Word 2011 for the Mac is finally obsolete, having been replaced by Word 2016 for the Mac. Up until a couple of years ago, I worked exclusively with Windows and hadn't thought of earlier versions of Word in some time. When handed my first Mac, however, I quickly learned that the venerable Word 2011 was the latest available for the OS and that it featured some, ah, eccentric behavior.

Here are a few tips I learned while waiting for the update:

  • If the tabs don't respond to mouse clicks, try clicking the very top pixel of the tab (or as close to it as you can manage.) Yeah, I know.

  • To fix the "A footer of section x is set outside the printable area of this page" error, you need to change the header (or footer) to be larger than the non-printable area of the page. To do this:

    1. Select the Header and Footer tab.
    2. In Position, set the "Header from Top" and "Footer from Bottom" fields to appropriate values. If you're unsure, try 0.5. (The actual minimum value changes from printer to printer.)

    This frequently appears in documents edited in different countries; regional page size defaults can resize page setup margins, headers, and footers beyond expected ranges.

  • Want to update a the table of contents? Move focus to the generated table of contents and then press F9 .

  • Revision marks consume a lot of memory. If the document is taking a very long time to render or navigate, consider clearing previous revision marks.

  • When transferring files between different countries, regions, and languages, use care to verify the Page Setup and Default Language settings before printing or redistributing the document. The angst you save may be your own.

  • The following keyboard shortcuts help manage list and paragraph indents:

    • Promote bullet one level (move right): [Shift] + [Control] + [Right arrow]
    • Demote bullet one level (move left): [Shift] + [Control] + [Left arrow]
    • Indent paragraph one tab stop (move right): [Control] + [Shift] + [M]
    • Unindent paragraph one tab stop (move left): [Shift] + [Command] + [M]

I realize this is a bit of a grab bag; however, some folks may still be struggling to make the program behave. If you have other tips you'd like to add to this list, let me know and I'll update things accordingly.

If it's any consolation, pandoc is incredibly useful for converting Word documents to other formats (and back again, which is useful for fixing up hideously broken styles). Check it out!

Revision History

  • 28 Jan 2017: Original post.
  • 31 Jan 2017: Adding additional tips and fixing typos.