Word 2016/Windows table bug, fix is delayed

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A table bug in Word 2016 for Windows was caused by not one but two different software patches with customers expected to wait up to two months for a proper fix.

The trouble started with 8 August 2017 patch and continued a month later with the 5 September 2017 patch.  Either of these patches could cause a problem with tables, as described by Microsoft:

  • If you merge vertical cells in a table, the cell content disappears, and you can’t select the merged cell.
  • If you open an existing document that has a table with merged cells, the cells will appear to be blank.

This only applies to .MSI installations of Office for Windows.  Office 365/Click to Run installs aren’t affected.   It seems to us that the .MSI install of Office gets more buggy patches than CtR — maybe Microsoft doesn’t test the .MSI as carefully as it should.  After all, Redmond strongly believes that Click to Run is better.

The fix is to uninstall the troublesome patches and wait until Microsoft gets its act together.   That should happen in early October 2017.

Hobson’s Choice

If you uninstall the patches, you miss out on many bug fixes in those updates.

Customers have to make a hard choice, either leave the buggy patches in place and be careful with Word tables.

Or uninstall the broken patches and miss out on the many bugs fixed by those patches:

8 August 2017 patch fixes:

  • When you open a document that has a legacy shape in Word 2016, Word 2016 may freeze.
  • The hidden text isn’t displayed even though the Print hidden textoption is enabled in Word 2016.
  • Japanese characters in the vertical text may be displayed as square boxes in Word 2016.
  • Content with negative indent may be cropped in a non-first column in the presence of tables.
  • The manual hyphenation functionality does not work as expected in Word 2016. Not all words that could be hyphenated are actually hyphenated.
  • When you send an email with some spelling mistakes in Outlook 2016 in Windows 10, the regular proofing dialog isn’t displayed as expected if the Always check spelling before sendingoption is enabled.
  • Assume that you have a Word document opened. When you open another document that has a task pane add-in embedded, the add-in is displayed in the first Word document.

5 September 2017 fixes:

  • This update improves compatibility of Microsoft Word 2016 to allow real-time collaboration on cloud documents between the desktop client, iOS and Android.
  • This update fixes the following issues:
    • When you reply or forward an RTF email that contains right-to-left paragraphs with pictures, Outlook 2016 stops working.
    • When you open a document that’s marked as Read-only recommended on a network location in Word 2016 and choose to open the document in the read-only mode, other users cannot open the same document as read/write.


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