Blog: Office

After switching to a Thinkpad T440s I started having display problems with Office applications. It would start as a minor issue but end up getting refreshed into a major display problem, which made most of a message or document unreadable. [more]

I found a blog entry at http://blogs.technet.com/b/rmilne/archive/2014/07/08/outlook-2013-distorted-display-issues.aspx that provided a workaround until the Thinkpad display drivers are fixed; disabling hardware graphics acceleration. This is accomplished from within the Office application by going to File -> Options -> Advanced -> Display and check the box to “Disable hardware graphics acceleration.


 

If you want to copy Office ribbon customization to another system you can export them and then import them through office. [more]

Export a customized ribbon:

You can export your ribbon and Quick Access Toolbar customizations into a file that can be imported on another computer.

  1. Click the File tab
  2. Under Help, click Options
  3. Click Customize Ribbon
  4. In the Customize the Ribbon window, click Import/Export
  5. Click Export all customizations

 Import a customized ribbon:

You can import customization files to replace the current layout of the ribbon and Quick Access Toolbar.  By being able to import the customization, you can keep Microsoft Office programs looking the same from computer to computer.  Note: When you import a ribbon customization file, you lose all prior ribbon and Quick Access Toolbar customizations.

  1. Click the File tab
  2. Under Help, click Options
  3. Click Customize Ribbon
  4. In the Customize the Ribbon window, click Import/Export
  5. Click Import customization file

See http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook-help/export-or-import-a-customized-ribbon-HA101850649.aspx#_Toc263250006 for additional details.


 

We were experiencing a problem where, at random times, both HP and Xerox printers have had instances where the pages printed are missing characters. Bolded or special characters and words with double-consonants are the easiest way to reproduce it.

After much troubleshooting, it appeared this was caused due to updated font files as part of the installation of Office 2010, in particular the Calibri font (which is also the default font in Word). Office 2010 updates the Calibri font set to version 5.62. This version is also included as part of the font subsystem on Windows 7 and Windows 2008 R2. However, Windows 2003 and Windows 2008 have version v5. When printing through a print server that is running on Windows 2003 or 2008, the font version mismatch would cause the missing characters. [more]

In the past, failing the resource group over to the other node fixes the issue. Reinstalling the Universal Print drivers on the physical nodes of the print cluster also seemed to alleviate the issue, but did not fix the problem long term. Finally during one MW, none of these fixes seem to fix the issue whatsoever and the problem was no longer random.

The following article describes a similar issue and offers the following resolutions: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2592142

Option 1: Install Office 2010 fonts on the print servers (recommended)
Option 2: Bypass the print servers and print directly to the printers
Option 3: Use an alternative to the Calibri font

Option 2 and 3 were not really long term solutions for us, so we investigated Option 1. The article states: The Office 2010 font can be installed from an Office 2010 install source. Perform a custom install of Office and install only fonts under shared components. You may receive a prompt to enter the product key but you should not need to active it.

However, we were able to update the fonts by completing the following steps:
1. Copy the Calibri font files from a system with the updated version (4 files – regular, bold, italic, and bold italic) to an accessible location
2. Open the control panel font applet from the system with the outdated font files
3. Delete the four files for the Calibri font
4. Reboot the system.
5. Reopen the font applet from the control panel and verify the files have been removed.
6. From the File menu, select install new font.
7. Browse to the location where the files were copied to in step 1.
8. Select all fonts and choose Install
9. Reboot the system
10. Reopen the font applet from the control panel and verify the files have been added. You can open each font file and verify the version. 


 

It is great to have an abundance of screen real estate via our wide screen monitors. But, if you have several Microsoft docs or spreadsheets open it is possible to get them confused and end up editing the wrong file.

I was wishing I could change the windows color to distinguish between open files, but came up with a good alternative (at least for Microsoft files).  It is possible to change the page color on Word or Excel files. Just go to the Page Layout ribbon and select Page Color. You will get a drop down of standard colors you can select to change the background colors of your open files. This allows you to color code any open files so it is easy to recognize different versions.

When you are finished, it is easy to go back and select No Color to return to a normal white background.


 

I recently got very annoyed that I couldn’t open 2 instances of Excel.  After a little bit of research, I found out if you open up Excel and go to File -> Options -> Advanced, scroll down to the bottom, and underneath the General section check the “Ignore other applications that use Dynamic Data Exchange” option.  Here is a screen shot of the setting:


 

A local computer consulting client started getting this error every time she tried to close Word or Excel:

The instruction at “0x01003ce4” referenced memory at “0x00000018”.  The memory could not be “read”.  Click on OK to terminate.  Click Cancel to debug the program.

I did a quick search and only saw errors about Office Live Sign in and thought that couldn't be it.  I went on site to remove and reinstall Office.  I first reproduced the error and saw that the message box had "OfficeLiveSignIn.exe - Application Error." in the heading.  The user was using the Office Live messenger instant messaging client.  It had installed an addon to Word and Excel.  Disabling this addon fixed the problem.


 

Normallly when you open two PowerPoint documents they open in the same instance of PowerPoint.  This makes it difficult to compare two presentations.  The solution is simply to open another instance of PowerPoint by using a second user account.

In the Start menu, SHIFT-right click the PowerPoint icon, choose "Run As" and enter the details for the other user. You need to have Admin privileges to do this.
You will also find that the second instance saves by default to the second user’s "My Documents" but this can be changed in Tools > Options > Save tab.

I was then able to open separate PowerPoint presentations on each monitor!


 

While working at a customer site a couple of users reported Word 2007 has no page number gallery when you go Insert -> Page Numbers. After investigating I found that just deleting the Building Blocks.dotx file in their profile fixed the problem.

Windows XP Location:
c:\Documents and Settings\{your username}\Application Data\Microsoft\Document Building Blocks\1033\Building Blocks.dotx

Windows Vista & 7 Location:
c:\Users\{your username}\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Document Building Blocks\1033\Building Blocks.dotx


 

I’ve been running the Office 2010 beta for a while, although I’ve seen this problem occur on Office 2007 as well. Periodically, I’ll lose my ability to select text with the mouse inside Outlook. It just simply won’t work. Closing and restarting Outlook always fixes the problem, but it’s an annoying problem to have to deal with. After some searching on the internet, a solution from Microsoft popped up. From http://support.microsoft.com/kb/940791 [more]

Problem Description:

You install an automatic update for Microsoft Office Word 2007 on a Windows Vista-based computer and then restart the computer. If Word 2007 was running when the computer was restarted, you experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • The mouse does not work when you use Word.
  • You cannot open a Word document from the Search window in Windows Vista.
  • You cannot open a Word document from Windows Desktop Search.
  • Word crashes when you try to start or exit Word.
  • Word crashes when you open the Open dialog box.
  • Word crashes when you save a document.
  • Word crashes when you close a document.

The fix is simply to open the registry, browse to and delete the following registry subkey: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Word\Data

Then close and restart your Word applications (Word, Outlook, etc.). So far, this seems to have fixed my problem, although I’m going to give it another week or two before I call it comfirmed.


 

Email usability: Best Practices for Microsoft Outlook 2007.  Here are three things that I would like to mention to help manage email.

1)  Set up a search folder and include many folders – inbox, rss feeds, mailing lists, Communicator conversations, etc.  This will put all items you need to consider in one place.

2)  Set up a rule to flag for follow up for all items.  Use the 4 D's for handling email: Delete it, Do it (respond, take action, file), Delegate it (forward it), or Defer it.  Once the email it taken care of, mark it complete.

3)  Use sorting and searching to find items.  You can click on the column headers to sort, then start typing the contents of the field and it will jump to those items.  An even better way (but requiring more typing) is searching.  Since our Exchange server indexes these items, searching is really fast.  You can enter search terms in the format keyword:value to find items.  For example, subject:"sql account" from:john, will find that email from John about that sql account.  To find the available keywords, search for help on “narrow your search” to find the topic “Learn to narrow your search criteria for better searches in Outlook”.  You can also search contacts and calendars. [more]

These ideas came from an article by Melissa MacBeth called Best Practices for Microsoft Outlook 2007, available at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook/HA103715211033.aspx.  This is a long article, but it has many good ideas.