TR Dojo Challenge: How do you open Word 2008 for Mac without opening a blank document?

Tell Bill Detwiler how to open Word 2008 for Mac without opening a new, blank document, and you could earn a TechRepublic coffee mug.

TechRepublic member GraphicStart recently asked how to configure Word 2008 for Mac to start without automatically opening a new, blank document. As a regular Word 2008 for Mac user, I've pondered the same question for years and been frustrated by my inability to find an answer.

In response to GraphicStart's query, member DanCh suggested using a startup switch to control Word's behavior when launched. The Windows version of Microsoft Office lets you create a shortcut to the Word executable using the /n switch, which prevents the application from opening a new, blank document when the program starts. Just put the following in the shortcut's command line box:

"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\Winword.exe" /n

Unfortunately, these switches don't seem to work on the OS X version of Word. At least, I couldn't get them to work after more than an hour of research and tinkering with both AppleScript and Automator. Despite this set back, I was able to find a workaround.

Using AppleScript and OS X Script Editor, I created a script that open's Word 2008 for Mac and then closes the automatically spawned blank document (see Figure A).

To make the script easy to use, I saved the script as an application in Script Editor (unchecking the Startup Screen option) and then changed its icon to the one used by Word 2008 for Mac. Although my script reproduces the effect GraphicStart is looking for, it doesn't technically answer the question. I've therefore turned this query into a TR Dojo Challenge question. How do you open Word 2008 for Mac without opening a blank document?

About the TR Dojo Challenge Series

Each week, I publish a new question designed to test the technical skills and IT prowess of our TechRepublic members. You can submit an answer to the question by posting it within this post's discussion thread.

I'll accept answer submissions for one week after I post the question. At the end of the week, I'll consider the question closed and review the answers. The member, who submits the first best answer, will be featured in a follow-up TR Dojo Challenge article, posted the following week. For being featured on the site, they will also earn themselves a bit of TechRepublic swag-a coffee mug and laptop sticker.

The rules:

Only answers submitted within one week of the initial question's publication date will be considered for the follow-up article and swag.

All answers must be original and must consist of more than a link or links to third-party resources.

I will choose the correct response from the answers submitted and my decision is final.

Good Luck!


Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

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