May 02, 2005

Curious George: What's the deal with MS Office's defaults? Do people use them? While I know that there is a Letter-size, A4 divide, some of these might apply regardless of the paper size.

Why is the MS Office standard for letter-sized paper with 1 and 1/2 inch margins on the left and right? Everything I've ever done has asked for 1 inch margins and I ask my students to turn their stuff in that way. Now I've got the default changed on my computers, but none of the ones in the computer labs do. Also, why is the default for page numbers to have them at the bottom instead of the top? Are there disciplines that use these settings?

  • Why do humans need toes? Why is everything so dark at night? Who designed the grey M&Ms? Why is George W. Bush? If a chicken falls in the forest and there's no one around to see it does it make the sound of one woodchuck crossing the road in order to get to the tootsie roll centre of a Klondike bar?
  • Do we all still use MS Word? Not me. I've got the v2.0 beta. Hahahahahaha... No more money from me to Redmond.
  • I've often wondered about the defaults myself. Aren't you supposed to do 1.5" margins on the left for publishing? But I've never heard anywhere about 1.5" margins on both sides. Skrik -- I've used openoffice too, but if you teach, your students almost always use MS Office. Annoying, but true.
  • I teach.
  • Always demand a printed out version that you can write all over (and use for scrap paper at a later date).
  • it's the fault of defaults
  • zzzzzzz*snort* wuzzuh?
  • I frequently use, and am messing around with Linux to see if I can make it my ain OS, but isn't's default set to similar settings? (I know that the early versions were set to metric and there wasn't an easy way to change it to inches) I always ake my students turn their papers in online -- which is where MS Office is good since it has the "office clipboard" and I can have a bunch of generic comments open in the "office clipboard" and just cut and paste them into my students papers. I mean serious, when you are grading you write the same things over and over anyway, right? I do make lots of personalized comments too, but the abiltity to have 20 generic comments a click away rules. (And I still use red ink to do it! and I can use really big font if I want and it is instantly obvious if they screw with the margins or font size to make the paper seem longer!) Anyway, that doesn't answer my original quandry -- why are the settings like that??????
  • Just pulling this out of thin air, but I remember that law firms commonly use letter size paper for correspondence and notes. So... MS doesn't wanna get sued?
  • You think those margins are big, fire up LaTeX with no options specified... in that case, the margins are set large to keep the line-widths at a nice readable size
  • The name of the software is Micro$oft Offi$e and I insist that it be referred to as such from now on.
  • Shouldn't it be Mi¢ro$oft Offi¢e, drjimmy11?
  • Yes, it is a pain in the arse to have the margin default at 1.5".
  • Shouldn't it be Mi¢ro$oft Offi¢e, drjimmy11? How about Mi¢ro$o£t O££i¢e? Can anyone improve on that?
  • International monetary symbols are a blast. I give you: ₥i₢¤$¤ƒ£ ₫ƒƒi¢€ (May not display correctly if your browser can't handle unicode) nothing for the "i" unfortunately
  • It's a conspiracy by paper companies to make you buy more, I say! (also default margins in OpenOffice 1.1.4 are 1 1/4 inches, only further complicating matters.
  • First thing I generally do in a new copy of Word is to change all the defaults to whatever actually works for me (smaller margins, usually, and different fonts 'cause I pretty much hate Times... PS, anybody have a good TTF copy of Helvetica? Mine looks weird on-screen for some reason, like it's hinted incorrectly, and I can't fix the damn thing, so I'm stuck with Arial for now, the bastard.) But I pay no money to Redmond. I leave that to others. It's easier to put up with the Microsoft bullshit if the corporate volume licensing fee comes out of someone else's budget. While we're at it, let's complain about every bit of software out there. What's up with the defaults in iTunes? Why does it give me the option to "clear" files rather than "delete" if clear means "throw in the trash"? No multitasking, either. What gives? I can't play around with file A when file B is being updated? And "get info"? WTF? I fire up one Apple-branded program and I'm suddenly running OS 9...