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My girlfriend has the absolute worst luck in using Word 2007, and it's very frustrating for her (and me, hearing: "OMG I LOST 3 HOURS OF WORK WHAT THE ####" every other day...).

Basically, a lot of the documents she opens through email and online end up being either "read-only" or "compatibility-mode", and Word fails silently when you try to save them (from what she tells me). I don't know if this is normal behavior. She's doing Ctrl+S every 5 seconds with no indication that it's actually saving, then closes the document (with no "you have unsaved changes" prompt), assumes it saves... and it didn't.

Word puts the mode in the title bar, but this is a terrible way to tell the user what mode it is, especially in Windows 7, where the font color is the same color as the title bar (but it has a faded highlight to it).

  • Is there a way to make word pop up a really annoying, large, obnoxious honking dialog box if the document failed to save for any reason whatsoever? Be it mode, filename, file size, etc?

  • Is there a way to make the current mode of the document (readonly, compatibility, etc) more obvious to the user instead of obscuring it in the title bar where few users would think to look?

I mean, I could give her tips like, "check the mode before you edit," "save it somewhere else," "save frequently," "don't close it until you're sure it's saved," and so on and so forth, but this is not intuitive, and any normal or avid user of Word will assume that if they're hitting Ctrl+S every 5 seconds (I've watched her do this), with no indication of any error, then presumably your file is safe.

I, myself, have been a victim of this, but only for a small document and certainly not as frequently as her. Then again, she's an english major and does notes on her laptop, so she's using Word for a good part of every day. I only use it occasionally.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Well, I've been spending some time messing around with the Word options. Here's what I'm planning on doing to make sure that it is literally impossible to ever again lose a document:

  1. Go to Office Button > Word Options
  2. Save

    1. Save AutoRecover information every 1 minutes
    2. AutoRecover file location: My Documents > AutoRecover (basically, make a new folder under Documents)
  3. Advanced

    1. Save

      1. Tick [Prompt before saving Normal template]
      2. Tick [Always create backup copy]
      3. Tick [Copy remotely stored files onto your computer, and update the remote file when saving]
      4. Tick [Allow background saves]
  4. Customize

    1. Keyboard shortcuts: Customize...

      1. Office Menu > FileSave

        1. Remove the [Ctrl + S] shortcut
      2. Office Menu > FileSaveAs

        1. Add [Ctrl + S] to the list of shortcuts (Ctrl+S will now pop up the Save-As dialog instead of silently saving

This might be overkill for most, but for someone who frequently loses Word documents, this could be a lifesaver.

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In Windows XP with Office 2003. This May be the same for Windows 7 and Office 2007.

When you open a word document attachment in Outlook is saves it in a folder in the "users" temporary internet Files.

To save the attached word file "click File>Save As" and then navigate to where you want to save the document. You may see other doc files in this folder.

To open those word files "click File>Open" from the Word menu of the attached word document

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RSMoser is spot on here. If she wants to open a document that she receives via e-mail, her choices are 1) flow RSMoser's advice and do Save-As the first time she saves it (note in Word 2007 the menu is gone, so it is 'Office Button>Save-As) or 2) In Outlook, right click on the attachment, select Save-As, and put the document where she wants it, then open from there. – BillN Nov 3 '10 at 16:55

If she is opening a document from an email, it is opened in the Outlook temp directory. I think the path varies by OS but in XP its c:\Documents and settings\[username]\Local Settings\Temporary Internet Files\OLK??.

Open an attachment from Outlook and go to File - Save As to see the path.

I tell my users to save attachments somewhere sensible first before opening otherwise they may lose work. Then if they do, I say tough cookies!

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Damn, I was composing my answer while RSMoser pipped me to the post! – Yeodave Nov 3 '10 at 16:11

If there was no error message, there was no error. My guess is that Word did save the file, but not in the location you expected it to be. Have a look into the default download directory.

Edit: If you try to save a file that is read-only, Word will display a model dialog box (ie. you can't continue working without acknowledging it) and then ask you to save a copy of the file.

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She's definitely obsessive about saving, so I have no clue what's going on -- I'm just going by what she says. She says that she saves a document 20 million times, closes the document as if it saved and there's no prompt, then finds out it's lost forever. – Corey Nov 3 '10 at 15:39
I agree that it is likely being saved in a downloads or temp folder. i know when opening a Word doc directly from email in Outlook (2007) that it is opened as Read Only, forcing word to display the Save As dialog the first time the user tries to save it; so i would recommend helping her to train herself to either save the file from the email in a pre-determined location prior to opening it, or when opening from an email directly immediately do a Save As and saving it somewhere obvious. also this way if there is any error, it will be easier to find out (ie. you can tell the file is not there). – Xantec Nov 3 '10 at 15:58

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