Sunday, January 13, 2008

question for fellow keyboard jockeys.

The office package on this PC is Office 2007, which is all shiny and glitzy.  It's very comprehensive, weighs in at 623MB on the hard drive, and sports a new look that makes its predecessors look like relics from the dark ages of computing.

However, there are two things it still cannot do.  The first is to remember its cursor position in a previously edited document.  When you open a document, it dumps you at the beginning of it by default, and you have to scroll down and insert the cursor in the proper position before you can start typing away.  That's a pretty minor grievance, but it's one of those little things that save five seconds every time I open a document.

The other thing is something that only one word processing program has ever managed to incorporate: different colors for text and page background.  I'm not talking about differently colored text that prints out as such, but rather text that only shows in your color of preference on screen, yet prints out as regular black-on-white text.

I don't like to look at black text on a white background on backlit screens.  It's like watching ants on a light bulb.  Word used to let you display white text on a blue background as an alternative, which is an improvement, but it's still not quite the way I want it, and they seem to have dropped that option in Word 2007 anyway.

On my old Macs, I run a 1990s-vintage word processing program called Corel WordPerfect 3.5.  It lets you configure any background color and any text color you'd like to see on the screen.  To my eyes, amber text on a dark green background looks most relaxing, and that's what I have set in WordPerfect.  That color scheme greatly reduces eye strain, and the ability of WordPerfect to let me make all documents appear in that fashion makes it my favorite word processor.  I even put up with having to export the document into HTML and then re-import and -format it into Word, which is a bit of a hassle. 

Why is it that no other word processor offers this simple feature?  Or do any of you know how to make Word do what the long-discontinued Mac version of WordPerfect delivered ten years ago already, and let me specify a text and background color of my choice?

(Yeah, you can change those system-wide through Display Properties > Appearance > Advanced, but then all document windows in all applications change color.)

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