Formatting mayhem tables in word document
Thread poster: sarah grosvenor

sarah grosvenor  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:37
Russian to English
+ ...
Dec 20, 2007

I am proofreading a 30,000 word document using "Track changes" and it was all going fine, until I get to the last 10 pages and suddenly all the tables start going absolutely mayhem, and I get a message saying that one of the tables is corrupted (no idea which one), and that I should do "open and repair". I did that, and all that happened was the next time i opened the document, it was 500 pages long instead of 120 because word had put everything into one tiny thin column down the left hand side. Despairing because deadline tomorrow morningicon_frown.gif

I've managed to save the first 20 pages using copy and paste into a new file, but the rest keeps flickering so fast and repaginating itself, that I can't seem to save my work! Does anyone have any tips? Is it because I am using "track changes"? Because of the large volume of text? Any advice would be very welcome if anyone has been in a similar situation... If I could press a magic button that would make my christmas!!icon_smile.gif
thanks in advance,...



Lori Cirefice  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:37
French to English
Sympathy Dec 20, 2007

No real ideas here, just moral supporticon_smile.gif

Can you split the file up into several smaller files?

Can you go back to a recent back-up copy?

Long tables have always given me headaches too, but nothing so serious as you are describing.

I don't use track changes, so I have no clue if that could be part of the problem.

I recently had a regular word file that was "corrupted" (no tables in this one) and my recent back-up copy also turned out to be corrupted (scary moment, eh?) I used the "help dialogue box" suggestion and did open and repair on a copy of the file. That solved my problem instantly.

Wish I knew of a magic button to assist you ...


sarah grosvenor  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:37
Russian to English
+ ...
thanks!! Dec 21, 2007

Hi Lori!
Thanks for the sympathy! it was very welcome!!icon_smile.gif
I STILL didn't manage to solve it but I did try to split it up. I eventually managed to stabilize the document using the "open and repair" thing that word suggests, but then spent about an hour trying to reformat it, without much success. The end result is that ALL the text is there, with the changes tracked, the only problem is that some of the tables and bits of more complicated formatting are missing. Well, I sent it to the agency explaining what had happened, do you think it will be ok and that they will manage to reformat it? I don't have a clue with formatting to be honest...

Anyway, Im waffling, but it might be useful to somebody one day!!!

Thanks again Lori, it was nice to get at least one reply in my hour of need!!!icon_smile.gif
merry christmas


Tony M
Local time: 13:37
French to English
+ ...
Similar experience, but no solution Dec 21, 2007

Just to say that I ended up in a similar situation the other day, when I copied and pasted a large chunk of an XLS into a DOC; on that occasion, I wasn't using 'track changes', but it seemed to render each cell of the XLS as a separate line, thus generating hundreds of pages.

I eventually avoided the problem by copying and then using 'paste special', which enabled me to then 'paste as RTF formatted text', which did at least give me a meaningful Word table.

My first action in your case would be to turn off 'track changes' — I've never personally found this to cause such problems, but it does severely weigh down Word, so best to get rid of it! I think I'm right in saying (but no doubt someone else will confirm or refute) that turning it off isn't irrevocable; i.e., once you have finished messing around and putting things right (which in any case are the sort of changes you probbaly don't want to track anyway!), you should be able to turn it back on again and get your previously-tracked changes back again.

You might find the best bet would have been to save the uncorrupted part of the file as a new file, and then remove that part from the corrupted file, so that you could then use 'select all' to make any changes while you were trying to rectify; I have found that 'convert table to text' and then 'convert text to table' sometimes lets me get out of a hole, since at both stages you can change the delimiters which seem to be behind this sort of problem.

[Edited at 2007-12-21 07:19]


Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:37
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
I would correct straight Dec 21, 2007

without track changes. Later you get the changes visible by compare documents.
You could try except all changes, which would simplify things for word.
But this can happen when you accidently remove one formatting, upon noticing it at once press undo.


Local time: 13:37
French to Dutch
+ ...
Track changes is eating up memory Dec 24, 2007

And so do tables. A better way is to change the colour of the corrected text, or to highlight it. Besides, sometimes clients, and especially printing houses, hate track changes (they don't know how it works!), but accept colours.

Next time don't forget to save regularly with another name (project1.doc, project2.doc, etc.), this shrinks the file, and to leave Word from time to time. By not showing images you can save memory too. Another way is to convert the file in .rtf, but then you'll loose formatting information.


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