by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 12, 2013)
Charles recently upgraded to Word 2013 from 2003. Starting Word 2013 is very quick; it starts in about two seconds. However, when he displays the Mailings tab of the ribbon and clicks either the Envelopes or Labels tools (in the Create group), he notices that it takes 20 to 30 seconds to display the Envelopes and Labels dialog box. Taking over ten times as long to open this dialog box as to start the program seems excessive to Charles.
You are right, Charles—it does seem a bit excessive. Yet, in testing the your scenario, the same thing happened to us. The Envelopes and Labels dialog box was very slow to open when first summoned. Subsequent requests to display the dialog box were much quicker, functioning as expected. This seems to indicate that the first time the dialog box is displaying, Word is gathering some info that is necessary for the dialog box but that the information, once gathered, isn't required for subsequent displays.
My guess (and it is just that—a guess) is that Word must pull together information from several different areas of your system. It needs to pull your return address info from the registry, it needs to query the printer to see how it can handle envelope feeding, it needs to load the databases of envelope and label templates, it needs to grab info about electronic postage (if you have that option installed), it needs to query Outlook to see about potential contacts, and probably half a dozen other things that aren't that obvious.
It appears that all of this checking with other systems and subsystems and querying drivers and databases takes time. Word only goes through the process when needed—when you first display the dialog box. After that, the information is already in memory and there is no need to go through the process again.
This means that the obvious solution is to not shut down Word once you've opened it for the day. If you, for instance, would normally use Word in three or four sessions during a typical day, just open it once and leave it open on your desktop throughout the day. That way you only need to have the delay occur a single time—when you first display the dialog box.
Now, that being said, it is possible that your particular system may be experiencing even slower display times than someone else. The only way to know this is to run a few tests on someone else's computer. For instance, if you are working in an office, you might sit down at someone else's computer (with their permission, of course) and see how long it takes their system to display the dialog box the first time. If it is comparable to yours, then you know it is just the slowness inherent in doing all the tasks already recounted. If it is quicker than yours (perhaps it takes only 10 to 15 seconds instead of 20 to 30) then you can start looking for differences between your system and the other.
For example, you might compare the amount of RAM in each system, or the speed of the hard drive. (The latter is because Windows may be needing to fetch information from hard drive to refresh what is already in memory.) It could also be that there could be a difference in graphics hardware or printer drivers. There could be a difference in add-ins loaded on the systems. Any of these could affect the speed at which Word and Windows do their work.
If you narrow the problem down to the system differences, then the only solution is to bring your system closer to the faster system, in terms of capabilities.
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