Microsoft Office is probably the best end-user, general-consumer product that Microsoft has ever made. Ignoring proprietary formats and support for other systems and platforms, Microsoft Office’s excellent integration, huge range of features, easy-to-use interface, and nifty productivity boosts tucked here and there into each component of the Microsoft Office suite make it just great. OpenOffice is a decent alternative, but in our opinion, at best equal to Microsoft’s office suite and inferior with respect to several features.
But there is one thing OpenOffice has that Microsoft Office doesn’t – and it makes a huge difference. No, not the autocomplete feature (which tends to get in the way of faster typists rather than help them), but the fact that OpenOffice Writer remembers where you were the last time you closed a document. Maybe that doesn’t sound too exciting, but when you’re dealing with huge documents, it’s an unbelievable productivity boost.
Think of your DVD player. Imagine if every time you closed it, it forgot where you last were with your DVD. Imagine having to skip a section too far or a section too little, and be forced to watch something you’ve already seen, or even worse, spoil the next scene for you as you backtrack to the correct position. Think of the energy lost, time wasted, and frustration building-up inside you as you struggle to do something so stupidly simple that yet requires such an incredible amount of patience to make it happen.
That’s what it feels like when you’re dealing with documents over a hundred pages. So what about 2000-page-long documents? Written in plain-text without any “scene selection” (bookmarking) or indexing of any sort?
So three cheers for OpenOffice and this nifty feature that saves all this time. This post was written in the time it would take a person (with enough patience) to find their way to their last position in the document sitting on our desktop right now, a 1400 page specifications manual for a network protocol that doesn’t exist (and unless the authors rewrite that, it will never exist)!