Microsoft Office

Revision as of 10:53, 9 June 2015 by Nathaniel Crenner (talk | contribs) (Following a request on the [[To Add to Wiki] internal wiki page, I slimmed down this page by copying info for specific office applications onto new troubleshooting pages (linked at top of this page now). I made no edits to the text, but added some headers)

See also

Troubleshooting Specific Office Applications



Corrupted install

Case: when you try to start Word, you get an error msg: "Word has failed to start in safe mode. Do you want to try to repair your installation?"

Reason for this is unknown. Solution is simply to click through the messages to repair / "clean" your MS Office installation; in at least some cases, you do not even need the Office install CD to do so.

MS Office versions don't always line up perfectly. Even if it says "MS Office Pro 2003", doesn't mean that your MS Office Pro 2003 disk will be able to do a repair install. In many of these cases, the only fix is just to remove Office and reinstall it from scratch, making any needed modifications.

Cannot open older files

Office 2003 SP3, as well as Office 2007 and Office 2008 for Mac will refuse to open documents created with very old versions of MS Office. There is a fix.


  1. Close all word documents and windows.
  2. Click on Start => Run
  3. Enter this text:
    [file://\\middlebury.edu\middfiles\Software\Software-Windows\Quick-Fixes\FIX-OF03-OF07-open-blocked-files.reg \\middlebury.edu\middfiles\Software\Software-Windows\Quick-Fixes\FIX-OF03-OF07-open-blocked-files.reg]
  4. Click OK, then when asked "Are you sure you want to enter this information?", click YES.


  1. Click on Start => Run:
  2. Enter this text:
    [file://\\middlebury.edu\middfiles\Software\Software-Windows\Quick-Fixes\ \\middlebury.edu\middfiles\Software\Software-Windows\Quick-Fixes\]
  3. Click OK. In the folder that opens double-click FIX-OF03-OF07-open-blocked-files.reg, then click Yes.


See this article for more details: Office 2008 for Mac - can't open files

Proofing Tools

In the US English version of Office 2003, only English, Spanish and French proofing tools (spell/grammar checks) are available. For details see Proofing Tools That Come Standard in Office 2003

What Proofing Tools are Standard in Office 2003

Outlook, Excel, Word are slow or freeze when opening, saving, attaching files

  • Most likely cause:
    This can happen if there are disconnected network drives (in My Computer) pointing to novell servers (tigercat, ocelot or snowleopard) that aren't properly disconnected.
  • Solution:
    Open My Computer, click on Tools => Disconnect Network Drives, then select any drives pointing to tigercat, ocelot or snowleopard, and click OK.

MS Office Compatibility

File formats in Office 2007 & 2008

By default, Office 2007/2008 programs will save in an Open XML format. At a glance, it simply looks as though all they did was add an extra 'x' at the end of all the existing file extensions:

  • .doc => .docx
  • .xls => .xlsx
  • .ppt => .pptx

The new format is incompatible with Office 2003. People should avoid saving in this (default) format. To ensure compatibility on documents that you intend to work on with other computers or collaborative works, save files using the office 97-2003 format. This can be done by changing the format to the Office 97-2003 format in the dialog box at the time of saving. You may also change the default saving format from the open XML to office 97-2003 in each application. This can be done by:

  • Click on the office button
  • Select O options (where O is the name of the program you are working in)
  • Select save and for save format, select the O 97-2003 document

If user needs to open a .docx file, MS Office 2007 Compatibility Pack can be installed (requires MS Office). Alternatively, OpenOffice.org version 3 can also view and edit .docx files, although it cannot save to this format.

Very old file formats

Case: professor has some ancient MS Word documents, can't open them anymore because Office doesn't have the filters needed to read the files.

MS Office's "Recover text from any file" feature can recover the text from these documents. OpenOffice can sometimes open older files. Neither of these preserved formatting in this instance.

Another possible case: professor has some old MS Word documents, can't open them anymore because Office gives the error:
"You are attempting to open a file type that is blocked by your registry policy setting."

Microsoft has provided several different patches that resolve this problem: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/938810

We've rolled up these patches in a single patch that you can obtain from here:
[file://\\middlebury.edu\middfiles\Software\Software-Windows\Quick-Fixes\FIX-OF03-OF07-open-blocked-files.reg \\middlebury.edu\middfiles\Software\Software-Windows\Quick-Fixes\FIX-OF03-OF07-open-blocked-files.reg]

Exporting a Filemaker database to MS Excel

  1. Open the database in Filemaker.
  2. Click on the File menu
  3. Cick on Import/Export
  4. Click on Export
  5. In the window that opens, near the bottom, next to "Save as type", select "Comma-separated Text (CSV)"
  6. Choose where you want to save the exported doccument, give it a name and click "Save"

Importing / exporting e-mail contacts

Compatability through CSV files: When you export contacts to CSV (comma-separated values), the generated file is actually pretty similar to an Excel spreadsheet and can be viewed / edited by MS Excel or OOo Calc. If you make a couple of contacts in Outlook or Entourage, then export them to CSV, then open the file in Calc, you can take a look for yourself. Now older programs (for example, FileMaker Pro 6) might be able to export to CSV but might not have the column headers on the top row. Fortunately, you can just manually write them in by comparing the labels with the labels specified on the CSV you exported from the program you want to gain compatability with.

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