You can use your favorite social network to register or link an existing account:
Or use your email address to register without a social network:
Sign in with these social networks:
Or enter your username and password
Forgot your password?
Yes, please link my existing account with for quick, secure access.
No, I would like to create a new account with my profile information.
I don't post here often, so I'll remind you who I am. My name is Roxanne Kenison, and I'm on the team that publishes Word-related content on Office Online.
When you first booted up Word 2007 and started working on documents, you probably noticed that Word 2007's default layout is to space lines a little looser on the page than in previous versions. In general, this makes for documents that are easier on the eye because there's more white space. It's better document design, and one of the design priorities for Word 2007 was to make it easy to make "professional looking" documents. Not everyone sees it this way, of course. A lot of you feel that Word messed up what used to be perfectly good single spacing. So many of you, in fact, that if you now call 1-800-MICROSOFT and press 5 in the Office menu, you'll hear the URL of a KB article that explains how to get your old-fashioned single spacing back (quick answer: use the Word 2003 Quick Style set).
At about the same time the phone support team was logging a lot of calls regarding line spacing, my team was noticing low ratings on our how-to content that walks through the steps of changing line spacing within and between paragraphs. Mind you, this was the same help topic we'd published in the previous version of Word, updated for the new version. It hadn't shown up on our radar before as being problematic content. Why all of a sudden, we wondered, are people having trouble adjusting line spacing? It's not harder to do than it used to be, we thought. Then we looked at the customer feedback – the comments you can add after you click "Yes," "No," or "I don't know" to the "Was this information helpful?" question. Yes, we really do read your comments, especially if a topic is getting lots of traffic, a low rating, and lots of comments. From the feedback it was clear that the problem was not one of customers wanting to learn how to adjust line spacing. No. Customers just wanted Word 2007 to lay out documents the way it always had before. Instead of thinking, "Oooh, what a professional looking document!" they were thinking, "How come the spacing is screwed up?" They were frustrated that now they needed to learn how to set something in Word that they never had to set before, because they liked the old template just fine.
Maybe this one gets chalked up to the Word-is-trying-to-do-too-much-for-me-and-I-wish-it-would-just-mind-its-own-business camp. Design is subjective, after all. Personally, I like the looser line spacing. I'm not crazy about the extra space between the paragraphs. Still, it doesn't bug me enough to change the settings for the Normal paragraph style and save that as a new default, but that's not hard to do, once you learn how. Maybe we need to make that step easier to find in Help.
After looking at the customer feedback and comparing notes with the phone support team, my team revised the original help topic, and wrote three more (see the See Also links next to the topic). We published them as a draft to gather more feedback, and we're currently in the process of incorporating that feedback to improve them even more. One lesson here for me was to see how well our customer feedback data correlates with what the support team hears on the telephone every day. I'm proud of the fact that we can respond with updated content, and even an option on the free phone-menu system. Back in the days of static help content, it would have been much harder to get the word out.
Another lesson here for me is that lots of people seem to think of Word as a typewriter (remember typewriters?). There are many examples of this, in the way people construct a table of contents for their Word documents, use the TAB key to align columns, and the way they always hit ENTER twice after typing each paragraph (for those who are fans of extra space between paragraphs). Many, many of the feedback comments on the line-spacing issue had to do with wanting "single spacing." But, of course the line spacing in the new template is single spacing. It's just that it's a little bit "more" than single spacing used to be: 1.15, instead of 1.0. But what is 1.0? You might think that if you're using an 11-point font that line spacing of 1.0 would be 11 points. But if you lay out paragraphs that way – depending on the font you're using – the parts that stick below one line will crash into the parts that stick up from the line below. You need to allow some extra space between lines. In a former life when I set type on a Compugraphic phototypesetting machine, the convention we used was about 20% extra space, so we'd set 10-point type on a 12-point line. Larger fonts demanded more breathing room. This was at a newspaper, so we spaced things a bit tighter than you'd expect to see in, say, a report or a brochure (or, dare I say… a professional looking document).
Word lets you specify single, double, and "1.5" spacing, they way typewriters used to do. Every time you pushed the carriage return, the ratchet would increment by the specified number, advancing the paper. I don't know how those dimensions translate to point-size spacing (even us phototypesetter folk called it "leading," harkening back to an industrial era of metal and heat). For the record, you can set spacing that way in Word, too: in the Paragraph dialog box, you choose Exactly under Line Spacing, and then type the number of points in the At box. You can make your "single spacing" as loose or as tight as you like.
So, Word is a hybrid, not exactly a typesetting program, but certainly more useful and wonderful than a typewriter ever was. I don't miss typewriters in the slightest, even if the manual ones did give me strong pinkies. Sometimes I do get a little nostalgic for the old Compugraphic, though.
I shared the story of how customers are receiving the looser line spacing with David Salaguinto, a colleague of mine who has started drawing a series of tech-related comics called Office Offline. We realize that not everyone likes the change, and he's hoping to bring some levity to the situation. Not everyone will like his comics, either. We all have points of view – that makes sharing them a whole lot more interesting. So, let us know what you think; we love feedback. Thrive on it, in fact.
I don't think you should be apologising about this change. I think you should be telling people how much more readable it makes their documents. Give us the statistics that led you to make the change. Simon Jones
PC Pro Magazine
I agree with Simon. The change is very welcome! Enabling kerning by default, as well as a new line-breaking and/or microjustification algorithm, would also go far in creating "professional looking" documents.
I as well agree with the above two comments, please it is a change that we in this design focused world favor more space. It was also nice to see someone that also remembers the ole' ball & chain aka the typewriter, believe me those of us that do remember the "old" days of typing with carbon, along with the "old" TWIX teletypewriter. It was fun to read your rant. Now I am dating myself, and that was before smileys as well :-0 Sincerely, DevineDesign Unlimited
While I love the 1.15 change, the default 2-line paragraph break is driving me nuts! What has the customer feedback been like on this "feature" ??
Simon, Francis, Ida - thank you for the kind words. The idea of educating customers on document design is an interesting one -- one that I think the Publisher team focuses on a lot more than we do over here in Word. Instead of just showing or describing the different formatting choices, we could bring in some design/usability expertise to explain WHY. I'm pretty sure the spacing for the new Normal.dotx was based on research, and maybe one of the Word program managers can fill us in on the details. Tyler: I'm with you on the space between paragraphs. I like book design, where paragraphs start with an indented line. The line-spacing help topics are also getting feedback that people want to get rid of this extra space, especially for academic papers. A lot of people like it though; I think it's what they're used to seeing. A LOT of people press ENTER twice after every paragraph, so a para style that puts in the extra space saves those folks the extra keystrokes. (nevermind how their docs look) I think the help content could be much more clear on how to set these (2 separate) things, as well as making it more clear how to save the desired setting as the default. I'm in the process of revising them right now. When they get republished the won't say "DRAFT" anymore.
fwiw - I revisited the past (imagine that), and found this post from Joe Friend. It goes into some of the thinking behind the font and spacing changes: blogs.msdn.com/.../603653.aspx I meant to sign my above comment with my name, since 'wrdblog' doesn't exactly represent individuals... sorry 'bout that. -Roxanne Kenison
Actually, the spacing issue doesn't sound so bad - I've never used the defaults anyway - but it raises two issues. 1. "Microsoft Knows Best"
2. Change generally Regarding (1) MS obviously puts a lot of effort into design, which is a good thing. It only becomes a bad thing when the results of its efforts are mandated. Spacing doesn't seem to fall into this category because it can be changed, but Comments in 2007 are another matter entirely: nice new feature - comment scope highlighting (in Print view with Balloons); nasty side effect - highlighting can't be turned off. (SP1 fix???) This single feature is the sole reason why I can't move to Office 2007, if I did my document would look like an explosion in a paint factory, but I mention it primarily because it illustrates two things: 1. You never know how all users use an application
2. If you change something, you really should, if at all possible, provide a "do it like the previous version" option... Word has many such compatibility features, but it astonishes me what gets left out sometimes. It could be a tall order, but are there user friendly change notes built into help?
Hi Julian, Actually, you CAN hide the comment highlighting without deleting the comments -- if you hide the comments (in the Tracking group on the Review tab, click the Show Markup command, and un-check Comments). Also, if you're printing the doc, you can print without the markup (In the Print dialog, where it says "Print what" you select Document). Unfortunately, I don't see a way to preview the print setting (via Print Preview). Remember, if you hide comments, they're still in your doc until you delete them; they'll be visible to anyone who opens the doc. The closest thing we currently have to "change notes" for help is the feedback mechanism of the Yes/No buttons for the "Was this information helpful" question. A drawback to this is that there's a huge volume, if you multiply each piece of content by the number of comments they get every day, week, and month. We simply can't read it all. Instead, we focus on tasks we know are especially important and/or problematic (for example, right now content that has to do with upgrading, file conversion, compatibility has our focus, as well as the perennial Word confusion areas, among which is track changes, headers & footers, etc.) The quality of the comments people leave is not always... um, actionable. Profanity doesn't really help us figure out why the content isn't working for that person. Neither does random typing. Some of us around here would LOVE it if the comments were publicly viewable, like a blog. People might be a bit more civil. Amazon lets you rate the reviews. What if we did something like that... You could post feedback on a help topic, and other customers could rate your feedback -- and that would help the content team, as well as other customers, find the roses among the thorns. It would help us better understand how to update the help. I don't know if we'll ever do public comments (although I hope we do), but I think the day very well may come when you'll see "wiki-fied" help, similar to what you see over on the MSDN site (for example, here: msdn2.microsoft.com/.../ms414790.aspx). After all, there are a lot more people who USE Word than work on its development and documentation; I think it would be a good thing to open up the content and let everyone have a say.
I'm sorry I can't comment on the expansion of line spacing, because I've had to give up on Word 2007. I have given it an honest three weeks' trial, and it is not useful software. As "upgrades" that takes money from users to make their lives harder, Word 2007 is the most appalling textbook example I've ever met. I wish I had a single positive thing to say about it. If you wish to reply to this comment, can you simply ask me what excuse you thought you had to release a piece of software that makes former power users feel like complete idiots and causes them to waste hours every day? If you don't choose to respond to this comment, at least go read Kathy Sierra's blog before you do another release. Sincerely,
Max Christian Hansen
I don't think the spacing change is good. And I don't know why you folks thought it necessary since the x heights of your new fonts are all (except maybe Candara) shorter than TNR. That in itself would give the appearance of looser lines. I see the biggest problems for folks whose layouts worked with the old line spacing but won't with the new. I can already hear the screams from people working on page-limited business proposals. Because the Government often does not allow changes to the default line spacing, many of your corporate customers are going to be upset--when they finally get around to installing Office 2007. But by then maybe you'll have fixed this. I agree that a full line space between paragraphs is too much. I have always modified my spacing to half that for paragraphs without indention and to no extra spacing for those with it. I spent most of my working life in scholarly publishing (and have lots of experience with Compugraphic too), and I still prefer tight copy. Overall I regard this kind of change as going too far into the customer's area.
Pam, thank you for this feedback. It's important for us to hear this. regards,
Yes. Once again, in my opinion, the software is trying to do my thinking for me and I don't like it. I have forever been disappointed with Microsoft's thinking that "Microsoft Knows Best" and all conventional rules be damned. I can't stand your grammar checking applying grammar rules incorrectly, your Change Case to Title Case applying capitals incorrectly, and your alphabetizing not following conventional rules. I know there are a plethora of other items I could come up with. On this particular issue, I find it ironic that you have come up with an idea for everyone to use more paper in a time when everyone is trying to be more environmentally conscious. I have read all sorts of documents on typography -- how line spacing became initially defined, why one font is a better display font while another is more legible for body text, and so on. I can't see any reason under the sun why Microsoft would think they were enough of an expert to change standard conventions when we all have the ability to adjust our inter-line spacing to improve readability on any given document.