Word vs. WordPad: The Cannon and the Fly

You know that expression about using a cannon to kill a fly?  Sometimes the tools we use on our computers are more powerful than they need to be for the task.  You wouldn't drag a cannon with you to kill an insect, but you probably spend entirely too long waiting for MS Word to open up when a smaller application will do the trick.  To elaborate on that, consider the fact that, on average, you will not use 90% or more of the features in Word (a study to this effect was recently cited in Wired magazine).

Now think about what you need: Something that will allow you to enter text, save it, and can cut and paste.  You already have a copy of that program buried under your "Accessories" folder.  It's called WordPad, and you would probably get a lot more accomplished in the same amount of time if you would start using it.

Suggestion: Set your extensions to open all your *.doc files with Wordpad.  You probably won't want to do this if you need a dictionary, thesaurus, or view a lot of documents with imbedded graphics or other media, but this little workhorse is <200k compared to MS Office's whopping near-GB size.

I use WordPad to do all of my pre-writing, for rough drafts, "to do" lists, email, etc.  Basically, it's great for anything that it's going to be published in the short term.  Quick story: Legend has it that Beat Generation writer Jack Kerouak stayed up all night taping blank pages end to end.  Why?  Because this would allow him to type continuously without having to break his concentration to put in a new leaf.  Similarly, MS Word is great for emphasizing the printed page, and is equally terrible about allowing you to just write!

In short, if you perform this little modification or reseting your files to associate with WordPad, your computer will wait on you and not the reverse.

Copyright Efficiency Ale[x]pert.

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