Question about Microsoft Word 2003 for PC

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Disappearing Tabs A problem has appeared suddenly for me with Word 2003. The ruler at the top of the screen which normally shows tabs and margins now shows nothing. The little box at the left of the ruler which used to show the type of tab selected also shows nothing. I can set a tab by clicking on the ruler or using the tab dialog box, but, it immediately disappears (same with margins and indents.) This problem is only in word since I have tabs in WordPad. I have already tried uninstall/reinstall without success. I'm guessing this is a registry problem, but, I have no idea what or where or how to fix it. **** Graham

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  • kcidmaharg Apr 26, 2008

    Tnx for the quick response. It's good to know there is someone out there listening. This is the problem that I'm experiencing with a NEW or any document:
    Office is up to date and I have installed no new programs/drivers recently. All other functions in Word (header/footer, etc.) work correctly.

    I already tried all the suggestions, but, I always keep Word at full screen. I tried going to a smaller window and suddenly the tab/margin graphics reappeared!!
    It appears I may have a video driver problem although it's been months since I updated the driver.

    I thought it was a Word/Office registry problem because the problem appeared after a power failure when I was working on a document in Word.

    At least I now have another avenue to pursue before I do the dreaded reformat and reinstall everything.


  • kcidmaharg Apr 27, 2008

    I reinstalled the video driver today and the problem is fixed. Since it is the same release that has been there for months, I'm guessing the problem was a corrupted driver related file that got corrupted when I had the power failure. I still find it strange that nothing else on my whole computer seemed to be affected.

    Re the rating: although the ultimate solution was outside the items that you mentioned, your response did give me the incentive to keep on looking. And the statement that you would "keep trying until it was fixed" gave me more incentive to forge ahead. Based on those two alone, I would have to say that your solution does fall in the FixYa category.

    Thanks for the assistance and I'll certainly spread the word about this site.



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Since it sounds like you have the ruler, just not the marks on it, it appears that you are using either print, normal, or web layout view - right? While this seems relatively simplistic, let's try to see what a couple basic things do.
1. Open several different documents and make sure this is happening throughout all of them, so we will know if it is a global problem, or document-specific.
2. Try switching views between print, normal, and web layout to see if they all have the same issue.
3. With your document open, go to View on the menu and clear the check beside Ruler. Then close and reopen a document and put the check back.
4. Check your Options (under Tools) and make sure you don't see anything there that looks off.
5. Make sure you can see the "white space" between pages.
6. If you aren't using / seeing the Vertical ruler, try to see if turning it on makes any difference. Go to Tools > Options and select Vertical Ruler (print view only).
Comment: I would work in Print View if possible for now, to get this resolved.
Question: Does any of this possibly relate to such things as tables, headers/footers, or other "out of the ordinary" circumstances? By "out of the ordinary", I mean to refer to saving files in other formats, converting from other formats, or using such things as columns, charts, graphics, formulas, or tables. Or are we basically just talking about a "plain-vanilla" document - type a straight letter, for example, just wanting the basic functions which include tabs, margins, indentation, and the like?

Finally, one last question - have there been any recent changes on the PC (maybe even apparently unrelated to Word/Office), such as added/removed programs, use of add-ins such as Adobe pdf convertors, etc., which could impact common or shared files or drivers? Has SP3 been installed for Office 2003, and has there been any change in print drivers? Was the file created in Word 2003 or some prior version? (Yes, I realize that's more than one last question, but these all could be possibilities.)

Why do you think there may be a registry problem?

If none of these provides the "solution", we'll get there! Thanks for rating FixYa!

Posted on Apr 26, 2008

  • Cheryl Whalen Apr 27, 2008

    Glad the problem is at least solved to the point where you have your functionality back. You could check to see if you achieve the same result when you resize the window to encompass the whole of your screen. In other words, do not maximize, but drag the corners to where your screen is basically filled. This should give us an idea if you have a graphics/driver issue - especially if it wasn't happening before with the same settings. I have some identified sites for drivers if you need that.

    Couple other things - SP3 has created numerous issues for a lot of users. This could be one of those, if SP3 has been installed. Also, since SP3 went in, many users who have any add-in products (e.g. Adobe, but there's a long list) have issues that include this problem. There also are issues with various COM components.

    Further, while it may sound "out there" I have had many issues with Automatic Updates, including even misreporting of my CPU speed. Accordingly, many users have found seemingly mystifying issues cleared by turning off Automatic Updates and simply obtaining them on your own schedule. If you think you have a registry problem, perhaps you could try a system restore to some point before the problem began.

    By the way, a FixYa rating is defined as "The solution provides great advice on how to solve the problem." Though there are some outstanding issues, with which I will be happy to assist, do you think that the information I provided falls within the FixYa category? Thanks, and look forward to hearing back - you don't have to reformat and start from scratch!


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