Can you spot the problem?

Like many

large organizations that use a large amount of personal computers,

CNET/TechRepublic has a IT helpdesk support system. I don't use it very often,

or at least I try not to use it, because I should be able to solve my own

problems. I mean, I do spend a good part of my time writing and/or editing

content that purportedly tells an audience how to troubleshoot computer


However, I

recently had a problem that I could not figure out. Well, I did figure it out

eventually, but I didn't have my epiphany until after asking for help from our

tech support. I'll present the problem here; see if you can figure it out.


creating PDFs for TechRepublic, I often have to add screenshot images and some

other graphical elements in a Microsoft Word document. Once the Word doc is

set, I translate it into a PDF. The problem was that I could not insert an

image into any Word document. I would follow the usual menu commands: Insert |

Picture | File and at that point I would get a VBA error. You know, the dialog

that asks whether you want to debug the problem or end the dialog. I could not

think of a single reason why a VBA error would occur. With the help of tech

support we tried repairing Office and then re-installing Office, and there was

no change.

Figured it

out yet?

If you have

then you are quicker on the draw then I am. It turns out I had inadvertently

used the keyword Insert in a Word macro I created. I have a vague recollection

that you are not supposed to use certain words when naming your macros, but it

is not one of those things I normally think about when I am creating a little

routine on the fly. Apparently, the fact that I created a macro named

InsertPicture was enough to interfere with any Word command that involved an

Insert of any kind. I find that very peculiar and frustrating.

Have you

run into this situation before? Perhaps, because I use Word macros as an editor

so much, it is only a problem with people like me. If I come across a set of

keystrokes that I have to enter over and over again, I will make a quick macro

using the Word record feature. Is that typical or atypical behavior?


Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to,, and TechRepublic.


Editor's Picks