In praise of Microsoft Word for iPhone

Honestly, I used it on my iPad and I liked but there I couldn’t be bothered to switch to it as my regular writing tool. When it comes to my iPhone, I started the app and even having to schlep through a quite short login process made me close the app again. Doubtlessly the next time someone sends me a Word document to read, I’ll do the deed. But it is strange how I can recognise the benefits of Word, especially in its new iPad version, and appreciate how well done it all is, yet still can’t be arsed to use it.

A very long time ago now, I used to write for a company that used WordStar. You don’t remember WordStar. One morning we all came in and found that WordStar was gone. Completely. Through some deal or other, the company now exclusively used WordPerfect. And WordPerfect was so good, I don’t think it held up our writing in the slightest. It was just obvious how to use it and we did. Until one morning when another deal meant WordPerfect was gone and Microsoft Word was in.

That was a different matter. That was tough work. That was deadline-affecting work, that one was. So I did come to Word with a lot of annoyance and over the years I’ve gone through many stages. I can’t remember how long I used Word as my exclusive word processor but it was a long time and ultimately it was by choice: Word was doing things I needed. I even got to the point where I would read How to Bend Word to Your Will and enjoy it. Until I realised I’d rather be writing books than studying an Open University-level course on how to use this software.

Right now I’m in the mood where if Word is what opens when I click on a document, I’ll write it or edit it or continue it in Word. Otherwise, I’m all over the place. Pages. Drafts. Evernote. I haven’t got a home, so to speak, I haven’t got a default word processor I feel comfortable in.

Whereas this fella has Word and he loves it on the iPhone. More than I could think feasible, yet also very persuasively, too:

Longtime iPhone users have been waiting a long time for this moment, but now we finally have an excellent way to work with Word files on an iPhone. If a client or colleague emails a Word document to you while you are out of the office, you can now easily read and edit the document on your iPhone. And if you have your iPad with you, you can take advantage of the larger screen to work with the document. Either way, the Word app lets you do many of the same things that you could do with a document using the full version of Word on a PC or Mac, and perhaps more importantly, the powerful Word app lets you do just about everything that you are ever likely to want to do on a mobile device.

Review: Microsoft Word for iPhone and iPad — view and edit Word documents on any iOS device – Jeff Richardson, iPhone J.D. (7 November 2014)

Read the full piece for specific features that make Richardson happy – and happy enough that he even thinks the iPhone version scores over the iPad one in some respects.

Yes, I use technology a lot, but…

I’m going to be circumspect here because I don’t want someone to know that I’m worrying about them quite this much. I’m certain sure they’ll be fine, I just worry because I wonder.

This is someone who does not use technology.

Now, that might be true of you too, except that of course if it is then hello, welcome to your first use of technology. There is no reason you should be in to this stuff, just as there is no reason in the world I should ever be interested in football.

Except that I guess that’s a lie. There is reason to use tech.

I don’t like that. If I told this person that there were reasons, they would all be about work. I run my business through my iPhone and iPad, I am not short of reasons why this stuff is great. But automatically putting it that way feels like automatically saying you should use it. It feels like saying you should forget what you like and don’t like, you should – you must – use technology. That’s not me, that’s not the way I want to be.

Listen, I have a friend who owns an Android phone.

I don’t phone her, but.

You can’t really urge someone to use this stuff by saying they have to. It’s like saying you must buy this computer instead of that because its backside cache is better. It might be true for all I know, but it’s no actual use to for making the decision. It’s no use to you at all.

This particular person does tend to use what I’d call Stone Age computers and I have the impression that doing anything on them is a chore. If that were me, I wouldn’t bother doing it and I think I’d soon conclude that anyone who did is a bit of a geek. Unless you like computers, you wouldn’t put yourself through this alchemy.

So I do get why she might not be drawn to technology. I do. I just think she sees it as something geeks use. I think she sees it all as a toy. That it’s happy for you if you want to play in your sandbox, that it’s not for her.

It is for her.

It is very for her.

She’s joining the legal profession: technology is made for her.

I imagine whatever firm she ends up with is perhaps likely to issue her with a phone but I know for certain sure that the firm she ends up with will be built on technology. She’ll have to use it, so she’ll have to learn it, and I think that makes all this a slog.

You just want to say that of course you wouldn’t miss that appointment change if you could read your emails on the way like all your rivals. You just want to say that Evernote would fix that problem. OmniFocus would completely remove that worry.

You want to say that your rivals will be the ones in court with the ability to find and cite page 112 before you’ve got the book out.

But you don’t. So instead you write a blog post about it and hope that by the end you’ve formed your thoughts into some kind of order, said William writing on his iPad and posting to the web via a WordPress app. Technology much? Doesn’t seem like it here, this seems straightforwardly, boringly obvious.