It’s not bragging (in fact, it’s probably a little embarassing) for me to say that I am an expert user of Microsoft Word. I can do just about anything I want with it, and I understand most of Word’s idiosyncracies and tricks. Still, the UI has always seemed to get in my way. For example, there are a ton of buttons I never use — so for kicks I decided to see just how many.
Here’s the epicenter of MS Word’s toolbar, as it appears when you first install it:
Even at a glance I see a bunch of buttons that are complete mysteries to me. Remember, I am a self-professed Word expert. And I honestly have no idea what these buttons (in purple below) are used for. I’ve never used any of them.
I do know what these buttons (in red below) are supposed to do, but I’ve never used any of them. They’re almost all features I that can invoke either through keyboard shortcuts (for the tasks I do a thousand times a day) or through menus (for those I do twice a day or less).
These buttons (in green below) are the only buttons I ever use. I use the second row of formatting options all the time because they are convenient and absolutely appropriate as buttons. (I have no excuse for using the Save button when ctrl-S is faster, I suppose, but I guess I like the illusion of security of pressing a visible button.)
The funny thing is that I know that there are millions of Word users who use these buttons all the time (and who have never used keyboard shortcuts). And there are millions of Word users who use the pull-down menus for every single cut-n-paste task they ever do (something I find painful to observe).
And, of course, there are those people who don’t use Microsoft Word at all.