hr>Have you noticed that as Office gets great improvements even in complex areas, it gets worse in simple areas?<hr>
    Hi Lenny:
    <img src=/S/ranton.gif border=0 alt=ranton width=66 height=37> I completely agree!! In Word 6 & 7, you could use the Find/Replace box without having to click "More". Cell height & width had your most common table adjustments; now you have to go to Table properties..., click on a tab, & often options to make changes. And remember when you could open a document & use Shift+F5 to go back to your last edit; they broke that in Word 2000 (you need a set of macros in the normal template to close your document to preserve that option). I'm waiting until they have a mandatory dialog box that comes up every time you press a letter on the keyboard that says something like, "Are you sure you meant to type a "j"; maybe your finger slipped. Of course, even that will be better than the version after that, which will "automatically update" the "j" key to "h" if you ever made a typo. Eventually there will be only one way to avoid "intellisense"--we'll need to go back to chisel & stone. <img src=/S/rantoff.gif border=0 alt=rantoff width=66 height=37>

    I feel better now. <img src=/S/evilgrin.gif border=0 alt=evilgrin width=15 height=15>

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    Re: Help files gettin worse (Office XP)

    I completely subscribe to the same suspicion. There's no apparent logic, it must be ego or not wanting to write off the gazillions in R&D for a failed system. They need to cut their losses and move on if they want to please consumers. But since when has that been high on thier agenda?

    Gee, this kinda reminds me of the Office Assistant. Millions of dollars of R&D for Microsoft Bob, and when that bombed, they make it into a little creature called Clippy and force it on the Office users. It's like old food in the fridge, let's give it to the dogs. After years of protests they stand by the feature that no one wants (at least not in the pesky form it was).

    Now that they finally publicly admit it's a piece of junk and made a way to disable it, they save face by calling the disable mechanism an enhancement feature worthy of spending money to upgrade. Gimme a break. They are actually promoting that they removed a problem they deliberately installed and defended for years. We're supposed to jump for joy that they did something several years later that should have been done long ago. We're supposed to be thankful that they finally listened to us when the truth is they ignored us and claimed we were wrong for all those years. They got some huevos!

    -Lenny

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    Re: Help files gettin worse (Office XP)

    Now, on top of everything else, I notice I cannot paste into the Answer Wizard text box. Paste or Cntrl+V is deactivated. Copying and pasting is the most basic of functions in any application. To look something up now, you have to type it in manually. So, why in the world would they have done that? I'll bet they spent more money disabling that feature than having left it there.

    I know they have a Wish List, and I chuck stuff in it all the time. But here's my ultimate wish that I'm sure would go against thier grain... things that work, leave it alone!

    -Lenny

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    Re: Help files gettin worse (Office XP)

    <hr>Shift+F5 to go back to your last edit; they broke that in Word 2000 <hr>

    I skipped v2000, so I missed all the fun. But I noticed it seems to work in 2002, thank goodness, cuz I can't live without that feature. I never have and still don't understand why Word doesn't open automatically to the last page viewed by design. You know like the other programs do. I guess I could install an open macro that launches Shift F5.

    Do you have such a macro in your code library?

    -Lenny

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    Re: Help files gettin worse (Office XP)

    <hr>Do you have such a macro in your code library?<hr>
    Not exactly a library--more like a pile in the corner--but

    Sub AutoOpen()
    Application.GoBack
    End Sub

    in the normal template will do the trick.

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    Re: Help files gettin worse (Office XP)

    I'm calling it "intelli-nonsense." In addition to everyone else's spot on complaints, I can't stand how the help windows now slap open, whack, whack, whack and obscure my editing window....ugh, it's horrible. At least the Find window doesn't land ON TOP of what I was looking for anymore...

    One of my good friends in Seattle is on a panel of non-softie "users" who evaluate "usability" for Microsoft. This guy has minimal computer skills and would not be able to give informed feedback, but for greatest marketability M$ wants novices to be able to use their products without having to think...

    From ComputerWorld Aug. 12, 2002 p. 28: "When a system is designed so that fools can use it, only fools can use it."

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    Re: Help files gettin worse (Office XP)

    <hr>They got some huevos!<hr>
    Eggs?
    Charlotte

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    Re: Help files gettin worse (Office XP)

    I think the idea is to encourage you to use F1 to launch context-sensitive help ... assuming that the help engine hasn't broken again as it frequently does in Office 2k. I'm not sure copy and paste is really useful in the answer wizard anyhow, since you usually have to get just the right combination of words to get a useful list of topics, and it generally requires more than a single word or brief phrase.
    Charlotte

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    Re: Help files gettin worse (Office XP)

    I now see why the KB is getting so bad.

    I have trouble printing lots of KB articles using IE 6.

    Yesterfay, I looked a the source for a few of them.



    tags are missing all over the place.
    I guess MSFT is using very inexperienced, or inept, people to create the HTML.

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