Word 97 SOS! Can't open saved document! Deadline approacheth!

Okay, I edited, proofed, and saved this document on Word 97. This morning, I tried to open it to do a little fine-tuning, and lo! I get a message that says it “cannot open this document! Please make sure that document has a .DOC extension.”
WTF? I’m in a panic. Ideas, please? If anyone wants to im me, I have msn (karolhovis@hotmail.com), yahoo (karolhovis), and aol (foxtailsage).
Much good karma to anyone with ideas…

Was this saved on a hard drive or a floppy?

If you are still using SR-1, get SR-2 installed to see if that fixes the problem. There was a known bug with large hard drives greater than 2 gig in size (it was large at the time of Word 97) that has been fixed in SR-2.

Other possibilities:

The document was accidentally saved as a template.

The file is already open in another instance of Word.

A long filename problem (where the path includes spaces) that sometimes crops up.

A corrupt Normal.dot file.

I get this problem all the time on my old Win95/Office97 laptop. I double-click on the document icon on the desktop and get the same message. The first time I completely panicked until I clicked on the Open button anyway - and the document opened right up. Have you tried clicking Open or are you stopping once you see the message?

I offer advice which is intended to be preventative rather than corrective: Don’t use inferior, bug-ridden products such as Word.

Try sending the file to a friend with a different platform. If you are Windows (I assume here, and please don’t use Thomas Harris’ retort on the word “assume”) sending it to a friend with a Mac may be helpful.

Now, please don’t flame – I am not trying to start a “Macs are better” discussion. This is not the time for religious debate. :wink:

All I’m saying is that the problem may be something that does not exist in the Mac architecture. Also, Your Friend With A Mac might have Appleworks, which IIRC may be able to open Word 97 docs. YMMV.

There’s another thought: have you tried opening this up with another word processor?

And what superior, 100% bug-free word processor do you suggest? Please, I can’t go on until the Oracle has spoken.

One thing you might try Microsoft’s Word Viewer, available at http://office.microsoft.com/downloads/2000/wd97vwr32.aspx . It allows people who don’t have Word to read Word documents. You would at least be able to copy and paste the text into a new document.

If you’re up to it, I could email you, and you could send it to me. I do that kind of crap all day long. I’ve got lots of tricks up my sleeve.

I think DMC hit the nail on the head though, It’s probably a matter of downloading and updating it to SR-2. To find out if your’s is SR-1, go under the Help Menu (File, Edit, View, Insert…Help) and click on About Microsoft Word. It will tell you there what you are up to.

Good luck.

You’re being snide, but I wasn’t, so I will answer your question for the benefit of the more considerate people reading this thread.

I don’t suggest people use word processors at all unless all they ever write is short memos; the word processor paradigm is provably horrible for producing structured documents. See the Open Directory’s entry on LaTeX Advocacy for the details.

If absence bugs is your most important criterion, then use TeX, the typesetting system by Donald Knuth. TeX has been around for about twenty years now. It’s used by thousands of people and is the accepted document format for many prominent scientific journals. Knuth is so confident in the quality of the program that he has offered to send a cheque to anyone who finds a bug. Furthermore, he doubles the amount of the cheque for every major bug found. He has a similar offer for finding errors (yes, even typos) in the books he writes. You try getting a promise like that from Microsoft – they’d be bankrupt within a week!

However, as TeX was intended as a typesetting engine, most people find it a bit too esoteric to work with. A popular alternative is LaTeX, which is a front-end to TeX designed for writing structured documents. Other front ends include TeXmacs and LyX, both of which have graphical displays reminiscent of word processing programs.

psychonaut, whether you like it or not, everyone else is perceiving a “holier-than-thou” attitude here.

While your suggestions about Word are pobably correct (I don’t have time to check all your references), for many people they are simple not practicable.

For example, I am mandated by my employer to use Microsoft Office XP at my workplace. How does your advice help me if I have a similar problem to that of the OP? I can’t change word processors - I am not permitted to do so!

Many other people are nowhere near as computer literate as you seem to be, they survive as monkey-see, monkey-do users. How does telling them they are using the wrong product help them? particularly if that product takes a much greater learning curve to master?

The simple fact is that for many people, Word is a product that they can use with relative ease, simply because it is a WYSIWYG application. It also has various features designed to make life easier for some users. Do your suggestions offer the same ease of use?

The other overwhelming fact is that Word documents have become a ubiquitous format. It has now become almost essential to have the ability to read and write documents in Word format so that others can access them.

Sure, Word may be flawed, but so was VHS video format. But which format is the world using?

The OP asked for some specific advice, but all he got was a sermon on the error of his ways.

You weren’t being snide, huh? I must have accidentally read something into your OP-relevant, “preventative” advice. :rolleyes:

At the risk of once again accidentally misinterpreting this as a “snide” comment - so other companies with applications that are comparable in # of lines of code to Word (ex: Adobe, Apple, Corel, etc) can make that promise? Puh-leeze.

Comparing TeX to Word and saying one is inferior and bug-ridden is like saying the same thing about Excel vs. Calc.exe.

For some people, yes. For others, no. If I’ve helped a few readers of this thread, if not the OP, by discussing some alternatives to Word, then what was the harm?

Depending on the amount of hand-holding required, yes, quite possibly. This is specifically why I mentioned LyX.

“We’ve always done it this way, so let’s always do it this way” is not a very persuasive argument. I do see where you’re coming from, though. It sounds to me like you, the original poster, and possibly others in this thread would like nothing more than to have a decent, properly-functioning document editor that reads and writes Word files. The problem is that Microsoft keeps the specification under lock and key. This prevents individuals or companies with more competent programmers from writing decent word processors that can read and write Word documents. So what’s the real solution here? Sit on our collective asses until Microsoft gets its act together and writes a decent word processor that won’t munge your files (not likely, given that they’ve been failing miserably for the past ten years), or start advocating a better alternative?

Software should not be judged on the number of lines of code but rather on its functionality. (La)TeX can do just about everything Word can, and a good many things that Word can’t. If it also happens to be a tenth the size and carry a bug-free guarantee, you tell me which program is better.

“TeX” ? This is a joke right? You’re busting on word and your point of comparison is TeX?
With all due respect I don’t think you have the vaguest notion of how complex business documents can be in the real work a day business world, where modern word processors are expected to produce all manner of complex interactive documents. Try working at a law firm or a commercial real estate brokerage or an insurance agency or any modern business communicating with documents.

Word processors are expected to produce documents that have complex formatting, embedded links, can be interactively edited by numerous people and make several email trips back and forth with numerous, commented formatting and editing changes. Even the reports my children produce need to accomodate embedded photos and various other graphics.

Doesn’t it figure that the ONE time I need help asap, I get booted by my usually-trusty isp, and can’t get back online? sigh

Okay, let me go through these ideas, etc and see what I can contribute.

RealityChuck, it’s saved on the hard drive. Well, the document that I need to open is, anyway. I also have on hard drive the original document (the non-edited version), which I can open, so I’m in the midst of trying to re-proof that one while also trying to salvage the one I already finished.

DMC: Oooh! I have no idea what any of that means, but I DO get a message that says my normal.doc is corrupt, or something to that effect. I’m not sure how to fix this? I also find that when I turn on the computer after it’s been shut down incorrectly, I get a “long filename” message. I don’t know what SR-1 and SR-2 are, but I’ll see if I can figure it out. But would all those problems cause this type of issue with just a single file, rather than all of them? I’m thinking you’re probably on the right track with these ideas…I just am not sure how to fix them.

psychonaut, I don’t have an option. My job requires Word 97; that’s what they use to edit, that’s what I have to use to proof. I don’t know enough about various programs to debate the whole issue, and in my case it’s a moot question anyway.

I was able to send the message to someone else, who was able to open it through a different program, c&p it, and send it back. Unfortunately, that didn’t help, because it reformatted the entire thing…meaning all the highlighted parts, editorial comments, corrections, etc, were lost.

So, I know it’s there. I just don’t know how to open it.

Will reinstalling Word 97 help prevent this in the future, at least? I can’t use any other version of Word for my editing.
Thanks so much for everyone’s input, I’m still holding out hope that we might be able to open this back up…it’s on it’s way to astro right now, and I might try to send it on to NurseCarmen. I’m off to look at the SR-1 thingy now, per your instructions.

You don’t know much about (La)TeX, do you?

Specifically why TeX was written. Show me some formatting you can do with a word processor that you can’t do with (La)TeX. I’ll be happy to show you many examples of the converse.

Specifically why LaTeX was written. Word can’t even do page numbering correctly, let alone references to other chapters and sections. This was discussed recently on comp.text.tex.

Word files use a binary format that is not amenable in the slightest to collaborative writing. (La)TeX documents are entirely text-based, and as such can be used with any one of a number of popular collaboration and versioning systems. You can edit a (La)TeX file no matter what sort of computer you’re on, including practically all handheld devices (for which Word is not universally available).

Since when have you not been able to embed photos and graphics in (La)TeX?

I’m sorry, but you must be thinking of a different program entirely. Feel free to write back once you’ve read about what (La)TeX is and does. (Yes, I am now entering holier-than-thou mode, but deservedly so. This person obviously has no idea what he’s talking about, or perhaps last used TeX when it was released twenty years ago.)

Anyway, this is getting off-topic. If anyone wants to learn more about (La)TeX or compare it with Word, let’s start another thread.

Let me know when you’re being snide, will ya? I don’t want to misinterpret.

Can you give me some examples of the “good many things” (La)TeX can do that Word can’t? Can you quantify the “just about” everything?

Can you provide a cite for that “bug-free guarantee” comment? Since having a piece of bug-free software is a mathematical impossibility, I’d like to make some money, or read the fine print in which “bug” is defined.

I’d like to apologize for the apparent tone of the advice in my original post, which, had I taken the time to read it over before hitting submit, should have been revised to carry the prefix “if circumstances permit”.

To Dooku: I already explained the nature of the “bug-free” guarantee; it refers to Knuth’s promise to provide successively larger rewards for anyone who finds a bug. After twenty years he hasn’t gone bankrupt yet. As for the rest of your questions, the documents at the link I provided, as well as any book on (La)TeX, should answer them much more thoroughly than I could (or should) in this forum, but if you’re not simply attacking my choice of words and really do want to rely on me as your primary source of information on this topic, please contact me by e-mail or start a new thread.

Well, I suppose I am “simply attacking your choice of words”, since this is an on-line forum. More specifically, I simply don’t believe your claims that (La)Tex can do just about everything Word can do and some things it can’t.

Feel free to open another thread about the magical powers of TeX vs. Word the file munger and miserable failure. But, if your proof of that is “read the documents at the link I provided”, then my rebuttle is: you are wrong. My proof: http://www.microsoft.com. Debate over.