Microsoft Office


Install and configuration

Microsoft Office 2003 <=||=> Microsoft Office 2007

In the computer world, change is not always a good thing. Microsoft switched from using "menus" to using "ribbons" for their new Office product and confused the sense out of me (and others too!!). Takes a while to get used to but after that it is rather nice.

Office Button

There is a magic button that is at the top left-hand corner of any Office program. it provides access to most of the things that were under the file menu Office 2003 (New, Open, Save, Print...). It also has the link to what used to options

What's With the Extra x on extension

By default, Office 2007 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
  • ...

In reality, the new format is incompatible with Office 2003 (more research needed as to why). To ensure compatibility on documents that you intend to work on with other computers or collaborative works, it is best to 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

What Specific Proofing Tools Come Standard in Office 2003?


MS Word freeze-ups

  • Due to unavailable network printer: If a network printer is configured as a default printer and the computer is connected to the internet but the printer is not available (for example, if the computer is off-campus), Word may hang when you open the Print dialog box. (Acc. some reports, may even cause Word 2003 to freeze on launching.) Solution: change default printer. PDFCreator [1]?
  • Due to unavailable mapped network drive: In MS Word, when you go to Save As..., Word tries to scan all mapped drives listed in the pulldown menu to determine whether they are available. If a mapped drive can't be reached, Word will keep trying to ping it until it finally times out and gives up - but it doesn't learn from this giving up for next time. Solution: Go to My Computer and unmap any unavailable drives - but make sure the user has a way of getting back to them again. (Shortcut on desktop?)

Application compatibility

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 work. In many of these cases, the only fix is just to remove Office and reinstall it from scratch, making any needed modifications.

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.

File formats

MS Office 2007 uses the .docx file format by default. People should avoid saving in this format for compatibility reasons. If user needs to open a .docx file, MS Office 2007 Compatibility Pack [2] can be installed (requires MS Office to be installed). Alternatively, OpenOffice.org [3] version 3 can also view and edit .docx files, although it cannot yet save to this format.

Removing a phantom horizontal rule/bar/line

  1. Select the paragraph where the horizontal bar appears and click on the "Format" menu, then select "Borders and Shading".
  2. Click on the Borders Tab.
  3. Under "Setting", click in on "None", and click OK.

Changes to toolbars are not being saved

This is usually related to an installation of Acrobat Pro. See the Changes to toolbars in Word not being saved article.

Endnote toolbars not showing in Word

See the Endnote toolbars not showing in Word article.

Getting rid of tracked changes / Removing track changes

(aka Get rid of tracked changes and comments, once and for all!)

This article talks about removing tracked changes in Microsoft Word by accepting all changes made to the document and optionally turning off the track changes feature. Visit the Microsoft site for more details: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/word/HA010983881033.aspx

How do I turn off the border on a text box in MS Word?

For Office 2003 and earlier:

  1. Place the cursor inside the text box
  2. From the Format menu, select Text Box
  3. Under the "Line" section choose "No Line" from the "Color" dropdown menu

For Office 2007:

  1. Place the cursor inside the text box
  2. From the Format tab, select "Shape Outline" and click "No Outline"

Remove blue wavy underlines in Word

In Microsoft Word:

  • Go to: Tools -> Options
  • Click on the Edit tab
  • Uncheck the box beside "Mark formatting inconsistencies."


In Word 2003 How to stop it from opening in the double pane view for proofing or reading (called reading layout).

  1. Tools/Options
  2. Choose General tab
  3. Uncheck the box beside "allow starting in Reading Layout"

Unable to see headers and footers in a Word document

See Unable to see headers and footers in a Word document.

Macros and viruses

Word documents can contain macros which are small scripts that automatically perform complex or repetitive actions in MS Word. Unfortunately macros can also have extensive control over your computer, so they can be used to write viruses. Any system that can run macros in a MS Word document, is also vulnerable to macro-based viruses. Use and run macros with care.


Excel is missing all the toolbars and tabs

This happens if excel is in fullscreen mode. Until you undo the fullscreen mode Excel will always start fullscreen. You undo fullscreen by clicking View => Fullscreen.

Formatting a list of ID numbers

When you enter in a number like 00324328 into Excel, Excel usually deletes the leading zeros because they're "not important". Sometimes those zeros are important - for example, on a list of Midd student/staff ID numbers. You can set Excel to include those leading zeros in specific cells with the following steps.

  1. Click and drag to select the area of cells that you want to show leading zeros.
  2. Right-click in the selected area and choose Format Cells.
  3. Under the Number tab, choose the Category Custom. (In this area, you specify the way you want Excel to show cells. By choosing "Custom", you are saying that you want to manually specify the format to be used.)
  4. In the Type: field, erase the default value "General" and enter in 00000000 (eight zeros). (This tells Excel that every number value in these cells should display with at least eight digits, leading zeros by default.)
  5. Click OK and verify that the fields formatted show any entered number shows leading zeros up to eight digits.
Disable Green Triangle
  • Problem: How do I disable the green triangle in Excel telling me there are numbers formatted as text?
  • Solution Here's how you can stop the green triangle from displaying in Excel (indicating that a number has been stored in text format):
    • From the Tools menu, select Options.
    • Click the Error Checking tab.
    • Uncheck the box beside Number stored as text.
    • Click OK.


PowerPoint not showing pictures or videos

Symptom: You see the message "QuickTime and a <codec name> decompressor are needed to see this picture"

Solution: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/278556/en-us and http://support.microsoft.com/kb/198202/en-us

Symptom: QuickTime(TM) and a Photo - JPEG decompressor are needed to see this picture. QuickTime(TM) and a TIFF decompressor are needed to see this picture.

Solution: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=198204

Note: It is unclear if Office 2007 resolves this problem.

Video inserted in PowerPoint not playing smoothly

There can be a number of reasons for videos in powerpoint not playing smoothly, ranging from quality of video, to computer speed, and software version. More details are available in the Video inserted in PowerPoint not playing smoothly article.

Cannot edit PowerPoint presentation

Problem: You have a powerpoint file that you are unable to edit.

Solution: Check to make the sure has a .ppt file extension. If the file is a .pps (Powerpoint Show), it is uneditable. If you simply change the extension to .ppt it becomes an editable Powerpoint file.

Embed a Flash movie in PowerPoint

It is possible to embed a flash/shockwave movie/video/animation in PowerPoint, but it will work in the Windows version of PowerPoint ONLY. See:

Play a sound file over multiple slides in PowerPoint

In Powerpoint, you can specify when a sound file should stop playing. For whatever reason Microsoft considers this a "Custom Animation" property. Follow the directions in this article: Play a sound file over multiple slides in PowerPoint.

How do I create a template for my Power Point presentation?

See Create a design template


Configuring Outlook for the Middlebury Exchange Server

Visit http://go.middlebury.edu/docs then click on Outlook under the E-mail heading.

Exchange Server not Found

There are times, you log onto a computer connected by a wired connection and all that, fire up outlook and after a long wait you get an error message saying that the exchange server cannot be found and it gives you the option to retry or cancel. When it is almost certain that the connection to the network if OK, computer is registered and all that, the problem might be a bad profile. I don't know why it happens, how it happens but I know one possible fix.

  • Click on Start -> settings -> control panel -> mail
  • Select profiles and remove all that are present
  • Close everything and then set up Outlook

How to Share a Distribution List with Outlook

At times you may want to take an entire distribution list and share that list with others. Outlook allows you to do this by sending the entire distribution list as an attachment. The details are described in the Share a Distribution List using Outlook article.

Creating a Message Template for Commonly Sent Messages in Outlook

Creating Outlook Templates

Follow-up Flags in Outlook 2003

The behavior of the follow-up flags has changed in Outlook 2003 and 2007. Visit Follow-up Flags in Outlook for details.

Recovering Deleted Appointments in a Shared Calendar in Outlook

  • Problem:Items from a calendar residing in an individual's mailbox or a shared office mailbox have been deleted, and need to be recovered.
  • Solution:The account that was used to delete these appointments will have them in the Deleted Items folder and they can be dragged from there, back to the Calendar.
  • More detailed steps are outlined in the Recovering Deleted Items in Outlook article.

Outlook Running Very Slowly

Common complaints about Outlook responsiveness are:

  • It takes several seconds for a message to open.
  • It takes several seconds for a message to disappear once I click Send.

When word is selected as the default e-mail editor - replying and sending is slower. When there are addins installed for Outlook (such as Google Desktop, Plaxo, etc.) opening messages is slow.

Possible solutions:

Add Another Mailbox in Outlook

See: Add Another Mailbox in Outlook

Error when printing daily Outlook calendar

Error: the messaging interface has returned an unknown error. If the problem persists, restart Outlook Happens when printing Outlook calendar in daily format.

Solution: This is a known issue. An option called "Task Pad" is turned on by default, and if there are no tasks for that calendar, and you try to print it, it creates that error. So the solution is to just turn off the task pad option.

Follow these steps to deselect the TaskPad option when printing the Daily Style: 1. Open the shared calendar 2. On the Outlook File menu, click Print. 3. Under Print Style, click to select Daily Style and click Page Setup 4. Click TaskPad to deselect it. 5. Click OK and OK to close and print.

Inserting a signature in Outlook

See Inserting a signature in Outlook.

Known Issues

Cannot open older files

Office 2003 SP3, as well as Office 2007 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:
  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:
  3. Click OK. In the folder that opens double-click FIX-OF03-OF07-open-blocked-files.reg, then click Yes.

Proofing Tools

What Proofing Tools are Standard in Office 2003

Office for Mac

Install and configuration

For instructions for installing and configuring Office 2008 for Mac, see Office_2008_Installation






Insert More Than One Audio File in PowerPoint

PowerPoint X and 2004: Insert => Sound from File. Can only do 1 sound file, but can have multiple sound files inserted as movie files (Insert => Movie from File) Have 1st sound file play automatically. PowerPoint 2008 has no limitations to the number of sound files inserted, so you don't need to insert the second sound file as movie.

Tutorial on how to adjust so the sound file plays continuously: http://www.royaltyfreemusic.com/tutorials/powerpoint.htm


Great resources for troubleshooting Entourage

Viewing the members of a distribution list using Entourage

Dangerous Bug in Entourage 2004

Troubleshooting Entourage Speed Issues (slow, spinning beach ball, intermittent freezing)

Troubleshooting Calendar Issues in Entourage

How do I delete attachments from email messages in Entourage?


When you have a message open in Entourage you can decrease the font by:

  • choosing Edit/Decrease Font Size


  • pressing Shift+CMD+Minus sign (repeat as needed)

Entourage and Banner-generated e-mail messages

It looked like earlier, Banner generated messages, separated e-mail addresses using commas "," and entourage thought that "jsmith, pclab, helpdesk" was one long e-mail address, so it didn't send the message to the email addresses. We checked now, and it looks like banner generated messages separate e-mail addresses using semi-colons ";". Now Entourage correctly understands that each entry is a separate email address. It should work fine that way. It does help to click the button titled "Check Names" -- if there is a problem this will generate a question mark, and if there is no problem, it will autocomplete all the email addresses, making sending quicker. To avoid having to click this button you can turn on Entourage => Preferences => Compose => "Automatically check names when sending messages".

In general, when entering e-mail addresses in Entourage's To, CC or BCC fields, each e-mail address needs to be on a separate line (enter one address, then click on the next line, enter the other address, click on the next line, etc...).

Entourage and sending messages to multiple recepients (To CC or BCC)

See the section above.

Useful settings to enable in Entourage

See Office_2008_Installation

Installing Entourage

Entourage comes with the Microsoft Office installation cd, which can be obtained from the Main Library Circulation Desk. For installation notes see Office_2008_Installation

Adding Delegate and Other Mailboxes in Entourage

See: Adding Another Mailbox in Entourage

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