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Technology

Bye bye Microsoft Word

I’ve been using Word on the Mac for a long time, but since Office 2008 I’ve encountered an extremely annoying problem: documents get corrupted. It doesn’t happen very often, and it appears to be connected to the Send File button: when I send a file by email, Word does something to the document that means it can’t be opened: it’s not a valid file any more. It won’t work in Word for the Mac, Word on PC, any Office clones or anything else. It’s a dead file.

It’s annoying, but it’s not the end of the world: I can retrieve the emailed copy from my Sent email folder and resurrect it.

Still, it’s annoying enough that I was ready to buy the New! Improved! Microsoft Office for Mac to stop it happening again.

Unfortunately the problem hasn’t gone away in the new version; it’s got worse. Yesterday I was working across eight Word documents. Nothing fancy, just plain text. Several thousand words in all. And Word corrupted six of them beyond repair (I don’t have Time Machine running at the moment so I couldn’t roll back time, unfortunately). The files couldn’t be moved, or copied, or emailed, or anything. They were completely and utterly screwed.

It’s a known problem, it seems, and it *may* have something to do with unusual characters in filenames or folder paths. However, my documents didn’t have unusual characters in filenames or folder paths, and no other program on my Mac does this. Just Word.

I like Word, but I can’t have the electronic equivalent of a family dog that mauls the kids. So it’s off to Pages I go.