Blog: Office

Prior to deploying Office 2007 enterprise wide at one of our customer sites, we selected a cross-section of users to test various Office applications that were used within the organization. One particular user was complaining of a typing delay when using a particular database application in Access 2007. Since this user was using Access 2007 on a Terminal Server across a WAN link, my initial suspect was a slow  WAN connection. Upon reviewing the user’s setup I discovered that the user was using a thin client to first connect to a production Terminal Server then launching another RDP session to connect to the Office 2007 test Terminal Server, this could cause delays as well. After reconfiguring the user’s thin client to connect directly to the test Terminal Server the user still complained of typing delay. Since the user was located in at a WAN location in the same city as the data center, I had the user come to the data center to test the database application thereby taking any WAN slowness out of the equation. The typing delay still remained though. [more]

After conducting further research on the issue, I discovered an article instructing those who experience Access 2007 performance problems to turn off the Access 2007 Status Bar. (Office Orb -> Access Options -> Advanced -> scroll down under DISPLAY and uncheck “Status Bar”) Thinking that I had nothing to lose I gave it a try and it immediately remedied the problem! Who knew that keeping track of the Caps Lock and Num Lock was so resource intensive! 


If you’ve ever wanted to restore the original Outlook shortcut to the desktop, you’ve probably found that a normal shortcut that points to outlook.exe (the kind with an arrow on the icon) lacks some of the functionality that the original Outlook icon had (for instance the ability to edit your machines “Mail” settings by right clicking and choosing properties). To restore the Outlook original icon to the desktop, edit the registry as outlined in the following KB article:


Normally, if you want to install Office Communicator Mobile on your phone you have to do so by running an MSI on you PC, then sync your phone to install the application through ActiveSync. If you prefer to just install directly from the .cab file, you can browse to (this is a Microsoft website) on your mobile phone, choose your phones OS, then install the .cab directly from the website, no PC or syncing involved!


Access keys provide a way to quickly use a command by pressing a few keys, no matter where you are in the program. Every command in Office Word 2007 can be accessed by using an access key. You can get to most commands by using two to five keystrokes. To discover and use an access key: [more]

  1. Press ALT while in MS Word 2007 and the KeyTips will be displayed over each feature that is available in the current view.

    The above image was excerpted from Training on Microsoft Office Online.
  2. Press the letter shown in the KeyTip over the feature that you want to use.
  3. Depending on which letter you press, you may be shown additional KeyTips. For example, if the tab is active and you press I, the tab is displayed, along with the KeyTips for the groups on that tab.
  4. Continue pressing letters until you press the letter of the command or control that you want to use. In some cases, you must first press the letter of the group that contains the command.
  5. To cancel the action that you are taking and hide the KeyTips, press ALT.



The Out of Office Assistant in Outlook 2007 is a bit more helpful in letting people inside the company know where you are. Microsoft has included a “Inside My Organization” and “Outside My Organization” message area. For example, if I were to set an Out of Office message for both internal and external, it would look like this: [more]


Notice how I can also set the time range that the Out of Office Assistant is running.  This is a pretty nifty new feature for Outlook 2007.


As I was building a new laptop and begin to work with Office 2007 apps, I missed the little customizable toolbar. When I started looking for it I didn’t even know what it was called. I found out it is the “Quick Access Toolbar.” Also, the toolbar settings are stored in a file for each application, “Word.qat, Excel.qat, PowerPoint.qat (These are the apps I tested, maybe other Office 2007 apps too. OneNote does not have the Quick Access Toolbar.).”

If you save or can recover the *.qat files from your previous work environment you can save them to your new system and be good to go. Here are the file locations.

  • For XP: C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Setting\Application Data\Microsoft\Office
  • For Vista: C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office


During an information security audit I was working with a file from a regulating entity containing audit procedures.  The file had several  tables with form fields and was protected.

The "form fill" restriction was too limiting as I worked to record audit information in the document.  The longer I worked the more frustrated I became.  It would have been much more useful if I could “unprotect” the file.  I had heard others talking about scripts that could be used to discover the password, but I didn’t have access to any password discovery applications. [more] 

I did remember that Word 2007 was using xml as the source code to format it’s documents.  It made me wonder if there would be anything in the xml code that could be used to unprotect the file.  I made a copy of the file, saved it as xml, and then opened it with WordPad to view the xml code.  I searched until I found something about document protection.  Here is what I found within the documentProtection command.
<w:documentProtection w:edit="forms" w:enforcement="1" w:cryptProviderType="rsaFull" w:cryptAlgorithmClass="hash" w:cryptAlgorithmType="typeAny" w:cryptAlgorithmSid="4" w:cryptSpinCount="50000" w:hash="D+Y7lSKVquz/6NisDVadZtFS31g=" w:salt="J6dnbwcKHV7Gn4bMQjXoUA=="/>
In the w:enforcement field I changed the "1" to "0".  I saved the document.  Then I opened my altered copy in Word and the document was intact, with proper formatting, but now it was unlocked.


In Microsoft Office 2007, you can adjust the size of the menu "ribbon" (term used by Microsoft) at the top of Word, Excel, etc. by changing the font size of the "Menu" item under your Display properties.  Reducing the font size reduces not only the size of the font, but the size of the ribbon icons as well which give you more real estate when working in Office 2007 apps.  To get there, right-click on your Desktop -> Properties -> Appearance tab -> Advanced button -> choose "Menu" in the "Item" pull-down box -> change the "Size" pull-down box next to the Font name.  Note that since you are changing the general Display properties, the change will affect menus other than just Office.  [more]

For example:

A font size of 8 ...

Looks like this in Word:

 And a font size of 14 ...

Looks like this in Word (notice that for reference purposes the "This is a test" is the same font and size in both screen shots):


I've had problems before where drive mappings to computers that were shutdown/no longer available caused a long timeout when trying to open files in Microsoft Office applications (  I recently was having the same symptoms for a user, but they didn't have any strange drive mappings and we even cleared all their "Network Places" that weren’t available.  We had also unchecked the Tools -> Folder Options… ->View -> Automatically search for network folders and printers, which has also been known to cause delays.  I used RegMon to try to see what was causing the delay.  I found that whenever a file was opened or right clicked on (when the delay was occurring), the machine was processing the "Open With…" list and eventually getting to a EXE that was located on a networked machine that was no longer available.  I could see the registry keys associated with the network interfaces and TCP start to be accessed and this is when the delay was occurring.  I went and removed the registry entries that were for the remote machine and this fixed the delay.


Writing scripts in Visual Basis for Applications (VBA) is convenient for automating tasks within Word, Excel, etc.  However, if you then want to be able to run any of those scripts as VBScript there are functions of VBA that are not supported in VBScript that you will have to modify before the script will compile.  A list of VBA functions that are not supported in VBScript can be found here.  The Control Flow functions (e.g. GoTo command) got me recently.