Microsoft® Word is Misaligned

The illustration below was created in Microsoft® Word to demonstrate the failure of Microsoft programmers to understand some simple principles of typography. Nevertheless, you may be surprised to know that my anecdotal evidence supports the conclusion that its users couldn’t care less. Several years ago, I formed a class of students who indicated a desire to learn how to format Word documents.  One of the lessons was on the proper formatting of numbered lists. Nobody cared that Microsoft® Word had it wrong. The figure below shows how the software creates such lists and here is what is wrong with them.

List A is a simple numbered list. Somehow, the concept that numbers are supposed to be right justified never even occurred to the developers. However, when Roman numbers are substituted, as in List B, by some magic or miracle, the numbers are right justified, as they should be. But wait! Look at List C. For whatever reason, the Roman numerals have become left justified.

To make things worse,  the accompanying text is misaligned (Raspberries and Honey Dew in List A, and Wood and Flavors in List C).

I hope you are not disappointed that I am not going to explain how to achieve the correct alignment of numbers and text. It will be of no interest whatever to most people, and I am sure that those who care already know how to do it with tabs and hanging indents.


About stanleygraphics

I am a veteran graphic designer who started at the time when cut and paste meant an X-acto knife and rubber cement. I use my experience to educate others. I have an intolerance for ignorance and stupidity.
This entry was posted in typography, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Microsoft® Word is Misaligned

  1. I am extremely inspired with your writing skills as well as with the layout for your blog. Is that this a paid subject or did you modify it your self? Either way stay up the nice quality writing, it’s uncommon to peer a nice blog like this one these days..

    • Thank you for your interest and support. These skills took a long time to develop (over 50 years of writing and graphic design experience). I have quite a large reference library of books on writing, style, and design. I have put it to good use and I am pleased that it is appreciated.

  2. PoppyStan – that has ALWAYS bothered me too. The fact that I have to fiddle with the indents to get the double digit numbers to align properly is one of those pet peeves that we all just learn to live with. Shame on Microsoft for not fixing it for us.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s