Software

Office poll: What's your most common support call on Word?

Almost all of us support Word users. What issues and problems do you get the most calls for?

Almost all of us support Word users. What issues and problems do you get the most calls for? If you don't see it on the poll list, please add a comment below.

About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

24 comments
jtorres
jtorres

it's because they're not using styles.

oldbaritone
oldbaritone

I can't find it. I wrote it this morning, and it's not there any more. (sigh) ;-)

alan.schuh
alan.schuh

The biggest issue I deal with is trying to control Word's auto-features, primarily styles and formats. Locating features and functions is a close number two.

marygudobba
marygudobba

Section Breaks/Page Numbering. Table of Contents/Table of Authorities would be second.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Dumbest. Change. Ever. I spent 20 minutes looking for the dumb things. I wanted to see if I could find them in the 'easier' Ribbon interface without resorting to Help. No go. I didn't realize the logo was anything more than that.

asjeff
asjeff

It never ceases to amaze me that in the one piece of software my users use 75% of their day they seem to forget there is an undo button and need their hands held to do even the simplest task sometimes. Honestly it takes them more time to call us about something than just trying it and undoing it if the results aren't as expected. Most of the menus are fairly self explanatory!!

Kim SJ
Kim SJ

Screw-ups in bullets and numbering are almost inevitable when when documents are moved between machines, and or bits of document are cut and pasted. I don't even fully understand all the ins and outs of the bullet formats myself, and I've spent days Googling and experimenting. No wonder it confuses users.

Nkent
Nkent

I get calls constantly about why Final Markup Showing isn't the cleaned up, pretty version of the document they see when they send it to someone else. I mean, why should the users have to accept or deny any changes when obviously they only want them tracked? Merging would be the 2nd most.

WritingEducator
WritingEducator

The answer (most often, but not always) is just to use the keystrokes. I'm pretty sure Alt+F+S and Alt+F+P work the way they're supposed to.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

When I delete a carriage return between a paragraph and a subordinate paragraph, the bullet style of the first paragraph changes to the style of the previously subordinate one. This drives me freakin' insane.

Ron_007
Ron_007

I've been using Word for going on 20 years, starting with DOS versions (and WordPerfect before that, and I still like WP better). I've invested a lot of time and effort learning the menu system. Totally scrapping it for the Ribbon is inexcusable. They should have provided an option to display a "Menu" tab. That being said, the simple reality is that we are stuck with the Ribbon. There are addon's for Office 2007 that recreated the 2003 menu. Many are free for individuals, cheap enough for corporate purchase. Here are links to a couple of them (I'm not associated with them, google for more): http://www.ubit.ch/software/ubitmenu-languages/ - 2003 menu added to ribbon http://www.addintools.com/english/menuword/default.htm - menu addin MS has also created a prototype tool, called "Search". It adds a new tab. You type the name of the command you are looking for and the tool displays what it thinks are potential matches. If you hover over the choices, the popup shows where to find the command. It is not officially supported, but you can find it here http://www.officelabs.com/projects/searchcommands/Pages/default.aspx . If you like it please send in a comment to MS strongly encouraging them to recreate it in Office 2010. I too hate that they changed some of the shortcuts, it is a PITA. No one has mentioned that you can hold the key down for a couple of seconds to display popups of all of the shortcut letters for displayed tabs and commands. Keep holding the key and the shortcuts for the selected tab will also be displayed. It is slow and awkward, but it works as a learning aid. Office 2010. I've been playing with the BETA since it was released (I've sent in 60+ comments so far). Yes, the idiot "Office Button" has been replaced with a "File" tab. (It took me a while to find out about the Office button too, DUMB design!). For the most part it is an evolutionary change, minor tweaks, like the changes between any of the menu versions. One of my ongoing beefs with the Ribbon is the inconsistency of the user interface, like the introduction of the idiot Office button. There is stuff introduced in 2010 version changing stuff from 2007, stuff from 2007, and underlying it all are the dialog boxes (which don't pick up the new color scheme option) from the menu versions going back to Word for DOS! One of the big changes is the color scheme of the Ribbon, it is "flatter", fewer distinctions between elements, than 2007. I hate it! Another big change in a frequently used function is Find. now initially displays the "Navigation Task Pane" where you type the search text and it displays all of the results below. The Nav "Pain" also replaces/integrates the old "Document Map". If you want the more "advanced" find options you have to click on a teeny-tiny icon in the nav pane to display the old Find/Replace Dialog box. And then click on the "More" and "Format" buttons to see all of the options... (I also hate the way they changed the display of the "document map", adding space wasting boxes around each item in the map, and they lost the "scroll zoom" in the document map they introduced in 2007, gosh darn!) Actually, the Find/Replace dialog box is one of those hold overs from the 640x480 VGA resolution text screen. Why do we still have to click on the "More" button to see advanced features, and then again on the "Format" and "Special" drop down lists. For years we have had enough screen "real estate" to display them all the time, but MS never upgraded the design to match.

Movierob
Movierob

Can't find anything on the ribbon!!!!

glnz
glnz

I'm a working real estate lawyer, not an IT person, so I'm not answering the poll. But I can tell you why I would like to get Bill Gates alone in a room -- STYLES. No one -- and I mean absolutely no one -- gets them right. No set of styles used in one law firm or company is the same as the set use in another's, and within one company the set is misused. And they are very difficult to edit - the styles edit box is hard to find and hard to use. In Print View (the WYSIWYG view I prefer), even the little window on the menu bar showing the style is too small. And when I am forced to clean up styles on a long document because it has become unworkable, that must be done manually, a waste of time. If the IT folks responding to this poll don't mention problems with styles, that's because their working colleagues have given up trying to understand them. For styles more than any other reason (and, boy, are there other reasons!), I disliked MS Word when we first had to move to it in 2002, and today my dislike has turned to hatred. If you ever see Bill Gates with a black eye, you know what happened.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

If they're not going to be useful, why waste the overhead on them? For that matter, why bother with a GUI? I looked at the menu and didn't see any option that began with an 'F'. I tried ALT+First-letter-of-listed-menu-items but got inconsistent results. ALT+H does indeed open the 'Home' menu, but ALT+I doesn't open the Insert menu. Foolishly, I assumed that since there wasn't a menu entry for 'File', that ALT+F wouldn't do anything; yes, I probably should have tried it anyway, but since the shortcuts I tried didn't work as expected, I didn't bother. In another violation of what MS has lead us to expect, the ALT+ letters to activate a menu are not underlined, and the feature to display them has to be turned on from (you guessed it) a menu accessible from that confusing logo button. (Why introduce one new format for every other menu on the Ribbon, and then a completely different, unlabeled one for a single set of selections?) It's as if MS is actively discouraging the use of keyboard shortcuts. I heard that button is going to be replaced with the traditional 'File' menu in the next version.

jkiernan
jkiernan

Formatting issues, Document design and layout, and Tables are really three sides of the same coin. They all mess up the intended final output. Failure to grasp the concept of the ruler/tabs is another problem I encounter quite frequently. I still encounter users who use the space bar in attempts to align text, despite hours of training.

j-mccurdy
j-mccurdy

If you can't find something, click the little round symbol. At the top left, pretty much any thing you can't find will pop up,or down. Once you learn that you will see 2007 is easy.

WritingEducator
WritingEducator

I've been using it so long that my fingers know most ALL of the keystrokes without my having to think about it. If you know the keystrokes, MOST OFTEN, it will do whatever you're trying to get it to do. Most often - but not always. . .WHAT were they thinking?!

charleswdavis6670
charleswdavis6670

Play with the ribbon a while. Familiarity will take the mystery out of it. After a year, I am lost when I attempt to assist someone with Word 2003.

JMohr
JMohr

I work with graduate students and help them format their theses and dissertations. I offer a workshop on formatting in Word and tell them to create custom styles. DO NOT base the custom styles on any of the built in styles, DO NOT edit existing styles (including bullets and numbering), DO NOT USE built in styles. Now I have far fewer students at my door with the "deer-in-the- headlights" look, panicking because they can't get their very large document to behave.

WritingEducator
WritingEducator

I'll join you. (A former WordPerfect MAVEN! - until every mother's son decided to mimic W@?D!!!)

ishull
ishull

Maybe people who learned Keyboarding instead of Typing don't understand tabs vs. spacing. When I took TYPING in high school, we were taught to set up our margins and tabs BEFORE beginning to type the project. We learned that tabs will always align columns or indents, but that spacing may not.

petesgrille33
petesgrille33

For all, I would recommend a little digging around in the Styles dialogue box. (the little box with two A's and a pen, in the bottom right corner of the styles pane. First, create your set of custom styles. Then, hide and restrict all other styles except for those you want to use. Then check "Limit formatting to permitted styles." This makes sure that other styles (pasted or unintentional) don't creep in your doc.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

but I used to do term papers in WordPad. Once I had the content down, then I'd copy it into Word for formatting, footnotes, etc.