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This has happened to me twice in the past two days:

I'm editing a document in OS X Microsoft Word 2011 (14.1.0), and the document's characters spontaneously turn into gibberish (not upon loading the document, as I'm typing it). The text suddenly becomes ASCII squares and squares with question marks in it.

Is this a known bug? Is there a known cause for this?

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it is most likely a type face error, or the computer trying to load multiple fonts at the same time and failing at loading them. to solve this make sure that you are using the same font throughout the document.

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