Collaborative Editing of Text Documents (e.g., Project Proposals)

“Dillon. Poor, dismembered Dillon. Torn apart. I’m not a violent person, but God I wish I had that on tape!”

I’m currently working on a project proposal. It’s the “usual” workflow. Someone writes a draft, others edit it, and the document format of (no) choice is Microsoft Word. It’s the lowest common denominator — in more than one meaning.

Working with Word (instead of my beloved Scrivener, thanks Keith, great program! :-)) has reminded me again how much I hate Microsoft Word. I think one of the major differences between Word and Scrivener (besides the obvious one that you can work — more easily or at all — with the later but not with the former) is that there is a person standing behind Scrivener (Keith Blount) — but not behind Microsoft Word.

If you click on the info panel you see the following information:

Microsoft Word [sorry, German version]
Microsoft(R) Word für Mac 2011Version 14.2.2. (120421)

(c) 2010 Microsoft Corporation. Alle Rechte vorbehalten.

[another copyright warning]

[Licensed for and License Key]

ScrivenerOutline. Edit. Storyboard. Write.

Concept, Interface, Design and Development

Keith Blount

Additional Design

[a lot of people who have contributed and are thanked in person]

Version 2.2 (15858)

(c) Literature & Latte, 2005-2011

Thing is, there is a person, actually many more than just one, standing publicly behind (and for) Scrivener — but not for Microsoft Word.

I wonder, do the developers of Word ever tell on parties that they have “contributed” to this software (and yes, in that case the quote at the beginning of the posting would become reality ;-))? Do they publicly recognize their contribution (and not act in the sense of “no raindrop is responsible for the flood”)? Are they proud of their product?

Personally, not only moaning about the issue but dealing with it, I will try to get my project partners to use another solution in the future. Perhaps GoogleDocs (sorry, Google Drive), perhaps even Scrivener. After all, work is complicated enough, I don’t need Words sluggish and buggish behavior to complicate the matter.

Happy working.

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