Book Reviews

Books about Word on the Web

Word 2007

Microsoft Office 2000/Visual Basic Programmer's GuideOffice 2003 InfoPath and XML

Microsoft Office 2000/Visual Basic Programmer's Guide

Office 2003 InfoPath and XML

Older Recommendations

The following are books that have become "standards" in the industry: books we have been recommending for many years.

Word's features

Using Microsoft Office 2000, published by Que, ISBN: 0-7897-1396-9

Comments by Dave Rado: This is an excellent introduction for those who wish to understand (albeit at a fairly superficial level) all of the key features of Word and the other MS Office products.  It will not help you understand in any depth the mysteries of heading styles, or list numbering (I don't think any book does, you need to use this site and the newsgroups for that) – but for someone who is either new to Word, or who tends to use it almost like a typewriter; and who wants to increase their productivity by getting to grips with some of Word's more powerful features, this is a very clearly written and very readable guide.  Similar comments apply to its coverage of the other Office applications.

Creating documents

Designing and Writing Online Documentation, Help Files to HyperText,
William K Horton, Wiley, ISBN 0-471-50772-5

Comments by John McGhie: This is the bible for modern technical writing. If you haven't read Horton, you don't know your craft!

Writing Better Computer User Documentation, R. John Brockmann, Wiley

Comments by John McGhie: Specific to computer documentation, but this book explains what Technical Writing is and how to do it.

Managing your Documentation Projects, JoAnn T Hackos, Wiley ISBN 0-471-59099-1
Comments by John McGhie: Any fool can write: to get paid you need to write what is required, accurately, publish it, and never be late. This book tells you how to do all that.

Indexing, The Art of; G. Norman Knight, Allen and Unwin, ISBN 0-04-029002-6

Comments by John McGhie: A small, readable, and difficult-to-find book, this is a definitive authority on indexing, written by a man who made it his life's calling. It tells you exactly how to make an index. If you do what this book says, you will quickly get a good index. If you don't, you will slowly get a bad index!

The Microsoft Manual of Style for Technical Publications, Microsoft Corporation, Microsoft Press, ISBN 1-55615-939-0

Comments by John McGhie: Everyone needs a style guide. If you don't have one, use this one. Most style guides waste unconscionable resources in nit-picking, perfectionism, obscuriae and other mind-numbingly irrelevant rubbish the reader will never notice. This book tells you how to get your output clean, consistent, and useable. If it's not in here, it isn't important: fire anyone who wastes your time with it!

Harbrace College Handbook, latest edition, Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace College Publishers

Comments by John McGhie: This is all you need to know about grammar. If it isn't in here, it doesn't matter!

The Chicago Manual of Style, University of Chicago Press, ISBN 0-226-10389-7

Comments by John McGhie: This is the definitive authority for writers, editors and publishers working in the English and American languages. A large and expensive book, it is used mainly for sending people to who argue with you, so they may learn the error of their ways. It makes a useful missile for repeat offenders...  Every professional wordsmith has a copy.

Books about Word VBA

Word 2000 Developer's Handbook, by Guy Hart-Davis, published by Sybex, 
ISBN: 0-7821-2329-5

Comments by Dian D Chapman: A very heavy book to drag around, but very useful for developing your muscles and for throwing at someone who's just said something nasty! Also a very good book for the Word 2000 user who wants to learn or relearn VBA development in Word. Doesn't go into much code detail, but is good at explaining all the things you can do with Word and VBA.

Word 2000 VBA Programmer's Reference, by Duncan Mackenzie, published by Wrox Press Ltd

Comments by Bill Coan: Well-written, attractively presented beginner's text. Doesn't try to cover everything. Instead, breezes through the basics and then provides some examples of working with the Word object model. Also includes a nice introduction to working with Databases from within Word VBA.

Comments by Cindy Meister: In my opinion, still the best one available for Word VBA and the Object Model.

Code Complete, by Steve McConnell, published 1993 by Microsoft Press, ISBN 1-55615-484-4

Comments by Jonathan West: The book was written before Word VBA existed, and even before Visual Basic existed, and so its examples are mainly in C, Pascal and some in BASIC. Despite this, it contains the best set of guidelines I have come across for writing good code in any language. The book is beautifully clear (just like code should be!), and you will have no difficulty following the examples, whichever language they are written in.