We are currently using Office 2002 on Windows XP but will be moving our users to Windows 7 in the next few months. Part of our business is writing research documents so there is heavy use of Word (including an in-house bespoke templating add-in).

The Windows 7 test user group have found that Word 2002 documents which contain tables/graphics can sometimes (but not always) display an annoying 'flicker' (especially if there are any drawing objects such as call-outs layered on top). This can be temporarily fixed by adjusting the zoom level in Word, but scrolling through the document will often cause the flicker to return.

The intention is to upgrade Office once all users have migrated to Windows 7 but realistically this may not be for 9-12 months; whilst that would possibly remove the problem, the time scale is too far in the future for users to accept at present.

Has anyone else come across a similar problem with Word 2002 on Windows 7 and/or found a solution to it?

  • What are the specs do your test batch of Windows 7 computers? If you disable Aero does it help with the issue (right click on the desktop, select personalize, select the basic theme)?
    – N_Lindz
    Commented Apr 7, 2011 at 16:17
  • Thanks - good idea, but just tested and the theme made no difference, the problem still occurred.
    – fourstar71
    Commented Apr 7, 2011 at 16:21
  • 1
    I think you're running into GDI problems. Windows 7 uses a Desktop Window Manager that draws the screen differently to the way it used to do it (with GDI). Have you tried running the application in Windows XP compatibility mode?
    – user3463
    Commented Apr 8, 2011 at 3:48

4 Answers 4


I have seen a similar issue. We solved this by running Word in Compatibility mode, as also suggested by Randolph Potter in the comments above. What worked for us was to choose "Windows XP Service Pack 3".

Here is an article from How To Geek on changing Compatibility mode: http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/10436/using-program-compatibility-mode-in-windows-7/

  • Just tested with our editorial team (heaviest Word 2002 user) and this does seem to have fixed the problem. Many thanks.
    – fourstar71
    Commented Apr 8, 2011 at 8:06

According to the Windows 7 Compatibility Center, Office 2002 may not be compatible with Windows 7: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/compatibility/windows-7/en-us/Details.aspx?type=Software&p=Microsoft%20Office%20XP%202002%20Standard&v=Microsoft&uid=10&l=en&pf=0&pi=0&s=office%202002&os=64-bit

You may have to upgrade to end the flicker.

  • I don't think it's very clear from that page if it's compatible or not, it's very vague. Of course, I would suggest them to suggest an upgrade to a newer version of Office anyway... :)
    – Gareth
    Commented Apr 8, 2011 at 2:23
  • As @Gareth noted, the real problem is with Outlook, not the rest of the Office suite. In my experience, Office 2000 and upwards will work on Windows 7 (excluding Outlook), with only minor issues.
    – user3463
    Commented Apr 8, 2011 at 3:47
  • We'd love to upgrade to Office 2010, but we're stuck in a business group roll-out timeline which is probably going to involve 9-12 months of 2002 on Windows 7 :(
    – fourstar71
    Commented Apr 8, 2011 at 6:38
  • It's Friday which is the only day of the week I would ever write anything like "I would suggest them to suggest" :) Of course I meant "I would expect them to suggest", as in I would imagine Microsoft saying they needed to upgrade when it wasn't really necessary.
    – Gareth
    Commented Apr 8, 2011 at 6:49

Run Microsoft Word in Compatibility Mode and choose an older version of Windows. This fixed the problem for me when running Office 2003 with Windows 8.


From skimming the web it seems there's a fair number of people out there using Office 2002 with minimal problems on Windows 7 (most issues seem related to Outlook). I think it's going to be fairly natural of Microsoft to mark the compatibility status of such an old version of Office with the latest Windows as ambiguous; they have newer versions available.

Someone had a similar flickering problem with Word 2002 and posted a solution that worked for them:

In essence the document was created by copy/pastes. The problem was that some of the data overlapped the right margins of the table/document and Word did not know how to format it and became locked. I solved it by copy pasting a bit of the text at the time to ensure it fit within the prescribed table cells.

  • Thanks, I had come across that answer online but it didn't seem to fit our use case - this flickering was in existing tables, not just when copying/pasting.
    – fourstar71
    Commented Apr 8, 2011 at 6:37

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