Word 2010 and 2007 (and 2003 for that matter) can coexist

As a training professional, I typically have more than 1 Office version installed on my machine. While Office 2010 and 2007 in general can coexist nicely, with the exception of Outlook, there is an annoying aspect with Word: when switching from one version to the other, you get a dialog box that is asking you to “wait” while the Setup process is “configuring” Word:

Thanks to this post on Herb Tyson’s Word Bible Blog, I finally got rid of this annoyance. The trick is to add a special value to the registry: add the DWORD NoReReg to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Word\Options with value 1.

With a command prompt, you could do this as follows:

For Word 2003, use HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Word\Options


Microsoft Word: extra space before colon

Another weird thing happened this morning. No, I’m not talking about the switch to SummerTime, although I am not a big fan of changing the time twice a year, but that’s another story.

I was typing a text in Microsoft Word 2007 and noticed that whenever I typed a colon (:), magically a space was added before the colon. I was actually entering times in the document, like 9:45, but it always ended up as 9 :45, with a space before the colon.

It drove me crazy. Why did Word do that? I could not find anything about this in the AutoCorrect settings (which I had trouble to find in Word 2007 by the way, it’s in Word Options > Proofing).

Finally, after quite some Googleling, I learned from this blog that in French, punctuation rules state that you always need a non-breaking space before a colon. And yes, somehow Word was thinking that I was entering French text, when I checked the Language settings:
When switching to English, the space was not added automatically before the colon.

I was interested in finding out whether you can turn that off, even when writing French. The same blog explained it: the option is linked to AutoCorrect > AutoFormat As You Type > Replace “Straight quotes” with “smart quotes”. As the blog states: “It doesn’t just replace straight quotes with smart quotes. It actually uses the appropriate quotation marks for each language, and adds the required non-breaking spaces before and after the punctuation marks based on that language’s typographic rules.”

Interesting. And undocumented, as far as I know :-S


Add-in to merge letters to separate files

I was working on a project for a non-profit organization this weekend, and I ran into an issue that caused some head-scratching. The group needed a large mass mailing, and the process of getting the data into an XL-sheet and running a Mail merge using Word seemed easy enough. It was, except for the fact that Word creates one big document as a result (even though you get that by selecting the somewhat misleading “Edit individual documents”).
We needed a separate Word document for each record of the Mass Mailing and Word can not do that.
After searching for some time, I was ready to write a macro myself, but luckily I found Graham Mayor’s website with a nice Add-in that solves the problem. The add-in will intercept the command to merge to a new document and provides an additional option to merge to separate document files:Graham’s website contains a ton of other Word Tips. I haven’t checked them out yet, but it definitely looks worthwhile.