Microsoft Word is a huge program seemingly offering something for everyone and every circumstance. It has grown so large, in fact, that we believe it is becoming musclebound, less able to perform basic functions even as its features list grows.
Six months ago we began collecting reports of infrequent and seemingly random failures affecting a few of the largest and most complex forms in use by a handful of our most sophisticated customers. Four months of investigations produced little other than confirmation a problem exists that produces a completely useless runtime error about 10% of the time on a susceptible form.
The Clipboard is the culprit
A user’s casual comment that the problem seemed to happen more often during multitasking, when she was also copying the content of Outlook messages, eventually led us to conclude that Word is unable to consistently keep up with the pace of its own high speed document processing. Simply put, Word’s in-and-out interchanges with the Windows Clipboard can freeze, jamming Word at erratic intervals.
We believe this problem will get worse with time, gradually affecting more and more of Word’s work and the customers around the world who depend on Word for their livelihoods. We wanted a solution, not just for the handfuls of our most sophisticated customers affected today but for all who will be exposed in the future.
Two months of experimentation and repeated false starts through the fall yielded a winning discovery that our amazing technical staff exploited to create a solution that completely removes the Windows Clipboard from use by our programs.
There is a very slight speed increase with the change, but the main advantage is increased program stability and fewer experiences with otherwise unexplainable and apparently unrelated processing interruptions.
We urge all users to update to the newest version of their program, available now. And we congratulate our Technical Operations crew for their tenacity, superb detective work, and crackerjack programming.