Katie edits her student's papers using Microsoft Word on a Mac, and now after a new update, the formatting is all screwed up in a Windows version of Word. Leo says that in theory, Office should be the same cross-platform. That's the point. But it's possible that typefaces may not be compatible in Windows that are in Mac, and vice versa. Her printer setup may also throw off the formatting. Office formats the document to look as it does on the printed page, and if she got a new printer, that could alter the format. So she should change it to a generic printer format.
Scott is having trouble reading old word files in Microsoft Word. What happened? Leo says that there's a "Trust" option that he can turn off in the file menu under Options > Trust Center.
Mike is wondering how good the encryption is in Microsoft Word and Excel documents. Leo says it's actually pretty good and that it's adequate, but not uncrackable. Leo says it's hard to crack stuff on the web when a service can slow the attacker down. But if someone can get a document that's locked and own it, there's nothing to stop them from trying a million passwords a second, and brute-force that document. Having said that, Microsoft has started using strong encryption on documents. The weak link will be the password.
Carl has made backup flash drives, but he can't read the Word Office files that are on them. Leo says that the files are .DOCX files created by Word and he'll need to open them with Word. Instead, what he's seeing is "word salad" which is Word format commands that tell the software what fonts to display, indents, margins, etc. So if his other app doesn't understand the format, he should try using Word's built-in backup solution, then restore it with the other copy of his app. There could be something that gets corrupted in the transfer by just dragging and dropping.
Andy is having issues with opening Word from the desktop icon in Windows. Leo says to type Windows Key plus "WORD" and see if it launches. If it does, that means his desktop icon is corrupted. Leo advises to just delete the icon and create a new shortcut. Additionally, one can pin it to the task bar and start menu.
Mike used to use Word for DOS for writing screenplays, using stylesheets to handle formatting. Now he's trying to print his old files and he can't, even though he's loading it into Word for DOS. What can he do? Leo says that printing to DOS is fairly ancient. He can copy to LPT1 and print it, but it won't get him the results he wants. He may be able to import them into modern word. The Chatroom says he could try Microsoft Works as an intermediary, if he can find it.
Brian has opened up word documents and find them to be completely blank. Leo says that's an indication of a corrupted file and could be a sign of a failing hard drive. Leo also suggests trying to use an open source editor like Open Office, which may be more forgiving.
Ann wants a simple word processor that would have the least amount of distractions for writing. Leo knows of a few great applications for the Mac, such as WriteRoom. Microsoft Word wouldn't be the best option for her in this case.
Popular word processors such as Microsoft's Word and Apple's Pages save documents in a format specific to that program by default. This means you'll need to have the program the file was saved in, and possibly even a specific version of the program to open the files. This especially becomes a problem when that program is no longer in development.
Robert is a professional Japanese interpreter and his computer is divided between Japanese and English languages. He's learned that he shouldn't use the same version of Word with both languages. He says it corrupts the Japanese language in his laptop. Leo suggests using the language packs from Microsoft Word. Word can manage both. He suggests going back to Windows update to get the Japanese language packs. Then he should go into "regions and settings" and choose the Japanese keyboard settings.