Fixing Microsoft Word's mysterious tiny cursor

No one is quite sure what causes the "tiny cursor" problem in Microsoft Word, but here are two workarounds.

Last week I took my new notebook computer with me on vacation and fired up Microsoft Word to do some work on a novel. Shortly after opening the document where I'd left off, I noticed something peculiar. The cursor was very small -- hardly bigger than a period -- and not changing no matter where I moved to in the document. Although it didn't cause any real problems, it was distracting and made it difficult to navigate the document.

What caused this problem? More importantly, how could I get rid of it?

I did some online research and read posts from other people who had experienced the same problem. The exact cause of this is a mystery, but it seems to be tied to something that is done to a given document or document template. Even people who have scraped and reinstalled Windows and Office (but still use the same documents and document templates) experience this consistently.

Although I wasn't able to unearth the reason this happens, I was able to find a cure. When the "tiny cursor" reappears, changing the zoom on the document to something else and then back to normal fixes it. Since I have a mouse with a scroll wheel, the fix basically amounts to holding down the Ctrl key and rolling the wheel one notch back and then one notch forward.

Word MVP Graham Mayor proposes another fix: Add some code to the AutoOpen and AutoNew macros in Word. That forces a zoom-in and zoom-out whenever you open or create a document. Here's the code:

With ActiveWindow.View
    .Type = wdPrintView
    .Zoom.Percentage = 500
    .Zoom.Percentage = 100
End With

Note: If you want to use a different zoom other than 100%, simply modify the second .Zoom.Percentage value as needed.

About the author: Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the Windows Power Users Newsletter, which is devoted to hints, tips, tricks, news and goodies for Windows NT, Windows 2000 and Windows XP users and administrators. He has more than 10 years of Windows experience under his belt, and contributes regularly to SearchWinComputing.com and SearchSQLServer.com.

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This was first published in October 2006

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