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: Deleting Freezes Computer.

Deleting Freezes Computer

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 4, 2010)

Sharon reports that a rectangle with two lines dissecting to form an X (like the back of an envelope) has appeared in her Word document. When she right-clicks on the thing to delete it, her computer freezes up.

There are several things to check on your system. First, the rectangle could be a "placeholder" for a linked graphic, and Word is having troubles locating the graphic. If Word thinks the graphic is on a network drive and it is having problems making the connection to the drive, then you may see the symptoms that appear when you try to delete the graphic. If this is the case, then the "freeze" isn't really a freeze; Word is simply trying, behind the scenes, to touch base with the missing graphic. Eventually the attempts will time out and Word should, once again, become responsive.

If the graphic is linked using a field, you could display the field codes in the document to see what underlies the rectangle. Press Alt+F9 and, if the rectangle is replaced with some codes within field braces, you can then try to figure out what the field code is doing. You can also delete the field braces, with the code contained therein, to see if the problem goes away. When you are done looking at the field codes, simply press Alt+F9 again.

If the X in the rectangle is red, then it is possible that the cause could be due to the graphic itself—it could be because it is too complex for Word to display or it could be corrupted in some way. Here is an article by Word MVP Suzanne Barnhill that explains the problem and some possible solutions:

http://sbarnhill.mvps.org/WordFAQs/RedX.htm

Finally, it could be that the document itself is corrupted. If this is the case, then you should open a new, blank document and copy the original document (only the portions before and after the rectangle) to the new document.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (9188) 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: Deleting Freezes Computer.

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

Determining a Column Width

When laying out your document, you may wonder what width you should use for your text. An old typographers trick may help to ...

Discover More

Changing Dialog Box Pull-Down List Item Order

When selecting options within menus, Word frequently displays additional options in dialog boxes. While customizing the order ...

Discover More

Reversed Bolding

If you paste information from one document into another, you may be surprised at the results. If your text changes from ...

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)

Unable to Edit Document with Embedded Fonts

What are you to do if you embed fonts in a document and then someone else cannot make changes to that document? Chances are ...

Discover More

Symbols for Non-Printing Characters

Displaying non-printing characters can help you better understand the formatting and contents of your documents. What do all ...

Discover More

Quickly Moving Text with the Mouse

Drag-and-drop editing is a handy feature when you love to use the mouse. There are two ways you can move text using the ...

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 for this tip:

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. 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 9 - 7?

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.

Links and Sharing