Microsoft Word replacing text at random
October 26, 2011 10:57 AM   Subscribe

I have a document in MS Word 2007 that includes a bunch of Mathtype (ver 6.7a) equations both inline and numbered. There are certain sections of text in my document that are magically changing from regular Times New Roman to a series of boxes (). A random number of the boxes have what appears to be a period directly underneath it. I can delete all the boxes and re-type in the text and references but after I save and close the document, when I open it back up, the boxes will be back in the same general area of the document but not necessarily exactly the same amount of text changed.

The sections are interspersed with both Mathtype equations and references to Mathtype equations but there are a lot of areas of the document with equations and reference that aren't doing it so I'm not sure that's the culprit. A few characters will be added in Times New Roman so the paragraph will look like: series of boxes, Mathtype equation, few more boxes, .8E, boxes, Mathtype equation reference, etc. The boxes claim to still be Times New Roman if I select them and check their font setting. Reseting the paragraph style doesn't fix the problem. They're all the same box character, not a bunch of different symbols like if they'd become Symbol font or Wingdings or something. I've got Show Formatting marks on and there aren't any hidden fields or flags that I can see.

However - I just figured out that if I select the boxes and change the font to certain fonts, the proper text will reappear. The only fonts that this works with are the ones where if you look at the Font drop down list include both the font name and an example of the font to the right of the font name. On my computer, a couple examples are Sans Serif, Super French, and a the Symbol font. Times New Roman is not one of the fonts with examples.

So - any ideas on how to fix this? Or even what to google to try to fix this? This is my thesis so I'd prefer it not eat itself and I'm worried that it will start to spread - right now it's localized to two areas.

Here's a link to a pdf of one of the sections in case it helps explain what's happening better.
posted by macfly to Computers & Internet (2 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The 'boxes' are the representation for codepoints (often unicode) outside of the font's range. The little numbers you might see in the boxes is hexidecimal value for that codepoint.

It's hard to know without a better sample of the text, but my guess is that the boxes should be some mathematical character in a math font. There are free math fonts, for example stix fonts. You could try using one of these and seeing if the characters appeared correctly.
posted by beerbajay at 11:33 AM on October 26, 2011

I don't know what's going on, but I would suggest that if your thesis is going to require any significant amount of mathematics, then you should use LaTeX. LaTeX will never eat your document or show you funny little boxes with periods underneath them.

It's a little bit of a learning curve, but definitely worth (and more or less required) it if you are ever going to write scientific papers.
posted by number9dream at 12:50 PM on October 26, 2011

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