If I Had My Document Way… Formatting Marks

If I Had My Document Way

…formatting marks would show what formatting would be applied to the text. This is a little more technical, but I think it would solve a lot of problems.

I don’t want to be one of these people who claims that WordPerfect 5 (or is it WordStar I’m thinking of?) was the best ever, because it wasn’t (for many reasons, oof), but it did have one feature that could be useful now, and that was the separation between the Print Preview view and the editing view. When editing, you saw a screen of text, which didn’t look like how it would look when printed. If you wanted to see that, you would switch to Print Preview mode. You couldn’t edit the document in this WYSIWYG mode. When you switched back to edit mode, the text was marked up with little symbols and codes to show how the text was formatted. It was right there, you could clearly see what was going on.

I can see why WYSIWYG is attractive to people; you can just see how things will look. But it also means that the structure of the formatting and data required to make it look right is hidden from the user. The user then forgets about it, and that’s when problems start.

I’m not advocating a return to the 80s (not in this particular regard anyway) but to be able to directly see why something looks the way it does, or is positioned the way it is, would be very helpful.

(It’s a lot like HTML in that regard, with CSS as the Styles… Hmm…)