I just installed Office 2003 at work, and it's got this rather nice "Reading Layout View" for reading documents in Word. Reading Layout View makes much better use of screen real estate by displaying two pages next to each other, supposedly like a real-life book.
For some reason, though, it enables ClearType on the text in Reading Layout View whether you have an LCD monitor or not. It seems strange, but some people apparently find ClearType is easier to read on a CRT -- not me, however, and that's why I have it turned off in the rest of the Operating System. So why doesn't Word respect that fact? Fair enough if I have it turned on in the rest of the OS (a quick investigation on my laptop shows that it does indeed use ClearType in the rest of Word when it's enabled in the OS), but why override my settings in Reading Layout View?
A quick search for "reading layout ClearType" in the help turned up the following:
Reading layout view uses ClearType even if it is not enabled in Windows. To turn it off, do the following:
- In your system registry, set the following key to zero (0):
(See the online version of the page if you don't believe me)
Of course, this is of little use, since first of all it's calling "UseClearType" a key when I assume they mean value, and second of all they don't say whether it's supposed to be a DWORD, string, or even binary value. Needless to say though, I tried every possible combination and couldn't work out how to fix it.
Then I happened to stumble upon this knowledge base article which gives the proper value: NoClearTypeNW (whatever "NW" means) and it's a DWORD. I put that value in, and it turned off ClearType.
Anyway, I submitted a comment to the incorrect page and hopefully they'll fix the registry key reference there, but there's a bigger problem here, so I say to Microsoft:
Always respect the user's preferences!
I think the reason they turn ClearType on in Reading Layout View is because not a lot of people know about the ClearType setting to begin with. But that doesn't really matter, since my laptop (which came with Windows XP pre-installed) had ClearType turned on by default, and I assume mine is not the only one. The other reason that doesn't matter is because turning ClearType on in Reading Layout View is fixing the symptom, not the problem. The problem is that the UI to set the "ClearType" setting in the OS is buried so deep in the Display Options that most people aren't going to just "stumble" on it.
Anyway, Office 2003 is pretty darn cool (though I wish they used my Visual Styles to render the toolbars and menus, because the one they use really looks bad combined with the Visual Style I use, but that's a story for another day...), so I'll just leave my rant at that