I have to admit my bias up front; Wiley Publishing produces quality books, and I always give them the benefit of any doubt. Likewise, their "Bible" books on Microsoft software are as good as one can find anywhere, and I would include Brent Heslop's, David Angell's, and Peter Kent's effort on MS Word as being as close to the definitive standard as one can hope for. Unfortunately, MS Word has more glitches than authors have time to write about, so troubleshooting Word takes much longer than a quick reference to this book might seemingly require. In fact I bought the book with the idea of establishing a dialogue with the authors about Word's disfunctionalities that they do not address, and perhaps may be unaware of. On the other hand, reading the book and practicing what it teaches is the best way to become proficient, and to be able to converse intelligently with others about the nagging, intractable issues that prompted some of us to buy the book in the first place. At something over 900 pages, users should expect to spend a great deal of time absorbing the knowledge that the authors impart. Even though I have been a Word user for more than ten years, I'm confident that this book will be a constant reference on my desk, either until I retire, or, more likely, a new version of Word comes out, and, Sisyphus-like, then we start all over again.
What I would like to see is a book along the same lines that addresses trouble-shooting Word, in its various manifestations. With its multitude of ways of accomplishing specific tasks, Word, to me at least, resembles a house with many doors and passages linking its various rooms, but with a leaky roof, and various other structural anomolies that make using it frequently difficult. For example, on page 746, the authors discuss trouble-shooting peripheral devices, such as scanners. Not much is said about the primitive scanning program that Word includes in its suite of tools that may, or may not, interface will with scanning software. Now, one could say that's a mere quibble, as practiced users can generate Word documents very nicely. Well, true, but some of us do need to include non-Word pages in our documents, and store them along with our self-created ones in the same file. What to do. In the past I was able to import those materials as graphics onto blank Word pages; but keeping them in place can be problematic and often tenuous at best. I think authors of practice manuals like this one should be our advocates as well, someone who can grab Microsoft product managers by the collar and say to them, "Fix this! And while you're about it, do this or that also."
Another glitch, and one that I live with every day, is Word's tendency toward corruption in its Normal file, so that customized toolbars do not last beyond a particular session. Why this happens, I have no idea; but others experience the same problem, and they have no answers, either. I pray that the Authors will see their way clear to addressing this issue, because without it, all their good advice about how to modify toolbars and templates goes for naught. Another well-known Microsoft critic, Woody Leonhard, does just that, and I'm ever-hopefull that Messers Heslop, Angell, and Kent will pick up the cudgel, and beat Microsoft out of its mediocre ways.