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Fixing Persistent Template Corruption

Brad was having problems with one of his Word templates. The template, after being used once or twice, would routinely get "corrupted." This corruption would manifest itself through the appearance of improper AutoCorrect entries in his document.

The problem in this case may not be the AutoCorrect entries, but the actual template itself. Templates—particularly those with lots of elements in them—can easily become very complex and therefore easy to corrupt.

It is impossible to determine the exact cause of a problem without some amount of trial and error. In this case, try the following:

  • If you are using Word 2003, open the template file directly using Open and Repair. (Select the template file in the Option dialog box, then click the down-arrow at the right side of the Open button.) This will check the file to see if Word can locate and fix any corruption.
  • Use the Organizer to copy styles, macros, and other elements from the existing template to a new template file. This will help to clear up some problems that may exist in the actual structural framework of the existing template file.
  • Reduce the complexity of the template by splitting it into several template files. Place macros in one, styles in another, etc. Attach them to your document as global templates; this allows you to attach more than one each document.
  • Protect your template files so they are "read only." This should be done at a Windows level, outside of Word. This will protect the templates so that nothing can be written to them. (Corruption most often happens through writing to a file.)

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (150) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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