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Stop Microsoft Word’s Cursor from Jumping Around

It wasn’t a poltergeist, but for a short while, the supernatural seemed like a reasonable explanation for a customer’s problem. She was typing in Microsoft Word 2011 for the Mac, and the page kept jumping around, thanks to the cursor moving to different parts of the document without her doing anything.

At first I didn’t believe her, just as none of the other tech support professionals she consulted had, either. Microsoft’s Help Desk had her delete Word’s preferences, reinstall Microsoft Office, and jump through other essentially random hoops, all to no avail. They even suggested that perhaps her trackpad was accepting input from her wrists, but she wasn’t touching it. Then the problem happened to me while I was showing her how to work with numbered lists.

While investigating the problem, now that I knew she wasn’t hallucinating, I found a reference to a similar-sounding issue in an old Web post. Following that lead, I looked on the Review tab, where I noticed that, even though Track Changes was off, the Tracking panel’s view pop-up menu was set to Final Showing Markup. That’s the default setting, and shouldn’t have posed a problem, but when I changed the view to Final, the cursor movement suddenly stopped. The problem was reproducible in her other documents as well; toggling between Final and Final Showing Markup brought it back again.

I still haven’t been able to figure out why this happened, although I theorize that she may have made a change to her template while Track Changes was turned on, possibly pulling in a reviewer’s comment bubble. While this isn’t the only time I’ve seen this problem, it’s not common. Nonetheless, if you’re experiencing mysterious cursor movement in a Word document, give this solution a try.


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Comments about Stop Microsoft Word’s Cursor from Jumping Around
(Comments are closed.)

Neil Ticktin  2013-10-11 16:15
This type of troubleshooting is part of what is covered in the Microsoft Office for Mac Accreditation which covers both Office for Mac 2011 and Office 365 for Mac Users.
Miki Odawa  2013-10-11 21:05
On reading this I thought I'd try to reproduce the phenomenon, so I turned on the Ribbon, and lo and behold, my 3rd party mouse went goofus and then quit working entirely. I couldn't get it working right, even when MS Word was shut down.

I had to dig out my original Apple mouse, and then turned off the Ribbon, and now my (3rd party) mouse is back to normal.

I suspect the problem stems from an incompatibility between the Ribbon and USB Overdrive. I'll sacrifice the Ribbon; I like my 3rd party mouse and USB Overdrive.
Alicia Katz Pollock  2013-10-12 11:00
Miki, that's a great theory. She did have a 3rd party mouse plugged into the laptop.
So I have this problem, but not in Word, but outlook - I often find myself typing a message or reply and the cursor jumps to below the end of my signature - so I will get one or 2 words and the rest appearing at the end of my sig. Any thoughts?
Alicia Katz Pollock  2013-10-16 19:43
Do you have a third-party mouse plugged in, out of curiosity?