Yesterday an issue related to Word 2007 surfaced online that is worth a closer look. A Microsoft Answers forum post discussed a defect in Word 2007 pertaining to DOCX files exchanged between Word 2010 and users of Word 2007. It had been reported that some Word 2007 users were experiencing a situation where spaces were “disappearing” when viewing or printing documents sent to them from users of Word 2010.
This is an issue related to how Word 2007 opened files. In other words, the issue is not with Word 2010, it was a defect in the file / open code of Word 2007 that caused the problem. Reports that Open XML caused this issue are not accurate.
We discovered and fixed the issue in Word 2007 as part of a release that first appeared on September 25, 2008, well before shipping Office 2010. It was important enough for us to push the fix through the Automatic Update channel to reach the maximum number of users as quickly as possible. At Microsoft we were able to reproduce the problem on machines which did not have the patch installed for Word 2007, and we are unable to reproduce the problem on machines that have the patch installed. It had also been suggested that Print Spooling services in Windows or the lack of an installed print driver in Word was the cause of the problem. In our testing, turning spooling services on and off did not affect the problem and the presence (or not) of a specific printer driver did not solve or cause the problem.
The easiest way to obtain the fix is to install Office 2007 Service Pack 2.
Make sure Word 2007 users who will receive your documents have this important update for Office, either by installing the patch referenced in the link above or by turning on Automatic Updates.
Yesterday we re-tested this problem based on the information being reported in the forums and on various blogs. There are a few details worth noting:
· If you have already saved the document in an un-patched version of Word 2007 and spaces are missing, unfortunately there is no way to recover them
· Unpatched users who edit the document may cause the spaces to disappear.
We certainly regret any inconvenience this issue may have caused, and encourage all customers to enable Automatic Updates for Office.
We did a double-take upon seeing these reports because this is the type of issue that would normally surface prominently In this case we did not have a high volume of customer concerns. This is likely due the majority of Office users that enable Automatic Update, have installed SP2 or work in a managed IT environment where our updates are pushed to their desktops. People who are current on updates should not experience this problem. In any case, we wanted to take the time to communicate on this issue in hopes that folks who have not updated can do so.
If you patch your 2007 installation to the current update level, and you are authoring documents on patched versions of Word 2007 (or 2010), and you still experience this problem, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
This is our Twitter stream: https://twitter.com/officeUpdates
You can send feedback or requests for help regarding files that submit this behavior (for patched versions of Word) via the email link on my blog: http://blogs.technet.com/gray_knowlton. We are very interested to know if users are still experiencing this problem after systems are patched.