Funny about Money

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ―Edmund Burke

What Makes Word Crash???

I knew it! I just knew it: the job was going to make me grind my teeth. Good thing I stuck the mouth guard in before I started typing mind-numbing data. Boring. I hate boredom. Boredom frustrates me, and frustration makes me clench my teeth. Without that mouth guard I would’ve broken all the teeth in my mouth when Word “closed unexpectedly” just as I hit “Table > Sort > Sort by paragraphs • Ascending” on 29 single-spaced pages.

“We are sorry; Word had to close unexpectedly” means “You are screwed! Any data you haven’t manually saved is gone, and NO, there is no auto-recovery file backing up the work you were doing. And yes, we did calculate this so it would happen just as you were coming to the end of an hours-long slab of brain-banging labor.”

Word does that all the time. We figured out that it’s not a function of Wyrd for Mac, because Tina reported that her Wyrd for Windows does the same thing, and she runs it on a high-powered PC. I have Wyrd set to auto-save about every three minutes, plus I’ve learned to hit “Command > Save” after just about every sentence, phrase, and word. I’ve also set Wyrd to make back-up files as it goes, creating mounds of annoying clutter.

So no data was lost, but I didn’t know that until the system came back online. Frustrating, time-wasting, and annoying.

It seems to have something to do with tables. Apparently a lengthy or complicated table — one with bulleted points in it, for example — causes Word to crash.

First time this occurred, a client had constructed tables and stuck more tables inside some of the cells. He even put an image in one of the cells! The damn thing crashed if you just looked at it.

More recently, we edited a corporate book compiled of entries by a whole slew of authors. To enforce some sort of conformity, the PR director had come up with a tabular form, whose purpose was to regularize the content and format across the board. Great idea…but as soon as someone decided to enter a bulleted list in a cell, it would cause the whole elegant construct to crash.

Always just as the august editor was about to close out, having spent two hours laboring over the edits. I lost track of the number of hours we had to write off for that project because of Wyrd crashes. Six or eight, as I recall.

Then there was the author who inserted Japanese characters inside Word tables. Complicated, elaborate tables. CRASH!

What makes Word crash? Tables make Word crash!

Nothing was lost yesterday but some time that wouldn’t have been paid, anyway. It was my own project. But those recurring Word crashes sure are annoying.

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  1. I am sooooo temperamentally unsuited to being an editor. I break out in a cold sweat whenever I read your posts–even ones where things are going fairly smoothly.

  2. I am no expert, so this is just a thought: I wonder if Word crashing is a function of how much memory/power are allotted to the program? Maybe you could explore that to see about altering the room you give Word within your computer processes, since it’s something you use all. the. time. (Think about it this way: Photoshop gets a lot more space because it’s bigger. Maybe Word is being a squeaky wheel and demanding equal rights or something…)

    • @ Liz: That certainly is a possibility. Another trick that will make it crash is messing having too many files open at once and then messing with one of them in a way that demands memory — for example, adding images to the copy.

  3. If you know of any computer consultants that you trust it may be worth the investment to have the person optimize Word and your other programs for you. The only computer that I run Word on is the corporate-issued laptop. I don’t have problems with Word at all, which could be because our IT folks were the ones that installed it and all the other software I have on my computer and they configured everything optimally for me. Or, it could be because I rarely use complicated tables, too. Nested tables! Bullet lists in tables! Images in tables! Wow, if those clients love the tabular format so much, why aren’t they using Excel?

  4. My problem has never been with Word crashing (knock on wood), rather my problem is that Word has it’s own opinions on how my documents should be formatted. And those opinions are radically different than mine. Thus great battles ensure, and Word usually wins.

    • Yes. Apparently Microsoft’s nerds have no idea that 1.5-spaced lines with air between the grafs is not only tacky, it’s WRONG. It’s wrong in MLA style, it’s wrong in APA style, it’s wrong in Chicago style, and it’s stupid-looking. And whose idea was it, anyway, to change the default font from Times New Roman to that hideous Calibri? Forgodsake, if they wanted to change the font, why not change it to Garamond or something else that would be freaking acceptable???