Word Won't Start Right

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 6, 2012)

1

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. ...

MORE FROM ALLEN

How Word Handles Abbreviations

Abbreviations appear all over the place in our society. If you want to understand how Word recognizes them (which it has to ...

Discover More

Arranging Paragraphs

Need to move a few paragraphs around in your document? Word provides a couple of handy shortcuts that make it very easy to ...

Discover More

How Word Applies Styles

Styles are a great boon for applying styles in a powerfully consistent manner. How Word applies styles, however, depends on ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!

More WordTips (menu)

Changing Colors of Spelling and Grammar Underlines

The red and green wavy underlines used in Word can be a boon for proofing a document, but they are of little use if you have ...

Discover More

Displaying Actual Font Faces

Want to see font samples as you contemplate which fonts to use in your document? Word provides an easy way to do this.

Discover More

Turning Off ScreenTips

All those little ScreenTips bug you when moving through Word's toolbars? You can turn them off by following the steps in this ...

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 6Mpixels. 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 3 + 3?

2012-10-09 10:35:38

Phil Reinemann

Now if only they would allow the "Move" option from any side or corner grab area, like they do in the upper window frame, and allow the mouse control to stay wherever you selected "Move". That way if the top left of the window was off the screen, you could move it back into the screen's display area from whatever part is visible.


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.