Word characters have become squares

  VTD 22:38 11 Aug 2006

My wife's doing a course with a college who provided a Word document template on a CD-RW. She added over 4 pages of text using our home PC in Word 97, and then made further changes on the college PC. First, the CD now contains her file which has change the text as follows:
1. The four pages my wife typed have vanished (except for 3 lines which are fine except that they're in a very basic font - not the one used originally);
2. There are now apparently 56 pages which are either blank or have all the text appearing as squares or unusual letters.
Second, in a folder on the CD, there is another file of the same name which Word says it can't open.
Can we change the text from squares to the correct characters?
Is there a compatibility problem for Word 97? (Presumably the college uses a newer version).
How can we open the file in the separate folder?
Can anyone advise please?

  sean-278262 22:45 11 Aug 2006

Ctrl + A change the font type face to times or something else. If that does not work google open office and download the latest version, it is free and probably a much better program than the now well outdated word 97. It is also pretty similar in looks.

  VoG II 22:51 11 Aug 2006

Right click the file in Windows Explorer, choose Open With and Browse to select the program. Select Notepad and DO NOT tick 'Always use this program to open this type of file'. You should see some hieroglyphics but if you scroll down you should see the original text - can you? If so follow a similar procedure but open with Wordpad, check that all is there, then save as an .rtf document. This *should* then open OK in Word and save it as a .doc.

  VoG II 22:54 11 Aug 2006

You need to copy from the CD to your hard drive first.

If she has tried saving directly from Word to CD this won't work which might explain the lost work.

  VTD 11:32 12 Aug 2006

Thanks Creature - changing the type face didn't work (the squares just change shape, whatever I try, even Wingdings). I've downloaded Open Office 2.03 and it does seem quite good (though it didn't solve this problem).

Thanks VoG - I'm getting the same result in Wordpad and Notepad as in Word (and indeed Open Office Writer) even when opening from the hard drive or converting to .rtf and .txt files. [By the way, right clicking in Windows Explorer didn't in this instance give me an option to 'Open With...'].

It seems to me and Mrs VTD that the missing work never got saved onto the CD, possibly due to a fault with the college PC - both wife and college tutor had concerns about the CD drive so they checked the file was saved and then saved it again for good measure, but I fear this didn't work; maybe it's still on the HDD but we won't know until college reopens.

If that's the case, then a big sorry to you both for wasting your time, but thank you for so kindly trying to help.

I'm still perplexed by the appearance of the hieroglyphics and squares (or boxes) - it's happened to me before a number of times when transferring work between PCs with different versions of Office (maybe Open Office will cure that problem in future).

Finally, I hope you guys didn't think me rude for not responding earlier - this is in fact the fourth attempt at a reply (I tried last night as well as today) and my original posting only got through at the second attempt. Maybe I should stick to pen and paper!

  Mananin 12:30 12 Aug 2006

I may be wrong, but I think the problem is compatabilty.
Your original document was prepared in Word 97 and saved. When additions were made at the college it used a later version of Word and saved in the later format.
Whilst later verssions can read earlier version (Backward Compatability) earlier versions can not read later verssion as they were not realeased then (Forward Compatability).
I have had the same problem (Word 6.0).......would welcome suggestions how to resolve.

  VTD 23:31 13 Aug 2006

Mananin, I understand what you mean and think you're right. My wife's going to try the file on her work PC tomorrow just in case she can retrieve the missing pages in a more recent version of Word, but we still fear that the work didn't actually get saved somehow, probably due to a hardware problem. We'll also evaluate Open Office as recommended by Creature of the Nite, which should get round the problem of Forward Compatibility - you could try it too.
Have you any ideas on those pesky squares (and hieroglyphics) though - they're still bugging me!

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