Entire line of letters bunches up onto first letter in line, as if character spacing max condense

Posted on 2006-03-30
Last Modified: 2013-12-03
On two different workstations, entirely diffent networks, no shared documents or printers, one Windows 2000 SP4 the other Windows XP SP2, Microsoft Word documents sometimes have some or all text appearing and printing as condensed character spacing (kerning). VERY condensed---all the letters are piled up onto one another. Setting style to normal, or choosing to clear formatting has no effect. Setting character spacing Format->Font--Character Spacing to about 5.5 expanded brings it back to near normal spacing.

The workaround is to install and Microsoft's Hidden Data Remover tool. Removing hidden data on one workstation solved the document issue. Cutting and pasting the words into a new document makes no change---the letters are still bunched up on top of one another (in the space of about two letters, all the letters on the line appear).

Suggestions for cause/prevention?

Will increase and split points for all helpful comments as needed.
Question by:esc_toe_account

    Author Comment

    Word XP sp3 on both workstations. Have only tested on one workstation, as problem can't be recreated. It happens intermittently.
    LVL 21

    Expert Comment

    Does changing the font help? If so, consider reinstalling the faulty font.

    The seldom-used EQ field can cause this effect: { EQ \o (H,o,w) } will cause the letters H, o and w to overprint each other. This can be useful for special accents or equations, but unless someone is really trying to mess you up, it is unlikely that this is being done in your case!

    Author Comment

    Font and style changes have no effect. EQ field is interesting info! But of course no fields exist in either doc (checked by turning field codes on Tools-->Options-->View-->Field Codes).
    LVL 21

    Accepted Solution

    Does it display any odd settings if you click within the messed-up characters and examine the Font dialog? The Character Spacing tab settings might cause this effect, although resetting the font should fix it. If all is normal, make sure your display drivers are current. However, before you do, use Ctrl-roll (with a scrollwheel mouse) to zoom in and out to examine the affected area: I've noticed that a display driver can sometimes give better results at a different zoom level.

    Also, does the text print as it appears on the screen? If so, and if the zoom tip doesn't change anything, you should probably reinstall the print drivers. (You could change the printer temporarily to see if a different driver changes anything -- and at least that would avoid the hassle of reinstalling the driver if it made no effect.)
    LVL 3

    Assisted Solution

    Try the BEC Metadata remover as well.

    Author Comment

    Meta/hidden data removers are the solution

    Featured Post

    Highfive + Dolby Voice = No More Audio Complaints!

    Poor audio quality is one of the top reasons people don’t use video conferencing. Get the crispest, clearest audio powered by Dolby Voice in every meeting. Highfive and Dolby Voice deliver the best video conferencing and audio experience for every meeting and every room.

    Join & Write a Comment

    Like many others, we try and discourage users from printing documents unnecessarily and instead send or share them electronically. However, this doesn't always work and documents are still printed. With this simple solution, if the user tries to …
    I would like to show you some basics you can do with Mailings in MS Word. It´s quite handy feature you can use for creating envelopes, labels, personalized letters etc. First question could be what is this feature good for? Mailing can really he…
    This video shows the viewer how to set up and create Footnotes in their document. Click on the References tab: Select "Insert Footnote": Type in desired text:
    In a previous video Micro Tutorial here at Experts Exchange (, I explained how to get a free, one-month trial of Office …

    734 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

    Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

    Join & Ask a Question

    Need Help in Real-Time?

    Connect with top rated Experts

    18 Experts available now in Live!

    Get 1:1 Help Now