Please Note: This article is written for users of the following Microsoft Word versions: 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. If you are using a later version (Word 2007 or later), this tip may not work for you. For a version of this tip written specifically for later versions of Word, click here: Direction Arrows Confused.

Direction Arrows Confused

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated February 24, 2016)

Pat reports that something really strange has happened with one of her Word documents. For some reason, the arrow keys have become confused. Pressing the left arrow moves the cursor right, while right goes left. Similarly, pressing the up arrow moves the cursor down and the down arrow moves it up.

The first thing you'll want to do is to open the document on a different system to see if the problem is evident there, as well. If it is, then you know that the problem is with the document itself. If it is not, then the problem is with the original system.

If this behavior is evident in only a single document, then there are only a limited number of reasons as to why it could be happening. The first thing to check is whether there are any macros associated with the document. It could be that the macros redefine the behavior of the arrow keys. If that is the case, then you can delete or edit the macros to make the behavior change.

The other possible cause is that the document is corrupted in some manner. Corrupt documents can display all sorts of strange behaviors, including keyboard quirks. If you suspect this is the case, then you'll need to go through some rather standard steps for dealing with corrupt documents. (How you handle corrupt documents has been discussed in other issues of WordTips.)

If the problem is with the computer itself, then you might try swapping out the keyboard for a new one to see if that takes care of the problem.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (506) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003. You can find a version of this tip for the ribbon interface of Word (Word 2007 and later) here: Direction Arrows Confused.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

Creating a Table Using the Keyboard

Want to easily add a table to your document simply by typing a few keystrokes? Here's how you can do it in one easy step.

Discover More

Printing a List of Named Ranges

You already know that you can define names that apply to different ranges of cells and other elements such as formulas. ...

Discover More

Extracting Proper Words

If you've got a list of potential words, and you want to know which of those potential words are real, you'll appreciate the ...

Discover More

Comprehensive VBA Guide Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) is the language used for writing macros in all Office programs. This complete guide shows both professionals and novices how to master VBA in order to customize the entire Office suite for their needs. Check out Mastering VBA for Office 2010 today!

More WordTips (menu)

Automatically Opening a Document at a Specific Zoom Setting

Do you prefer to have your documents open at a specific zoom magnification? You can get whatever magnification you desire by ...

Discover More

Delay in Dialog Box Appearing

If your copy of Word seems to be slowing down a lot lately, it could be time to do some remedial work on your system. This ...

Discover More

Forcing the Properties Dialog Box to Appear

Do you want the Properties dialog box to appear when you first save a Word document? You can configure Word so that it does ...

Discover More
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 8Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 7 - 0?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)


This Site

Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.

Newest Tips
Subscribe

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.