MS Word problem, help please

Microsoft Word, you’re testing my patience! I’ve never had to ask a computer question here, because I’m usually pretty savvy with them. But Word is driving me out of my mind as I’m typing up my thesis. For some reason, it has taken up to inserting lines randomly throughout my paper. The lines look like a bunch of tiny black squares (maybe 5x5 pixels) going from margin to margin. I didn’t insert them, and can’t make them go away. They instantly reappear any time I indent something.

For those who use Word, the line looks just like what you get when you type a few asterisks (***) and then hit RETURN, and it makes it into a line automatically for you. But this isn’t just a decorative line. It’s the line from HELL, and won’t go away. For some reason, when I click on the lines, they can be dragged up or down, making sort of internal horizontal margins.

Any help would be greatly appreciated, before I defenestrate my computer. FYI I’m running Word 2000 (v9.0), on a Windows Me platform. Many thanks in advance if you can exorcise these lines/margins/whatever they are!

Wouldn’t defenestrating a computer mean migrating to Linux, technically speaking? :wink:

Sorry, no help with the problem, otherwise. These lines sound a bit like page breaks, but clearly aren’t. I’ve used word and not encountered this problem.

I make no promises.

However, go to Tools on the primary Toolbar
Select AutoCorrect
Select Tab AutoFormat As You Type
Under the Apply as you type heading, deselect Borders.

(You may have accidentally hit CTRL + R at the wrong moment and invoked an automatic border insertion. I suspect that this is the result of some special formatting that you have applied to create the thesis.)

As noted, above, this is a guess with no guarantees.

Thank you tomndebb for the tip, but that doesn’t seem to be what it is. Since it does not do this in new documents I create, I suspect it was something I did to the format of the thesis (there isn’t any special formatting I’ve put in yet). I do think you’re on to something, that I accidentally did something with a keystroke or mouse-click to embed this oddity into my thesis documents. If only I knew how to make them disappear.

I can make inidividual ones disappear, but they reappear instantly when I indent something or hit RETURN. And then more appear elsewhere! If these are some sort of Word Gremlins, I guess this is what I get for working on my essay after midnight.

One more thing: in addition to being at random places on certain pages, these dotted lines (thicker than a regular Page Break line) are at the bottom of every single page. Maybe that means something.

what I found sometimes helps, if you have a mystery error, is to select the whole document (ctrl A), copy the whole document (ctrl C) start up a new form (ctrl N), and paste (ctrl V).
Close down the original and save the second with a different name.

It got rid of strange lines with me!

so give it a try and see if that works?

Check Format > Borders and Background

In Word 2002 (I don’t remember if this is available in earlier versions), there’s a Format, Reveal Formatting… option that might at least give you a clue about what’s happening.

It does sound as if you’ve managed to alter the Normal style, so it’s putting in a page or paragraph border, in which case Urban Ranger’s suggestion would lead you to the right place.

It’s probably a paragraph border. Hightlight the text beneath the line, go to “Format,” “Borders and Shading” and set the borders to “None.”

I believe Word changes the Borders by this method if the autoformat setting tomanddeb mentioned is on.

Q284927 - WD2002: Dotted Lines That Appear Under Dates, Names, and Places Are Smart Tag Indicators That Can Save You Time

When you type in any of the following types of information in Microsoft Word, purple dotted lines appear under the text: Person names, Dates, Times, Addresses, Places, Telephone numbers, Recent Outlook e-mail recipients, Stock ticker symbols. When Word recognizes these types of data, the data is marked with a Smart Tag indicator, a purple dotted underline.

If it’s happening with ALL documents, you could always delete NORMAL.DOT and see if that helps. Search your hard drive, then delete (completely, not just send to Recycle Bin).

Thanks to everyone who offered their help. It turned out to be, as a few of you suggested, a paragraph border. So the Format > Borders & Background > None option did the trick; for some reason there had been a Custom Border selected (don’t know how that happened, since I never use borders), which kept insinuating itself throughout the thesis.

And now it’s gone, and sanity’s (somewhat) restored. Thanks, everyone!