My Git Book Writing Blog

Writing with Microsoft Word

I’m writing this book using Microsoft Word. This may seem blasphemous. I can hear the nay-sayers now: “What?! Microsoft!? UNIX is the way to go! Write that manuscript in Emacs! Or vi!”

The biggest reason for writing in MS Word is that the editor I first worked with said it would be more efficient for us to trade comments back and forth using Word. I did not want any friction between myself and the editors so I agreed. Word has a “review and comment” capability that enables an editor and a writer (and others) to have a conversation in the margins.

I also liked that Word (and the Manning-supplied templates) gave me immediate feedback for how the book might look. WYSIWYG indeed. This helped a lot because I have a good number of figures and listings. The accurate layout also gave me a better sense for the page count.

Manning does have an XML format, and I was very close to buying into it (using a separate tool to convert AsciiDoc to Manning’s XML format, and then generating a PDF from it), but that sounded like a lot of work. Once the first editor suggested Word, I didn’t look back.

Thanks for reading, everyone!