Disappearing cursor in Microsoft Word 2011: Affects .doc documents only?

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Microsoft
April 16th, 2014 • 10:31 am

For years, I have been complaining about the I-beam cursor disappearing in Microsoft Word during text navigation:

Here we are, in April 2014, and the problem is still going on.

So what else can I say about it that I haven’t said before?

Well, yesterday, quite out of the blue, I decided to try a little experiment. I created a new blank document in Word 2011, inserted a text box in it, typed some text in the text box, and then tried to move the cursor around with the cursor keys. This, in my experience, would normally trigger the problem (which was happening in another existing document with text boxes that I was working on at the same time). Only it didn’t.

Why? Well, I decided to try and find out. Since the other document I was working on was a .doc document, rather than a .docx document, I repeated the exact same process, but this time saving the new document as a .doc document first. And guess what? In that document I was able to reproduce the problem by moving the cursor around in the text box with the cursor keys.

Try it yourself: In Word 2011, create a new document. Save it as a .doc document (using the Word 97-2004 document file format). Insert a text box, type some text in the text box, then press the Left cursor key to move the I-beam cursor around.

When I do this on my machine, the cursor disappears while I hold the cursor key, and only reappears and starts blinking again when I release the key.

Now, this is only one particular situation where the cursor disappears temporarily like this when moving it around with the cursor keys. There are other situations (without text boxes) where the cursor can also disappearing temporarily while typing or navigating text. But this one is a start. It’s a pretty obvious one, and it’s 100% reproducible in a brand new document, at least on my machine.

If other users can reproduce it on their machine, we now have a 100% reproducible issue and Microsoft has no excuse not to fix it. (Although I don’t expect it to make it any difference, I’ve already submitted a report using Microsoft’s feedback page. If you can reproduce the problem, please do the same. You never know.)

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