by Allen Wyatt
(last updated December 26, 2015)
Matthew is a Teacher's Aid at a small school and recently Word has been resetting his documents to the default settings. For instance, he opens a new blank document, sets it up for two columns, types up his page, and saves the file. When he later reopens the document, Word has reset it to the default one-column setting. Matthew wonders if there is a way to keep the formatting for that document.
Word should definitely remember column formatting from one session with a document to the next with the same document. There are a few things, therefore, that could be happening.
First, it is a good idea to make sure that you are viewing the document in a manner that allows the columns to be displayed. If, for instance, you are viewing the document in Draft view, then the columns won't show on the screen—everything will show as a single column. So, use the View tab of the ribbon and check in the Document Views group to see what view is being used. If it is Draft view, switch to a different view.
You should also check to ensure that you have columns set up correctly. Make sure that you are using the Columns tool on the Layout tab of the ribbon. If your document uses sections, then the column changes you make should apply to the section in which you are working. If you later delete the section break at the end of the section, then the columns may automatically "disappear" if the following section has a different number of columns. (This is because section formatting—including the number of columns in the section—is stored in the break at the end of the section.)
If it was other types of formatting that was disappearing (such as character or paragraph formatting) it could be because changes are being made in other documents to which a common template is attached. For instance, if your problem document shares the same template with another document, and while editing the other document you make changes to the template, then those changes may be reflected in the problem document the next time you open it.
Finally, if it is none of these items, it is possible that the document is experiencing some corruption issues. Copy the text to a plain-text editor (such as Notepad) and then copy it back into a brand new document. You'll need to reapply formatting, but the document should not exhibit any corruption issues like the previous document did.
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