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I'm a fan of Tim Ferris, author of The Four Hour Work Week. Given this, you can imagine my horror when I found out via this video that Tim doesn't do much of his text editing in Word.
Not big on documents (in the traditional sense of the word) and more about simply composing text for blogs etc, Tim is a fan of a very basic text editor that emulates the word processors of yore. Also, living his message of laser sharp focus on "major tasks," Tim is all about writing, and only writing. We're talking black screen, green text, no "distracting" buttons etc.
Tim has a point.
We know that some folks have a very discrete writing process. They write, then they edit, and then they review/format/finalize. If you want to "just write," and minimize any possible distractions, you've got a couple of options before ditching Word.
First, here is Word 2007 (Note: I changed by Office theme to black—Office Button, Word Options, set Color Scheme to Black)
Note: all screen shots in this post are of the entire screen at 1024x768 (i.e. not just Word)
This is a good option if you want to "just write" right now for just this document. It's a quick and easy 80%-of-the-way-there option.
Full-screen screen capture of Word 2007 running on Windows Vista at 1024x768
This is your best option if you often want to "just write" often, and don't want to fiddle with Windows settings.
Now you can simply double click on the template any time you want to "just write," click Toggle Full Screen View on your Quick Access Toolbar, and "just write."
This is your best option if you don't want to create a template and don't mind a drastically different user interface experience in all of your applications.
Tim – I love your writing and agree with you on the merits of "just writing" without any possible distractions. Give just writing in Word 2007 a shot. I think you'll like it.
- Jonathan Bailor
What happened to the rest of this series? I went looking to see how I could add different types of sources to my bibliography, only to find that the article to cover it at a later date, has still not been written! Is there a better place to find this information? Nobody on the web seems to be able to answer this, other than by saying hack through the xml!
Well I have seen this before. Ok, it was called WordPerfect!
really nice tips. I didnt even realize there was a blue/black/silver theme option that could be changed that easily. Looks great. I'm now on the black theme with amber font :)
I like the idea of getting rid of the ribbon and task bar. Don't forget that you also need to go into the Word Options menu and tell it not to check spelling and grammar as you type. That's probably the biggest distraction that there is when you're trying to compose. But I would stop with black print on white "paper." I don't need the good old days of ugly green on black. Thanks for the tips!
Thanks for the interesting ideas. Like your friend, I also like to clear away the clutter. I had a couple of other thoughts. Rather than use HTML view, you can put Word 2007 into reader-view. Reader view is a full-screen (and quite attractive) two page layout. If you then click on the upper right hand corner, you can turn on text editing. I use reader view all the time when I need to completely zone-in on a hard project. I also like the green on black text look. When I have a ton of writing to do, I find it substantially easier on the eyes than white on black or black on white. Rather than create a custom template, though. I would recommend checking out a plug-in called WriteSpace . It does the same thing, but it is much easier to start (after install, go to View >> WriteSpace). Then hit Escape to go back to the normal view. If interested, you can find a more detailed write-up of WriteSpace and a few other programs here .
OMG, I like Word 2007 as-is. If I want a "Just Write" mode, I would simply use my favorite text editor.
Or simply use Dark Room when needed!
Fantastic! I have been looking for something like WriteSpace for AGES! I've been using Darkroom, but I actually really like Word and was disappointed it doesn't have this sort of functionality built in. Gonna try Writespace right now!
I wonder if this can be done in OOo?
login: login user@name ~$ vim document.txt
Really, LOL... since I also use gVim for editing.
"Just Write" is an excellent idea. I'm trying to do the same in the "outline view" mode of Microsoft Word and found out that i couldnt make the background black. Is that possible?
Just write works for me. Is it also possible to hide the vertical scroll bar? I'm sure you thought of that too, Jonathan
Thanks for the great comments everyone :) Just Writer - Yes. Click the Office Button, Word Options, Advanced, scroll about half way down until you see Display, and you can check/uncheck “Show horizontal scroll bar” and/or “Show vertical scroll bar” Also, there’s good news and bad news regarding Outline View. Good news: Option 3 works in Outline View. Bad news: You cannot change the Page Color in Outline View. This is because Outline View doesn’t show pictures, and internally, Word sees Page Colors as big page size Pictures. Let me know if Option 3 doesn’t work for you. - Jonathan Bailor (MS)
Thanks Jonathan. I know how to hide the vertical scroll bar now. But the hidden scroll bar does appear back when I toggle the 'Just Write' document to full screen mode. Apparently the setting's not saved in Full Screen mode. As a workaround, I use the LCD monitor's Horizontal positioning feature to push the display to the right. This pushes the vertical scroll bar out of my view and I can just write. Thanks