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Tech: microsoft Word

12 Feb 03 - 08:19 AM (#888442)
Subject: Tech: microsoft Word
From: John Hardly

Any of you work regularly with Word?

I'm having a problem with it. Do you know what gets the program into a cycle where it will only open one document at a time?

My wife has been working on a number of letters in the past few days. To save time she of course copies and pastes large sections of letters.

It has never happened to me, but for some reason it always happens to her -- when she tries to open up the document to paste to she gets a window/prompt that asks "would you like to REVERT back to ______".

From that point on it is impossible to open two Word documents at the same time.

This happened to her last year and we couldn't solve it. It seems that just through enough times of turning the computer off and on the defaults finally went back to operating properly again.

I've tried to shut the computer down already, to no avail.

She lost two pages of a letter this morning in this mess and is reluctant to start working again until I can figure out what's eating her words!

Any help would be greatly appreciated!


12 Feb 03 - 08:28 AM (#888447)
Subject: RE: Tech: microsoft Word
From: Malcolm Douglas

Look around to see if you have any of Word's temporary files lying around on your hard drive. If you've shut down without closing Word properly, chances are there are versions of some documents still extant which the program may try to access. If you find any, delete them (but not while Word is open).

12 Feb 03 - 08:39 AM (#888457)
Subject: RE: Tech: microsoft Word
From: Malcolm Douglas

Actually, open them before deciding whether to delete or not. There's an outside chance that you might recover some lost material. It helps if you have Explorer set to display "hidden" files. The temporary files begin with ~$ as a rule.

Of course, your problem may be something else entirely; last time it happened to me, though, it was lurking temp files that caused it.

12 Feb 03 - 09:43 AM (#888506)
Subject: RE: Tech: microsoft Word
From: George Seto -

Usually, the Revert message comes from having a copy of the file already open. Did you have that file already open?

I've never encountered the situation where it would cause the computer to not open more than one file at a time.

12 Feb 03 - 09:46 AM (#888509)
Subject: RE: Tech: microsoft Word
From: Lyndi-loo

Yes, the revert message sometimes comes when you have opened the bakckup file by mistake. Check that the doc does not have the extension .bak

12 Feb 03 - 10:08 AM (#888527)
Subject: RE: Tech: microsoft Word
From: John Hardly

Thanks so far...

How would I find a hidden or temporary file? I've looked at the properties of the documents with which she is working and none of them have .bak and there is no ~$ anywhere to be seen.

I've tried the find > file thingy and found some "temporary" files I didn't know I had but nothing related to anything recent.

I also thought that if I could find the "temporary file" I might recover some of her work, but now I've tried shutting the computer down and still, if I open up a new document to work on, and then pull up an older document, the older document merely replaces the new one. I cannot have both open at the same time.

yikes. There's just the slightest outside chance that I'm gonna lose my temper.

12 Feb 03 - 10:24 AM (#888541)
Subject: RE: Tech: microsoft Word
From: Malcolm Douglas

Do forgive me if I suggest something that I'd suggest to a learner, just in case. Have you tried minimising the new open document to see if the earlier one is still there, hidden behind it? If someone opens a file and later tries to open it again (without having closed it) that "revert" business will certainly result. That's probably too obvious, but worth mentioning.

Rather than opening multiple documents in the same window, you might try in future opening two separate iterations of Word and tiling them on your screen; that way you can more easily copy-and-paste from one open document to another, with less risk of losing things.

12 Feb 03 - 10:34 AM (#888554)
Subject: RE: Tech: microsoft Word
From: John Hardly

nothing to forgive! I'm as novice as can be and just thankful to anyone willing to help!

When her "accident" happened she actually had been working on a letter (document). she then decided to pull up (from the start>documents route) a previous document that she had worked on the previous day.

From that document she highlighted a section and clicked edit>copy. She then closed that document and went back to the one she was working on but when she pulled it up she got the "do you want to revert" prompt. She clicked yes.

Ever since, we cannot run two documents, individually named or otherwise.

12 Feb 03 - 10:41 AM (#888561)
Subject: RE: Tech: microsoft Word
From: NicoleC

What version of Word?

12 Feb 03 - 10:49 AM (#888574)
Subject: RE: Tech: microsoft Word
From: John Hardly


12 Feb 03 - 11:44 AM (#888621)
Subject: RE: Tech: microsoft Word
From: JohnInKansas

John H:

That message simply means (usually) that the document is already open.

In Word 2K, especially on WinXP, the icons that show open documents are "merged" at the bottom of the screen if you get too many things open, and it sometimes gets pretty tough to tell what you have open. If you click on the icon in the toolbar, it opens a scroll listing the things that are open, but if you have quite a few things up, it can still be confusing.

You have the document open. You try to open a second copy. Word is simply asking if you really want the old one from the disk, or if you'd rather continue with the one that's already open. Especially if you've done a few cut-and-paste tasks, the one on the disk quite likely is obsolete and you can lose recent work if you "revert back" to the copy that's been fully saved.

As to why it will only open one document at a time, I can only surmise that it probably isn't directly related to the "double open," but more likely, she runs out of memory at about the same time that she forgets what she has open?????

Because of the massive amounts of stuff that newer versions of Windows tries to save - for your own good, of course, it is quite easy to fill all available RAM, and often all available TEMP space, at which point almost any Win program cuts back to what it can handle in the remaining space.

It takes 20 or 30 MB of RAM just to open Word, and an additional 10 to whatever (document size plus some) for each document, so if you have more than a few open you are simply choking the memory resources.

Most Windows programs will also not clear temp files from the hard drive until the application is closed. Closing the document doesn't clear the temp space, and no matter how large your hard drive, only a "fixed" percentage of it can be used for temps. (You can change that, but don't really need to in most cases.)

It is a good idea, especially if working with many files and large clipboard operations, to periodically close Word and reopen after you've flexed your carpals. If you do run into problems with temp files not clearing, use Start - Programs - Accessories - System Tools - Disk Cleanup, to get everything "clean and shiny."


12 Feb 03 - 07:17 PM (#888990)
Subject: RE: Tech: microsoft Word
From: Snuffy

Word 97 seems to open multiple documents in the same Word program, and I switch between them using CTRL+F6, but Word 2000 seems to open a separate instance of Word for each document and I need to use ALT+TAB to switch.

12 Feb 03 - 08:29 PM (#889048)
Subject: RE: Tech: microsoft Word
From: NicoleC

Snuffy, if you like the classic method -- i.e. documents available under the "Window" Menu in the Word toolbar instead of on the taskbar -- you can switch it back.

Go to Tools -> Options
Uncheck the box that says "Windows in Taskbar."
(It's on the "View" tab in XP - might be different in 2000, but I can't recall exactly.)

12 Feb 03 - 08:37 PM (#889054)
Subject: RE: Tech: microsoft Word
From: John Hardly

thanks all. I think I'm gonna punt. I can use it with only one document open at a time.

Funny thing about that "Disk Clean-up" I use it regularly but I must admit, I wonder if I do it right because, after I've done it, if I call it up again, the very same temporary internet files still show (when I click on "show files"). Leads me to believe that it doesn't actually delete my temporary internet files.

Can you tell I'm not a tech guy?

12 Feb 03 - 11:11 PM (#889166)
Subject: RE: Tech: microsoft Word
From: NicoleC

Well, John, if all else fails uninstall Word completely and reinstall. If it's Office, you might as well do Office at the same time since you might have a bad shared file.

Dunno, I dug around in MS TechNet and the Knowledge Base and didn't find anything today on your problem.

13 Feb 03 - 09:49 AM (#889437)
Subject: RE: Tech: microsoft Word

You could also try unchecking Allow Fast Saves in Tools\Options

13 Feb 03 - 10:01 AM (#889454)
Subject: RE: Tech: microsoft Word
From: GUEST,Russ


I've Done PC application support for years.
Here's how I would deal with your problem.

In my experience "Revert" ALWAYS means that the document is already open.
The simplest way to see every open document is
Window / Arrange All
From there start maximizing windows and closing documents.

But that's for next time.
For now,

Tools / Macro / Macros / Macros in:
Make a note of the files listed
You will see ""
You will see the name of the currently opened doc(s)
You might see others
Close the box without doing anything except making a note of all the files/docs in the list.

Find all the files you noted and rename them. New name is irrelevant.
e.g. "" becomes ""

If the problem persists

Reinstall Word.
Brutal but effective.
My motto: "Quick, Elegant, Choose One."


13 Feb 03 - 05:11 PM (#889790)
Subject: RE: Tech: microsoft Word
From: JohnInKansas

You actually have three problems here.
First: you got the "revert" message.
Second: you now can only open one document at a time.
Third: Momma's mad at you because she lost some files.

The third problem being the most painful (probably), there is a remote possibility that you might still find some bits and pieces of what was lost. Unfortunately, many of the things that are the "best first steps" to fixing the program may already have obliterated what might have been there. If you want to look at what might be salvaged you need to do it before any other "big steps" are taken.

HOW TO: Recover a Lost File in Word 2002 will tell you what things you can try, but you should look it over before doing any additional file deletions or disk cleanup. Since you've already (probably) cleared most temp and autorecovery files it is not very likely that you'll find much; but it's handy info for later maybe(?).

Word 2002 has a built-in troubleshooter. Open Word, click on Help, and select "Detect and Repair." Before you launch it, you may want to look at the rather scary HOW TO: Reset User Options and Registry Settings in Word 2002. DO NOT worry about the stuff about changing the Registry you DON'T want to go there, at this time anyway. When you get the document open, you can click on the link at the top of the page, or go about half way down to (or click Edit Find in Internet Explorer and search for: ) "Detect and Repair." There is a rather brief outline of this procedure followed by what to do next if it doesn't work. (Command Mode repair or Reinstall.)

Most of the files needed to do the Detect and Repair thing should be in CAB files on your machine, but there is the possibility that it may ask for your Office/Word installation CD, so you should have it handy.

Microsoft has Knowledge Base article: WD2002: A Beginner's Guide to Troubleshooting Problems in Word 2002 that has a step-by-step procedure for running through a complete(?) checkout of Word 2002, if it comes to that. The procedure is fairly long, complex, and requries following numerous links to other places, so you'd want to print things and keep track of where you've been if you want to try to follow it. You might be interested in looking at it, but consider it a "last resort" if we can't find something simpler.

I've found a few things that might be applicable, but many of them depend on details of your setup. We know you have Word 2002, but:
How do you start Word? (Start Menu, Desktop Icon, QuickStart Icon)
What Windows Version? (Win95, Win98, WinME, Win2000, WinXP)
What kind of Hard Drive? (FAT, FAT32, NTFS - and how large)
How much free space do you show on your HD?
Have you defragged lately?

These latter things will all be academic if the trouble-shooter works, but if you continue to have problems it would be helpful to have a little more info. If you don't want to publish your specs, you're welcome to PM them to me, and I'll see if I see anything in them.

And have you backed up all the .doc files that are good?