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.