Someone goofed, folks. I know lots of people who only use Microsoft Word because it talks so well with PageMaker. Not too surprising, considering that Microsoft and Aldus are about ten miles apart. We said in our previous articles on Word that the file formats of Word 4.0 and Word 5.0 are the same. That’s apparently true with the exception of about 100 bytes at the beginning of the file, and that minor difference can cause problems when placing documents in PageMaker, though the situation is still a little fuzzy.
The basic problem is that if you work on a Word 4.0 document in Word 5.0 and then want to place that document in PageMaker 4.x, it sometimes fails, (even more frustrating than if it failed consistently). Documents that have never been touched by Word 5.0 are fine, and documents created in Word 5.0 and never touched by Word 4.0 are fine. There isn’t much else we can tell you about the problem (you’ll know it when you see it) except the solution, which currently seems to be the only fix for problematic files until Aldus releases new import filters for PageMaker.
To fix, as my mother would say, a bad-dude file, open it in Word 4.0, save it in RTF format (which, by the way, is an excellent way to fix some common problems with Word files), open the RTF file in Word 4.0 again, and save under a new name. Then you can import the file into PageMaker. If you were paying attention you’ll notice that Word 5.0 does not figure into the fix at all, so make sure you keep Word 4.0 handy if you regularly import Word documents originally created in 4.0 into PageMaker.
Graphics Bug — We’ve heard reports of Word 5 crashing when editing mildly complex graphics in its graphics editor, and at first figured that people were just pushing the limits a bit too far. A little testing showed that the graphics editor is not terribly stable, particularly in low memory situations. I created a Word 4.0 document with a few words and one of the standard graphics from the Scrapbook (the Downtown Business Occupancy Rate one), opened it in Word 5.0, double-clicked on the graphic, and then played with the lines in it for a minute before Word bombed. Be careful out there folks.
Public Relations Bug — In the humor department, at a recent dBUG meeting, a Microsoft product manager called a woman from the audience up on stage and asked the leading question, "How many people out of ten must pass a feature in Microsoft’s usability testing for that feature to reach the final program?" Undeterred by the prospect of not winning a hot pink Microsoft Word duffle bag, the woman confidently replied, "One," paused for a few seconds as the audience fell out of their seats laughing, and then gave the desired answer (nine) to walk off with the duffle bag and the audience’s applause. Life is never dull around here.
Microsoft Mac Word Technical Support — 206/635-7200