Many users now getting webdings upon editing and saving files.

Posted on 2008-10-15
Last Modified: 2016-08-29
I have submitted this question previously, when it was only me having this problem.  However, now multiple users are experiencing it and I am going to throw it out once more for possible theories.

The problem is this: we have a parsing engine written in C++ that takes RTF files and puts them together to generate a document that can consist of either several page documents or several hundred page documents... depending on the document type selected, and the user selections made in our program.   The "engine" inserts information into the RTF files in various locations within each file based on the user choices as well.

In many cases, users will want to edit the RTF files to make changes to the text (the RTF files generated are legal documents, so there are things they want modified).  So we go into Word and make the required change, perhaps changing a word or a paragraph, saving the file, and then re-generating the document.  Previously there were no problems doing this.

In the past couple of weeks, many users have suddenly experienced consistent problems editing almost all RTF files within our program.  Any changes made to any of the RTF files will result in WEBDINGS within the file that was edited.  If the file is replaced with the original (ie, we restore the original) then the webdings disappear, and everything is fine again (but the user's changes are lost).  Therefore, we have no way to edit the files.

The computers all seem to be running Windows Vista and either Office 2003 or Office 2007.  It is not apparent that any recent Windows updates have occurred that would cause this, because there are no updates that have been installed to all computers.  Windows LiveOneCare is installed on all workstations involved, and there have been no virii or virus-like behavior.

All computers have removed the WEBDING.TTF file.  There are no instances of WEBDINGS in the registry.  Fonts have been removed from the registry and re-installed.  

This was not happening a few weeks ago and we have not been able to determine what would suddenly cause us to be unable to edit the files without causing webdings to appear.

Any thoughts on how to fix, where to look for a solution, would be appreciated.
Question by:aaepa
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LVL 14

Accepted Solution

warrenbuckles earned 250 total points
ID: 22725241
You have a peculiar problem - WEBDINGS fonts seem to be cleaned out of your system yet WEBDINGS characters show up in documents, yes?

The RTF 'language' is very literal - each piece of text has an associated font, style or panose whose description can be read in the raw .RTF document.  WEBDINGS-associated formatting information <should> be in the .RTF document if WEBDINGS glyphs show up when it is printed or viewed.  On the other hand, it is possible to build WEBDINGS using the panose system.

My only suggestion is to see if there is a panose sequence '5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5' in the font description - this is associated with webdings, according to this page:


Author Comment

ID: 22725380
Hi wb,
I'm not sure I understand (at all).  How will that get rid of the webdings?  We need the font to be coming out in Times New Roman (the way it was previously) and not opening in Webdings after the user edits the file.  We have tried everything we can think of... but now after any edit is made to one of these RTF files, once saved, the file now opens with parts of the file in Webdings.
LVL 19

Assisted Solution

dlc110161 earned 250 total points
ID: 22725605
Word has an unusual tendancy to attempt to find the font characteristic of the text in question and if the actual font is not found, then Word decides which font is the best substitute. If the document opens with Webdings fonts displayed, try selecting the entire document and changing the font to Times New Roman.

Another thing to check is to make sure that the Normal style is set to use Times New Roman in the associated template.  

Dawn Crosier-Bleuel
Word MVP
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Author Comment

ID: 22725869
Unfortunately, we are not able to change the webdings into words using CtrlA and changing to TNR font.  It does say it changes it... but what actually happens is that it changes it into little boxes.
The normal style is always set to Times New Roman, 12 pt.
LVL 19

Expert Comment

ID: 22726097
What happens if you take the document to NotePad and then back into Word?


Author Comment

ID: 22726897
I don't think that would be possible; there are over 20 styles involved in the 100-300 pg document, as well as several articles, section breaks, etc.  If copied to notepad, that would all be lost.
LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 22728488
I understand you saying that WEBDINGS fonts are not present in your systems -
You said:
"All computers have removed the WEBDING.TTF file.  There are no instances of WEBDINGS in the registry.  Fonts have been removed from the registry and re-installed.  "

So, if WEBDINGS are showing up in the documents, where are they coming from?

.RTF documents use text and (panose) numeric encodings to represent fonts - something is going on in your conversion program that is causing it to generate the equivalent of WEBDINGS fonts.

Is is possible to run a small (1-2 paragraphs) document through the system and post the before/after versions of the .RTF files here?  I suggest a small document as .RTF equivalent files can be very large.


Author Comment

ID: 22731369
I'm not sure it is going to let me upload the zip file. If the attachment is here, both files are included, and please rename each file to .RTF (I had to rename them to .TXT because it said RTF files were not allowed).

Author Comment

ID: 22731429
A file has been uploaded to

Uploaded by : aaepa
Filename :
Size : 17,489 bytes
Comment : Please unzip and rename the .txt to .rtf.

You can download this file from

If other files are available for this question, then they can be accessed from
LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 22732569
Thanks for the files - I ran them through a text comparison program and got the attached results - the changes seems to be taking place in the conversion process, which I understand to be taking place in a ' parsing engine written in C++ '

I have also included a .zip file showing the .pdf versions of both files as displayed/printed by my copy of MS Word 2007 - all the boldface text changes to webdings.

Looking at the difference file, some of the differences are simple.  For example, change #1 on line 185 of the original file, the numeric value associated with 'listtemplateid-'  changes from '1771522514' to '2095305090'  I'm no RTF ace, but 'listtemplateid' is probably a component that defines a list format.  I don't know where these are to be found - in the RTF files themselves or elsewhere on the system: this may depend on how the parsing engine is designed or may be part of the RTF formatting methods.

Other differences involve deletions and/or additions of large blocks of RTF - the change (#2) starting at original line 203 involves the deletion of lines 204-211 - eight lines of text.  A similar things happens later in change #2a, with even more lines of text being deleted.

So, it looks like something is going on in the parsing engine - I can't say why, only that it is happening.



Author Comment

ID: 22734566
Hi Warren,
I have been reviewing what you posted and am going to study it some more.  Thank you for the information... it's giving me something to look at.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 31506467
I appreciate the help, even though there was no accurate solution given.  Thank you.

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