Thursday, May 10, 2012

"Why Does Microsoft Word 2011 (or 2008) Keep Crashing or Corrupting Files on my Mac?"

If you look at customer reviews of recent versions of Microsoft Word, you'll find those reviews divided between users who are tearing their hair out over Word's instability and users who are having no trouble at all. But what's more interesting is how they're divided. Those having trouble are generally those who have used Word for many years. Those having no trouble are the newbies.

That's because the problem often isn't in the app itself. Chances are, it's in the fonts on your computer.

Word comes with a large number of fonts, and over the years, it has changed where it places them on your drive. During these same years, Apple has licensed a number of Microsoft fonts to include in OS X, placing them in yet another location. The upshot is that a long-time Word user can easily have three or more copies of a font in different versions and in different locations, resulting in conflicts. What's more, Word caches the fonts it finds in your system, and that cache can easily become outdated or corrupt. And it doesn't help that many users collect free or cheap fonts that are simply defective.

To stabilize Word, then, your first task is to eliminate duplicate fonts, as well as to discard defective ones. For this, you can use the Mac's Font Book app. Other aids are the Office font management guide at, and the more general reference "Font Management in OS X," by Kurt Lang.

After resolving all font issues, your final step is to zap Word's font cache, so that it will be automatically rebuilt. You can search out the locations of the cache files to delete them manually, but there are also several utilities that can more easily do it for you. Personally, I use TinkerTool System, deleting the cache as part of a regular routine of monthly maintenance.

If you do that, you might be surprised to discover how stable Word really is!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

"How Do I Keep My Keywords and Collections When Updating from Adobe Bridge CS5 to CS6 (or When Migrating or Moving Between Other Versions)?"

You'd think that Adobe would do this for you automatically, wouldn't you. I mean, can they really think you'd want to leave all keywords and collections behind when updating?

But this is Adobe, and user convenience is not their strong point. So here's how to take care of it yourself on the Mac.

1. Install the new version of Bridge.

2. In your home directory -- not the computer's root directory -- go to Library > Application Support > Adobe > Bridge CS5.

3. From that directory, drag the following to the adjacent Bridge CS6 directory: the file Adobe Bridge Keywords.xml and the directory Collections. To instead move copies while leaving the originals in place, hold down Option while dragging.

That's it! Your keywords and collections will now be available in CS6. You can use the same method to move keywords and collections between other Bridge versions as well, and you might also find other settings you want to move. I'm told, though, that it doesn't work with Workspaces.