Word Won't Start Right

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 26, 2018)

Heather was having problems starting Word correctly on one of her systems. When Word was started, it always appeared to be "minimized," meaning that only the program button on the Taskbar was visible. This occurred even though the shortcut used to start Word was configured to always open the program in a normal window. Right-clicking the task and choosing Restore didn't display the program window, either. The only thing that would work is right-clicking the task and choosing Maximize.

The isn't a problem with how Word starts, it is a problem with how it is displayed on the screen. Restore didn't work because the Word program window was already restored! The problem wasn't that the window was minimized, but that the normal window was entirely off the visible portion of the screen.

What many people don't realize is that, irrespective of the screen resolution setting (i.e., 640 x 480 or 800 x 600), the total screen area that Windows actually works with is vastly larger than the portion you can see. The position of an application window on the screen is set according to the application's current 'Left' and 'Top' setting. For instance, if the settings are Top = 0 and Left = 0, then the top-left corner of the application window is positioned at the very top and left of the visible area on-screen. If the settings were Top = 300 and Left = 400, then the application's top left corner will be in the middle of the screen when using a 800 x 600 resolution but much closer to the bottom-right corner when using a 640 x 480 resolution.

Windows will happily accept negative Top and Left settings which would hide a chunk of the top and left portions (or all) of the application's window off the top left of the screen. Also, it will accept Top and Left settings much greater than the left-most and bottom-most lines of pixels. So, with a resolution of, say, 800 x 600, if Top = 610 and Left = 810, then the whole application window will be off the bottom right of the screen. It will be there, but you can't see any of it because it's all outside the visible portion.

The solution is quite simple:

  1. Open Word and some other program, such as Notepad. (These should be the only two tasks visible on the Taskbar.)
  2. Right-click a blank spot on the Taskbar. Windows displays a Context menu.
  3. On the Context menu, choose Cascade Windows. Word's program window (along with Notepad's) should now appear on your screen.
  4. Adjust the size and position of Word's program window, as desired.
  5. Close Word and the other program you opened in step 1.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (650) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

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. ...

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