March 2001


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Geoffrey Duke <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Departmental Technology Coordinators <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 21 Mar 2001 10:22:46 -0500
TEXT/PLAIN (110 lines)
Useful steps for troubleshooting problem documents. Not for general Word
crashes, as the title suggests...


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            --==>> WOODY's OFFICE TIPS - WORD <<==--
            (Woody's quick tips for Microsoft Word)
               part of WOW - Woody's OFFICE Watch
      19 March 2001                             Vol 1 No 5


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  I sent a Word 2000 document to a friend of mine last week,
  so he could print it. The document was really trivial - one
  page, two fonts, and a small, simple inserted (embedded)
  GIF image.

  I got a message back from him a few hours later. "HELP!" he
  said, "Whenever I try to open your document in Word 97, it
  hangs. I waited forever and nothing happened. I can't even
  use Start to shut down because the mouse won't move.
  Ctrl+Alt+Del doesn't even work - I have to turn the machine
  off and turn it back on again."

  Oy. Why computer jocks get gray. Word 97 and 2000 have
  almost identical file formats - the only exceptions I know
  about deal with minor features that were added to Word 2000
  - and you should be able to open documents created with one
  version by using the other version. That's the theory.

  I have no idea what the problem was, although I've
  encountered variations of this problem dozens - if not
  hundreds - of times. I bet you have, too.

  So here's what I did. If you hit a similar problem, I
  suggest you try resolving it in this order, too:

  1. I zipped and re-sent the file. Zipping is a very
     convenient way to make sure that the file arrived
     intact. If the person on the other end can unzip the
     file, it means that all the bits made it over the ether.
     That didn't work: the file unzipped just fine, but Word
     97 still hung.

  2. I saved the file in Rich Text Format (File | Save As |
     Save As Type: Rich Text Format (*.rtf) ) and sent it to
     him. Frequently saving a Word doc in RTF will dislodge
     whatever creepy-crawly problems may be lurking in the
     document. Simply use Word to open the RTF file, and most
     of the time everything comes through fine, plus or minus
     some fancy formatting and Word-specific features.
     Unfortunately, in this case, it didn't work.

  3. I removed the graphic from the file (selected it and
     deleted it), and sent him the Word .doc and GIF file
     independently, along with instructions for using Word to
     put the GIF back in the document. ("To put the graphic
     in the document, open the document, click Insert,
     Picture, From File. Navigate to the .gif file and pick
     Insert. Then immediately right-click on the picture, and
     choose Format Picture. On the Layout tab pick In Front
     of Text. Then click Advanced, and clear the box marked
     "Move object with text". You'll then be able to click
     and drag the picture.") He wrote back and said he had no
     problem opening the GIF file, but Word 97 still hung
     when he tried to open the doc.

  4. So I removed the graphic again, and this time I saved
     the Word document (without the inserted GIF file) as
     RTF. Sent the two files - RTF and GIF - to him,
     independently. Bingo. That worked. Word opened the RTF
     file, and there was no problem re-inserting the GIF.

  5. If that had failed, I had one more trick in my hip
     pocket - the Word file viewer. It's a pain, but I
     would've had him log on to the Microsoft Web site,
     download and install the Word file viewer. That's almost
     guaranteed to work. Almost. Details are at

  And who said Office was easy?

  WOW is the first of Woody's series of free email
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  WOODY's OFFICE WATCH - Copyright 2001 ISSN 1328-1674
  Pinecliffe International and Peter Deegan. All rights