MS Word weirdnesses

I’m using Word 2002 with XP Home.

Frequently, I’ll open a document, scroll down a bit, and click to position the cursor for typing. Word doesn’t like this – it snaps me back to the top of the document. It seems to want 2 clicks before it’s willing to accept typed characters where I want to put them.

It’s also fond of putting up the “Do you want to save …” dialog box when I attempt to close a document after merely viewing it – no changes of any kind have been done. It will occasionally do this even when the first action I take is to try to close the document.

And then there’s the flashing screen. This can appear on an attempt to close a document, or to check its Properties. The screen flashes a couple of times a second until I mouse down to the Task bar. Once I do so, things are normal except that the item on the taskbar representing the current document is shown in bright orange.

All these problems are reasonably frequent, but intermittent. I’ve tried to discern a pattern to them, without success. Is there any known way to stop this silliness?

Word is a popular target for virii, do you have an up to date virus scanner? If not, try, they have a good online scanner.

The saving thing happens to me all the time… when I print things. Never understand it.

The others… no idea.

Yes, I stay up to date with Norton AV.

I can shed some light on the saving issue, I think. It stems from the blurring of the environment with the document.

The environment in which you view a Word document includes such things as your view style (outline, page layout, et al) and your zoom. These are different from the properties of the document itself, such as its contents and formatting.

I believe Microsoft has decided that certain aspects of the environment should be restored when a document is closed and reopened. For example, if you’re editing a document in page layout view and you close it, it’d be nice if it comes back up in page layout view when you reopen it. For the specific example of view style, an explicit save is required when the view style is changed, even though the document itself is unchanged.

My understanding of MS Word gets fuzzy at this point. I presume from the behaviour that actions such as printing have some effect on the environment, as Word always wants to save the (unedited) document after these actions. What, specifically, MS Word is remembering about your environment when you do these actions is a mystery to me. I can’t see why printing (without modifying the default print settings) would alter the environment, but I think that it does and that’s why a save is required.

The above is reasoned from a design perspective rather than from any specific knowledge about Word.

I didn’t say I’d be shedding a bright light.

I may also be able to provide some input on the screen flashing. I use Windows 98 and Word 9something, and I get a similar flashing, but less so. When Word pops up a dialog box that requires my input, but Word does not have the current focus, its taskbar icon flashes blue until I move focus onto that window. It’s the computer’s way of telling me that it’s not able to proceed with whatever task it may be doing in the background while I’m doing something else.

I like the fact that it’s unobtrusive, because I hate (passionately) it when the computer changes my focus without my asking it to. I’m busy doing one thing, what makes you think you have the right to tell me I should be doing something else? The taskbar flash, while still kind of annoying, at least keeps out of my way while it’s telling me my input is required. (Note to web designers: never ever pop your browser window to the top unless you’re telling me my only child just died in a fire.)

Flashing the whole screen would send me into conniptions, but it may be trying to do the same thing. Where is your focus when this happens? If it’s elsewhere, that may be what’s happening.

I hope that helps.

As to the point about saving the full environment: This makes sense in general, but I’m still uncertain about my problem. I not infrequently get the “Do you want to save …” dialog box when I’ve done nothing more than open a document and then click on the upper-right “X” (to close it) – no scolling, printing or anything else.

My research on the flashing problem coincides with your thought that it’s an issue of “focus.” But when you open a document, shouldn’t that cause the focus to be on that document? Is there some sort of option I can choose that make this be the case?

BTW, I should cotrrect what I said by noting that it’s the dialog box (and the taskbar item) that flash, not thw whole screen.

Interesting on both counts.

I have no idea why Word would want to save when you’ve done nothing but open and close the document. I don’t know if it’s a bug or a feature.

As for the issue of focus, it could be that the computer thinks you’re trying to focus elsewhere. Did you click in another window just beforehand? Maybe some web page you’re loading launched a pop-under ad and changed focus on you. Both of these are unlikely from my interpretation of your explanation. It sounds like the computer just gets confused about what’s going on; maybe it’s launching the dialog box in some strange way that affects the focus.

After two paragraphs of Not Much Help, I can but wonder if the two problems are related. How long have you had this installation of Windows/Word? Have these issues always occurred? Do they occur on similarly-configured computers when opening the same document(s)? It could be that the installation is corrupted (not unheard of with Windows). Try to create a reproducible scenario, then repeat that scenario on a different computer.

Good luck.

XP needs a shedload of capacity to function. Home system users should ask: do I need XP? . After all, who needs all the features. Although, for large capacity machines, Joey G could be right and also try the faster AV onliner from McAfee