HELP!!! MS Word is threatening my and holding a paper hostage!

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by TheMac19, Dec 13, 2004.

  1. TheMac19 macrumors regular


    May 13, 2004
    Deep breaths...

    I've been working on a paper for a long time now, and I just tried to save it, and Word gave me this error:

    "Word cannot complete the operation because too many files are open. Word Work File A_246."

    When I clicked "OK" another box poped up proclaiming:

    "Saving autorecovery is postponed for XXXXX.doc"

    Now if I try to save the paper it simply says "Word cannot complete..." same as the first error message, only without the error number, and it won't let me save it. I quit all the other programs i had running, and I don't have any other documents open in word, just this one I'm working on. It is longer, currently 3331 words, but it's certainly not loooong. I've been working on it for the past week though, and loosing it would be something akin to what my old 266mhz pc would pull running WordPerfect. i'd be very tempted to throw this nice new powerbook right out the window...

    it's word v.x and the powerbook is a new 15", loaded to the brim... Oh I'd appreciate some helpful words...

    (PS: helpful words shoudn't come in the form of scolding a good little mac user for running a M$ program... that's a whole 'nother debate.)
  2. Nermal Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2002
    New Zealand
    Select All, Copy, and Paste into a new document and try saving again. If that doesn't work, try pasting into TextEdit (you might lose some formatting but at least your content will remain).
  3. TheMac19 thread starter macrumors regular


    May 13, 2004
    oh jeebus

    Well, word has just given me a new threat:

    "Word cannot save or create this file. The disk may be full or write protected. Try one or more of the following:
    *Free more memory.
    *Make sure that the disk you want to save the file on is not full, write-protected, or damaged.
    (Word Work File A_38)"

    My hard disk has over 30 gigs free, and my powerbook's got 2 gigs of RAM. The file is just being saved as a word document, and yes, I have been clicking on save every 15 minutes or so...

    I run the disk utilities and repair permissions often enough, although right now I am worried about doing anything while word is open and my file is up....
  4. TheMac19 thread starter macrumors regular


    May 13, 2004
    thanks for that, I did save in textedit which worked, but with about 35 footnotes and pretty detailed formatting of quotes it'll be a bummer to have to use it, but way, way better than starting from scratch.

    Anyway, here's the activity monitor shot about word:
    16674 Word user 14.00 4 181.65 MB 483.05 MB

    Nothing looks too fishy there to me. I'm leaning towards just repairing permissions, is there any risk in doing this with Word open?
  5. herr_neumann macrumors 6502


    Mar 27, 2003
    Roseville, Ca
    next time just quit the program. It will prompt you to save. This is what I had to do many, many many times while in college. In fact my girlfriend called me with this same panic for one of her papers in law school and it worked for her too.
  6. TheMac19 thread starter macrumors regular


    May 13, 2004
    if I try to quit the program I get into the same circular debate with Word...
    I choose "quit word" -> Word asks me if I want to save paper -> I say Yes -> word says it can't save paper -> voila, Word is still open and paper in unsaved...

    (Rather I should say recent changes to paper are unsaved, I've been foiled before so I regularly save...)

    UPDATE: I ran complete "everything" cycle of MacJanitor and repaired permissions (both with Word open) and no changes...

    However, interestingly enough, after "selecting all" and copying, then pasting into a new Word document, when I tried to save that one, it gave the same bogus message, so I figured "f*ck it" and just clicked to close the file, when prompted to save i clicked "yes" just for sh*ts and giggles, and it looked like it works as the document disappeared. Indeed, looking into my Documents file, it looks like that file does exist, and it a few kb bigger than the one I've been working in, which makes me think it's correct...

    however, when I go into word and try to open the other document (let's call it newdoc.doc) word says that it cannot open it because "newdoc.doc is in use by another user." well well well Word, isn't that funny, since there is only one (and there has only ever been one) user account on my machine, and it's ME. This is smelling more and more like a PC by the minute, perhaps I should check the lid and make sure the apple is still glowing...
  7. Datazoid macrumors regular

    May 10, 2002
    Well, you are using MICROSOFT Word, after all... :eek:

    Unfortunately, I have no advice for you...I have dumped Word for all but a few specific functions (such as bulleted lists), I generally write papers in Nisus Writer Express. Its not perfect, but its a heck of a lot closer to what I want.
  8. jaseone macrumors 65816


    Nov 7, 2004
    Houston, USA
    What if you try copying and pasting into Entourage with Word as your editor there and email it to yourself?
  9. yippy macrumors 68020


    Mar 14, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    Did you try going File->save as.. and saving it to a differentpart of your hard disk (like the /User/Shared)?
  10. khammack macrumors regular

    Sep 28, 2004
    Portland, OR
    That's just what I was about to say. There are other word processors in the wold besides microsoft word. Many will even save as a Word document, and import from MS Word.

    Personally, I use OpenOffice for everything, even passing .doc files back and forth between MS Word users.

    Heck, I even remember a time less than a decade ago when it wasn't a foregone conclusion that MS Word was the only option....take the power back. ;-)

  11. Timelessblur macrumors 65816


    Jun 26, 2004
    I say something glitch in it and it somethign in the OS that glitch causing word to think that something wrong. trying rebooting and see what you get
  12. hulugu macrumors 68000


    Aug 13, 2003
    the faraway towns
    This is a strange problem, one I've never run into and I use Word all day every day.

    Are you running MS Word in multiple user accounts? And is this the only file currently open?
    Once you rebooted did it behave with the same file?

    It is possible that the Word install is hosed somehow.
  13. ZaniCWB macrumors member


    Mar 16, 2004
  14. russed macrumors 68000


    Jan 16, 2004
    London, England
    have you downloaded the updates for office v.x off the microsoft site. i have heard that the latest one fixes a few problems.
  15. ChrisBrightwell macrumors 68020


    Apr 5, 2004
    Huntsville, AL
    This sounds like an error that the Word team has been battling since the beginning.

    Here's some history on the bug:

    It's an interesting read if you're into that kind of stuff. :)

    The moral of the story? Save early and save often.
  16. telecomm macrumors 65816


    Nov 30, 2003
    You might also want to delete the preferences for Word, that has fixed some problems for me in the past.
  17. TheMac19 thread starter macrumors regular


    May 13, 2004
    part one - why oh why word

    yes yes yes, I know there are other word processors out there, and indeed the past 6 years (up until switching full-time this spring) were spent on a Win98 pc running WordPerfect - it didn't even come with Word!
    I've read through the debates about other word processors and have tried a few, but somehow still feel that Word is the easiest choice for me at the moment. As a grad student I'm writing very often, and my demands for word processing software are high, with vast amounts of footnotes/endnotes, formatted quotations, many pictures within the text, etc. Also the ease of use of the thesaurus/dictionary is huge as is the running grammar and spelling check and being able to switch spelling/grammar formats on the fly between Irish/UK and American standards. Finally, saving these fancy papers littered with footnotes and pictures correctly formatted as Word documents is absolutely imperative for me in the environment I work in.
    This is not to say that other software won't/can't do these things, but I haven't found one that does everything as fluidly as Word. I do have a great interest in openoffice, and look forward to a day when it is native in osx. And for what it's worth, I think that Apple not providing AppleWorks free to customers buying $3000+ powerbooks is a crime not much worse than Microsoft's allowing this bug to persist for so long in Word.

    Now that I've hit this bug in Word, perhaps I'll be more motivated to look elsewhere, but it's a tough shell to crack when Word is so damn good in what it offers, just really bad in how it goes about it. Sad but true, the features of word as word processing software are top notch, although the "features" of microsoft are near the murky bottom part of the barrel.
  18. TheMac19 thread starter macrumors regular


    May 13, 2004
    part two, Solving the Problem

    Okay, thanks for all the responses. In particular, thanks to ZaniCWB and ChrisBrightwell for the highly informative links about this apparently well documented bug. I had searched these forums quite a bit before posting, and came up dry, thus the post...

    Anyway, I was able to copy and paste the entire paper into a new word document, which saved upon closing. (don't know why, I tired it again and it woudn't work) So with that, and a backup textedit copy, I closed word, ran MacJanitor again, repaired preferences again, and ran a full go with TechTool Deluxe to check for errors. (none found). thus I shut the machine down to give it a rest and went to bed. fired her up this morning, and all is reasonably well, as it should be. The only things lost in the process were about 3 hours productivity, any faith in Microsoft Word, one beer, and all of the numbering for my endnotes was changed to roman numerals (oh I hate that!)

    As per the bug, to summarize very briefly: In mac versions of MS Word, somewhere in microsoftland a file is created each time the user clicks on save, and for some reason these files do not go away as you work. Consequently, if working in Word for a long period of time, and frequently "saving" Word will hit its quota of saves and refuse to save anything else. The error messages ("too many documents open" or "disk full") are bogus and obviously not true in the real sense, but serve to worry the user and displace blame away from ms...

    Thus it appears that this bug hits cautious users the hardest - as "saving early and saving often" is precisely what makes it happen. You might say "once burned, twice shy, thrice slapped in the face by microsoft."

    The solution when the problem hits is to simply copy your changes since the last save (possibly paste them elsewhere), shut down MS Word, reopen it, then just paste your changes into the document, which will still be saved in its previous incarnation. If editing a document, this can be a bit more annoying as the changes might not be a paragraph or two, but rather a whole pile of little changes spread over an entire paper...

    I read that you can also choose "save as" RTF, which will also work, but I haven't tried. This bug is documented in Word for Mac, from version 98 through v.x, I haven't noticed any mention of it in the newest release of Office X. . . . anyone? Maybe it's been fixed.

    For me, I'm going to try to save and restart Word every once in a while, rather than just click save frequently, as the formatting I use (in text pictures, gobs of footnotes, etc.) is lost or changed in copying to textedit or other places.

    Of course, a good little microsoft user could avoid the problem all together by never clicking "save" until their document is complete. They could also tighten their head in a vice while amputating their legs with a popsicle stick.

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