Panther: Using Preview button in Word X’s Print dialog causes some keyboard shortcuts to cease to function properly

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
May 2nd, 2004 • 11:06 pm

This is a pretty strange bug, no doubt related to the flaky nature of Microsoft’s code and its non-standard behaviours. The situation is the following.

I have a document open in Word, and select “Print” from the “File” menu, and then click on the “Preview” button in order to view a PDF preview of the printed document in Panther’s Preview application. This works just fine, and I can print the PDF preview from within Preview.

But then, when I return to Word X after that, and resume work on this or another document, I find that some very common keyboard shortcuts in Word dialog boxes are no longer working.

For example, I can still invoke the “Find/Replace” dialog in Word by hitting cmd-F, and I can still type the word to search and use the Return key to start the search, but if Word X reaches the end of the document and displays the usual sub-dialog saying “Word has finished searching the document. The search item was not found.“, with an “OK” button in pulsating blue, then I simply cannot dismiss that secondary dialog box by hitting the Return key, as I normally should be able to do.

There are all kinds of other such keyboard shortcuts in other dialog boxes that no longer work either. For example, the Escape key no longer works in the “Open…” dialog box either.

The only way to fix the problem is to quit and relaunch Word. Then the keyboard shortcuts work as expected again.

Now, the question is: To whom do I report this bug? It’s clearly a Word-specific bug, but on the other hand I don’t remember experiencing the problem in Jaguar, so it seems to have been introduced by changes made by Apple in Panther. Presumably these changes require stricter compliance with standard behaviours, and break the compatibility with Word X at some level. In addition, Microsoft is about to release Office 2004 and will probably never fix outstanding problems in Word X. I’d be curious to see if the problem occurs in Word 2004.

I hope to get my copy of the new Office 2004 suite in the next few weeks. When I do, I’ll be sure to test this.

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