The tech helper: Fixing Microsoft Word annoyances (Feature)
By Jay Dougherty Feb 8, 2011, 2:06 GMT
Washington - As the most-used application in the world's most popular productivity suite, Microsoft Word presents challenges by the day for millions. While the program mostly works as expected, the word processor also consistently puzzles even veteran users with unexpected behavior. Read on to learn how to solve some of the more common annoyances with Word.
Q: When I close Microsoft Word, the program often asks me whether I want to save changes to normal.dot, even though I didn't make any changes. How can I get rid of this prompt?
A: Normal.dot, as you probably know, is the default style sheet that is applied to every new document that you create in Word. If you - or an add-in program - makes changes to Word's built-in styles or other settings that are stored in the normal.dot style sheet, you will be prompted before closing Word.
There are several ways to prevent this prompt from appearing. First, check your Word add-ins and remove anything you don't use. Press Alt-T, followed by I in any version of Word to bring up the Templates and Add-ins dialog box, where you can see add-ins.
If you never modify the template in any way, you can turn off the prompt entirely from Word's Options menu. When you do so, any changes made by you or an add-in will be saved to normal.dot automatically. In Word 2003, the 'Prompt to save Normal template' check box is in the Save tab. In Word 2007 and 2010, the check box is located in the Options panel under Advanced.
Q: My office finally upgraded to Word 2007. How can I get the menu bar back in Word 2007 and other applications?
A: Almost everyone who upgrades from Office 2003 to Office 2007 or 2010 bucks at the new ribbon bar, which makes you relearn processes for performing familiar tasks. While Microsoft does not give you an option for bringing the 2003-style menus back, there are several third-party tools that do, and all are available in multiple languages. A popular free option is UBitMenu (http://bit.ly/aoft3), which recreates the Office 2003-style menus in both Office 2007 and Office 2010 by adding a new Menus tab. Click the tab, and the menus appear. The add-on is free for personal use.
Other options include Classic Menu UI (http://bit.ly/feBHd7) and Classic Menu (http://bit.ly/rs8W), which comes in versions for Office 2007 and 2010. The one downside with all of these add-ons is that they do not bring back the keyboard shortcuts (such as Alt-F for File) that open the menus using only the keyboard.
Q: I spent considerable time creating macros in my copy of Word at work. I would like to take those macros home to use them there. How do I do that?
A: Word's macros are kept in one of two places: either in the document that's active at the time you created the macros or in the normal.dot default template, used whenever you create a new document. By default, macros are stored in normal.dot. You choose where they're stored when you create a macro.
To copy macros from one installation of Word to another, therefore, you have to copy the macros either from the document in which they're stored or from normal.dot. Word provides a convenient way for you to do this by means of the Organizer dialog box, accessible by clicking the Organizer button in the Macros window.
The Organizer dialog box is divided into two panels. In the left-hand panel, you open either the normal.dot template or the document that contains the source macros, and in the right-hand panel, you should choose either the current normal.dot template or open the file in which you wish to store the macros. Then, from the left-hand panel, just select the macros you wish to copy, click Copy, and then click Close.
On your old computer, by the way, you can find the normal.dot template by conducting a search for it using Windows' built-in search feature.
Q: Is there a free program that will open and save Word documents natively?
A: The only program that will open and save Word documents 'natively' is Word itself. But because Word's 'doc' or 'docx' format has become the de facto standard in the tech world, almost any third-party word processor can open and save files of this type through a conversion process.
The most robust free word processor that handles doc or docx files is the open source OpenOffice (http://download.openoffice.org) package. During installation, in fact, you'll be asked whether you want OpenOffice to be the default application to open Microsoft Office files. And after installation, you can visit the Options panel in the Tools menu, and under the Load/Save section, tell OpenOffice that you want the Word format to be used automatically for saving files.
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