Word 2008: Fails to refresh table display in Page Layout view

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Microsoft
April 24th, 2008 • 1:00 pm

As if unfortunately typical with Microsoft products, not only does the newest version of Word bring no real improvements, but it also introduces a whole slew of new bugs and performance problems that will take years to get fixed—if they ever get fixed.

In Word 2008, Microsoft has reshuffled and renamed its various view modes (which are still far too numerous), and the venerable Page Layout view mode is now called Print Layout View.

Whether this has anything to do with the new bugs it introduces, I do not know. But here’s a fairly simple example of an utterly annoying problem that, as far as I can remember, did not occur in previous versions of Word.

I often have to work with Word documents containing large tables, and sometimes these tables have rows that too big to fit on a single page. If the table has the option to “allow rows to break across pages,” then such rows can be broken in two by an automatic page break, and you get something that looks like this:

Table row across 2 pages

No problems here. But now consider what happens when I try to copy the selected text in the picture above and paste it into another column in the same table.

Here’s the second column of the table before I paste the additional text:

Table row across 2 pages

Again, no problems here. But now see what happens when I paste the copied text at the insertion point, which is near the bottom of the page:

Table row across 2 pages after Paste

Great. Word inserts the copied text in the table cell on the first page, but completely fails to refresh the display of the continuation of the same table row on the second page. This makes it look as if I only pasted part of the text, and the rest of the clipboard has disappeared into the ether, along with the last portion of the text before the Paste command at the bottom of the cell on the first page!

In fact the Paste operation has worked just fine. It is just that Microsoft’s engineers have failed to ensure that the display of the continuing table row on the second page would be automatically refreshed.

And getting Word to refresh its display is not just a matter of scrolling up and down the document either. I tried this again and again, and still Word would not refresh the display of the second page.

I inserted my cursor at the bottom of the first page and used the cursor keys to navigate to the “invisible” part of the pasted text, and then I started typing something else “in the dark.” And then finally Word woke up and remembered that it actually had to refresh the display of the table on the second page and I finally was able to see my pasted text in full:

Table row across 2 pages finally refreshed

But really, this kind of shoddy work is completely unacceptable. It is yet another illustration of the utter lack of professionalism at the MacBU, which releases products that are clearly full of bugs and gleefully charges users hundreds of dollars for them.

I know, I know, it’s nothing new. But sometimes a visual illustration of just how bad Microsoft’s products are can be a useful reminder of the level of incompetence and carelessness of Redmond’s Mac engineers.

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