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Images replaced by big red crosses in MS-Word

Images replaced by big red crosses in MS-Word

Images replaced by big red crosses in MS-Word


A few times now I've been working on documents containing a number of images to find at some point that some or all the images have been replaced by large red crosses (X).

There doesn't seem to be any consistent action which seems to trigger this - the last time it happened was just after I had updated my table of contents.

My images are mostly screen dumps.  I'm using Word-97 (Office-97 actually) with service release 1 and NT 4 Workstation with service pack 4.  The machine has a Pentium II 200MHz processor with 64Mb RAM.  I'm usually running Word with another application (the one I'm getting the screen dumps from).  Checking the resources in use I have around 30MB of RAM free with both applications running.  Hard disk space is about 200MB free.

Anyone have the solution to this and ideally the reason it's happening?

RE: Images replaced by big red crosses in MS-Word

Delete your temp files (*.tmp and ~*.*) off the C:\ while you have all programs closed, run a scandisk, and restart. If not helpful, save file to new name. Cut screen shots and Paste Special-as picture. See how much less space doc takes up and see if less problems with Xs.


RE: Images replaced by big red crosses in MS-Word

I will try your suggestions but I've had the same problem on different machines and with documents of varying sizes so I'm not fully convinced that it's size related or due to available space on the hard disk.

Thanks for responding.

RE: Images replaced by big red crosses in MS-Word

I've had this happen to me, also while working with screen captures.  It seems to be a problem in 97 (we had SR 2), not in 2000, as I haven't seen the problem at all there.  I believe, at least from my experiences, that it happens when the file gets corrupted in some way.  The only two solutions I can give you are:

1) Redo the images (which is what I've had to do)

2) Make multiple back ups periodically (document 1.1, document 1.2, document 1.3)

The second one is the one that I've found has helped the most because I can go back and recover a slightly older version before the file got corrupted.

Linda Adams
Linda Adams Online
I'm a professional writer, published internationally.

RE: Images replaced by big red crosses in MS-Word

Thanks Linda.  I too have had to adopt the two approaches you suggest but isn't it always the case that the problem occurs just BEFORE you save the latest version!

What I don't understand is that if this is a file corruption (and it certainly seems that way) why is the text that immediately follows the image not damaged in any way and then why is the next image damaged, and so on...

Maybe the images are stored in a separate part of the document structure and the reference to it has become damaged?  I don't know what the file structures are but someone from Microsoft may have the answers.


RE: Images replaced by big red crosses in MS-Word

i've had similar experiences, enough to where we just refer to the condition as "The Dreaded Red X".
we've come across when pasting a plethora of Excel graphs into Word.  I think it may be due to just a memory shortage where Word can't generate all of the images.

the saddest part about it is that someone at Microsoft (soon to be Mic, Ros, and Oft thanks to the courts) spent the time to actually program the dreaded red x function in.

Brian Famous

RE: Images replaced by big red crosses in MS-Word

When it first happened to me I thought it was just a data access issue where Word was unable to load and display the images as quickly as I was moving through the document, so I waited, and waited...  Then I calmed myself by telling myself that it was a memory issue - the images were there but not being displayed.  I tried printing a page and to my horror it printed a big red X.

I've cursed every time it's happened to me ever since because I know it means more work for me and I really dislike redoing the same work when it shouldn't be necessary.  I understand that commercial software is going to have bugs at first but Office '97 been around for quite some time now.

RE: Images replaced by big red crosses in MS-Word

Thanks macrodan, a useful reference.

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