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A quick Office hint, and a request Apps
I just encountered a bug at one of my clients' place that looks a whole lot like a really super-old bug (like from the time when megabytes of RAM made a big difference in price).

The bug, in itself, is insignificant: the first version of MS Office for the Mac had a limit on the number of documents it could handle without quitting, but the problem was that each save counted as a new document, so Office apps would lock up pretty quick.

The same thing seems to be happening now with the newest version of everything involved.

The hint to get rid of the MS Office apps no longer saving is to quit them often, then re-launch as needed. Yes, it's a bit simple-minded, but sometimes that's what you need to do.

And now I'm writing you with a request:

With MacFixIt now gone as an effective service for me, there is no longer a communal memory of these quirks and hiccups. I think this site need a new side-line in which you discuss common bugs (rather than hints--which, generally being solutions, are at the other end of the spectrum).

Well, that was just a thought from a really really old timer (once hinter) and just a great fan!

[crarko adds: Actually, we already have such an area, the MacOSXHints forums. Are people here generally aware of these? I'll take advantage of the opportunity to put in a plug for them, as they serve the requested function quite well, I think. And it's a more appropriate venue to work on problem solving than here. I urge people who have questions to sign up and post them there. Note that the user databases are separate, so a separate registration is required.]
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A quick Office hint, and a request
Authored by: dzurn on May 16, '11 09:19:27AM

If you aren't using the forums, you are working way too hard.

Some of the best advice on everything from simple icon info to the best way to use the Unix shell can be found in its depths.


Madness takes its toll.
Please have exact change.

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MS Office bug?
Authored by: leamanc on May 16, '11 11:31:15AM

I am really unfamiliar with this Office bug, as I have Office 2011 and I'll leave Word and Excel open for weeks at a time, just closing documents as needed, but leaving the apps running.

What would you consider the first version of MS Office for Mac? Office '98? (The apps existed for Mac before that, but I think that's the first time they were bundled as MS Office for Mac.) Or do you mean the first version for OS X, which was MS Office X? In any case, I don't ever remember having that bug with those versions, either. Can anyone confirm that they have seen or heard of this problem?

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MS Office bug?
Authored by: Philosophize on May 17, '11 09:24:58AM

I encountered this all the time with PowerPoint, but I didn't know that it was a fundamental bug with Office as a whole. I can't begin to tell you how much work I've lost and had to re-do over the years simply because the file wouldn't save.

Oh, and I kept the old Office X going for so long instead of upgrading because I had things set up just the way I needed for QuicKeys automation to create large numbers of slides. Once something like that is set up and works, I don't mess with it unless I have to.

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MS Office bug?
Authored by: astack on May 17, '11 01:27:46PM

I'm finding that Office 2011 freezes really often, multiple times a day. I'm wondering if this isn't what's causing it.

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A quick Office hint, and a request
Authored by: RMo on May 17, '11 10:59:01AM

Is MS aware of this bug? Given how huge Office is and how long it can take to start, I don't consider this an acceptable workaround. That being said, I've never noticed it--just that my fans rev up and my documents save very slowly (but I've always attributed that to working on a network share over a VPN).

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A quick Office hint, and a request
Authored by: Windows Refugee on May 17, '11 09:15:39PM

Finally, someone else feels my pain! I have been working on moderately large Word documents (100-500 pages) and having Word (Office 2011) crash repeatedly on my late 2010 MBA 'ultimate' (4 gigs om memory). I have spent countless hours on the phone with both Apple and MS tech support and, more recently hours in at their respective stores with their "Genious/Answer" staff. No one claims to know about this. What I have discovered is consistent with the bug you describe. A 5 MB (on disk) Word document opens up to ~80 MB when I open Word. After an hour or so working on it in track changes it gradually eats up more and more memory so that, according to Activity Monitor, Word is consuming more than 1 GB, all the memory is in use and Word crashes. I have found that if I just close Word before memory gets to a critical level, I can start over and work for another hour or two before it crashes again. I am still waiting for someone from MS to get back to me since this seems like a MS bug, not an Apple flaw. This seems like a fairly obvious and stupid bug and I have seen a couple of similar posts over at Mac Rumors (besides mine there). How come MS does not seem to acknowledge this problem or address it? How do we get there attention?

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A quick Office hint, and a request
Authored by: dzurn on May 19, '11 11:20:09AM
How do we get [Microsoft's] attention?

Uh, start using OpenOffice or LibreOffice?

That's what I did, and my satisfaction with Microsoft increases dramatically when I'm not forced to run any of their apps any more.


Madness takes its toll.
Please have exact change.

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A quick Office hint, and a request
Authored by: tigerali on May 17, '11 12:11:31PM

Yeah it's a little unclear - does this mean Office '11 has a number of opened files limit during each session?

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A quick Office hint, and a request
Authored by: jelockwood on May 18, '11 02:37:50AM

The old bug that is I believe being referred to, is where Office is using "auto-save" on documents.

Each time it auto-saves Office would effectively open another file (or temporary file) as far as the operating system was concerned and eventually this would result in it having so many file records open that the operating system limit was exceeded and Office could then no longer save even as normal let alone auto-saving. This problem was not a fault of auto-save in general but the way Microsoft Office (for Mac) handled file access. I could also believe that general use of say Word without quitting but openning and closing documents would also eventually result in too many open files.

I have no personal knowledge as to whether Office 2011 still causes this problem however an operating system limit would still exist even in Mac OS X 10.6.7.

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A quick Office hint, and a request
Authored by: phallenberg on May 19, '11 06:22:39AM

I don't know about MS Office 2011 but the bug is present in MS Office 2008.

My solution is to save it in another format. Save the document as a doc if it is a docx or viceversa.

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A quick Office hint, and a request
Authored by: petersconsult on May 23, '11 01:48:15PM
That is precisely it
A first search through the MacFixIt archives yielded this, regarding Office 98:Sorry can't post the link, the systems blocks it calling it spam
Word 98 Save bug Meanwhile, regarding the MS Word Save bug (also covered here recently), a couple of readers confirm that Mac OS 9 will "solve" this problem by increasing the maximum number of open files from 348 to 8169.

It turns out that this was a cross-platform issue (remember, i am speaking of '98)Sorry can't post the link, the systems blocks it calling it spam
Open file guzzlers While discussing the Word 98 Save bug (which is triggered by reaching the Mac OS's 348 limit on open files), we noted some programs that open an unusually large number of files. Readers have since sent us a few more candidates[…]
Combining font files Since each font file in your Fonts folder contributes to your open files count, David Vasilevsky points out that you can reduce your open files total by combining font files and suitcases into a smaller number of suitcase files. He merged all of his fonts into just 5 suitcases. This reduced his open files total by around 100 files.
Virtual memory Also recall that, with virtual memory on, many files are counted twice.
Word Save bug is cross-platform Several readers noted that the problem with Word 98 and saving files occurs on the Windows platform as well.
Fast Saves work-around? Several readers have suggested that turning Fast Save on should eliminate the accumulation of Work files that lead to the Save problem. Indeed, Nick Van Valkenburgh points to a Microsoft document (Q233995) that states: "To reduce the number of temp files created, select the Allow fast saves check box on the Save tab of the Preferences dialog box. This should limit Word to one temp file created per open document." I have tried this and found that it seems to work on some days but not others. But if it works for you, great!

i may be wrong, but over 16 years of on-site Mac troubleshooting tell me otherwise: it'd been established then (and i believe it still to be true now) that this was an OS-Independent issue
i've seen some version of this limitation creep up in every single version….
Yes, maybe it was with those people who never quit nor restart their computers; they'll go 2 weeks without restarting or even quitting Word, just shutting the lid on their laptop (which most of them consider to be a restart!!)
But, the fact is, it always happened intolerably early in the Office apps, and it is still an issue today. Here's a test, if you work a lot with an Office app (preferably Word, because that was always the troublesome one, if only because it gets used so much more); turn 'auto-save' on to save every 5 minutes; Do Not Quit Word for 2 weeks (quitting just once invalidates the test); i'd bet my retirement on the fact that, in this 2011 version, you'll get a message to the effect of: "couldn't overwrite file xyz" (i don't remember it exactly)..

Anywho, about the side-line, i guess i was talking more about something like a wiki, or even an editorialized pick of hot issues from the forum…
i agree that the forum holds a wealth of knowledge, but you know what, it would be even better if the end-result of some issue's resolution showed up in some summarized form on the main page.
i realize that my latter suggestion would require additional editorial staff, which, in our day and age (and let's face it, Mac troubleshooting discussions can't quite get the Sports Illustrated audience).
However… There are new kinds of tools out there (some aren't so new any more) like a wiki; or some sort of community-provided summary. i think most people who are still readers here would be more than willing to play the wiki game.

The only reason i brought all this up was that rattled me that there is no longer a Mac-Troubleshooting memory trace out there: CNET destroyed all that was good and holy in MacFixIt.
And it's super-frustrating to still be saying to my clients, over 13 years later, "yup, Word never could handle more than a certain number of files, and each save equates to a new file…" and always having to offer the solution of quitting Word, and restarting it every once in a while (by the way, Word has also always taken longer to launch on its first launch after a reboot; subsequent launches are often much much quicker)…

i'll shut up now..
Be Well All!
Edited on May 23, '11 01:51:11PM by petersconsult

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