Word 2011 for OS X: Easily confused

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Microsoft
March 5th, 2015 • 3:44 pm

If you’ve ever felt like confusing the heck out of Word 2011 for OS X just for fun (and who wouldn’t, really?), try this:

  1. In the Finder, create a folder called “Confused Word” on your desktop.
  2. In Word 2011, create a new document and save it as “Test1.docx” in the “Confused Word” folder. Leave the document open in a document window in Word.
  3. In the Finder, select the “Test1.docx” file in the “Confused Word” folder, make its name editable, and change it to “Test2.docx”.
  4. Switch back to Word 2011 and confirm that the document window you left open now has the document title “Test2.docx” instead of “Test1.docx”.
  5. Switch back to the Finder, select the newly renamed “Test2.docx” file and duplicate it to create a second file in the same folder called “Test2 copy.docx”.
  6. Make the file name “Test2 copy.docx” editable and change it to “Test1.docx”.
  7. Double-click on “Test1.docx” to open it in Word 2011.

The first strange thing that happens is that the “Test1.docx” document opens as “Read-Only”. Why? I have absolutely no idea.

But now hit command-S in Word 2011 to save the “Test1.docx” document that is labelled “Read-Only”.

Since it’s (allegedly) read-only, you’d think that Word 2011 would complain about your attempt to save it and ask you to save it under a new name or something, right?

Think again. Not only does Word 2011 not complain, but it actually changes the document title in the title bar to “Test2.docx (Read-Only)”!

As they say on the Interwebs, WTF?

It gets even funkier if, before hitting that command-S shortcut, you actually make some changes to the contents of the “Test1.docx” document. In that case, when you hit command-S, Word changes the document title in the title bar to “Test2.docx”, without the “Ready-Only” part. And guess what happens to the “Test2.docx” document that you’d left open in the other document window in Word 2011?

It gets renamed to something like “Word Work File D_xxxxxx.tmp”, where “xxxxxx” is a sequence of numbers. Admittedly, this is a very temporary situation, because as soon as you switch to another app and then back to Word 2011, the document title of that other document window changes back to “Test2.docx” as well.

So now you have two document windows with the same document title/file name and two different states for the content (since you typed something else in that other document window before hitting command-S, remember?).

And now guess what happens when you close those two document windows and return to the Finder?

Well, there are no longer two files inside that “Confused Word” folder on your desktop. There’s only one file left, called “Test1.docx”, and its contents do not include the changes you made to the document before hitting command-S.

Nice to know you’ve got our backs, Microsoft.

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