A reader problem tells us the symptoms of and solution to an unusual problem in Word 2002 related to having too many fonts installed.
Office Watch reader Francine Millman, founder of PROMPT Consulting, writes:
“Recently, I had a problem in Word 2002 whereby every single time I went to insert a Symbol into my document, the lovely error window would display and bounce me out of Word.
There were no articles on the Microsoft website that I could find (and I was ultimately told there were none addressing this for the public), and after SEVERAL hours on the phone with Microsoft Support in both India and Canada and no one being able to resolve this, I was bumped up to the next level of support at Microsoft.
They amazingly called me back within the 48 hours I was told they would (actually, they called within about 5 hours), and the tech with whom I spoke told me that this is a font issue — that I have too many fonts installed.
He told me that once there are about 500 fonts, Microsoft just cannot handle it. Yes, I had a lot of fonts — about 1500 of them. Never caused me a problem before, EVEN in Word 2002 and then suddenly, it did.
So, I removed about 100 of them, to see if that would work and IT DID WORK!
I suggested that Microsoft include an article on this. I would have saved about 10 hours on this problem if there was one. He seemed to know right away what the issue was. It would have been nice had they shared it with Microsoft users!
Now, all is AOK.”
Remember that you have to re-start Word (and shut down Outlook, if you use Word as your email editor) to force Word to re-construct its font list. While collecting fonts for fun and profit may sound like fun, in fact having more than a couple hundred hanging around is a sure invitation to disaster – or at least instability. If you really want to use a whole, big bunch of fonts, install a font manager like the free AMP Font Viewer, which lets you show and hide fonts as you need them.