Why does Microsoft treat bookmarks so badly?

I hate bookmarks in Word documents. Word links headings and the table of contents nicely, so you can click from the table of contents to a section easily. Still, Word supports them, so some folks use them, which I guess proves that “if you build it they will come” really is true irrespective of how dull the activity is.

My problems with bookmarks in Word is that they are invisible and inflexible. You can’t see them initially – and to show them requires a trip to The Office button > Word Options > Advanced > Show Document Content section > Show Bookmarks. Finding that took a fair bit of work for me – how well is someone less computer literate going to do?

Secondly, bookmarks are difficult to move. The easiest way is simply to redefine them. This is a bit sad – I’m pretty sure that back in the 1980’s I remember using a Mac word processor, which displayed a little ‘Anchor’ icon for bookmarks, and it could be dragged around. Why can’t we have that? I mean, yes, we can bookmark actual bits of text – but really, having something that applies at the line level is just as useful.

Bookmarks in SharePoint are somewhat similar, but worse. You can create bookmarks in the content editor web part – just click the ‘create hyperlink’ icon, and in the dialog supply a bookmark name. If you’d some text highlighted in the editor, well, it’ll now appear as a link (which is hardly ideal) – and if not, well, you’ve now got a bookmark you can’t see, unless you go into the HTML. Worse, though, is that Bookmarks are actually much more useful in the context of a web page, to allow you to direct users to a certain part of the page.

So here’s my request – Microsoft, if you’re going to have bookmarks, make them visible, make them easy to create, delete, move and link to.

I guess I’ll have to look into other content editor parts, just on the off-chance….

Why does Microsoft treat bookmarks so badly?

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