In which I am seeing little black boxes everywhere (and some blue death too)

hammockOof! Knock down, drag out fight with MS Word today culminating in good old Word turning most of my list numbers into little black boxes!!! !!! !!! What???

I *know* MS Word! My experience with word/text processing programs goes back to the early 1980s. I probably shouldn’t admit that I have used a Wang word processor (remember those?) but I did. (Why do I feel compelled to say that I was not a secretary?) I cut my techie teeth on *FORMAT and “WRITER”. WRITER was a CSC “inside job” if I remember accurately. Eventually we gave up on those and got WordPerfect and finally MS Word came along. And I have been using it for YEARS!!! I know what styles are and I know how to manipulate them, etc. Today? Black boxes appeared and I was totally flummoxed.

Yes, I am editing our user guides again. Documents that were dragged out of another loverly Microsoft product called Framemaker around the time I started working where I do now. Problem? These documents are muuuuuuch better suited to what Framemaker can do than Word. I won’t explain why. List numbering seems to suffer the most. List numbering needs to re-a-start (at 1!) about a gazillion times throughout this document. You would think that would be an easy thing to do and you can even navigate to an option to “restart numbering” if you want. Does it work? Sometimes. Yes, that’s what I said — “sometimes”. All those *other* times? The number starts over on some random number. Or it restarts at “1” but the next number in the list becomes “5” or whatever.

This is the first time I have had all of the list numbers turn into little black boxes. And no they are not bullets. Contrary to popular belief I am not [usually] quiiiite that dumb. I think that I have pushed MS Word over the edge.

I know… “Why don’t you use [insert-my-fave-text-processing-program-here] instead? You can just download it from the cloud! Easy as pie!” Not so fast. This is the online banking industry here. MS Word is industry standard and downloading? Not on my work laptop. Totally locked down. Actually, you are happy about that!

I think that this particularly offensive document is broken beyond easy repair. There are waaaayyy too many styles in it and it’s dangereuse to try to modify a style. Who knows what unintended consequences might ensue, not easily undone? Probably the best thing to do would be to actually re-type it. Yes. Create a new document, re-type all of the text and then insert the quizillion screenshots. Alas, it is 300 pages and I do not have time to re-create a 300 page document right now. So tomorrow, I will be back at the task of eradicating the little black boxes a few at a time and probably making a worse mess than I already have.

Good night,

3 Responses to “In which I am seeing little black boxes everywhere (and some blue death too)”

  1. Margaret Says:

    That makes my job dealing with teenagers in 70 degree sunshine sound like a piece of cake!! Good luck with your black boxes. 🙁

  2. Pooh Says:

    Good Luck! Numbered lists in ms word puts the CURSE in cursor around here too. 300 pages of Yuck! Could you pull each section out and edit as a separate document, then reassemble via the printer?

  3. jane Says:

    if I had a nickel for every time I said ‘I hate Word!’, I wouldn’t be a millionaire, but I’d certainly have more than a dollar. But it does remind me of a favorite little video about Word. warning – there are swear words, so use your headphones or wait until you’re home. 😉