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  1. #1
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    Tables in Autotext (Word 97, 2000, 2002)

    Has anybody else (besides us here at the City of Edmonton, of course) found that creating autotext with tables and field included
    (as part of the Autotext items) cause Word 97, 2000 and (a more delayed reaction) 2002 to generate
    a stack overflow exception error?

    I have this one narrowed down pretty much. I have about 20 Autotexts in a template (and yes I have re-created the template
    from Normal and the autotexts from rekeying, even avoiding the use of copy and paste while doing it!!). Putting in any or all
    of the other autotexts works fine. Some of them have fields in them, some do not.
    BUT ... as soon as I try to create a new Autotext with a table (2 columns 2 rows -- very small table actually) and the table
    also has LISTNUM fields in it (I am using a very specially created numbering scheme for our municipal bylaws)
    ...*&%#$# kablooey ... (that's technical term for "word crashes"). In Word 97 and 2000, Word just immediately crashes
    with the stack overflow error.
    In Word 2002, it accepts the Autotext, but when we later insert (paste) the Autotext into a document, then we get
    ...*&%#$# kablooey (word crashes also with the stack overflow error). It is like clockwork - I can make Word crash
    any time, everytime. See the attached .doc file and try creating an Autotext consisting of the entire text content of this document.

    Anybody have any ideas why? Anybody heard of this before? <img src=/S/crazy.gif border=0 alt=crazy width=15 height=15>

    Initially, I thought I had good old Word document corruption in the template. So, I have recreated it from an empty Normal
    and then rekeyed all of the autotexts, etc. etc. I get the same behaviour creating this Autotext into a renamed empty Normal template
    also, so I know for sure the template into which the Autotext is being added is not corrupt. I even used CrossEyes to try to find a
    corruption in the text being Added as Autotext - could find none. I also can find no documented bug on Microsoft's Knowledge Base
    (no surprise!).

    Colin Winchester (from the frozen north - Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)
    Attached Files Attached Files

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    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Tables in Autotext (Word 97, 2000, 2002)

    I blame the numbering. We've saved and inserted AutoText tables containing USERINITIALS, DATE and = fields for years with no problem. Of course, this doesn't help you work around the problem you are encountering, but maybe it helps confirm the source of the problem?

    (I will have to decline your invitation to experience it for myself... thanks anyway. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15> )

  3. #3
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    Re: Tables in Autotext (Word 97, 2000, 2002)

    Thanks. Just to clarify, we also run Windows NT 4 (patched to service level 6) and we have noticed less impact under Win XP.
    So, it could be some weird combination of Word plus OS interfering in some way.

    I agree about the numbering as the most likely source (it's only LISTNUM numbering that we use, but it is
    based upon a list template BYLAWLIST which is created using the Outline List typical numbering features
    customized for bylaws and how paragraphs need to be numbered at various levels). For example, when we
    delete the LISTNUM fields from inside the table cells and then try to create the Autotext ... no problems at all.

    More strange yet: if we Undo the delete of the LISTNUM fields and then try to create (what appears to be the
    same Autotext) then we avoid the stack overflow crash (initially at least). Yet it looks identical to the original.

    However, putting in just the LISTNUM fields (with no tables involved) also works fine with no crashes.
    (The numbering fields by themselves do not seem to cause any crashes.)
    So far, it is ONLY THE COMBINATION of tables plus these LISTNUM fields that seem to trigger the
    big "inferno" of Word crashing.

    ... as Lewis Carroll wrote ... Curiouser and curiouser!

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    Re: Tables in Autotext (Word 97, 2000, 2002)

    Hello Colin.

    I personally would avoid putting these tables in as AutoText. I think a healthier template has as little AutoText as possible. Doing it through code would be your best bet. I know what you are attempting to do should work, so it's probably just Word crapping out on you. Good Luck.

    Kyle Knowles, Connetics Corporation

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    Re: Tables in Autotext (Word 97, 2000, 2002)

    Hi Colin:
    I took the bait. I downloaded your document & attached it to a template I had created. Then I made an autotext entry from your table, created a new document based on that template, & inserted the autotext. I was using Word 2000 SP-3. I had no problems. I'm wondering if there's something else. Of course, I only created the one autotext entry...

  6. #6
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    Re: Tables in Autotext (Word 97, 2000, 2002)

    You are probably correct that some additional factor is coming into play. For example, we have done similar autotexts (but without LISTNUM fields)
    for 8 years with no problems. The stack overflow crashes only started happening about 12-14 months ago.
    My suspicions initially were with a patch which our central Desktop Support group installed around that time: QFE8909.
    We also have a specially-created (i.e. paid extra for) Microsoft Patch to deal with a document OLE imbed problem (Word loses
    the linkage to the attached template, so all documents embedded point to Normal only): QFE 1672.

    I have often wondered (in the past 14 months, that is!) whether the most recent "hotfix" somehow does not coexist well with
    the previous "hotfix", or else the newest one just has some other spinoff effects that Redmondville did not try to test.
    We have had slightly different experiences with different operating systems, but under Win 2000 Pro (SP-2 build 2195)
    and Word 97 SR-2 (that computer has none of the "hotfixes), we get exactly the same "stack overflow" crashes.

    Thanks for your efforts on our behalf. You guys in the Lounge are awesome good! I just with Microsoft would hire
    some of you!! ... Colin

  7. #7
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    Re: Tables in Autotext (Word 97, 2000, 2002)

    SOLUTION LISTED BELOW!

    A "concluding note" on this posting...

    I have done two separate things to bypass or "work around" this problem in Word 97.
    I still believe it is a problem in Word 2000 but I no longer have access to Word 2000 so I'd better not make claims that I cannot give evidence for.
    (It clearly is "solved" at some level in Word 2002, but a document created in Word 97 and given the solution in Word 2002, when brought back into Word 97 still has the same old problem.)

    1. We are now saving all of these documents in Microsoft RTF format. The round-trip of saving a bylaw document to RTF, and then opening from RTF (and converting back into Word's internal format) does indeed prevent Word97 from bombing with the "stack overflow" error. We have been clever in how we do this: we actually still name the documents with the .DOC extension even though the format is .RTF (this can be done fairly easily with some Word VBA and handling the input from the FileSaveAs dialog box "in our own way" rather than letting word handle the save). Once the .DOC extension is successfully applied, subsequent Save operations preserve it, even though the internal format is RTF. This little "trick" allows us to not have to explain to most end-users about RTF - they think they are still saving in normal .DOC format and what they don't know does not hurt them.

    2. We have removed all of the LISTNUM field text (actually we removed ALL text) from inside the Autotext-stored tables. So, we now have many additional Autotext entries for all of the text which previously was stored inside the table cells (which are inside the Autotext) in the places where we want them. Now, of course, we have to add in additional VBA steps to get and paste the text/LISTNUM entries into the correct table cells, after we have already paste the Autotext entry which contains the table itself. It has become a two-stage operation and is less elegant. But, most importantly, it works.

    So, in case anybody else runs into this strange situation, and cannot yet jump to Word 2002, this will reduce the onflux of gray hair somewhat.

    PS. We even tried not using the Word Autotext feature at all. I instead wrote my own "fake autotext" capabilities, and just stored the text in a master document, searched the document for the "fake autotext name" and then grabbed the text and pasted it in. It actually worked quite well, apart from some visual annoyances (you could actually see the master document being opened and then minimized each time you utilized the "paste fake autotext entry" routine. However, not only did it NOT solve the root problem (Word bombing on a Dr. Watson 'stack overflow' error every time you tried to open one of these documents), but it actually made the root problem happen immediately and every time you created a new bylaw. At least the Word Autotext feature did not make documents bomb upon opening EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU OPENED THEM, which this new approach of faking the autotext with my own routines DID DO.

    I might have confused some of you with the above description.
    If you encounter a similar problem and want to explore further what we did to solve this,
    contact me at colin.winchester@edmonton.ca

    Cheers ...

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