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Five Disadvantages to Using Microsoft Word

written by: John Garger•edited by: Michele McDonough•updated: 4/15/2013

Although popular, MS Word has some distinct disadvantages over other word processing alternatives. Learn about the disadvantages of using MS word as your default word processor.

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    Microsoft Word is the number one word processing program in the world. However, being number one in the marketplace doesn’t mean that it is the only choice to consider. MS Word has some distinct disadvantages that make other word processors attractive alternatives.

    Part of the Microsoft Office suite of productivity software, Word has grown to become an application that can do it all. Being able to do it all also means that Word can be a complicated application when you just want basic word processing capabilities. Read on to learn about the disadvantages of using MS Word.

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    1. Ribbon

    Complicated MS Word 2007 Ribbon Introduced in Office 2007 and carried over in Office 2010, Word uses the new Ribbon interface over the familiar drop-down menu and toolbar navigation scheme made popular by Microsoft.

    If you’ve never used the Ribbon before, you are in for a steep learning curve as you relearn where every function is located in the program. If you need to get work done quickly, avoid switching to the newest versions of Word so you can avoid the frustration of learning the Ribbon interface. Save that learning for a less stressful lull in your workflow.

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    2. Too Many Options

    Word has evolved over the years into an application that is part word processor, part desktop publisher, and part everything else. With so many options, it can seem like you trying to use the Space Shuttle just to go across town.

    Simpler, easier to use word processors are often favored by people who only need the basic functions of typing and printing out documents. Feature rich, MS Word can be too complicated just to do simple tasks.

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    3. Expensive

    People rarely buy Word on its own but opt to buy it in an Office package along with other applications such as Outlook and Excel. Buying it on its own means shelling out some big bucks while buying it in an Office package means having to potentially buy applications you won’t use.

    This is made worse by the idea that you may be buying a word processor that can do far more than you need one to do. This disadvantage is perhaps the number one reason why people go looking for a less expensive, simpler solution to their word processing needs.

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    4. Prone to Virus Attacks

    Being number one means that Word is installed on more computers than any other word processor. Consequently, MS Word is the target of more viruses and other malware than just about any other software on the market.

    Sharing files over networks means you must invest further in competent virus scanners and other malware detectors to ensure that you aren’t exposing your computer to these threats. You have to take the good with the bad on this one.

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    5. Large Files

    A lot of meta information gets saved along with a Word file that bloats its size. This is bad news for people who need to create and save many files. These files can grow in size to an unmanageable amount meaning more investment is storage media to hold these files.

    A blank Word 2007 file is 12k in size. However, this size can balloon to several megabytes depending on the content of the file. Over the course of several years, these files add up.

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    Although number one in the market, using MS Word carries with it several disadvantages that make alternative word processors more attractive. Before you adopt MS Word as your word processor of choice, shop around and see if another one helps you avoid the disadvantages discussed above.