Results 1 to 12 of 12
  1. #1
    3 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    332
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Word freezes when working with large tables (XP Pro / Office 2003)

    My office mate has run low on work, and asked me if I had any projects she could help out on. I've kept her busy for a few weeks with clean-up projects that I never seem to find time for. The current project is updating an index of our estate planning clients since 1956 - adding in the data from old type-written lists to create a searchable index. I originally constructed these documents circa 1996, probably on Word 6.0, using tables for easy sorting; however, I know that I have since converted the old Word 6 documents to at least Word 2000 format, as I've broken the original index into sub-files (A-E, F-K, etc.) to keep the file size under control.

    Unfortunately, every time she tries to work on these files, her computer freezes and forces her to reboot. Her workstation is the newest on site (Pentium 4 w/ 3GHz processor and 512 RAM). The files as they exist now have again grown to be unwieldy, so she is first breaking them into files for each letter of the alphabet. It occurred to me that there might be a chance of file corruption from the old files, so I am having her copy the relevant entries from the index into a brand new file, making sure not to copy the last paragraph after the table.

    I regularly access these files to search for information, and to update the files to add current clients to the list. When I update I usually just add the new information at the end of the table and then sort. My computer is probably 3 years old and much slower than hers, and I only have Office XP. While these operations are noticeably slow, Word does not lock up on me when I'm in these files.

    My co-worker has volunteered for this project, and it has given her nothing but grief, so I'm feeling a little guilty. I'm hoping that once we get the files broken up into 26 individual small(er) files things will flow more smoothly, but she seems to be struggling even when working the new, smaller files. Is Word 2003 more unstable than Word 2002 when dealing with large tables? Is there anything we can do to keep Word from choking on these files?
    Samantha

    Everything in excess! To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites. Moderation is for monks!
    Robert A. Heinlein - Time Enough for Love

  2. #2
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    Posts
    3,852
    Thanks
    4
    Thanked 259 Times in 239 Posts

    Re: Word freezes when working with large tables (XP Pro / Office 2003)

    Is there a reason you can't put this information into a spreadsheet (Excel) or even better, a database (Access)? That would be far more functional for searchable lists and will most likely avoid the need to use separate files.

    If it absolutely has to stay in Word then you may be able to remove the corruption by converting the table to text and then back again. If there are returns or soft returns in the table cells this will prove problematic but it can be resolved with some lateral thinking and search and replace before doing the conversion.
    Andrew Lockton, Chrysalis Design, Melbourne Australia

  3. #3
    3 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    332
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Word freezes when working with large tables (XP Pro / Office 2003)

    Thanks for the suggestion, Andrew. I created these files back before we ever used Office and Word was the only tool I had at hand. It had occurred to me today when my co-worker was constantly rebooting her computer that Excel would be a better format. Unfortunately, I currently have 35+ years of data in the Word documents, with another 15 years of data to enter, I am the only person in our small office that uses Excel, and I'm the one with no time to work on these projects!!

    I've never tried converting a Word table to an Excel spreadsheet. If it is as simple as inserting the Word files into Excel, I could easily show my co-worker the basics of data entry in Excel. The tables do contain both hard and soft returns. Will these be problematic in converting to Excel?
    Samantha

    Everything in excess! To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites. Moderation is for monks!
    Robert A. Heinlein - Time Enough for Love

  4. #4
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    Posts
    3,852
    Thanks
    4
    Thanked 259 Times in 239 Posts

    Re: Word freezes when working with large tables (XP Pro / Office 2003)

    Copy and Paste is the easiest way to get Word tables into Excel. Test it out to see the issue of what happens to returns - this may be exactly what you want to happen. If not, a way to avoid this is to search and replace in Word to put some unique text in place of the returns such as <Ret> (soft returns are the same thing in Excel and can be entered in a cell by pressing Alt-Return). Once the text is in Excel you might need to run a macro to reverse this text into a return again.

    Another thing to be careful of is making sure that the entire cell contents make it into Excel. You may find too much text truncates to the first 255 characters - it can be very bad when you discover this after hours of work so it is best to keep an eye out to see if this is an issue.

    Perhaps saving the Word file out to xml or html and then importing the result into XL would be an option - I haven't got Office 2003 here so I can't verify either way. If you wanted to attach a small sample file with some typical content we can have a look to work out a sensible way to get the content across to XL.
    Andrew Lockton, Chrysalis Design, Melbourne Australia

  5. #5
    3 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    332
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Word freezes when working with large tables (XP Pro / Office 2003)

    I'll do an initial test tomorrow, once I'm back at work. I don't think I'll have any problem with too much text in a cell, since this is a very simple index -- just client names, a list of the documents prepared, the the year prepared and an index number. I doubt if the largest cell is over 100 characters.

    If any surprises occur, I'll post a small sample in the Excel forum for further advice.
    Samantha

    Everything in excess! To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites. Moderation is for monks!
    Robert A. Heinlein - Time Enough for Love

  6. #6
    3 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    332
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Word freezes when working with large tables (XP Pro / Office 2003)

    It appears my optimism last night was unfounded. I did an initial test run this morning, and while I will have to replace the hard & soft returns in Word and then add them back in with an Alt-return in Excel, that is the least of my problems.

    I'm speculating that over the years (and at the hands of at least 5 different interns and other assorted staff), some of the cells have been merged to combine different years' information into one cell for a particular client. While the problems are not exclusive to clients with multiple entries, my theory is that manually adding a row will pick up the merged formatting. These merged cells only seem to show up when I insert the table in Excel.

    Is there any way to automate cleaning up these tables in Word before I paste them into Excel? I'm attaching a very small sanitized sample of what I'm dealing with. Specifically, the rows for ANDERSON, R.P. & ANDERSON, S.L. do not copy properly into Excel. This seems to happen intermittently, and I can't see anything that would cause this result.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Samantha

    Everything in excess! To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites. Moderation is for monks!
    Robert A. Heinlein - Time Enough for Love

  7. #7
    Plutonium Lounger
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Posts
    84,353
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 29 Times in 29 Posts

    Re: Word freezes when working with large tables (XP Pro / Office 2003)

    If you look closely at the right edge of the table, you'll see that it probably consists of several tables glued together. To fix this:
    - Click in the table and select Table | Select | Table
    - Select Edit | Replace...
    - Replace all occurrences of ^l (lower case L, i.e. manual line break) with @@@ or some other string that doesn't occur naturally.
    - Replace all occurrences of ^p (i.e. paragraph break) with @@@ or some other string that doesn't occur naturally.
    - Close the Replace dialog.
    - Select Table | Convert | Table to Text...
    - Specify Tab as separator, then click OK.
    - With the text still selected, select Table | Convert | Text to Table...
    - Specify Tab as separator (probably not necessary), then click OK.
    - Copy the table to the clipboard.
    - Paste it into Excel.
    - Select Edit | Replace...
    - Replace all occurrences of @@@ with Alt+0010 (use the numeric keypad for the latter)
    - Format the resulting table the way you like.

    The following macro will perform the Word part of the above:
    <code>
    Sub CleanupTables()
    Dim tbl As Table
    Dim rng As Range
    For Each tbl In ActiveDocument.Tables
    With tbl.Range.Find
    .ClearFormatting
    .Replacement.ClearFormatting
    .Replacement.Text = "@@@"
    .Wrap = wdFindStop
    .MatchWholeWord = False
    .MatchWildcards = False
    .MatchCase = False
    .Execute FindText:="^l", Replace:=wdReplaceAll
    .Execute FindText:="^p", Replace:=wdReplaceAll
    End With
    Set rng = tbl.ConvertToText(Separator:=wdSeparateByTabs)
    rng.ConvertToTable Separator:=wdSeparateByTabs
    Next tbl
    Set rng = Nothing
    Set tbl = Nothing
    End Sub
    </code>
    Make a backup copy of your document before testing!

  8. #8
    3 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    332
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Word freezes when working with large tables (XP Pro / Office 2003)

    Thanks Hans, that works a treat. I had previously tried each of those steps individually, but not necessarily in that order, to no avail. I just didn't have the right combination or faith that the problem was even solvable. Your macro for the Word half of the project will definitely come in handy.

    The only glitch seems to be that when pasting into Excel, some of the last names (originally formatted to be in all caps) converted to initial caps. Any idea why? I'm fussy enough that I'd like to have the formatting consistent throughout the index, but I'm way too busy to check an estimated 10,000 entries to ensure the last names are in all caps. I suppose I can live with converting the first column to all initial caps in Word before pasting into Excel.

    Now I just have to make the time to cleanup these old files so my volunteer can continue with the data entry portion of the project. She's willing to learn Excel basics, but isn't willing to take on anything "fancy."
    Samantha

    Everything in excess! To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites. Moderation is for monks!
    Robert A. Heinlein - Time Enough for Love

  9. #9
    Plutonium Lounger
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Posts
    84,353
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 29 Times in 29 Posts

    Re: Word freezes when working with large tables (XP Pro / Office 2003)

    Excel does not have "all caps" or "small caps" formatting, so when you copy such text to Excel, it reverts to how it was originally entered.

  10. #10
    3 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    332
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Word freezes when working with large tables (XP Pro / Office 2003)

    Does Excel pick up the original formatting? Does that mean if I convert it to title case I will still end up with the mixed results in Excel?
    Samantha

    Everything in excess! To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites. Moderation is for monks!
    Robert A. Heinlein - Time Enough for Love

  11. #11
    Plutonium Lounger
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Posts
    84,353
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 29 Times in 29 Posts

    Re: Word freezes when working with large tables (XP Pro / Office 2003)

    Excel ignores the Small Caps and All Caps settings from Format | Font..., but it will retain the capitalization of the text as typed, or as applied through Format | Change Case... or its keyboard shortcut Shift+F3.

    Format | Font determines how text is displayed without changing the underlying text.
    Format | Change Case modifies the text itself.

  12. #12
    3 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Spokane, Washington, USA
    Posts
    332
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Word freezes when working with large tables (XP Pro / Office 2003)

    > Format | Font determines how text is displayed without changing the underlying text.
    > Format | Change Case modifies the text itself.

    That seems very counter-intuitive for me. I always knew that Excel formatting often changes the display without changing the underlying text, but I had always assumed that (outside of invoking hidden styles) any changes I made to Word's fonts changed the text itself.

    <img src=/S/hailpraise.gif border=0 alt=hailpraise width=27 height=22> I'm in awe of your knowledge, Hans. How do you know this stuff?
    Samantha

    Everything in excess! To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites. Moderation is for monks!
    Robert A. Heinlein - Time Enough for Love

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •