Archive for March, 2022


SharePoint: Won’t open a Word document in Office 365

March 15, 2022

I need to state upfront that I HATE SharePoint (SP) with the passion of a thousand burning suns!

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, I’m hoping someone reading this can help me find a solution as to why I can’t open a Word document in SP using my installed Office 365 version of Word (NOT Word Online, which I hate almost as much as SP!)

A bit of background…

  • My client sent me a link to a document stored on their SP server. I couldn’t access it and let them know.
  • They added me as a legitimate user, using my standard email address (, and I got a welcome message from their SP server, with a link to the area containing the documents I needed to access.
  • I have several Microsoft (MS) accounts as I work for different clients who need me to access their SP servers, AND I’m a member of the Microsoft Partner Network for the Action Pack Subscription. I tried the first two I have and the one that uses my email address (as above) got me in. (NOTE: Microsoft seems to think that everyone only has ONE ID and only works for ONE employer/client—freelancers are really in a bind with the multiple credentials they may have to access anything from MS via the internet)
  • I could see the client’s folders and documents (yay!).
  • I opened the Word document they wanted me to look at but Word Online has limited functionality and I needed to get in deep, so I found the option for opening in the desktop app. I wanted to do that in preference to downloading the document as it would remain in SP, whereas with downloading it, I’d have to either upload it again (and I likely didn’t have permission for that), OR I’d have to email it to my client or put it in Dropbox if it was too big to email and then they had to upload it to replace the original. Clunky.

It’s at the desktop app step that I ran into a big issue that I can’t resolve. What happened? Well, when I said to open in the desktop app, SP ONLY offered the option of opening the doc in Office 2010, which I still have on my PC but which I never use (I held onto it when I went to Office 365, just in case I needed to go back to it). There was no option to open it in Office 365, which is what I use. My only other option was to cancel, which is what I did.

I let my client know, and headed off to Google to see if others have had similar issues. I found all sorts of horror stories about uninstalling Office 2010 well after Office 365 was installed, other info about repairing Office 365, and almost nothing on the interaction between SP and an old version of Office when a new one is installed. I may well have been clutching at straws with my search terms… However, I did find one website that offered a possible reason (#6 in their list):

And that possible reason was to do with the account you’re signed in with. I mentioned earlier that my email address (and one of my MS accounts) is, but my Office 365 account ID is (i.e. no lastname). I then asked my client to add me with that email address, which he did, hoping that would be the answer. But then he got error messages from SP on his end. And the link he sent me didn’t work either (different error messages to those I got initially—something about my address not being valid!). So he’s given up too.

I can still go old school and download the documents to my local machine and email them back.

I also still think it’s related to the account I’m signed in with in Office, but I don’t want to try anything else in case I break it and can’t get back to where I was. Has anyone come across this and solved it? If so, please share your solution in the comments below.


[Link last checked March 2022]


Word: DocProperty field won’t update

March 15, 2022

My client’s doc had a DocProperty field in the footer for ‘Subject’, but no matter what I did with the content controls or the field code, it wouldn’t update to reflect the text in the ‘Subject’ Content Control on the title page.

But what I *did* notice when I was in the Edit Field window for that field was that there were TWO instances of ‘Subject’. Neither worked. So my next strategy was to delete one or both of them and start again. However, deleting a Document Property is fairly well hidden in later versions of Word, and I couldn’t find it easily—it certainly wasn’t where I expected it to be in the Developer tab: it’s only accessible via File > Info > Properties > Advanced Properties.

Access the document propeorties window by going to File > Info > Properties > Advanced Properties

Document Properties window with the Custom tab selected

Once I was on that screen, I saw that there’s an in-built property for ‘Subject’ on the Summary tab, and I found the other one on the Custom tab. I selected the one on the Custom tab, deleted it, then clicked OK. The DocProperty field in the footer then updated correctly to reflect the text in the Content Control.

NOTE: You can only select and delete custom properties that have had a value added for them and that have been added to the document.


Firefox: Hide the downloads panel

March 10, 2022

A recent (since January 2022?) update to Firefox means that anything you save from the internet (e.g. an image) pops up a download box as the item is downloading. If you want to turn off this box, you’ll need to change a configuration setting in Firefox.

  1. Open a new tab in Firefox.
  2. Type about:config in the address bar (no spaces).
  3. Click the Accept the risk… warning bar to proceed.
  4. Click Show all at the top of the next page. This will open the configuration settings.
  5. Search for
  6. Click the far right icon for this setting to toggle it from True to False.
  7. Close the tab.

You’ll still get a small icon on the toolbar to indicate when something is downloading/has downloaded, but you won’t get the popup box.


Word: Custom heading styles cannot be used for caption numbering

March 7, 2022

Here are some things I found out last week when a client called and asked for help with table and figure captioning:

  • You can ONLY use chapter/section numbering in a table/figure etc. caption IF you use Word’s Heading 1 to Heading 9 styles for your headings (and they are set for outline numbering), as these are the ONLY options available to you on the Caption Numbering window of the Caption window
  • If you’ve created your own outline numbered heading style and called it MyCompany Heading 1, you cannot select that style for auto numbering the captions. (A little more info:
  • If you try to rename the in-built Heading 1 style to MyCompany Heading 1, then when you click OK, Word will change the style name to Heading 1,MyCompany Heading 1 (i.e. it will append your name to the Heading 1 style name)
  • If you right click immediately before the chapter numbering field in a caption and select Toggle Field, you’ll see { STYLEREF 1 \s }, where StyleRef is the field code, ‘1’ represents the heading number (1 = Heading 1), and \s is an undocumented switch code that I think means to reset the sequence after each Heading 1 (based on some information I found here for SEQ field codes:

So, what can you do? Well, you have a few options…

Option 1: Use Word’s Heading 1 style

The simplest option is to use Word’s Heading 1 style for your top-level headings. Style it according to what you want (font and paragraph settings, numbering, tabs etc., even add your own name to the style name), but don’t set up your own style for heading 1s if you also want to use auto numbered captions. There are other reasons to use Word’s own heading styles too—see this article for 16 reasons why:

Option 2: Modify the StyleRef field code

Update a week later: This option may NOT work successfully. When I tried it, I’d get one or two right, then I’d do another in a new heading and the first ones wouldn’t work, or I’d get a continuous sequence number for the second part of the caption number. 

This option is feasible if you use your own heading 1 style and only have a few captions. If you have many, it will become very tedious and hard for others to manage if they don’t know what you did. In this method, you’ll change the ‘1’ in the field code to the name of your own heading 1 style (I’ve used MyCompany Heading 1 as the example; your style name will be different):

  1. Right-click immediately before the chapter numbering field in a caption and select Toggle Field Codes. You should see { STYLEREF 1 \s }. If you don’t, then position your cursor immediately in front of the chapter number part of the caption number (the first number) and try again.
  2. Right-click in the field (anywhere inside the { } ), then select Edit Field.
  3. Select your own heading 1 style from the list, then click OK.
  4. The caption number should now reflect your custom heading 1 chapter/section number. If it says Error! No text of specified style in document. then either you don’t have any outline numbers for your custom heading 1 style or you haven’t used that style in your document.
  5. If you right-click on the field again, you should see { STYLEREF “MyCompany Heading 1” \s }, where MyCompany Heading 1 is the name of your custom heading 1 style.
  6. Repeat these steps for EVERY table/figure or other caption you have that uses chapter/section numbering as part of the caption.

Tip: Get one right, then copy/paste it to replace other captions, then update all the fields. I haven’t tried this, but it should work. Test on a couple first, not the several hundred you have—if it works on those, then repeat for the others you have.

Option 3: Use an add-in

In my searching for an answer to this issue, I found a free add-in that’s available from one of the very helpful people on the Word VBA forums:


  • I have NOT installed or used this add-in so I can’t comment on its usefulness or not; however, the author of it is someone I trust who knows their stuff.
  • The webpage for this add-in says that it works (has been tested) up to Word 2016. There’s a very good chance that it works with later versions of Word too, but as I haven’t tested it I can’t confirm that.
  • I suspect that this add-in might only work on Word for Windows—I don’t have Word for Mac so I can’t test it on that.

[Links last checked March 2022]


Word: Find all upper case words within parentheses and change to lower case

March 6, 2022

One of my readers asked if there was a way to change upper case strings within parentheses to lower case. For example, (INHALED DEEPLY) to (inhaled deeply). It seems they had hundreds of them, so doing them one at a time wasn’t the most efficient use of their time.

I was able to come up with a wildcard find to identify them all, but I couldn’t come up with a replace that preserved the contents while changing the case. I fiddled around a bit trying to get a macro to work, but to no avail. Then I decided to ask my question on the Microsoft support forums, but before I did so, I did a quick search to see if an answer had already been given—and it had! (

NOTE: As always, test on a copy of your document before you run this—you are making a global change that may target more than you want. For example, these will all get changed to lower case:

  • upper case acronyms in parentheses
  • anything inside parentheses that starts with a capital letter, such as proper nouns, whether in all upper case or not
  • everything from the first upper case letter after an opening parenthesis to the first-found closing parenthesis, which might be some pages later if you forgot to close the parenthesis.

This is a brute force method and may have unintended consequences. If in doubt, click Find Next to check each instance before you make this global change. 

Steps to achieve this:

  1. Press Ctrl+h to open the Find and Replace window.
  2. Click the Find tab (this is important).
  3. In the Find What field, type \(([A-Z]*)\)
  4. Click More and select the Use wildcards checkbox.
  5. Click Find In and select Main Document from the drop-down list.
  6. All matches are found and automatically selected. DO NOT click inside the document otherwise you will lose the selections.
  7. Go to the Home tab and click the Aa icon in the Font group and change the case to lower case. This will change the case of everything selected.

[Link last checked March 2022]