I like the intention behind Word 2007’s handling of synonyms. In theory, you right-click in a word that you want to change (perhaps because you’ve already used it nearby) and hover the mouse pointer over Synonyms in the menu to see a list of alternatives. Click the best alternative and Word makes the change for you. When it works, it’s a very efficient way to make the change.

Unfortunately, the list of alternatives often isn’t very good.

Try right-clicking on the word information in UK English text. This is what you get as synonyms:

  • in order
  • in sequence
  • in turn
  • in rank
  • in a row

You can see what word is thinking: “information” = “in formation”. Er, no thanks!

Okay, maybe this is just a bug. But there are lots of other times that the suggestions aren’t very helpful. It seems that if you do this for a plural, there is usually just a single suggestion – the equivalent singular term – which is probably not what you wanted.

I shan’t be dispensing with my copy of Roget’s Thesaurus just yet.