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How to Fix Common Problems with MS Word documents

Let's look at some of the most common problems with MS Word and see how we can fix them. The first example is how to reduce the size of a Word file. When you insert an image into your Word document, it increases the file size automatically as Word has to store (i.e. duplicate) a rendering of the graphic in the document.

How to remove linked graphics in Word

Increase in file size is proportion to the number of bytes required to store the graphic.

Obviously, if your document contains several large screenshots, the file size will rocket and you could find it difficult to control the document s layout and presentation.

To avoid this happening, you can reduce the file size by storing only the links to the graphics and not the actual graphic itself.

To remove linked graphics:

  • Go to File > Edit > Links.
  • Select the links of the graphic you want to change.
  • Clear the Save Picture In Document check box.
  • Click OK and save the file.

Help! I can't save my document?

When Autosave tries to save your document, Word displays an error message saying that too many files are open and you cannot save. Word cannot save your file.

How do you save your document? This problem is related to memory resources.

In other words, Windows is maxed-out and cannot share enough memory with Word to save the file.

When Word saves a file, it create a temp file of the document you are working on. Sometimes, you can see these files they start with a tilde (~), such as ~proposal.doc. After you've successfully saved the file, the temp file disappears.

1. If you can t save a file, close all applications to release some memory.

2. Each application probably has one, and probably more, files open.

3. Open Word again and try to save.

Word 95 corrupted my document!

Even if you do everything right, sooner or later one of your documents will become corrupt. Sometimes word will even open the file, but before you can do any work, it crashes!

To open the document, follow these steps:

  • While in Word, from the File menu, select Save As.
  • Set Rich Text Format in the drop-down list box.
  • Enter a new file name.
  • Click OK.
  • This saves the file in Rich Text (RTF) format and may remove the corrupted information.
  • Next, re-open the RTF file in Word and save it as a Word document, i.e. with a .doc extension.

How to stop Word from wrapping a space character to the beginning of a line?

Many years ago it was common practice to type two spaces at the end of a sentence. This was a hangover from the days of typewriters, when this technique helped to control layout and space sentences apart.

Sometimes when using Word, it might wrap one of those spaces to the beginning of the next line.

To stop Word from wrapping the space, follow these steps:

  • From the Tools menu, select Options and then the Compatibility tab.
  • In the Recommended Options For drop-down list box, select the version of Word you use.
  • In the Options list box, clear the Wrap Trailing Spaces to Next Line setting checkbox.

Word can be very unforgiving! Once a document becomes too unwieldy, it starts to stagger and then collapses, wiping out all the formatting in the process.

In some cases, you can recover the raw text but, as a rule, the layout and presentation is destroyed.

However, there are several ways that reduce the likelihood of this occurring.

Using styles, importing small graphics, avoiding different types of bullet lists, reducing word art, and special formatting effects all contribute to creating a more resilient document, especially when you are creating so called long documents such as reports or proposals.

Word Formatting Tips

When creating documents, consider the following guidelines:

  • Try to start with a blank Word file. Avoid re-using old documents.
  • Create styles for Headings, Body Text and Bullet points. Or use a template that you've already built and know to be reliable.
  • Insert text with as little formatting as possible.
  • Use Autotext (Insert > Autotext) to speed up the writing process. AutoText allows you to create text that will be used repeatedly in a document, such as a standard contract clause.

    You record each selection of text as an AutoText entry and then assign it a unique name. You can also create autotext for commonly-used words and phrases: proposal, business, marketing, specifications. Then, every time you type the three letters spec , Word will complete the spelling and display specifications , saving you considerable energy during the writing process.
  • Create the table of contents, indexes, headers, footers, annotations etc.
  • Convert graphics to the correct size BEFORE you insert them into the Word file.

    Don t manually shrink (or stretch) the graphic inside Word. Your aim is to use small high-resolution graphics wherever possible, such as PNG or JPEGs.
  • Avoid inserting bitmaps where possible.
  • Format the document. Apply all the headings, paragraphs, bullet points, call outs, text boxes.
  • Find and Replace use the advanced features in Find and Replace to update words and phrases to Bold, Italics or Underline.

    For example, say you want to change every occurrence of your company name to bold. Click Ctrl + F to open the Find dialog box. Enter your company name in the Find and Replace tab.
  • In the Replace Tab, click More to display more options. Click Format > Font and select the Bold font style. Click Find Next (or Replace All if you re more confident) to replace all occurrences into bold. Save your first draft as version 0.1. The next time your update it, increment the numbering to the next level, i.e. 0.2., and continue to do so until you reach the final draft.
  • Backup every major revision.
  • Store gold copies (i.e. final drafts) on a secure network.

Need Help?

If you have any problems, drop me a line at ivan at klariti dot com.

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