Some people have already moved on to a post-Word world. One national sportswriter told me he writes everything in TextEdit, because it goes easy on memory and it opens and closes in a snap. (My own latest copy of Word won’t launch a new blank document without demanding that I identify which of a half-dozen kinds of project filesâ€”most of which are meaningless to meâ€”I’m trying to create.)
When I was writing a book, which required lots of alone time with a giant fileâ€”and lots of word-counting, which Microsoft is good atâ€”I stuck with Word. But for everyday projects, I go days or weeks without opening it. This piece started out as a Gmail message, which saved automatically and was easy to access at home, at the office, or on my phone in transit. Then I switched over to TextEdit, which gives me a bigger window to work with and handles line breaks more cleanly than Gmail does. For protracted edits, I create a Google document, so multiple readers can work on it at once. If they want to track the changes, they can read the revision history. For short blog posts, I write straight into the publisher.
If I really want a word count, I open a Word document and paste my work into it. Once I have the number, I dump the document, unsaved, so nothing gets contaminated with Word-iness.
I know only one person who loves working in Word: my 4-year-old. It’s valuable to him to be able to put the names of subway lines in their correct colors, or to spell out "autumn" with each letter a different falling-leaf hue, or to jump from Times New Roman to Comic Sans to Chalkboard in midstory. He also loves to write things on my old manual Smith-Corona. A tool that’s lost its purpose makes a great toy.
I have used Word from version 2.0c all of the way up to Word 2000. I canâ€™t remember the last version of Word but I hated the ribbon bar and made the switch to LibreOffice. Itâ€™s a bit of a memory hog but AbiWord got buggy some time ago and I havenâ€™t been able to get it work right on several different machines and gave up on it. Personally I loved Word 2.0c. It inspired a love of writing and design. I also kind of liked Word 97 but since then it has lost itâ€™s soul.