Tag Archives | Microsoft Word

Why InDesign Crashes When Placing Word Documents and How to Fix It

Adobe InDesign CS5 has stopped workingI occasionally create PDF documents using Adobe InDesign. The source document always comes from Microsoft Word. More often than not, when placing (think importing) the document in InDesign, it crashes and says, “Adobe InDesign CS5 has stopped working. A problem caused the program to stop working correctly. Windows will close the program and notify you if a solution is available.” It gives no indication of what the problem might be, forcing me to search the Word document to see if I can locate the issue myself.

I proceed by dividing the document in half and then trying to import each half. The one that fails, I divide in half. I repeat this process over and over (and over) until I’ve located the page or paragraph with the problem. Since there’s no visible problem with the text itself, I use PureText to wipe out all the formatting and problem code and then reformat it by hand to match the original. It’s not a fun process, but it gets the job done.

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MS Word Tip: How to Replace Hyphens with En Dashes

Though most people don’t know (or care when told), the correct character to use for a range of numbers is the en dash (–), not the hyphen (-). Even if you’re committed to using en dashes between digits, hyphens are a tad easier to type,1 making a find and replace necessary at some point. If you’re diligent and use the en dash faithfully, you will undoubtedly get a rogue hyphen in there somewhere if you do any copying and pasting from the internet or other documents that don’t consistently use the correct character.

A simple find and replace (- for –) would do the trick—if you wanted to replace all hyphens with en dashes. But you don’t want to do this, since hyphens in hyphenated words are correct. :) Alternatively, you could run that query but, instead of replacing them all at once, replace one at a time only the ones that appear between digits. But this could be time consuming on a large document like a dissertation. Another option would be to set up a query to find 0-0 and replace it with 0–0, then 0-1 with 0–1 and so forth, but that would require 100 different searches and probably take longer than the previous method! The previous method could probably be simplified by dropping the second digit since there aren’t likely to be any instances when you’d have a digit followed by a hyphen not followed by another digit. That would make only 10 find-and-replace queries. So this is as least doable, though still not ideal.

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Footnotes

  1. To type an en dash in Word, you can either use the default key combination Ctrl + – (the one on the keypad) or create your own shortcut. My shortcut is Ctrl + – (the one on the main part of the keyboard).