24 March, 2010

Word and Excel Hang on Startup

Perhaps it happened with prior versions of Word and Excel, but I definitely noticed for the first time switching to Office 2007. As a laptop user, I don't always work while connected to my office network, or it may just be that I'm connected via a much slower VPN connection. Regardless, every time I start Word and Excel, they ping the Default Printer, which happens to be on the office network. Due to this, whenever I'm using Word or Excel outside the office the applications hang for several minutes.

Apparently so the onscreen display will match the Default Printer specifics, such as margins, Word and Excel will perform this action when started. When over 95% of my documents are never printed by me, and the great possibility that when printed by someone else, they won't have the same printer, I fail to see why Microsoft has chosen this path.

From the research I've done, the workarounds are limited. For the Word/Excel VBA Power Users, you can write some code and have it as part of Normal.dot which will switch your Default Printer based on your domain. For everyone else, the best solution is to set your Default Printer to a local printer such as the Microsoft Document or Image Writer. If you use Adobe PDF and/or Cute PDF Writer, those are options too.

I think this issue supports my belief that just because there's a new version of software, it doesn't mean your current version isn't good enough. Unless you know the next version addresses a big issue or problem that you're struggling with, don't be the first to install it -- give the new release time and learn what others are reporting. While the new templates that come with Office 2007 can make my documents look better, the added headaches make me question the value of the upgrade. Oh and by-the-way, I'm still using Office 2000 at home.

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