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  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger
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    Jan 2001
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    locked document (Word 2000)

    A friend is having a problem accessing three documents she created with Word 2000. When trying to open the documents, she gets a message that the document is locked for edit and to click on READ ONLY to be notified when it is available. This is a stand alone computer - no networks. How can she unlock the document.

  2. #2
    3 Star Lounger
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    Dec 2000
    Toronto, Ontario
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    Re: locked document (Word 2000)

    When we upgraded to Office 2000 we started getting that message as well and a message about 'this document contains.... disable or enable macros". When I changed the security from high to medium it seemed to fix the problem. Apparently it automatically installs with setting set to high security (Tools, Macros, Security).
    Don't know if this is the problem but worth a try. Also check for "~tmp" files.

  3. #3

    Re: locked document (Word 2000)

    Hi trebor,

    When a document/template is opened a temporary file called the Owner file is created. This temporary file holds the Name of the user found in Tools/Options/User Information that opened the file. In normal circumstances, this temporary file is deleted when the document is closed.

    The Owner file is stored in the same location as the document, it is a Hidden file, and uses the following naming convention: ~$ (You may see this referred to as a twiddle file)

    If an error should occur such as, a power failure, Word hangs, or an IPF, then Word is unable to delete the Owner file. Another reason that the Owner file may not be deleted properly could be due to incorrect User Permissions or virus scanner.

    So the next time the document is opened, Word "sees" that an Owner file exists and presents one of the following "file is in use" messages:

    This file is already opened by <user name>. Would you like to make a copy of this file for your use?
    This message indicates that the Owner file has been found and either someone actually has the file open, or if the <user name> is your own then the Owner file was not successfully deleted the last time the file was closed.


    This file is already opened by another user. Would you like to make a copy of this file for your use?
    This message indicates that the Owner file is missing or damaged and Word is unable to create a new one.

    Typically this message occurs when the Owner file has been manually deleted but there is still an instance of Word running and the file is held in memory.

    If you press <Ctrl Alt Del> and display the Task Manager, there is an instance of Winword.exe running and the task can be ended. However upon occasion there isn't an instance of Winword.exe in the Task Manager you need to reboot the computer to release it.

    If you are unsure of how to delete an Owner file(s):

    - Exit Word and Outlook if you are using it as your email editor
    - Go to Start/Find/Files or Folders
    - Change "Look in" to reflect the drive/folder that the file you are trying to open is stored in
    - In the Named text box, type ~$*.do?
    - Click the "Find Now" command
    - Delete the Owner files you find.
    *Note that these can be deleted directly from the Find Results.

    To group the files for a single deletion:
    - Click the first file in the list
    - Press and hold <Shift>
    - Click the last file in the list.

    As an additional note, the Owner file is just one of the many temporary files Word creates. If you have been experiencing multiple crashes or if Word has been hanging on you then it is best to search for all temp (*.tmp) and twiddle files (~$*.do?) and delete them.

    For more information on this and a full cleanup/maintenance procedure that should be ran periodically, see this article:
    Cheers! <img src=/S/flags/USA.gif border=0 alt=USA width=30 height=18>

  4. #4
    New Lounger
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    Jul 2002
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    Re: locked document (Word 2000)

    I have a similar problem that is causing problems for me. I am doing my VB coding and when I want to save my changes it tells me I can't because "file is in use <by myself>. It will not allow me to save my code unless I go and save it under another name, then I have to go into Windows Explorer, find that version and delete the old (wrong) coding and put in my new one. This did not happen two days ago.

    There are three ways to get at the code from running a Word Template:
    1) The way I have had to open my code the first time is to open my template, run it run to completion (if I do a control break it crashes me takes me out of Word completely, which I used to be able to do before). When it is done I do my alt + F11 to see my code. This can be a pain if I was kicked out with an error and have to reboot knowing I am going to encounter the error again but not being able to stop it prior to the error that kicked me out. The only work around I have is that I have a form that comes up and when it expects user input I can put in a break point prior to the error (however if I did not do alt + F11 prior to starting the template I am kicked out again). But now I can't save it.

    2) go into VBA and open the code and then run the template to debug...only this has never allowed me to save so I stopped using this method.

    3) go into Word, instead of saying "File, New, and selecting my template (method 1) I ask it to open it. This method also does not allow me to save my changes.

    Does any one have any suggestions or ideas? Is there a proper development access to the Word VB Editor (standards)? How does one save their work other than creating a new instance of the same program and then opening the new instance each time and trying to keep track of where you are coding?


  5. #5
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Silicon Valley, USA
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    Re: locked document (Word 2000)

    I usually open a template for editing by opening the Templates folder (or Startup folder, as the case may be) from a shortcut on my desktop, right-clicking the file and choosing Open. The only reason I can think that the template would not be editable after that is if Word crashed at some point and left a lock file behind.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    New York, NY
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    Re: locked document (Word 2000)


    Jefferson's suggestion that you may have a lock file is probably on the money as to why you are getting that message, but I want to ask about something else in your point 1): do you have code that runs automatically whenever you open the template - and if so, why? - that sounds like a pretty undesirable arrangement.

    If you are using the template to create new documents based on the template, you may want to have Document_New and Document_Open procedures (or alternatively AutoNew and AutoOpen), and if you have code that you want to have run whenever a document based on the template is opened, then the Document_Open (or AutoOpen) procedure is the appropriate place to put the code.

    However, it's usually a good practice to prevent that code from running whenever you actually open the template itself. To do that, wrap the code in the Document_Open (or AutoOpen) procedure with an If test like this:

    If ActiveDocument.Type <> wdTypeTemplate Then
    'put rest of Open procedure code in here
    End If


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