Microsoft Word Issues

Dealing with TOCs

Getting MS Word to Run Faster

Dealing with MS Word File Size

Using Field Codes

Word Template for Consulting Documents

Problems with Even Page Footers

Inserting a Landscape Visio File into MS Word

Dealing with TOCs

Question:  TOC pages in WORD document are different than actual content of the document, and/or the size of the document is huge. How do I fix this?

Sometimes the TOC will not update properly if I have the Show All/Hide All turned on when I update the TOC. It hasn’t happened with enough regularity for me to be totally sure that’s the problem, but it’s worth a shot. So try turning off the Show All before you update the TOC.

Also, are you doing Select All (Ctrl+A) to grab the entire doc and then doing an update (F9) — to completely update every field in the doc? (The other option is to set this to happen automatically when you go to print: Tools –> Options –> Print tab –> check Update Fields.) Possibly some fields have not been updated and are throwing off the process. Again, it’s a long shot, but might be worth trying, unless you have fields in the doc that you DON’T want updated for some reason.

If you’re using any bookmarks, double check that none of them were split by any inserted breaks (section, page). Particularly if you are cross-referencing and placing the bookmarked text elsewhere in the doc. This can add the inserted breaks from the bookmark into the cross-reference points. I’ve seen this happen and these additional breaks can be difficult to spot.

In Word, page numbering can restart at section breaks, so that might be what’s setting things off. I don’t use XP, but in older version of Word you need to get into the Format Page Number dialog, which is accessible through the Headers and Footers toolbar.

You can “reassert” styles in Word by reapplying them, (or applying a new style and then re-applying the old style) but it’s a bit of a pain if you have a lot of styles. In long Word documents, I do a final pass at the end to fix up the styles. If they are really messed up, I make a hard copy, Save As plain text or RTF to strip as much of the old formatting as possible.

One way to avoid having Word adjust your styles automagically when you don’t want it to is to avoid basing the styles you create on Normal. (‘cuz Normal ain’t really normal 🙂 ). If you base a style on something and then make a change to that original style, Word very *helpfully* carries that change to any styles based on the style you changed.

Getting MS Word to Run Faster

  • Turn off fast saves (Tools –> Options –> Click Save tab –> Unclick fast saves)
  • Turn off background saves (Tools –> Options –> Click Save tab –> Unclick background saves).
  • Turn off ‘versions’ (File –> Version –> Unclick Automatically save a version on close).
  • Accept all review changes and turn off ‘Review’ (Tools –> Toggle ‘Track Changes’).
  • Copy doc, except last paragraph mark, and past into new doc.
  • Turn off automatic repagination (must do this in Normal View because Page Layout view automatically repaginates and won’t allow you to turn off the pagination). Click Tools –> Options –> click General tab –> remove the check mark from the box for Background Pagination.

Dealing with MS Word File Size

  • Copy the entire document EXCEPT FOR THE LAST paragraph marker and copy it into a new one.
  • Check to be sure you’ve not enabled Fast Saves (Tools –> Options –> click the Save tab).
  • Make sure Versions — from the File menu — is turned off.
  • It might be the build-up of “undo” information. By turning on the review toolbar and clicking on the option to accept all changes, then resaving, that might shrink the file again.
  • Are you using Track Changes? If you are, try doing an Accept All Changes.
  • Turn off “Save Preview Picture” — that will make the file huge regardless of content. (File –> Properties –> Summary tab).
  • Turn off “Allow Fast Saves” (Tools –> Options –> Save tab).
  • Do a Select All and paste into a new file and then save the file. If the new file is still 33 MB try selecting half the pages and paste into a new file. By doing this repeatedly you can narrow down where the problem is (if it’s in one particular spot).
  • As a last desperate measure you could try saving in RTF but you might lose some formatting.

Using Field Codes

Question: How do I use MSWord field codes to insert variables into a document (such as for a document name or product name), and also how do I use field codes in autonumbers?

Here are some suggestions:

I just found exactly what you are looking for on the Lone Writers new website. You will have to log in with your STC log in.

If you have time to read, outlines the problem and several options. If you need to process the word fields with WebWorks, think twice about solutions with hidden custom codes.

I found an even better solution to the numbering problem – without fields. At last year’s Conference in Seattle, Elizabeth Regers and Jerry Franklin did a fantastic presentation called “Do Your MS Word Documents Ever Blow Up? Preventing Corruption in MS Word Documents.” Elizabeth has placed some of her materials, including one called “Numbering and Styles”, on the Session Materials page at

You can insert things like the document title pretty easily without macros or special templates. I do this in two ways.

Method One: DocProperty Field Codes:

This method uses the document properties dialog box to specify all kinds of document information for a file and then a field code to pull that information into your document wherever you want.

  1. Select menu item File -> Properties to open the Doc Properties dialog box.
  2. Select the Summary tab.
  3. Type the title for your document in the Title field and click OK.
  4. In the document, click where you want the document name to appear (header, footer, somewhere in the body).
  5. Select menu item Insert -> Field to open the Field dialog box.
  6. From the Categories list (on the left), select Document Information.
  7. On the right, in the Field Names list, you will see all potential doc information fields that you can insert.
  8. For the doc title, you have two choices:
    1. Select “Title” from the Field Names list and click OK; or
    2. Select “DocProperty” from the Field Names list, click the “Options…” button to open the Options dialog box, scroll to select “Title” from the list, click “Add to Field”, and then click OK twice.

I gave you the two choices on purpose. Option a) is the easier choice for what you want to do now, but option b) lets you see additional choices that you may want someday. You now have a field that will display the contents of the Title field in the Document Properties box. Change the contents of the doc props box Title field, and everywhere that you’ve inserted the field will automatically change, too.

Method Two: Style Reference Field Code:

This method uses a field code that will display whatever text to which you’ve assigned a chosen Style (your choice of Style).

You need to apply Styles (named and defined formatting) to your text — this is like Frame’s tags, kinda, sorta, mostly. Once you’ve done that, you can use a Field called StyleRef and place that almost anywhere (header, footer, etc.) to display whatever text you formatted with the specified Style. I use this field code a lot (a LOT!) to insert chapter or section titles into the header or footer. You only insert the field code into the header once, but each time your chapter or section name changes, the field code result changes, too.

(Here’s how Word’s Help describes it: “Inserts text that’s formatted with the specified style. When inserted in a header or footer, the STYLEREF field prints the first or last text formatted with the specified style on the current page, allowing you to print dictionary-style headers or footers.”

  1. Use Styles to format your text.
  2. In the document, click where you want the chapter or section name to appear.
  3. Select menu item Insert > Field to open the Field dialog box.
  4. From the Categories list (on the left), select Links and References.
  5. On the right, in the Field Names list, select StyleRef.
  6. Click the “Options…” button.
  7. On the Field Specific Switches tab, click on things and read their descriptions to give you some ideas of what controls you can select. (If you see something you want, click on “Add to Field.”)
  8. On the Styles tab, select a Style for the field to look for in your doc and click “Add to Field” to insert the Style name into your field code.
  9. Click OK twice.

Play around and see what you think of this one. I’d suggest that you turn on shading for fields (Tools -> Options -> View Tab -> Field Shading = Always). You can always turn it back off again when you’re done, but this helps lots to see where you have fields inserted.

  • Also, you should update fields by pressing Ctrl-A followed by F9. Sometimes Word’s fields don’t immediately update when you make changes and that forces them to do so.
  • You can also right-click on any field (easier to do if you’ve got the shading turned on) and choose “Toggle Field Codes.” This is an excellent way to see the structure and coding behind the field code.

Word Template for Consulting Documents

Question: We all use different Word templates, so my Heading 1 looks different from everyone else’s, and I don’t love any of them. In Word, you can make a template your “global template.” I would like to take all of the different templates that we have and apply the standardized template. So, when a consultant needs to write process flow, they can open the process flow template and get started, and it looks like a functional spec created by someone else in our group.

Standardizing Word templates for an organization can be time consuming. I worked with one company on standardizing internal documentation. In addition to my part-time work on the project, a full time manager devoted his time to gathering information about user needs, communicating with management about the process, and then helping people understand how to use the templates once they were created. This was only after a small group of consultants made recommendations about process changes as the company grew. I was fortunate in that I was able to use AuthorIT to take existing Word documents, import them into AuthorIT, work with the content, and then output into squeaky clean Word docs that I could save as .dot files. It might be worth the investment in AuthorIT just to save time…

Background–this was a company that weathered the dot com bust well, and continued growing. They realized that they needed to have an identified process and funded the project. Everyone agreed that more process was needed, but the details were sometimes hotly debated.

Another person responded by saying the following: My interpretation of the question is that the department has a number of templates already in place for different types of documents (process flow, etc.) and she wants to create a universal template that will force everyone to use the same styles regardless of document type. The Word MVP site is an excellent place to start learning about templates. She can search for articles about templates at the MVP site–plus, there’s a page with additional links to other Word-specific sites: The concept of the global template is explained at:

Problems with Even Page Footers

Question:  A Word document that was being updated for content seemed to have lost its even page footers. The last version I worked on had them and they appeared correctly. I’ve tried pasting the current content into that old file, but the even page footer seems to disappear when I do that.

The last person to work on it ended up pasting the text from the first even page of the main part of the book into the first even page footer. As a result, the only thing that appears in the even page footer is the top margin of the pasted object, which seems to be why I don’t even see the footer text box. I couldn’t find any way to delete that text box, but we found that if you set the view to Normal, you see that now huge even page footer, which is outside the page dimensions, which explains why I only see the top margin of the pasted-in page in the footer. Unfortunately, it was pasted as an object, not text, so I can’t select it to remove it. I haven’t figured out the quickest way to solve this.

  1. On a hunch, I had saved the .DOC file as .RTF. I remembered that often you can see and access more stuff in RTF format than in DOC format. I opened the .RTF file and set the view to Normal.
  2. I was able to access the troublesome footer and copy the long table that got pasted in it and put it back on the page body.
  3. I looked up header/footer problems in an old copy of “Word 97 Annoyances” by Woody Leonhard et al. They recommended deleting all headers/footers first and then making sure all “Link to Previous” settings were cleared.
  4. I went to File –> Page Setup –> Page Layout. I set Headers and Footers to Different odd and even and Different first page and applied these settings to the entire document.
  5. I added my page numbers in the footer, then added the book title to even page headers, starting with chapter 1. I added the chapter title to odd page headers in each chapter, then set each new even page header in subsequent chapters to Link to Previous. (Each ChapNum style is set to have a page break before.)
  6. At the end of each chapter, on the even page, I added an Odd page section break. (The book was numbered continuously from chapter 1 (1, 2, 3, …).

Everything works fine now and the book has stable headers and footers.

Inserting a Landscape Visio File into MS Word

Question:  I have several Visio diagrams in landscape format that I want to insert into my MS Word docs. I’ve checked out the online help and have found that the instructions are rather vague. Does it have to do with creating page breaks in the Word doc so the landscape-formatted page can be inserted between them?   Date:  09/07

Response Summary:

  1. Create a section break starting a new page at both the beginning and end of the section you want to make landscape.
  2. Go to File > Page Setup and select “Landscape” on the Margins tab in your new section.
  3. Under Preview, select “Apply to this Section” on the drop-down menu. The rest of the document will remain in Portrait format.
  4. Insert your image.
  5. To reformat Headers and Footers in your new section, first deselect “Same as Previous.”
  6. Reformat Headers and Footers in the landscape-formatted section. E.g. On the Page Number Format icon select the button for “Continue from previous section” under Page Numbering.
  7. In the section following the landscape image, go to View > Header and Footer.
  8. On the Page Number Format icon select the button for “Continue from previous section” under Page Numbering.
  9. Go to Print Preview a few pages in front of your new section and use the Page Down key to verify your changes.