NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, September 2005
Book Excerpt: Three Word Annoyances (and Fixes)
Word seems to have an Annoyance feature built into it.
Here are three big ones you may have encountered.

by Guy Hart-Davis, author of Word Annoyances (O’Reilly Press)

Word has tons of dumb, strange, weird, and annoying features, enough so that I was able to write a 200 page book on the topic. Here are a few of the most annoying...

Save the Document? I Haven’t Made Any Changes!

THE ANNOYANCE: All I did was open the document and print it. Why is Word asking me if I want to save changes when I close the document?

THE FIX: The document contains one or more fields that were updated automatically when the document was opened or when it was printed. Often, the field that changes is a date field that changes to the current date, so check that the printout contains the date you want it to have. For an older document of which you’re printing a new copy, you probably will neither want the date to change nor save the changed version of the document. To prevent Word from updating the field when you print, choose Tools*Options, click the Print tab, and uncheck the “Update links” box.

If you can’t immediately identify the field, choose Tools*Options, click the View tab, choose “Always” in the “Field shading” drop-down list, click the OK button, and then look for the shading in the document.

Another way to find the fields in a document is to search for ^d.

Remove Personal Data from a Document

THE ANNOYANCE: Last month, an ex-colleague blew the whistle on a few corners our boss had been cutting. She dropped HR a document anonymously—but it turned out that her name was hidden in it somewhere. So now she’s no longer working here.

THE FIX: In each document you save, Word stores your user name (as entered on the User Information tab of the Options dialog box) as well as other identifying information. Word 2003 and Word XP let you easily remove personal data from a document; Word 2000 does not, but you can choose File*Properties and delete particular items of information manually.

Choose Tools*Options, click the Security tab, and check the “Remove personal information from file properties on save” box. For security, you may also want to check the “Warn before printing, saving or sending a file that contains tracked changes or comments” box so that Word prevents you from saving or sending a file that contains text that may be hidden from you.

After choosing these options, you must save the document to make the options take effect.

Word Asks You Whether to Save Changes to Normal.dot

THE ANNOYANCE: When I close Word, it asks me whether I want to save changes to Normal.dot. What is Normal.dot and why is it doing this to me? I haven’t done anything to it.

THE FIX: You probably have done something to Normal.dot, but only inadvertently. Normal.dot, also called “the Normal template,” is the default template on which Word bases documents unless you tell it to use another template. Beyond typical template items such as styles, page margins, and default font and paragraph settings, Normal.dot contains your formatted AutoCorrect entries and your AutoText entries.

It’s also a convenient place to store VBA items such as macros and user forms. So if you’ve created a formatted AutoCorrect entry or an AutoText entry, or if you’ve changed your default font, page layout, or paragraph settings, you’ve changed Normal.dot. Similarly, if you’ve created or installed a VBA item, you may have changed Normal.dot. If Word prompts you to save it, click the Yes button.

If you’re not aware of having made any such changes, it’s possible that your computer has a macro virus that has made a change against your will. If so, you won’t want to save changes to Normal.dot. Check your computer for viruses immediately.

If you want Word to save any changes to Normal.dot automatically without prompting you, choose Tools*Options, click the Save tab, and uncheck the “Prompt to save Normal template” box.

Copyright © 2005 by Guy Hart-Davis and O’Reilly. Reproduced with permission. Guy flirted with Wordstar, XyWrite, and even Volkswriter before settling on Word over 15 years ago. His goal is to share all his Word annoyances so you ultimately tell — and impress — your friends with the fixes. Check a sample chapter on Oreilly.com at http://snipurl.com/wordannoy. Article reproduction coordinated by Steve Bass, PC World Contributing Editor and author of PC Annoyances Second Edition. Read a sample chapter at http://snurl.com/sample_annoyed2. It’s available on Amazon at http://snurl.com/annoyed2. Visit Annoyance Central at: http://snipurl.com/AnnoyCentral

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