Bug Collection

In the past couple of newsletters, I put out a call for bugs–or just things that bug you–in Microsoft Word. Thanks to everyone who responded. I had some of my own bugs to share, but I’ll save those for another day. And now, the bug collection–including some useful advice!


Styles and Fields


Steve Dobney wrote:

These may not be bugs in the true sense, but they’re just three of the things that bug me about Word (97). Any suggestions appreciated!

1. I can print a list of the styles used in a document (using “Print what” in the Print dialog box) but I can’t save the list as a Word document.

2. I can view style names next to each paragraph (changing to Normal view, going to Tools – Options – View and setting the Style area width to something other than zero) but I can’t print the document like that, with the style names showing.

3. I can create a table of contents easily but it remains a “field” which won’t import into a page layout program like Quark. The only workaround I can find is to copy it into a new document, save it as Text Only, and then copy it back.


AutoCorrect and Spell Check “Suggestions”


Kathleen Much (kathleen@alumni.rice.edu) wrote:

When Microsoft started shipping Word with “autocorrect on” by default, I saw several horrendous results. My two favorites are its global “correction” of PCs to Pcs (in a long article about personal computers) and Thierry to Theirry in a book of French history. It’s also a nuisance to find caps after periods when you’re editing something full of abbreviations.

Autocorrect is always off now when I edit.

Spellcheck is also a hazard in documents like mine with hundreds of proper names. I’ve seen Phallic suggested for Phillip, Jaguar for Jaeger, Plinks (???) for Polinsky, Hominid for Hammond, disease for diSessa, Rabid for Rabin, Macro for Marc, and many, many more nonsense “corrections”.

Microsoft’s grammar checkers are so bad I won’t even consider using one.


Table Incompatibility


One subscriber (who preferred to remain anonymous) wrote:

Here’s an irritating and scandalous bug that cost me a bundle.

Word 2002 is not backwards compatible with Word 2000 as to format or tables. Client sent document in Word 2000. I edited it in Word 2002. I mentioned to client that the tables looked bad and asked if I should fix them. Client said yes, please do. I edited file and fixed the tables and formatting and sent it back to client. Client opened it in Word 2000 and said formatting and tables were a mess and the tables were unreadable. Client fixed both by hand. I gave the client a credit (from my pocket) for Microsoft’s outrageous failing.


Mail Merge Problems


Evie Allen wrote:

When using Word’s Mail Merge feature to create mailing labels, Word adds two extra paragraph marks to the end of every address, one at the end of the last line of an address, and another one at the beginning of the next line, which is blank. If you have a lengthy address list that creates several pages of labels, the alignment of type on the labels gets out of whack due to these extra paragraph marks. Thinking I was doing something wrong somewhere in the process of using Word’s Mail Merge Helper, I went to the Microsoft Knowledge Base only to discover that this particular feature in Word is from a third party, namely Avery Dennison. When I clicked on the conveniently provided link to Avery Dennison, I was able to find a means of contacting their “support desk” via e-mail. They never responded to my inquiry.

My work-around to correct this problem is this: Once the label document has been created, I move to the top of the document and use the Find and Replace feature to find ^p^p and replace it with nothing. This action moves the end-of-cell marker up to the end of the last line of each address label and realigns everything so that the addresses are properly placed in the center of each label.

I am currently using Word 97; however, I’ve checked to see if this problem occurs in Word 2000 and I get the same result. I had higher hopes and great expectations when Office XP was introduced, and, yes, the problem appears to be corrected in Word 2002, but the entire Mail Merge process seems to have become more complicated than it was in the earlier versions. This is a great example of “the cure being worse than the disease.”


Using Graphics


Steve Hudson sent a bunch of helpful information from a chapter of a book he’s writing for advanced Word users:




~File Bloat~

I’ll re-iterate what I know, and I know that therein that smallish scope lies an answer to “Why is my word document so BIIIIG after whackin in a graphic”.

1) Word doesn’t understand any graphic except .wmf/.emf, .PNG and .bmp.

2) Word will import SOME OTHER graphic formats. When it does so, it must have TWO copies of the graphic. One as the original .whatever file. One as an internal-use only bitmap that word can use to display a representation of the inserted graphic. This can be turned off with a registry entry.

3) When you crop or otherwise adjust a picture using word’s built-in controls, it needs at least two copies (both of which CAN be satisfied by point 2 above) – an original and a display copy.

4) BMP is the most inefficient way of storing a picture.

5) Linked pictures should not be stored with the document, but this rule is subordinate to 3).

6) Embedding pictures can cause total nightmares extracting the picture for export to a decent package to change it.

7) Linking pictures enables a source identifier with the picture object – useful for control and developmental labeling purposes.

My personal solution has been to:

Always use linked pictures, of type .jpg (full-color photo-like stuff, usually 79% compression) and .gif (screenshots, 256 color palette, high contrast theme) and perform NO graphic adjustments to the picture inside of Word – excepting scale.

Always use a relative path link, and either store the gfx in the same root as their host document, or in a subdirectory directly underneath same. Use a controlled naming prefix schema to identify picture categories. Run a simple embedding macro (available upon application in writing to me anywhere) to embed all linked pictures when sending the document out, or zip the dir and send the lot to the printers for bigger works.

~Insert Picture~

I link every picture as it’s the only way to get the filename associated with the graphic, which is a control and qa issue.

However, I do not embed graphics for one good reason – even if I were to, I would still have to include a link as well to keep some sort of filename easily accessible to identify the picture.

The second good reason is the document loads much faster, as the temp file doesn’t needs contain a duplicate of the embedded bitmaps.

I regularly use pictures in table cells. The ANCHOR will stay with the row.

I usually insert the picture into the doc as INLINE, then draw the table, then move the picture in via a select and then drag.

Anchors are shown by selecting Tools > options > view > Print & Web layout options > Object anchors

They usually appear to the left of the left margin, and funnily enough, look like a little boat anchor.

These can be dragged onto any paragraph you like, and the object will appear on the page where that paragraph is placed with the same relative offset twixt anchor and pic’s top left cnr.

They are no longer treated anywhere near the same as inline. For a start, inlineshapes is one collection of objects, and shape is another. Secondly, as you have noticed, the field code can no longer appear on the page because it’s now part of the drawing layer, not the text layer. It no longer is found in the fields collection. If you want to report on those pictures you need to use VBA.

Also, when I go “Insert picture”, it takes me to the last used pic dir. If you have to browse with this to your “relative path” – it will still be set as an absolute path (grrrr).


~Don’t Edit Pictures using Word~

“Cropping” in Word isn’t really cropping, just the appearance of it. The whole graphic is still there, and can be restored by dragging the cropping handles out again. In other words, using the Word cropping tool doesn’t make the picture (and hence the file size) smaller. I like PaintShop Pro when I actually want to trim away extraneous stuff. It also lets me copy just the window object I want, without cropping at all.

I also do grayscaling in PaintShop since, again, Word’s grayscale is an illusion. You can put the colors back just by selecting the right color option.

Incidentally, I don’t usually save the graphic in any format at all. That is, I capture, clip, and manipulate it in PaintShop, then copy/paste it into Word and do any resizing there. Word turns everything into .wmf anyway, if you’re saving the pictures with the file, which I always do.

~Beware of Changing Picture Sizes outside of Word~

To further screw the issue up, Word has a ‘nasty’ way of dealing with gfx. It saves the frame size, so that it can flow and paginate text before having to fetch the binary image data. This is fine – until you edit the original graphic and reload the document (more applicable to linked gfx than embedded please note). What happens is, Word draws the same frame size as before, then stretches the new graphic to fit that. Kiss your aspect ratio goodbye, and sometimes all legibility.

Sometimes it takes multiple save / open / edits before the new settings stick.

1) Cut n paste all but last paragraph mark into a new doc. If you have lotsa gfx, you have lotsa bad baggage waiting in the wings to trip you up.

2) Re-insert troubled pix into place, then delete their previous incarnation.

3) Use Alt+F9 to reveal field codes, and check you don’t have spuriously fully-qualified path names instead of relative.

Do this test:

1) Link insert a 300×300 pixel picture into your document.

2) Save and close

3) Replace the picture file with another of the same name, but 100×300 in size.

4) Open your word doc – the new picture is stretched out to fit the old frame.





The moire patterns are caused because the Windows standard screen settings use 3D objects for the scroll bars instead of a solid tint. To solve, EITHER

change the Windows color scheme


Grab the picture in photoshop, magic wand each colored area and turn it into a solid color.

Always resize or crop the picture using a dedicated graphics program before you insert it into word.

As a reminder, alt+print screen captures the active window only.



Renee DeCarlo wrote:

just found this out yesterday…changing text into text box…hi-lite text and click text box icon at the bottom…pretty cool i thought…was cutting and pasting before…creating text box copy existing text into text box just in case it doesnt work and then delete existing text…im using word 2k…

Two subscribers responded to last week’s newsletter on the WordPerfect compatibility setting that enables compressed word spacing. You can read the newsletter here:


Nancy Adess (naedit@earthlink.net) wrote:

Another “Compatibility” item I’ve found extremely important, at least on the Mac, is to turn on “Use printer metrics to lay out document.” Often when I get documents from others they are somehow wired to print double-spaced only, even if I change the spacing to single spaced on the screen. Turning on this compatibility option (tools>preferences>compatibility) restores control of line spacing to me. Even though I’ve set that option in my default template, that doesn’t apply to imported documents and I need to turn it on for each one. Until I found that (I think with the help of a MS tech) I was endlessly frustrated.

Jim Cronin Cronin, wrote:

I heard about this compatibility setting elsewhere and thought it needed some easier method to both apply it and to know whether it was in effect in a document. So, I wrote the following macro and assigned it to a toolbar button. When you click the button, the Office Assistant appears. The checkbox in the balloon is empty if WP Justification is not “on” and it is selected when justification is “on”. Give it a shot!

‘ WordPerfect_Justification Macro

‘ Macro created 10/22/01 by JimC

If Documents.Count < 1 Then GoTo ErrorHandler

With Assistant.NewBalloon

.Heading = “For better spacing in fully justified text…”

.Checkboxes(1).Text = “Make Word justify text like WordPerfect does it.”

.Button = msoButtonSetOK

With Assistant

.On = True

.Visible = True

.Animation = msoAnimationCheckingSomething

End With

If ActiveDocument.Compatibility(wdWPJustification) = True Then

.Checkboxes(1).Checked = True



.Checkboxes(1).Checked = False


End If

If .Checkboxes(1).Checked Then

ActiveDocument.Compatibility(wdWPJustification) = True


ActiveDocument.Compatibility(wdWPJustification) = False

End If

Assistant.Visible = False

End With

ErrorHandler: Exit Sub

End Sub

Many thanks for the suggestions!

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