Nudge a Word File that Opens Slowly

BY STANLEY ZAROWIN

I have a few files that open very slowly even though none is unusually large. Do you have any
suggestions?

First make sure that Track Changes is turned off; it can slow the opening of a file to a crawl. Then, as a further check, click on Tools , Options , Save and be sure the Allow Fast Saves box is checked.

If that doesn’t help solve the problem, it may be that, over time, as the files were moved around and revised, they collected a lot of what I call “invisible formatting junk,” something for which Windows is notorious.

Here’s a way to clean out that junk: If you don’t have an icon in your toolbar for engaging formatting marks (they look like paragraph marks ), press Shift+F1 to open the Reveal Formatting screen and click on Show all formatting marks , which is at the bottom of that screen.

Those innocent-looking marks do more than reveal the start of a new paragraph; each invisibly encapsulates all the formatting code for the preceding paragraph. There’s a good chance the junk is lurking in that last paragraph mark. Just erasing it won’t do the trick; you need to copy the entire document—that is, all but the final paragraph mark.

Here are the steps: Open a new, blank document (Ctrl+N). Return to the slow file, cursor down to the end and delete the last paragraph mark. Now press Ctrl+A to highlight the entire document and then Ctrl+C to copy it. Switch to the new, blank document and press Ctrl+V to paste the contents there and save it with a new name. Now close the old document. Check in Explorer and you’ll probably discover that the new document is smaller than the old one. In all likelihood it will load more quickly.

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