Microsoft Office Word: Basic problem solving tools for when unexpected things happen

Just like many other trades and professions, the Microsoft Office Word support engineer uses a basic set of tools on a daily basis. But while carpenters, cooks, gardeners, and auto mechanics might use physical tools to solve problems, the Word support engineer's basic tools are a set of Microsoft Knowledge Base articles related to Word.

These three Knowledge Base articles are the basic tools that we use on a daily basis to solve or narrow down most of the unexpected problems that a person might encounter with Word.
KB 259413 "How to troubleshoot problems that may occur when you start or work in Word 2000, in Word 2002, and in Word 2003"
When I first started working as a support engineer for Word, I literally kept a printed copy of KB 259413 next to my computer so that I could refer to it in the event that our support center might experience network connectivity issues while I was on the phone with a customer. Only recently did I discard that coffee-stained, dried-paper copy of the article.
KB 259413 includes information about how to recognize when a printer driver, antivirus software, a damaged file, a damaged template, damaged registry keys, a Word customization, a video driver, a damaged Office DLL file, or a non-essential service might be causing Word to behave badly.
A carpenter might pick a hammer and a cook might pick a good cutting knife, but if I were to pick a single tool to help me with my job, KB 259413 is the one.
KB 826864 "How to troubleshoot damaged Word documents"
Files of any kind can become damaged. Complicated files that you open and modify again and again stand a higher chance of becoming damaged. Backing up your files on a regular basis is always a good idea.
Fortunately, it is usually possible to recover some or most of the content in a damaged Word document, or in the very least the text from the document. KB 826864 walks you through how to recover a damaged document.
316951 "How to recover a lost Word document"
If you do your work on a laptop, it's less likely that you will ever need to recover a lost document. A "lost document" means exactly what it says: the document is lost and you can't find it. This can happen if you're working on a document and then suddenly the power goes out or something unfortunate happens that causes Word to quit. KB 316951 will help you to find the AutoRecover and temporary files that might have been created for the lost document before the document became lost.
If you’re not frequently saving changes to your document, however, it’s highly unlikely that you will be able to recover the lost document. Save your work frequently and back up your files.

Author for the post: - Ryan Christiansen

Comments (19)
  1. Hi Bahram,

    Can you provide some additional details about what steps you are taking and what exactly you are seeing?  What version of Word, where in the interface are you seeing this box, do you see it with other machines or styles…answers to those type of questions should help us out.


  2. Anonymous says:

    When I copy a doc from Ultimate Guitar Tabs and attempt to copy it onto a blank word (2007) pg the back ground is black. How do I change to plain white background?

  3. Anonymous says:

    When I copy a doc from Ultimate Guitar Tabs and attempt to copy it onto a blank word (2007) pg the back ground is black. How do I change to plain white background?

  4. Bahram says:

    what is the black box inside of headings.

  5. samia says:

    i do not write in my microsoft word 2007.please solve my problem.

  6. Anita says:

    The word 2010 becomed non responsive moment I press the enter key or try to use copy paste

  7. Samantha Ross says:

    My microsoft word 2010 starter will not open for me and i am working o some major projects at this moment. It keeps giving me the "can not be opened. try again or repair the product in control panel

  8. Bruce Y. says:

    Am having problems opening the hyperlinks on my Word 2010. I get an error message telling me to contact the administrator. I am the admin. What do I do??

  9. joe espinosa says:

    I can opened the excel in sky

  10. Victor Z says:

    I am trying to open a word doc that was saved as a microsoft word 97 – 2003 doc. When I try to open these files now I keep getting this message "Microsoft Word Starter 2010 Cannot be opened. Try again or repair the product in control panel. I have tried downloading updates and I still keep getting this message.

  11. Julie Black says:

    When I open previous typed letters from MS Word 2003 it changes the dated to the current date. How do I stop it from doing this and keep the current date it was typed?

  12. Emily Grim says:

    i cannot insert page numbers at all please help

  13. Ted L says:

    How do I solve the "NULL IDispatch passed to Autowrap()" error in Word?

  14. M Sue Baldwin-O'Dea says:

    I have an older genealogy document I created on Word 97. I am not able to open it. I found this article on ZNet that leads me to believe there is no solution. Anyone on here have suggestions?

    The latest service pack for Microsoft Office 2003 has made a range of older files inaccessible, including Word documents, Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations, it emerged this week.

    Office 2003 Service Pack 3, which was made available in September, blocks a lengthy list of word-processing file formats, including Word 6.0 and Word 97 for Windows and Word 2004 for Macintosh. It also blocks older versions of Excel, PowerPoint, Lotus Notes, Corel Quattro spreadsheet and Corel Draw graphics package.

    On releasing the service pack, Microsoft said one of its main benefits was that it would make it easier to interoperate with Microsoft's latest operating system, Vista, and its latest productivity suite, Office 2007. The older file formats that are now blocked are in decreasing day-to-day use, but the blocking of them will make retrieval of archived material more difficult.

    The changes were revealed in a Microsoft support document, which was uploaded to its site in December. Users were given no warning of the effects when they downloaded SP3.

    Vista Upgrade Blog

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    In the support document, Microsoft said SP3 blocked access to those formats because they were less secure than newer versions. "By default, these file formats are blocked because they are less secure. They may pose a risk to you," it said.

    Microsoft released details of a workaround to restore access. The workaround requires changes to the registry, which could render a PC unusable if carried out incorrectly.

    The workaround was branded by one critic on tech website as "mind-bogglingly complex".

    Other users responded negatively to the change. A system administrator at a UK university, who asked not to be named, called it "a money-making exercise". Talking to on Thursday, he added that it would cause a problem to the central IT resource not to have access to some older file formats, but that the effect would be greater on other less "progressive" departments within the university.

    Microsoft could offer no comment at the time of writing on why it had blocked access to the file formats.

  15. Jack says:

    Each and every letter of the alphabet is partially chopped at the top and bottom.

  16. CCR says:

    I am trying to type using bullets. Normally you hit the bullet hit enter and tab and a indented smaller bullet will appear and this is not happening now.

  17. jusfhervillamil says:

    try to send me an email to solve your problem

  18. jusfhervillamil says:

    try to send me an email to solve your problem

  19. Munwar Hussain Abro says:

    i have some problem in Ms office but i can’t solved it . unfortunately my some data or information change in different language. so its trouble for me, because this data or information very important for me.

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