A Matter of Style: Word 2013 for Windows vs. Word 2016 for Mac

Posted on March 8, 2015 by Paul Thurrott in Office with 0 Comments

In Hands-On with Word 2016 Preview for Mac, I noted that the coming version of Office for Apple’s desktop platform seems to have largely closed the gap with the latest Windows version of Office. But if you’re going to go back and forth between the two, there are some text style issues to be aware of, at least in Microsoft Word.

Actually, this won’t just be an issue for those using both Windows PCs and Macs. The couple of things I’ve noticed so far will be an issue in organizations where some people use Macs and others use PCs as well.

The two big issues I’ve seen are both related to the Normal text style. So while Word 2016 for Mac appears to offer the same default text styles as with Word 2013 for Windows, there are subtle differences that make a big difference.

First, is the default font size. When you run Word and start typing, you’re using the Normal text style, which on Windows is 11 point Calibre. But on Mac, it’s 12 point Calibre for some reason. So when you open use Word 2013 to open a document you created on Mac, everything looks overly big.

The other issue is perhaps worse.

When you press Enter at the end of a paragraph in Word 2013 for Windows, the cursor jumps down a bit, providing space between each paragraph. But when you do so in Word 2016 for Mac, there is no space between the paragraphs at all. So if you want that space, you need to double-press Enter. But when you open such a document in Word 2013 for Windows, there are massive spaces between each paragraph.

To see why this is so, you can view the Normal style on each (right-click the Normal style in the ribbon and choose Modify Style).

modify-style

This window shows you that the Normal style looks like so in Windows:

Font: (Default) +Body (Calibri), Left
Line spacing:  Multiple 1.08 li, Space
After:  8 pt, Widow/Orphan control, Style: Show in the Styles gallery

But on the Mac it looks like this:

Font: (Default) +Theme Body (Calibri), Left
Line spacing:  single, Widow/Orphan control
Style: Show in the Styles gallery

As a temporary solution, I’ve modified the Normal style in Word 2016 for Mac to match the style in Windows via the Paragraph formatting window (Format, Paragraph from Modify Style). But I suspect there are other style issues like this that I just haven’t noticed yet. Regardless, what clearly needs to happen here is that Microsoft should configure this and other default styles to exactly match what’s used in Windows, ensuring more seamless interoperability between the clients.

Unless of course I’m missing something painfully obvious. Which is always a possibility.

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