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Mac Microsoft Word 2011 save problem – solved?

December 14, 2012

I’ve been working on a book about how to arrange music for marching band, and I’ve been plugging away at it for about a year. I’ve been writing it in Word, mainly, and embedding images as I’ve gone along. There are a lot of music notation examples in the book, so I have been creating them and placing them along the way.

I didn’t originally know if I would complete the book in Word or convert it to something else. Last summer I got Adobe Creative Cloud services for another project and so I have access to the newest version of InDesign. I was a PageMaker guy from way back, and I’ve used InDesign CS3 to do concert programs and the like, but never a large (100+ pages) document.

I decided to move the text to InDesign and I’m in the process of doing that. However, what prompted that decision was the trouble I’ve had with Mac Word 2011.

Lately it’s been switching the document to Read-Only and refusing to save. There have been dialogs popping up about the file being used by another process. I’ve done a little research and I found that others with the same problem have (a) been using large files, in excess of 20 MB; (b) they have been using images embedded in the file, and (c) they have Time Machine backup turned on. There were a lot of suggestions to fix permissions (the generic Mac OS X fix) and I did that, daily, for a while…it didn’t help.

Since I have the first 40+ pages transferred to InDesign I decided to delete the images in that part of the document. The file went from 22.5 MB to 19.9. I’ll see if that helps. I hate to turn off Time Machine if I can avoid it. Maybe it’s the images.

If so, that’s kind of stupid. I’ve worked with documents in Windows Word 2010 that were of similar file sizes, with lots of embedded images. I used to write a lot of computer training documentation and those docs were full of screenshots – and I did nothing to optimize those images one bit. There’s obviously some kind of bug in Word and how it works with Time Machine or some other background process. I’ll report back on this issue in a few days, and let you know if the situation has improved.

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